Are you working safe?
The University isn’t a very pleasant place to work. Between the significant construction, busy main roads, and lack of table spaces, navigating the University is a hassle, and one we don’t really question enough as students. Why is it easier to complete the Puzzling World maze in Wanaka than it is to find the University’s accessibility route? Or why is it that Engineering have a new quarter-billion-dollar building, yet they couldn’t fork out a few more grand to put in some fucking tables?
This is an issue that was keenly dissected by our team in a recent editorial meeting in the AUSA boardroom. Why weren’t we in our regular office, you ask? Good question. We found ourselves barely hearing each other over the constant jackhammering in the nearby construction, which—frighteningly—manages to actually shake the Student Union building. Another nuisance to add to the list.
Having recently been unanimously voted in as Craccum’s official Health and Safety Representative (because no-one else wanted the role), I have taken it upon myself to conduct totally illegitimate enquiries into whether the University is a safe workplace for all.
TLDR; I’m gonna have a 1000-word bitch about things the University could improve about the campus.
I’d feel safer using power tools unsupervised than I would crossing the new set of traffic lights on upper Grafton Road, outside OGGB.
Now that statement could be interpreted in one of two ways. The first is that after four years of a professional Engineering degree, I’m still too incompetent to use power tools. Let’s put it this way: the other day, I managed to drill in 8 screws with a power screwdriver—the sad part is it took me half an hour.
Perhaps it’s that same lack of intelligence that has led to me nearly being hit three times crossing that road. However, it’s hardly my fault that cars zoom through the red light like it’s not even there. Perhaps it’s the steep incline of the road, the fact that the lights were recently installed, or maybe the late Prince Phillip is piloting every vehicle that passes through. Whatever it is, some people look like they need their license revoked.
Elsewhere, it’s the same story. With our campus being centred around a busy city road, it is prone to many of the hazards that arise from traffic. It’s like live-action Crossy Road on upper Symonds Street, while meanwhile at the Princes St lights, more students seem to cross on red than green. It surely can’t get any better being a cyclist, where poor driving must be more frustrating than the lack of plot progression on Shortland Street.
Ultimately, the lack of concentration in pedestrians and motorists doesn’t spell good news. Perhaps the underpass network should be expanded. This one gets rated a ‘not safe’ from me.
Tagline: “when all you wanted was a pool, but what you got was a headache…”
The massive new rec centre construction site really seems to be the bane of our existence. With the amount of noise-to-work ratio, you’d think they were reshooting “Work from Home” by Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign or something. In fact, that’s where you should be instead of heading to Kate Edger as a result of the noise.
Meanwhile, across the University, the Māori and Pasifika schools are disrupted by HSB being torn down mere metres away. The fact they persist with the noise, as well as dust and constant worker traffic is commendable. It’s quite ridiculous that someone decided it was a good idea to break ground on half the University at once.
With our central student spaces already being old and decrepit, surely it wouldn’t do good for construction noise to further disincentivise hanging around the quad, for instance. But more worryingly, if noise pollution is reducing the number of spaces available that are suitable for quiet study, better facilities should be provided to current students.
Craccum have requested a response from the University about whether noise pollution has been tested and complies with Worksafe recommended levels. As of print, we have yet to receive a response. In the meantime, the noise pollution gets a ‘not safe’ rating from me.
Now, this is quite a curious phenomenon I’ve noticed because of the increasing construction. The University has opted for a rudimentary fix to accessibility issues, which has led to a lot of dodgy spaces popping up around campus.
Most notably, a long and windy container alley has been erected that circumnavigates the Science building. I honestly shudder to think what happens in there at night-time, but if I were conducting illicit activity, that’s where I’d go. Obviously, that’s not something that would happen in my capacity as Health and Safety representative though, definitely.
Another similar installation is the curious Kate Edger walkway, where you used to be able to peer in on the Campus Life team. I’m glad to see they’ve had screens installed though for some privacy.
This one gets a ‘dodgy’ and ‘avoid if you can’ rating from me.
Searching for a free table around the Engineering building is like waiting for Marvel to release Black Widow, or waiting for the University to replace Maidment theatre – okay, perhaps not that futile.
Surely though, if you’re going to advertise your new building as providing three hectares of new City Campus floor space, you’d at least tap the ball in and provide some chairs and tables to render it usable.
If you’re really in a struggle, there are stairs you can sit on in the atrium end of the building. Kindly, some cushions have been provided to apologise in advance for the back pain caused.
While it is not a pressing concern for health and safety, it is nice for productivity and encouraging healthy working habits, so I’d give this one a ‘could be better’.
Like anyone, students should be provided a safe and suitable work environment. Hopefully, this article sheds some light on areas where the University leaves questions unanswered when it comes to workplace safety.
Otherwise, I’ve probably just let the title of Health and Safety representative get to my head a little.
Yeah, it’ll be that actually.