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February 26, 2024
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February 26, 2024

UMB Employee Sees Crack in Maintenance Policy After On-campus Accident

University of Massachusetts Boston employee Eileen L. Dranetz is questioning the UMB campus maintenance policy after falling on school property and breaking three teeth.

Dranetz said she broke three teeth and cut her nose and lip after she tripped over a one-inch raised piece of concrete outside the McCormack building on September 11, 2008.

“I tripped and fell so quickly that I fell right on my face,” Dranetz said. “I didn’t have time to break my fall.”

That evening, Dranetz was treated at UMass Health Services and later that night at the Quincy Medical Center, where she received a head CT scan, an X-ray, and temporary fillings in her teeth.

Dranetz said she e-mailed the UMB department of public safety to report the incident the day after she fell. It wasn’t until Monday, September 15, that she got a call from public safety asking her to detail the incident.

But when she returned to work on September 22, Dranetz said she noticed the raised tile still hadn’t been fixed.

“I asked why the concrete tile had not been fixed yet,” she said. “I had to point out the tile to a maintenance worker, who said they [maintenance staff] don’t fix the concrete tiles unless someone complains about it.”

Although UMB Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management Dorothy F. Renaghan didn’t confirm or deny the validity of what was said to Darentz by a maintenance worker, she did say that the facilities department does partly rely on public reports about problems on campus.

“Because we cannot perform daily inspections of every piece of the approximately two million square feet of campus space and a hundred acres of land, we must, in part, rely on the observation and input of the campus community to ensure we know what is happening and what requires service and repair.”

While Renaghan said that cones were placed around the raised tiles on September 15, Darentz maintained that when she inquired about the unfixed tiles on September 22, there were no cones around the area.

Regardless, Dranetz said that the crack-and the UMB maintenance policy-should have been fixed long before her fall.

“My issue is that maintenance isn’t repairing the walkways until after report,” she said. “Why aren’t they [UMB facilities and maintenance staff] proactive?”

Even though Dranetz has not been issued any letter-apologetic or not-from Renaghan or any other member of UMB facilities, she said all she really wants is to ensure that accidents like hers don’t happen to anyone else. “I only want to protect other people from getting injured on the walkways.”Since 2006, the university has spent nearly $23 million on life safety or deferred maintenance projects, with similar projects worth another $39 million currently underway.

Olesia can be reached at [email protected]