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Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 1989

KU INCREASING SECURITY FOR VENDING MACHINES

December 20, 1989

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Every soft drink and candy vending machine on the Kansas University campus will be bolted to a wall or floor before classes resume in January, a KU official said.

Robert Derby, KU concessions manager, said Tuesday that an employee had been working part time since June to secure about 200 vending machines to permanent structures.

The vending machine safety project was launched as a partial response to the death in May of a KU student who apparently tipped a soda machine onto himself.

"I sense on the part of the university community an awareness resulting from the tragic accident . . . that if the machines are not handled properly they can be dangerous," Derby said.

HOWEVER, Derby said he was disturbed that in the past four months a person or persons had dislodged two vending machines that had been secured to walls.

"It takes a lot of energy and ingenuity to do that," he said. "We have significantly reduced the shaking of machines. No machines have fallen over." But other types of vandalism continue as before. People frequently tamper with the machines in an attempt to steal food and drink items, he said.

Fifteen to 20 machines still have to be bolted down. The $3,700 job may be finished Jan. 1, but certainly before the spring semester begins Jan. 18, Derby said.

LANCE FOSTER, a 23-year-old honor student from Stillwater, Okla., died May 7 of internal injuries suffered when a pop machine fell on him in Stephenson Hall.

Although there were no witnesses to the incident, Foster apparently rocked the machine back and forth in an attempt to free a can of soda or get his money back.

Foster's mother, Mary Alice Foster, said when told of KU's project that vending machine manufacturers should require that machines be fastened to a wall or the floor.

"It seems the company that makes them, because of their size and everything, should make it a requirement when they are sold," Mrs. Foster said.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in 1988 at least 1,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries from vending machines.

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