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School Workers' Compensation Safety Program

Insurance premiums and other indirect costs associated with workplace injuries can be a budget concern for school districts. A comprehensive employee safety program can help control these costs by reducing or eliminating staff injuries and lowering workers' compensation costs. A well-designed safety program can also help maintain a safe and healthy workplace for school staff, students and visitors. A comprehensive safety program contains these items.

Assess Risks and Priorities

Begin with a review of your workers' compensation losses to identify where improvements are needed most. Frequent and severe incidences should be your focus, followed by infrequent and less severe ones.

Get District Commitment

Define and communicate formal goals and responsibilities to ensure school board and superintendent involvement in the process.

Create a Joint Task Force

Establish temporary employee work groups from departments with a history of losses. Have these groups develop ideas for improvements and propose operational changes. Possible research topics may include ergonomics, slips and falls, review of safety procedures and OSHA required programs.

Train for All Staff

Training should include communicating district safety commitment, ensuring employees have proper skills to identify and eliminate potential hazards, and establishing ongoing training to maintain long-term comprehension.

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)

Conduct a JHA to identify risks of injury and hazards to the worker. A comprehensive JHA includes identification of the risk/hazard and steps to mitigate the risk/hazard. Use hierarchy of hazard control to pick the right fix for the risks/hazards.

Correct Unsafe Conditions and Acts

Provide a timely review, response and follow-up on all identified safety concerns. Be sure to involve staff members in solving safety issues as much as possible.

Investigate Accidents

An accident investigation can help determine the root cause of each accident so it doesn't happen again. Effective accident investigations do not punish the employee involved in the accident. Instead, consider all factors that may have contributed to the accident. The investigation teams should also make periodic reviews of accident trends to provide additional perspective on their injury prevention efforts.

Manage Workers' Compensation Claims

Implement a claims management program to assist all employees who suffer work-related injuries. This program should include designated or preferred physicians, case management, medical claims review and a return-to-work policy. These components promote the earliest possible return-to-work for the employee and decreased workers' compensation costs for your district.

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