Injury Prevention Training Drops Police Injuries and Workers Comp Costs

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Conventional risk management efforts not addressing issue, says California Municipal Pooling Authority.

The general category of sprains and strains were predominant in the police injury analysis

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The Municipal Pooling Authority, located in Walnut Creek, Ca. provides Risk Management Services to 14 Police Departments and 20 Municipalities mostly located in Contra Costa County. The Police Departments in their area were experiencing a rising number of injuries resulting in a substantial trend of downtime and increasing Workers compensation costs.

"The general category of sprains and strains were predominant in the police injury analysis," says Charles Boettger, Loss Control Supervisor for the MPA. Throughout a typical work day, law enforcement officers can encounter a great many physical challenges both in dealing with the public, getting in and out of the patrol cars and during emergency calls where the situation can escalate quickly requiring agility and fast reaction times - a fertile ground for work-related injuries.

"Police injuries were a significant element of our loss control program that were not being addressed through conventional risk management efforts," says Boettger. "After analyzing this, I was referred to Future Industrial Technologies (F.I.T.) by an ergonomist. My major concern, or goal, was to find a service provider that understood the culture of Law Enforcement. F.I.T. has a track record of working with police."

F.I.T. recommended the Backsafe® program customized for law enforcement, with both classroom training and an obstacle course involving the use of an actual police car in a police station setting. The program was designed to address injuries caused by lifting, pushing, pulling, twisting, bending and stooping. The program also addressed other risks that law enforcement faces, such tripping hazards by teaching proper techniques for stepping over barriers and on to stable surface before proceeding.

"In the two complete fiscal years subsequent to the Backsafe program, we have documented a reduction in the lift, push, and pull type of injuries by 60 percent," says Boettger, "and a reduction in the cost of those injuries by approximately 90 percent!"

"In addition, we believe that this effort to address police injuries has produced some synergistic benefits, with respect to the entire police workers compensation program. The overall cost of police injuries after the implementation of the Backsafe program has been reduced from $3.5 million per year to $1 million per year over a two year period of time," he says, "representing a 70 percent decrease." (Boettger noted that since MPA only focused on the Backsafe program, it is unclear if there were other contributing factors producing the remarkable results.)

"The F.I.T. trainers communicated very well with the police departments and they were very well received," says Boettger. "The F.I.T. staff has been extremely cooperative and has been diligent in following up and scheduling individual injury prevention training services with the Police Departments directly, which has been a huge benefit to us on the administrative side."


Dennis Downing

(800) 775-2225


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