2016 Safety First Grant Winners

1st Place:

Capital Region Educational Service District 113 (ESD 113) Workers’ Compensation Trust
School Bus Easy Set Safety Brake System

The problem:

Washington state statute requires applying the parking brake at every school bus stop, including at student pickups and railroad crossings. Measurements confirm that applying the parking brake requires 29 lbs. of hand/wrist pulling strength and releasing the brake exerts 16 lbs. of force on the hand and wrist. Field observations confirm an average of 250 repetitive push/pull braking cycles per work day for the average bus route. Such repetitive force has resulted in many soft tissue injuries in the wrist, hand, arm and shoulder for ESD 113’s bus drivers. Furthermore, continued use of the brake post-injury eventually developed into several complex occupational injury claims, incurring losses of $200,000 in the past 10 years.

The solution:

Given the number of regulatory agencies that have authority over bus modifications, it was clear that eliminating this risk would require new technology. ESD 113 turned to Safety Brake Set, Inc., which led to the development of the Easy Set System for the safe and ergonomically-correct application of bus parking brakes. With the simple flip of a rocker switch, bus drivers will be able to apply and release the parking brake with less than one pound of force, which will eliminate this exposure and help maintain an active, dependable and productive bus driver pool.

View a short video demo of the Easy Set System with user testimonials.

2nd Place:

Smithfield Foods
Interlocking Handrail System for Delivery Truck Gates

The problem:

Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, identified a trend of workers’ compensation claims that were attributed to falls off the back of trucks during delivery stops. In response, the organization replaced the folding steps with flat hydraulic plates to help eliminate the risk of falling. The plates, however, created another risk associated with the portable handrail that the driver had to slide into place – a daunting safety step that many employees skipped. In response, Smithfield Foods developed a team to determine new options.

The solution:

Smithfield Foods implemented a new system, which includes a set of handrails that is stored in such a way that they must be engaged in order to use the lift gate. The handrails fold over the working surface, requiring the employee to raise them before he or she can roll the carts out onto the gate. This also ensures that the hand rails are engaged before the lift gate leaves the ground level. Since implementation, Smithfield Foods has reduced related injuries by 80-90%.

3rd Place:

South Carolina Municipal Insurance Trust (SCMIT)
Law Enforcement Use-of-Force Training Simulator

The problem:

The SCMIT is a self-insured pool that insures 120 municipalities – the majority of which operate police departments. Law enforcement workers’ compensation claims represent approximately 40% of the total incurred costs of claims in any given year, with use-of-force claims costing approximately $1.5 million. While SCMIT provides a variety of training, the pool currently does not offer hands-on training on how to deescalate aggressive incidents. Officers often practice marksmanship skills on the shooting range, but little training occurs on the decision-making skills needed to determine the proper use of force. They quickly saw a need for ongoing training to help sharpen officers’ decision-making skills and potentially reduce these types of claims.

The solution:

The Ti Training™ Lab Use of Force Simulator proved to be the solution. This interactive simulator comes preloaded with 750 scenarios and additional updated scenarios sent quarterly. The user also has the ability to customize the scenarios, if desired. The system includes training lab software with updates for the life of the system, a 22′ flat-panel monitor, illuminated keyboard and optical mouse, HD video projector, projection screen, surround-sound speakers, 3-D audio and recording/playback of trainee performance. Hardware also includes a pepper spray canister, low-light flashlight, baton and two laser weapons (that simulate a Glock-style weapon) – all which retract when dropped on a drop recoil kit.