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2021 Safety First Grant Winners

1st Place:

NIP Group Inc., GSMJIF & PEJIF Implementing Software to Review Law Enforcement Incidents and Prevent Injuries

The problem:

The Garden State Municipal Joint Insurance Fund (GSMJIF) and Public Entity Joint Insurance Fund (PEJIF) are property and casualty funds formed by NIP Group, Inc., serving 48 municipalities throughout New Jersey. Police professional claims and workers’ compensation claims for officers involved with combative or fleeing suspects have been significant loss drivers in recent years. Since 2014, related claims totaled over $26 million in combined total incurred costs for GSMJIF and PEJIF. Grappling with these sharp increases in law enforcement liability and workers’ compensation claim costs, the groups sought the use of web-based software to reduce officer injuries and incidents occurring from public encounters.

The solution:

Implementing the ATLAS software system allows law enforcement agency supervisors to objectively review footage from an officer’s body-worn camera (BWC), motor vehicle recorder (MVR), or other digital media. It will capture officer performance, codify officers’ actions and translate them into performance metrics, allowing agencies the ability to be completely transparent in their performance improvement efforts, all while holding officers accountable through counseling, training and progressive discipline. The groups anticipate at least a 25 percent reduction in claim frequency and severity, with an estimated annual savings of $142,000 between police professional and workers’ compensation claims.

2nd Place:

Costa Farms, LLC Utilizing Engineering Controls to Reduce Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

The problem:

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Costa Farms is one of the largest horticultural growers in the world, growing more than 1,500 varieties of houseplants and employing approximately 5,000 people. The organization’s shipping department encounters work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) associated with shipping tasks, including overexertion of muscles, tendons and joints from handling racks, plants and pallets, especially during their peak season. Between 2020 and 2021, Costa Farms averaged 25 back injury claims per year.

The solution:

The team has created engineering controls to reduce the risk of injury, including an employee’s third arm lift assisting device used in shrink-wrapping racks, pallets and boxes for shipping, a push T-bar for pushing plants on large pallets for placement near conveyors for processing, and a pulling hook to move wooden pallets in EZ racks from processing to loading. These tools could potentially cut the number of WMSD claims in half with an approximate savings of $42,000 in the first year of implementation. This initiative will further drive the organization’s commitment to expand its Kaizen Innovation Program into safety, focusing on small changes that have a significant impact.

3rd Place:

Kern County Hospital Authority Establishing an Advanced Mobility Program to Support ICU Patients and Staff

The problem:

Owned and operated by the Kern Hospital Authority, Kern Medical Center is the only level 2 trauma facility located between Fresno and Los Angeles, California, with a history dating back over 150 years. The hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) patients require constant monitoring and care, and because of their dependence on caregivers, the risk to caregivers increases. However, the more a patient is challenged to mobilize within safe parameters, the better the patient outcomes, reducing caregiver dependency.

The solution:

The hospital’s existing ICU mobility program, Up Sooner Safer, has already saved more than $500,000 in direct workers’ compensation costs while also drastically reducing patient falls, pressure injuries, and staff injuries involving patient mobility. Kern Medical Center is in the process of implementing enhancements to create an advanced, self-sustaining, early mobility ICU program, partnering with ArjoHuntleigh for clinical support and implementation. A safer environment through both education and the availability of specialized equipment is expected to reduce the number of reportable incidents, directly affecting 91 nursing staff and 25 therapy staff in the process. It will also address the associated risk to credibility, licensure and staff confidence.

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