As School Year Wanes, Don’t Lose Focus on Safety

15296 UH Tools for Schools - COVER ONLYAs May arrives, many teachers, administrators, school employees and students likely have their countdowns prepped to mark the last day of school. Those waning days of the school year when focus may be lacking are prime times for potential safety risks, especially when teachers or staff are emptying out their classrooms, using ladders to remove items from walls and ceilings or washing floors. Other potential exposures include outdoor lawn and pruning work on school campuses with power mowers or trimmers. But limiting exposures and adhering to safety procedures and protocols must be a top priority every day of the school year so that safe and healthy workplaces are maintained.

One particular risk that should be considered, especially for those driving vehicles or buses within school systems, is distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2012:

  • 16% of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States involved a distracted driver.
  • 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • 540 non-occupants such as pedestrians and cyclists were killed as a result of distracted driving.

There were also 1075 workplace fatalities associated with roadway incidents in 2014 – the highest category of work-related fatalities.  While April was officially Distracted Driving Month, distracted driving is an issue that lasts year-round. For more resources on the topic including a variety of downloadable materials, visit or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Distracted Driving at Work page.

There are many other safety issues and exposures for school administrators to keep in mind as well. To help them, United Heartland has created “Tools for Schools,” a safety and health resource for K-12 public and private school district employees. It provides information on:

  • 10 steps to reduce workers’ compensation costs
  • Key elements for a successful safety process
  • Accident investigation and reporting information
  • Information on return-to-work programs
  • Food safety
  • How to prevent muscle and back strains
  • Transportation safety
  • Maintenance, groundskeeping and custodial safety
  • Safety and housekeeping inspections
  • Dealing with bloodborne pathogens
  • Handing an active shooter situation
  • Back injury prevention

“Tools for Schools” is available exclusively to United Heartland customers as part of a comprehensive safety strategy. Contact your United Heartland Loss Control representative to discuss your safety needs or schedule an appointment to review this resource and develop a safety action plan for your education organization today. To learn more about United Heartland and our experience in providing high-touch, quality workers’ compensation for education customers, call 1-800-258-2667 or find a United Heartland agent near you.