Streamlining Incident Reporting and Investigation to Secure Student Safety – Cleveland ISD
Student safety incidents, whether bullying or student violence, are serious matters that should be handled with swift and appropriate action. However, some school districts have dated systems that create inefficient communication channels between educators and administration and slow down or hinder the process of dealing with issues.
Cleveland Independent School District in Cleveland, TX, was experiencing severe bullying and student violence incidents throughout the district. Like most districts, Cleveland ISD staff members handled the situation by handwriting an incident report and submitting it to the appropriate building administrator.
This process of reporting incidents leaves room for mistakes. Staff members often leave out information because reporting documents can be unwieldy and difficult to use. Missing crucial information makes for a long and, most likely, inconclusive investigation. Also, tracking paper incident reports can be a major inconvenience. Papers get shuffled or lost, further impeding the investigation process.
Cleveland ISD also did not have any training for staff or students on how to handle a bullying or student violence incident. To ensure the safety of their students district-wide, Cleveland ISD began searching for a solution.
At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, Cleveland ISD implemented PublicSchoolWORKS’ EmployeeSafe Suite and Student Bullying and Violence Prevention Program (SBVPP).
The Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs at Cleveland ISD, Karin Miller, chose PublicSchoolWORKS because of its ability to automate safety measures associated with student bullying and violence incidents.
“Implementing the PublicSchoolWORKS system allows us to easily report and gather data we need when making decisions about student safety,” said Miller. “Staff members are now trained on key student safety topics such as bullying, suicide prevention and depression in students. The program also gives both students and parents the ability to confidentially report incidents after which the system auto-notifies administrators, thus ensuring that reports are being addressed quickly.”
The EmployeeSafe Suite and SBVPP help facilitate the following administrative tasks related to student safety in a timely and consistent manner:
- Staff Safety Training – The “set it and forget it” online training system auto-notifies each staff member to complete their training and then auto-notifies supervisors of the staff that did not complete it.
- Student Training – The online content gives students access to information about bullying and how to report a bullying incident.
- Anonymous Reporting – With the SBVPP, students can confidentially report details about the incident.
- Parent InfoCenter – This award-winning parent portal is an online tool where parents can view the same safety training given to school personnel.
- 24-Hour Emergency Hotline -This 24/7 hotline allows students to speak with live operators about bullying or other student safety issues like depression or suicide.
After its first year of implementation, Cleveland ISD has been able to develop a solid safety framework and return to the business of education.
Taking the Worry Out of OSHA Compliance – Montgomery County Educational Service Center
Districts Supported: 17
ESC Staff: 330
As Montgomery County Educational Service Center’s Director of Human Resources, Beverly Broestl oversees the acquisition of new employees, staff training, teacher licensure, as well as the health and safety of the Center’s 330 employees.
In addition to all of these responsibilities, Broestl also has to ensure that all of her schools are in compliance with the numerous Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state-specific requirements that schools face. These tasks can include ensuring staff members have completed required safety training, MSDS access meets federal standards, chemicals are properly labeled in classrooms and that mandatory school-wide drills have occurred. In addition, she is responsible for the annual OSHA 300 reporting, which can take weeks to compile, taking time that administrators do not have available.
“Compliance was always on my mind,” said Broestl. “We constantly worried about an OSHA visit. We were nervous that they would find something that we missed.”
The Center heard about PublicSchoolWORKS through the Southwestern Ohio Educational Purchasing Council (SWEPC). After researching and evaluating the system, the Center implemented PublicSchoolWORKS in April 2010.
To ensure complete compliance with the many OSHA and state-specific requirements they faced, the Center implemented PublicSchoolWORKS’ EmployeeSafe Suite. It includes all the necessary content and automates the tracking, management and completion of compliance tasks, staff accident reporting and training. EmployeeSafe Suite addresses:
- New Legislation and Associated Compliance Tasks – PublicSchoolWORKS creates the required training, safety tasks (drills, inspections, etc.), written programs, forms and reporting mechanisms to ensure the Center is in compliance. PublicSchoolWORKS keeps Broestl up to speed on the new legislation and implements training and/or tasks associated with the new mandates. Broestl only needs to be involved if the system notifies her that somebody has not completed training or a required safety task, truly encompassing the “set it and forget it system.”
- Electronic MSDS Resources – The EmployeeSafe MSDS Now! – Bronze system provides for a safer, more expeditious way to provide access to MSDS. Staff may either go online to access, or more importantly, call and talk to a chemical safety person thus eliminating the need for MSDS binders. And, it allows employees to easily get MSDS sheets or information on substances they bring into the classroom.
- Staff Accidents and Hazards – The online reporting tools make it easy for staff to submit reports and the system automatically notifies the appropriate administrators, ensuring that accidents get investigated and processed properly and timely.
- Staff Training – The “set it and forget it” online training system completely manages staff training, auto-notifying each staff member to complete their training and then auto-notifying supervisors when staff did not complete it. Also, new hires no longer fall through the cracks since they are automatically assigned training and notified to take it with no effort from administration. The training system has freed up professional development days that used to be dedicated to safety workshops.
The automation within the EmployeeSafe system has allowed Broestl to reallocate the time and energy she used for OSHA and state-specific compliance to other important matters.
Instead of maintaining MSDS binders, employees now go online or call the chemical specialists from EmployeeSafe’s MSDS Now! – Bronze system, improving safety for staff.
Broestl no longer has to track down employees to complete training. Staff are notified to complete training and supervisors are automatically sent reports on their staff that have not completed their training. Broestl is automatically sent district level non-compliance training reports letting her know who has not completed their assignments.
Broestl can also pull reports about what types of accidents occur most frequently in order to effectively prevent further injuries and potential Worker’s Compensation claims.
Using the EmployeeSafe Suite, the Center was able to streamline Human Resources and other administrative processes, saving valuable time and money and reducing risk.
“PublicSchoolWORKS takes away the knot in my stomach,” said Broestl. “It takes away that worry, day and night, that I am forgetting something. It is peace of mind.”
Acquisition of Certificate of Recognition – Chinook’s Edge School Division No. 73
Earning a Certificate of Recognition (COR) for workplace safety was a major goal for Chinook’s Edge School Division No. 73 in central Alberta, Canada. Meeting the safety standards required for certification would not only significantly reduce injury rates it would also earn the division premium rebates through the Workers Compensation Board’s (WCB) Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) program.
As the sole safety officer for the rural division’s 38 campuses, Linden Lonsberry was too busy traveling the 5,500 miles per year necessary to conduct investigations, train or re-train workers, make safety recommendations, and address hazard and near-miss reports. He needed more time to develop a health and safety program that met the rigorous standards put forth by the WCB.
Lonsberry tested the EmployeeSafe Suite in 2007 and realized that the program was what he needed to help implement the school divisions’ safety program and control worker compensation and liability-related costs.
Lonsberry uses the system to schedule, manage, and sustain his safety program, including staff training, incident management, compliance tasks (inspections, drills and other tasks), and more.
- Staff training includes course content and management. Courses are scheduled and employees are automatically notified to take training. After course due dates are passed, the system sends reports to supervisors letting them know who has not completed training.
- The compliance manager addresses non-training requirements by notifying appropriate individuals when drills, inspections and other tasks need to take place and tracks them to ensure completion.
- Incident management and staff safety reporting automates the process to ensure that investigations are completed and that hazards are dealt with in order to reduce risk.
The system frees up Lonsberry to focus on risk reduction initiatives and safety inspections are now done at each school at least five times per year, which was not thought possible prior to implementing the program.
By late 2009, Lonsberry felt Chinook’s Edge was ready for the external audit that would determine whether or not they would be awarded the COR. Independent auditors spent a week reviewing documents and interviewing staff at specific school sites. In all, they conducted 109 interviews with school staff at all levels, from custodians to principals.
With the help of EmployeeSafe Suite, Lonsberry knew the required tasks had been completed and he was able to easily provide the division’s inspection documents for the auditors’ review. He was also able to provide its orientation and safety training information for their appraisal.
In order to be eligible for a COR audit, a health and safety program has to consist of the following eight elements:
- Management, leadership and organizational commitment
- Hazard identification and assessment
- Hazard Control
- Ongoing Inspections
- Emergency response
- Qualification, orientation and training
- Accident and incident investigation
- Program administration
“PublicSchoolWORKS helped us meet the COR requirements, with four out of the eight elements being completely automated making them hands-off for administration,” said Lonsberry. EmployeeSafe automates emergency response, qualification, orientation and training, accident and incident investigation and program administration.
Chinook’s Edge received the COR in early 2010. Of the 78 divisions in Alberta, only a handful has earned certification. “A safety audit is very difficult to pass, especially the first time,” said Lonsberry. “I was thrilled that we passed on the first try.”
Receiving the COR has earned the division a 20 percent reduction in WCB premiums – a savings of approximately $43,000 per year. Even before Chinook’s Edge started the audit process, the improvements from implementing EmployeeSafe resulted in fewer injuries and a reduction in injury-related costs, and the dollar amount of workers’ compensation claims has dropped each year. The division’s WCB claims totaled nearly $250,000 in 2003; they are now approximately $20,000, putting Chinook’s Edge 51.69 percent below the industry average for WCB claims.