Think about everything that goes into educating kids, beyond curriculum and Chromebooks. Buses deliver students to school and home safely. Roofs protect people and equipment from the elements. And can you imagine trying to work and learn without a functioning HVAC system in September?
If you follow these tips for managing risk in schools this fall, your organization can protect its resources, save money, and promote education.
Be careful with home science experiments
Many Fund members have invested in online science curriculums to serve virtual learners during the pandemic. Some students have been instructed to improperly dispose of home science experiment chemicals.
If a vendor provides your online science curriculum, you should understand the risks and protect your students and their parents.
- Take advantage of our Chemical Spills Overview on-demand training course (for Fund members with Workers’ Compensation pool coverage)
Share these crossing guard safety tips with your team
On a foggy, rainy New Jersey morning, an 81-year-old crossing guard died after being struck by an SUV. The driver reported that by the time he saw the victim, who was not wearing a high-visibility vest, it was too late to stop. Crossing guard safety best practices include giving your team the equipment they need to be seen and heard.
Tackle the leading cause of workplace injuries
Slips, trips, and falls account for about 37 percent of injuries that cause education services sector employees to miss work, according to Texas Department of Insurance data. You can boost productivity and cut operating costs by teaching these best practices, including safe ladder use.
Screen, test, isolate
Thanks largely to vaccines, COVID-19 cases and fatalities were falling. With the Delta variant spreading, the pandemic is moving in the wrong direction.
More than 99 percent of people who die from COVID-19 are unvaccinated, along with 97 percent of people who are hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Schools should take a three-pronged approach to keeping COVID-19 at bay this fall:
- Stress the importance of staff staying alert to symptoms in co-workers and students.
- Make it easy to report concerns so sick individuals are asked to get tested promptly.
- If someone tests positive, send them home.
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Prepare for peak hurricane season
Despite a relatively quiet summer, forecasters are doubling down on their predictions for a busier than normal hurricane season.
Historically, the season kicks into high gear between August and October.
Visit our Complete Hurricane Season Toolkit to protect your vehicles, your property, and most importantly, your staff and students.
Protect your roof investments
Roofs are among your schools’ costliest property to repair or replace. A preventative roof maintenance plan helps ensure your roof investments are ready to weather hurricane season. Fall is also a good time to inspect your roofs ahead of changing weather.
Keep gutters clear
Falling leaves and other debris can clog gutters. The more time that water sits on roofs, the more likely it is to cause costly damage. Trimming tree branches that hang over roofs helps keep gutters clear. Make sure everyone who is responsible for cleaning gutters is trained to avoid ladder falls, overhead powerlines, and other hazards.
Verify the Fund has an accurate inventory of your property
Reporting your property inventory is an important duty of Fund membership. You can also use inventory data to launch a preventative maintenance program that extends the life of your property and saves money for your organization.
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Adopt a zero tolerance for distracted driving policy
Traffic crashes consistently account for more work-related deaths than any other accident. Too often, distractions are the root causes.
Anything that takes your hands, eyes, or mind off driving increases your risk—and we’re not just talking about cell phones.
- Prepare your team for an accident-free school year by assigning our on-demand distracted driving course to anyone who operates a vehicle on organization business (for Fund members with Auto coverage).
Form an accident review committee
Human errors such as speeding and distracted driving cause 94 percent of serious traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An accident review committee (ARC) is a powerful tool for identifying preventable accidents and reducing the risk of them happening again.
Update your vehicle inventory
Reporting an accurate vehicle inventory is an important duty of Fund membership. You can also use inventory data to implement a fleet preventative maintenance plan that extends your vehicles' lives and saves money for your schools.
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3 workers’ compensation compliance tips for schools
When employees suffer work-related injuries, a state-regulated process is set in motion. Employers who don’t fulfill their obligations could face fines.
Follow these three compliance tips to avoid regulatory scrutiny and ensure your injured employees receive timely, accurate workers' compensation benefits.
Catch up on new emergency exercise legislation
This year, lawmakers passed a bill designed to ensure active shooter exercises are age appropriate and developed by a team of school administrators, teachers, school-based mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers, with input from parents and students.
Your state-mandated emergency operations plan should include a protective action annex. The annex details how students and staff will take shelter inside a school facility in response to incidents such as severe weather and active shooter situations. Your annex also satisfies the requirement that schools maintain an active threat plan.
- Contact TASB Emergency Management and School Security Consultant Melanie Moss for a protective action annex template (for Fund members with Auto, Liability, Property, and Workers’ Compensation coverage).
Community colleges: Finish your state-mandated security audit
Texas law requires community colleges to complete a safety and security self-assessment by September 15, 2021. The assessment considers security factors such as emergency operations plans (EOP), facility security, and business continuity.
- Contact TASB Emergency Management and School Security Consultant Melanie Moss for a community college EOP working template (for Fund members with Auto, Liability, Property, and Workers’ Compensation coverage).
- Watch our on-demand webinar: 60 Minutes to a Stress-Free Security Audit.
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6 threats to protect against this school year
For the first time, cryptojacking cracked our annual list of cyber threats that schools need to know about.
Meanwhile, the Delta variant has pushed the pandemic back to the top of schools’ risk radar. It also opens doors for cybercriminals looking to compromise your digital defenses.
- Watch our on-demand webinar for a deep dive into cryptojacking and other attacks targeting schools.
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Get expert guidance
If your schools are ready to proactively uncover potential causes of loss and control their impact through all seasons, you should invest in a risk management program. Get started by watching our on-demand webinar: The A, B, Cs of Managing Risk.
For just 60 minutes of your time, you will learn how to:
- Identify gaps in existing risk management programs
- Leverage data to pinpoint improvement opportunities
- Engage management in your initiatives
- Cultivate healthy vendor relationships
*This fall risk management checklist provides an overview, not a comprehensive list, of best practices. For more guidance, use the related resources and work with your TASB risk solutions consultant.
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