Safety emphasis saves TPSD money

TUPELO – An effort to increase worker’s safety in Tupelo Public Schools will save the district more than $100,000 at a time when funding is tight.
In November 2006, TPSD Human Resources Director James Turner created and implemented a new safety plan for the district in an attempt to decrease work-related accidents. The effort saw quick results, as both the frequency and severity of accidents have gone down since the plan went into place, Turner said.
The district saw another benefit of the program last week when it learned its workman’s compensation premium for this school year will be $108,000 less than it was last year. The district will be insured by Union Standard.
“It is a tremendous effort on behalf of the district,” TPSD Superintendent Randy Shaver said. “Saving money is great, but the bigger issue is we’ve had fewer worker injuries.”
The district’s new health, safety and wellness plan includes job-specific safety rules, as well as general safety rules for all district employees.
There are also regular safety briefings given to the principals at all of the district’s schools.
“It is safety-consciousness,” Turner said. “The important thing is keeping safety in the forefront of their minds.”
Turner said that before the new safety plan was implemented, the district would see its insurance premium increase between $80,000 and $100,000 every year. In the first year after the plan was created, it went down $20,000.
Those savings are even more meaningful during a time when the state has cut its funding of education by 5 percent. The $108,000 savings represents the cost of two teachers, Shaver said. He’s not sure how the savings will be used but said talking about the money in terms of the cost of teachers puts it into perspective.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal