It’s that time of year again! Summer is winding down, so the kids – and their teachers – are gearing up to go back to school. With a new school year comes opportunities for development, the learning of new skills and subjects, playing sports, participating in activities and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with learning. Something else comes at this time of year, though, and it’s an unfortunate byproduct of teachers and students being back in class: a rise in workers’ compensation and workplace injury claims by teachers, aides, custodians and other school staff members.  

According to a recent report in the Canton Rep, the schools in Stark County alone have been the site of 1,200 accidents since 2010, resulting in more than $1 million in benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The claims run the gamut from bumps and bruises to more serious injuries requiring surgeries, stitches and extensive rehabilitation time.  

Though the overall number of school staff injuries is high, some areas have made significant progress toward decreasing the chances that accidents will occur. Alliance City Schools, for example, have had workplace injury claims drop 70 percent since 2010 due to a combination of increased staff training and more in-depth investigation into all accident reports. Understanding how, when and why injuries occur can make a big difference in preventing similar incidents in the future. 

According to the head of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation “public employee risk reduction program,” the majority (60 percent) of school-related workplace injuries are strains or sprains and bruises, oftentimes associated with falls. 

Source: Canton Rep, “Schools Investigate Accidents, See Claim Numbers Drop,” Alison Matas, August 10, 2014.