Indiana District Implements New School Safety System

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation (PHM) in Mishawaka recently partnered with Cincinnati-based PublicSchoolWORKS to increase school safety through online reporting. School leaders chose to move to online reporting, investigation and resolution of school safety concerns, staff accidents, hazards and more using the company’s EmployeeSafe Suite. Integrating these processes with the online staff training system has increased safety awareness across PHM schools, reduced risk and helped to put more money into the classroom, according to a statement by PublicSchoolWORKS.

For five years, PHM used PublicSchoolWORKS’ online Staff Training System to ensure employees completed federally mandated safety training courses covering topics such as blood-borne pathogen safety, and additional courses such as slips, trips and falls, proper power tool usage, lifting techniques and more. The online training aimed to spread awareness about common safety concerns and put a focus on accident prevention district-wide. The company notes that this has helped reduce district risks and injuries, which allowed the district to lower its risk management retention funds by nearly $100,000 at one point.

“I’m most excited about the online staff accident reporting,” said Mike Seger, director of safety and student services at PHM, in a statement. “The ability to easily identify what types of accidents are most common across the district will help us strategically deploy the online training courses our employees need to reduce injuries.”

PHM staff members now complete accident reports online in the Staff Accident Management System. Once submitted, the system automatically notifies designated administrators to investigate and address the hazard that caused the injury, and it also auto-alerts key parties such as the central office staff and insurance providers. All reports are housed in the system’s safety portal, which helps the district better identify safety trends.

Similarly, staff can report safety hazards or “near-misses” online so the maintenance department can fix any unsafe building or grounds conditions before they cause injury. The system has also helped spread awareness among staff members about how to safely handle chemicals and how to properly address a chemical spill in order to reduce injury and damage to school property.

“PublicSchoolWORKS assists our risk management process and helps promote a culture of safety across the district,” said Seger. “This helps minimize the frequency and severity of losses. The money we would be spending on accidents and premiums can now go back into the general fund and support student instruction.”