School District Reduces Injuries By Instituting Fitness Program
Employees working in the custodial/janitorial market historically suffer from some of the highest rates of work-related injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, they miss more work days because of on-the-job injuries than police officers.
Repetitive motions, lifting, stretching and reaching into tight spaces can be wearing on the body, and sometimes unwanted injuries are part of the job. But these injuries cost employers millions of dollars in worker compensation and lost work time.
In an effort to reduce the amount of worker injuries, one Florida school district has instituted a fitness test required for all prospective custodians. Unfortunately, the test is said to be so difficult that the district is actually having a tough time filling positions.
The test requires applicants to visit a physical therapy center, where they get strapped into a chair that tests strength. The machine uses a 50-pound weight as resistance to test a persons strength both pushing and pulling with each arm and leg.
Sounds simple, but according to NPR reporting, more than a quarter of the candidates who take the test, don't pass, leaving the department short handed.
But, the district isn't willing to pull the plug on the program just yet. In the first year of the fitness test, work-related injuries among new custodians went down from 34 injuries to just 13, saving the district more than $50,000 in worker's compensation. Enough to hire one full-time teacher.
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