The cost of the insurance premium for workers compensation for Forest Park village employees dropped more than 10 percent this year, saving the village nearly $47,000.
As the end of the policy year comes to a close this month, the village has paid $388,130 toward workers comp this year, down from $435,111 in 2009. There were six claims this year, which include the work-related injuries of a strained knee, back strain, leg strain and two reports for a strained shoulder. The employees’ names and the departments they worked in were removed from the report because of federal health privacy information laws.
In comparison, in 2009 the village saw five claims for workers comp and 18 claims in 2008.
There are a number of factors that could account for the reduction, including the competitiveness of the market among insurance companies and the total salary of village employees, which is a component in determining the premium, according to Mayor Anthony Calderone.
As for salaries, the cumulative village salary cost was $8,928,000 this year, compared to $8,900,000 in 2009.
“If you cut your payroll in half, you would naturally see a reduction in workers comp premiums,” Calderone said. “Here it is really remaining static, but we still got significant reductions in the overall premium.”
Calderone also said that over the last few years Forest Park has received a number of grants in the $25,000 range for health and safety training and equipment. Some of the purchases included high visibility vests to be worn in streets or construction work zones, driver training in the police department, duct cleaning in municipal buildings, which is for the heating and air conditioning systems, door mats inside municipal buildings to alleviate potential slips and falls, ergonometric chairs for 911 dispatchers and clerks in city hall and other special equipment, such as thermal imaging cameras in the fire department, which show firefighters if there are hazards behind walls.
“It really does kind of circle the entire gamut of anything that could potentially reduce a risk, from somebody tripping and falling to enhanced training of the awareness of the employee,” Calderone said. “It’s really hard to quantify how well it plays into the overall premium, but training pays. The more that we can put into making a more alert and better prepared employee, I think the chances are in our favor that we are going to see less injuries.”