The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s (BWC) primary focus is on protecting the interests of injured workers across the state. They also understand that safety and security are equally important in preventing injuries. In an effort to reduce and eliminate injuries and illnesses associated with providing childhood educational services, the BWCs School Safety and Security Grant (SSSG) Program helps Ohio schools ensure the safety of their staff by providing grant assistance for the purchase of equipment to improve the security of school facilities. Read on to learn more about the SSSG Program and how it can help you create a safer and more secure working and learning environment for teachers and students alike.

The basics

Through the SSSG Program, Ohio schools operating licensed preschool through 12th-grade educational facilities may receive up to $40,000 in grant funds to help facilitate employee safety interventions, improve incident response equipment, or improve the overall safety and security of the school grounds. The program consists of a 3-1 matching grant, meaning that the grant can be used to fund 75% of your school’s purchase, with the other 25% provided by the school district, other grant or fund sources, or donations.

The BWC’s SSSG Program funds can be used for the purchase and installation of the following types of items and security measures:

  • Employee safety interventions such as flooring solutions designed to reduce slip hazards, motorized bleacher systems, cutting and slicing equipment, floor cleaning machines, lightweight lunch tables, and safe food fryers.
  • Incident response equipment such as trauma first aid supply equipment bags or backpacks, two-way communication devices that directly interface with emergency responder radio systems, and school-wide panic alarm systems.
  • Building, grounds, and transportation security measures such as security doors, bulletproof glass, panic bars, protective vehicle crash barriers at entrances, secured entry systems, metal detectors, modifications to entrances to restrict access, security cameras, and emergency call poles.

The process

School districts or facilities that want to apply for the SSSG Program must first ensure that they meet the basic eligibility requirements for the Program. All items requested must be on the approved list of items outlined above and in the SSSG Program policy.

Schools are required to work with an equipment vendor to obtain a price quote prior to applying and requesting funds. Once you have your equipment quote, complete and submit the SSSG Program application. Unless specified within the program policy, all application, participation, and reporting procedures used in the Safety Intervention Grant Program apply to the SSSG Program.

How the Program can benefit your school

Most Ohio schools operate on limited budgets and the focus is on providing the best educational opportunities and facilities for students. This can lead schools to overlook or delay making improvements that can eliminate the causes of common injuries and illnesses among their staff. The SSSG Program gives schools an opportunity to boost the safety and security of their facilities – reducing injuries and claims costs.

Just as in most other industries, slips, trips, and falls are the most common causes of injury in schools. If you’ve been looking to replace frayed carpeting or add a non-slip coating to your floors to reduce falls, the SSSG Program can help your school make those renovations a reality sooner than you may have previously thought.

Beyond workers’ comp

The SSSG Program also gives schools a valuable opportunity to proactively address other safety and security concerns within their facilities. With a rising number of incidents in schools, the SSSG Program can help districts take a proactive approach to protecting students and staff from injuries and helping staff intervene and act quickly in emergency situations.

Since early and frequent response to bullying behavior is one of the best ways to stop it, using SSSG funds to purchase monitoring equipment can significantly reduce the injuries that students and staff sustain during bullying incidents. Schools that install security cameras using SSSG Program funds give teachers and administrators a valuable tool to help them respond to and prevent bullying in real-time when cameras are actively monitored.

Additionally, schools who use SSSG funds to control access to the facilities can provide students, teachers, and staff additional time to act in the event of an incident of school violence. With the number of incidents of physical altercations between students and school shootings on the rise, SSSG funds can provide schools the monetary assistance needed to help staff respond more quickly should an event occur. School security cameras, access control, metal detectors, and barriers can all provide an effective early warning system for potential threats – solutions that can save lives.

Solutions that keep your students and staff safer

The BWC does not require Ohio employers to work with a TPA, but your TPA can help you decide which grant and cost-saving opportunities are right for your school or business. The access to cost-saving programs and expertise that TPAs provide can help keep your business compliant with BWC regulations while saving you money. Check out What an Ohio TPA Can Do for Your Business to learn more about how your business can benefit from working with a TPA.

Stay up to date on all things Sheakley by subscribing to our blog and following us on social media. Join in the discussion by commenting below.