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Hagerstown employees report 115 injuries in fiscal '08

September 10, 2008

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown city employees reported 115 injuries in fiscal year 2008 that led to $245,559 in workers' compensation costs.

Kevin DeHaven, the city's safety and loss control coordinator, reported those figures and many others to the City Council on Tuesday during a scheduled work session.

With 26 claims, the Hagerstown Fire Department was responsible for about $202,953, or about 83 percent of the total workers' compensation costs, DeHaven said. The Hagerstown Police Department came in second at $19,713, followed by the Water and Sewer Department at $17,028.

Workers' compensation costs associated with the city's Engineering and Inspections Department were the least at $224, according to documents.

DeHaven recommended to the council that it take a proactive approach by promoting programs that focus on prevention, rather than dealing with injuries as they occur. In doing so, city officials could cut down on the 161 lost workdays that were charged to the city because of injuries or health problems, he said.

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Although cardiac injuries accounted for only 3 percent of the total workers' compensation claims, they were the most costly at $174,145, DeHaven said.

DeHaven said cardiac claims are hard to fight and, as a result, cost the city the most money. In an effort to improve health and reduce cardiac claims, the police department is asking new recruits to refrain from smoking, DeHaven said.

City employees reported back injuries the most, according to documents. Of the 115 claims, 16 were back-related.

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