[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        May 23, 2008

CPAC, Safety, OHNO coordinating 
workers' comp issues

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      In accordance with the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), Fort McCoy is responsible for providing members of its federal civilian work force with a safe and healthy work environment.

      Lt. Col. Randall Eddy, Garrison Safety Officer for the Installation Safety Office (ISO), said FECA also provides protections and benefits to civilian employees injured during the performance of their duties.

      At Fort McCoy, the ISO, along with the Fort McCoy Occupational Health and Nursing Office (OHNO), and the U.S. Army Reserve Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) organized and present a course to teach supervisors about workers' compensation procedures.

"We want to ensure everyone is capable of physically doing their job. Or if they aren't, we will try to find them a job where they can contribute to the mission."

Lt. Col. Randall Eddy,
Garrison Safety Officer

     The course includes information/regulations/safety standards from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Eddy said the course will be offered on a quarterly basis at Fort McCoy to ensure all supervisory personnel who need it can attend.

      In addition to ensuring federal civilian personnel can fulfill their employment obligations, keeping on top of workers' compensation issues helps ensure Fort McCoy will continue to have sufficient funding to support its military missions, he said.

      "We want to ensure everyone is safe and healthful to physically do their job," Eddy said. "Or if they aren't, we will try to find them a job where they can still contribute to the mission."

      Workers' compensation claims cause lost productivity in the installation work force and in the range of about $300,000-$400,000 in total medical and compensation costs on a yearly basis from 2005-2007, including long-term costs, Eddy said.

      The program goals for supervisors are to understand their responsibilities, and to reduce accidents and lost work days, Eddy said.

      All federal civilian employees who suffer an on-the-job injury requiring medical attention are referred to OHNO, unless the injury is an emergency situation or life threatening, in which case they should call 911.

      Barb Stafslien, OHNO nurse practitioner, said OHNO personnel will evaluate the injury and provide appropriate treatment or refer personnel to their personal health-care providers, if necessary. Stafslien recently has been approved by the Fort Knox, Ky., Medical Department Activity to perform nurse practitioner duties, including providing physicals. 

      "This will allow me to perform more comprehensive examination and treatment duties, which I am qualified to do, to support the work force," Stafslien said. This will increase their wellness and well-being, and help them return to work as soon as possible.

      Eddy said filling out accident and injury reports with appropriate details allows the ISO to review cases and note similarities or safety situations that can be improved or corrected. The training also helps supervisors organize their safety meetings, which should be held on an approximately monthly basis.

      Results of these meetings and any other safety concerns can be forwarded to the Installation Safety Council's quarterly meeting for review, discussion and any further actions, Eddy said.

      Ann Sprain and Renee Herman of the CPAC Workers' Compensation Section said the goal of the installation's program is for any personnel who suffer physical injuries to return to work as soon as possible and to again become productive members of the work force.

      "Employees need to know their options on work and how to make a decision about being paid," Sprain said. "They have to know if they should take workers' compensation pay or, if they are eligible, (any form of) retirement pay (or other compensation they may be eligible for)."

      For more information about Fort McCoy safety topics, call the ISO at (608) 388-3403. For more information about OHNO services, call (608) 388-3209/2414. For more information about CPAC workers' compensation procedures, call (608) 388-2103/5516.

(See related story)


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