IID reports on-the-job injuries, no accidents involving vehicles

March 15, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

There were 17 on-the-job injuries in January at the Imperial Irrigation District, but no vehicle accidents, according to the latest report.

Of those injuries, nine were in the water department, three in power and five in general services.

Overall, for 2001, district employees suffered 232 on-the-job injuries and 68 vehicle accidents. In the past seven years, the district had 323 on-the-job injuries in 1995, with a high of 337 in 1998 and a low of 232 in 2001. Vehicle accidents were at their highest in 1999 with 75 and at their lowest in 2000 with 45 when comparing data dating to 1995.

Not all of the traffic accidents were injury accidents, said Sue Giller, IID media relations supervisor.

IID board President Stella Mendoza said the district has programs in place to help minimize worker injuries and promote better health.

"We must continue to be proactive in educating and training employees to avoid accidents," she said.


Mendoza said through the district's wellness program, workers are screened for cholesterol and stress. She said a worker who is healthy and stress-free will likely suffer fewer injuries.

Division 1 Director Andy Horne said the latest injury report shows a downward trend in on-the-job injuries, and that is encouraging.

"I was encouraged by the remarkable downward trend in on-the-job injuries over the last years," he said.

Horne said the district's safety training appears to be effective, but one accident is too many. He said the number of vehicle accidents is not encouraging and that whatever is reducing on-the-job injuries should be applied to vehicle accidents.

Horne also said district employees found to be at fault in vehicle accidents perhaps should be held responsible.

Division 2 Director Bruce Kuhn said the district has ongoing training to help reduce the number of accidents.

"We certainly try to keep them to a minimum," he said. "We strive to have none."

To that end, the district has developed a district-wide safety plan called "Target Zero (this is your life)." The safety report shows a total of 1,569 employees have attended various types of safety training.

Giller said the district budgets about $500,000 yearly for safety training.

Worker injuries for January were to their backs, arms, shoulders, knees, eyes, chest, "body exposure" and feet/ankles, according to the report.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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