Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113 Workers’ Compensation Trust (WCT) is an insurer focused on K-12 public schools in five counties in the State of Washington. The WCT provides comprehensive workers’ comp benefits and extensive safety services to a membership of 44 school districts with a combined workforce of 14,500 certificated and classified employees, reporting 15,000,000 worker hours annually.
The WCT Safety Team focuses on the elimination of employee exposure to workplace safety risks, with its maintenance/ custodial workforce a particular coverage segment identified as high exposure. Each day, over 1,000 custodians set up and take down cafeteria tables in school dining facilities and multipurpose rooms for more than 41,000 students. Since 2010, ESD 113 WCT has incurred losses of nearly $400,000 resulting from claims related to table-use injuries.
Subsequently, an evaluation was conducted on the force required to fold the district’s cafeteria tables, that while in good condition, were over 15 years old. The peak measurement was 81.5 lbs. of force/pulling strength on arms, shoulders and backs. Many district schools have 40 – 60 tables, resulting in an average of 250 repetitive set ups/take downs per workday per custodian. In addition to the force required to fold the tables, some custodians noted having to quickly push the table upward to complete the fold, while other custodians were unable to lift tables alone. Studies have shown that this type of lifting motion is more likely to result in back injury compared to slow, smooth lifting motions. Furthermore, the older tables frequently unfolded at a rapid pace, potentially causing an impact risk to anyone nearby.
Faced with a forecast for steady growth of the State’s K-12 population as well as increases in wages and medical costs, ESD 113 sought to identify a solution to help eliminate tablerelated risk.
ESD 113 WCT determined the best solution to significantly reduce table-related injurious exposure to maintenance staff was to replace all its outdated tables with new BioFit models. This also enabled ESD 113 to reduce costs to its 44 school districts and aided them in maintaining a productive custodial pool. Results of a Biofit cafeteria tables evaluated by ESD 113 WCT revealed an average lift measurement after ten cycles of 33 lbs., with the peak measurement of 37.5 lbs. – well below the 50 to 70-lb. lifting range recommended by occupational safety and health organizations.
Today, ESD 113 school districts use a variety of BioFit cafeteria tables, including rectangular tables with bench seating, 10- Seat Oval™ tables and AdapTable™ convertible bench tables, providing flexibility in multiuse applications. Like all BioFit tables with affixed seating, the rectangular and 10-Seat Oval models include the company’s exclusive Adjustable Torsion Cap – a component which allows the torque level of the table lift-assist device to be reset to original factory levels, enabling safer and easier opening and folding, and prolonging the useful life of the table. Other BioFit table safety features include a 1-inch gap between top halves to help prevent fingers from being pinched and food and bacteria buildup (excluding AdapTable models), and tough, food- and bacteria-resistant edges. Plus, all BioFit tables are GREENGUARD® Gold certified.
BioFit also field retrofitted existing out-of-warranty, yet serviceable, BioFit tables with affixed seating used by ESD 113 schools with Adjustable Torsion Caps – allowing the district to realize added savings.
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