Oceanside — The first concern is employees’ safety, City Manager Steve Jepsen said.
Last year the city paid a whopping $1 million in workmen’s compensation.
Jepsen did not disclose the specific incidents that brought about the high cost of on the job accident compensation, but said there were one or two catastrophic losses, and several in the $100,000 range.
“I don’t know if it was anything, but overt bad luck,” Jepsen said. “I don’t know if it was avoidable.”
He added the city will make safety changes this year.
Part of that change is hiring a consultant from Aspen Risk Management Group.
The consultant will perform the work of a vacant city risk management position.
“We’ll be making our work areas safer — safer for not getting injured on the job, and improvements so it’s not unsafe for the public,” Jepsen said.
Hiring an outside consultant for $131,300 for two years will save the city money, because the employee will not be part of the California Public Retirement System.
City Council approved consultation fees of $45,900 for the remainder of this fiscal year, and $85,400 next year on March 19.
The consultant will also brings to the job the experience and expertise of the company, and work under the supervision of a senior level consultant.
The first order of business will be to review and assess current city safety practices. Next, reccomendations will be followed up on.
Jepsen said safety practices run the gamut from how liquid is stored to vehicle maintenance.
The consultant will also provide required safety training to city staff.
“I’m real pleased with the HR Department for taking this approach,” Jepsen said. “It’s the quickest way for us to change what we’re doing and make sure our employees and the public are safe.”