National Police Week occurs every May, with May 15 proclaimed as National Peace Officers Memorial Day.  The calendar week in whichPolice Image 5 May 15 falls is National Police Week.  This tradition was started in 1962 by President Kennedy, to pay special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and to encourage the safety of current police personnel. The 34th Annual Candlelight Vigil will be held on Friday, May 13, at 8:00 p.m. https://nleomf.org/memorial/programs/national-police-week-2022/candlelight-vigil/  

As the Comp Alliance insures many municipal police departments across New York State, we would like to acknowledge the hard work and hazardous conditions our law enforcement officers endure to provide us with safety and protection.  In an effort to keep our member police departments safe, the Comp Alliance Risk Management department has put together daily safety tips, beginning May 16 and running through May 20, to remind them of the importance of maintaining safe work practices and preventing workplace injuries. 

Daily Police Officer Safety Tips to include:

May 16 – Promote Officer Mental Health

May 17 – Night-time Hazards of Police Patrols

May 18 -  Restraint and Arrest Techniques

May 19 – Improving Emergency Vehicle Operations

May 20 – Police Officer Ergonomics

Additional police safety information is available on the Comp Alliance website.

Please reach out to Robert Blaisdell, Director of Loss Control for additional information, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (518) 330-8591

APRIL 2022 QUARTERLY E NEWSLETTER HEADER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In This Issue

  • Comp Alliance Issues Safe Workplace Awards
  • 2021 Annual Membership Report
  • Using Our Updated Portal When Reporting A New Claim
  • Comp Alliance Welcomes New Digital Marketing Coordinator
  • Upcoming Virtual Training Seminars
  • Featured Safety Source Topic – Back Injury Prevention
  • Comp Alliance to Recognize National Police Week In May With Safety Tips
  • Safety Tips For Firefighter Safety Stand Down Week In June
  • Did You Know?
  • Stay Informed

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Comp Alliance Issues Safe Workplace Awards

safety paysThe Comp Alliance has distributed its Safe Workplace Awards for the June and July 2020-21 membership period. More than $500,000 was issued to 110 members who qualified by minimizing their loss experience throughout the year. As we conclude the second year of the Safe Workplace Awards program, we are honored to have distributed more than $2.3 million to over 500 municipal and school recipients. 

As the Comp Alliance builds on its foundation of predictable rates and financial stability, we have been able to give back to our members. The Safe Workplace Award provides a monetary award to members who meet specific loss experience criteria during their membership period, while incentivizing all members to improve workplace conditions and minimize workplace injuries. Together with our Loyalty Award program, every member of the Comp Alliance shares in our success as we continue to improve safety for municipal and school employees throughout New York State.    

The mission of the Comp Alliance has always been to ensure our members are able to meet their long-term workers’ compensation liabilities while maintaining stable funding contributions, which has been made possible through the dedication of our trustees, and partnership with the Association of Towns of the State of New York and the New York State Conference of Mayors. The Comp Alliance has over 325 members, $44 million in annual funding contributions and a surplus of more than $66 million.

The Loyalty Award and Safe Workplace Award programs are not guaranteed. The Comp Alliance Board of Trustees evaluates these programs annually to determine continuation and eligibility. For more information on the Member Safe Workplace Award Program, please contact a Comp Alliance Marketing Manager or your insurance broker.

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2021 Annual Membership Report

comp alliance annual report imageThe Comp Alliance had another great year in 2021! We are happy to announce the continuation of our innovative programs that reward our members for their loyalty and safety. You can read more about these programs and initiatives in our 2021 Annual Membership Report.

We are grateful for the support of our members and professional partners as we look forward to building upon our strong financial history and exceptional service in 2022 and beyond.

 

 

 

 

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Using Our Updated Portal When Reporting A New Claim

work comp claims reporting portal imageIf you haven’t signed up to file your new claims through our updated Portal, we encourage you to do so!

The portal allows the employer to file the new claim electronically and receive a permanent claim number as soon as you click the “send” button. While the claim is then being set up in our office, you should contact the employee and provide the number. We have often received feedback from employees that the doctor or hospital will not allow treatment to be rendered without a claim number. By using the portal to file your claims, your injured employee can receive medical treatment without delay. The portal also contains features allowing the employer to check on payments made to date, progress notes from the adjuster, and reserving information, as well as numerous additional features.

Besides an instant claim number, your employee will also benefit from having a Workers Comp Alliance ID card handy to provide to the initial medical provider. The injured worker should be assertive and make it clear upon arriving at the doctor’s office or hospital emergency room that the injury is job-related and to ensure the admittance person has the information provided on the WCA ID card. No end of problems, including misdirected medical bills, improper requests for treatment authorization, and inadequate reporting of the employee’s disability levels, will take place if the medical service provider tries to send the paperwork to the employee’s group health carrier. Should your office run low on the WCA ID cards, please contact Howard Bitner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and ask for a new supply of individualized cards. We should be able to fulfill your request within a week or two.

Another feature of our service that employers should be aware of at the onset of a new injury is our Instant Fill Prescription Card program. Our partner in administering the Comp Alliance prescription program, Preferred Medical, offers a supply of these cards to every employer in the Comp Alliance. The Instant Fill RX card allows the employee to obtain his or her initial prescription, which often is necessary on the same day of the accident, without the claim being set up in our office, or even reported to us yet by the employer. This is a temporary card that expires within 14 days. When we receive the claim in our office, we then download the basic claim information to Preferred Medical, which then sends out a permanent RX card to the employee to replace the expiring one. We suggest that the employer not distribute these cards to the general employee population but provide a supply to each front-line supervisor or department head to distribute as necessary when an injury occurs. Should you need a new supply of these cards, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The onset of the claim is often the most important, and of course the most traumatic stage of the claim. We want your employees to be assured they will have as few problems as possible obtaining a claim number, receiving medical treatment, and obtaining necessary prescriptions when they are injured. By making use of the portal and ensuring the employee has the WCA ID card and First Fill RX card, the employer will be assisting in meeting that goal. 

Comp Alliance members who have not yet registered can receive login credentials, more information and access instructions by contacting Howard Bitner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Comp Alliance Welcomes New Digital Marketing Coordinator

The Comp Alliance is excited to introduce our new Digital Marketing Coordinator, Samantha Marciano. 

Samantha joins us after writing and producing content for WNBC-TV (News 4 New York) and WNYW-TV (Fox 5 News) in NYC. Samantha has covered some notable local and national news in her 17+ year career. In 2021, Samantha and her WNBC-TV team won the coveted Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award for journalism excellence. 

Samantha has also been honored with an Emmy, as well as Associated Press and Edward R. Murrow awards for her work. Samantha has written and produced content for millions of viewers/readers. She is looking forward to producing great content for the Comp Alliance and its members.

Samantha looks forward to meeting our Comp Alliance members at an upcoming conference. Please feel free to reach out to her with any digital marketing suggestions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Upcoming Virtual Training Seminarswork_safety.jpg

The Comp Alliance has several Live Virtual Video Conference Trainings scheduled for our members throughout the months of April, May, and June.

PESH-mandated topics of Workplace Violence, Right-To-Know – Chemical Safety, and Blood-Borne Pathogens will be covered.

 

Upcoming Schedule

4/20 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

4/25 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

4/28 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

5/2 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

5/5 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

5/12 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

5/16 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

5/18 - 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

5/19 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

5/23 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

5/26 - 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

6/6 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

6/7 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

6/13 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

6/15 - 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

6/16 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

6/20 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

6/23 - 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

6/27 - 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

6/29 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon


The Comp Alliance also has scheduled several virtual training programs covering the mandatory PESH-required topic of HAZWOPER. This awareness level seminar is required for municipal employees who may be the first upon a hazardous waste emergency on-site or off-site. Recommended for highway, department of public works, water and sewer and sanitation departments.

Upcoming HAZWOPER Schedule

5/13 - 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

5/19 - 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

5/20 - 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

6/7 - 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

6/10 - 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

6/17 - 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Email Robert Blaisdell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register for any of these training sessions. Attendance is limited.

Please continue to check your email and the Comp Alliance website https://www.compalliance.org/ for additional dates later in the year.

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Featured Safety Source Video – Back Injury Prevention

safety source video back prevention

The Comp Alliance’s continued partnership with Safety Source, a leader in quality, online safety training video content, has enabled many of our members to supplement and/or incorporate Safety Source videos on-demand into their safety training program. Safety Source is constantly adding to their video library, as well as updating several topics that municipalities and school districts can utilize to train and educate their staff.

Strain or injury from lifting is one of the leading loss causes for our municipal and school members. With nearly 20 helpful videos dedicated to Back Injury Prevention, you are sure to find one that will help create a safer work environment for you and your staff.

The Safety Source Library is available by clicking here. If you are not yet registered for access to this diverse video library, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Comp Alliance To Recognize National Police Week In May With Safety Tips

policeNational Police Week

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. National Police Week pays tribute to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. To honor all our members, their law enforcement officers, and those police officers who have lost their lives serving their local community, the Comp Alliance will recognize National Police Week.

We will be posting Police Department Safety Tips on our website daily starting Monday, May 16 through Friday, May 20. These helpful tips will also be emailed to all program members.

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Safety Tips For Firefighter Safety Stand Down Week In June

firefightersFirefighter Safety Stand Down

Taking place each year during the third full week of June, Safety Stand Down highlights critical safety, health, and survival issues for fire and emergency services personnel. Departments are asked to suspend all non-emergency activities during the week to focus their attention on safety and health education efforts. A week is provided to ensure that all duty shifts can participate.

The 2022 Safety Stand Down theme is “Situational Awareness: The Foundation for Good Decision Making.”

This theme focuses on the importance of situational awareness during response operations to help firefighters solve problems, prevent bad outcomes, and make better decisions in high stress environments. Five daily focus areas will highlight situational awareness during different incident types: structure fires, EMS, wildland incidents, roadway response, and acts of violence.

This year, to assist our fire departments with their safety efforts, the Comp Alliance will post Firefighter Safety Tips each day on our website from Monday June 20 through June 24. These tips will also be emailed to all program members.

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Did You Know?

code of ur nammuWorkers’ compensation was an idea first implemented in ancient Sumer (now known as the Republic of Iraq) over 4,000 years ago. It was part of the Code of Ur-Nammu, which was written on tablets between 2100 B.C. and 2050 B.C. in Mesopotamia. The ancient law contains a section that instituted monetary compensation for specific injuries to workers’ body parts. The first known version of the Code of Ur-Nammu is now on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museums located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is considered one of the oldest surviving legal documents in the world.

 

 

 

 

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Stay Informedcomp alliance twitter image

The Comp Alliance strives to keep members informed of the latest industry and program news. Please visit us at www.compalliance.org for the latest news, updated events calendar, safety articles, safety bulletins and more.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

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Live - Video-Conference Training

HAZWOPER Awareness

Hazardous Waste Operations Emergency Response

The Risk Management Department of the Comp Alliance has scheduled virtual training programs for our municipal members, covering the mandatory PESH-required training topic of HAZWOPER, an Awareness-level program aimed at Department of Public Works and Highway employees, and additional municipal departments which may identify a hazardous waste site. 

Please contact Director of Loss Control below to register for one of the applicable programs – the session schedule is as follows:

This seminar required for municipal employees who may be the first upon a hazardous waste emergency on-site or off-site. Recommended for Highway, DPW, Water & Sewer, and Sanitation. If you’re not sure if you need to take this, ask your Supervisor or e-mail Robert Blaisdell below. 

Wednesday, April 13 at 8:00 a.m.

Friday, May 13 at 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 19 at 8:00 a.m.

Friday, May 20 at 8:00 a.m.

Tuesday, June 7 at 8:00 a.m.

Friday, June 10 at 8:00 a.m.

Friday, June 17 at 8:00 a.m.

To register, please email Robert Blaisdell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
 
 
 

Safety Tip #1: Setting up a Temporary Work Zone Using MUTCD

work zone

During National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Comp Alliance is recognizing the hazards of work zones with daily safety tips to keep employees safe. Our first tip focuses on how to properly set-up a temporary work zone. All work zones are different and offer unique challenges for flaggers and operators. Work zone administrators must be aware of these hazards and implement temporary traffic controls to avoid them so that workers can maneuver through the areas safely with equipment, and flaggers can adequately control traffic flow. Guidance from the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for streets and highways must be followed for the proper set-up and operations within work zones. The manual is updated and published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). It is a compilation of national standards for all traffic control devices. This includes road markings, highway signs, and traffic signals. Highway and DPW Superintendents can review the latest MUTCD version from 2009 with 2012 updates by clicking here.

The MUTCD features work zone set-up recommendations on signage, positioning, markings, signals, flagger gear and responsibilities, low-volume road controls, and temporary traffic controls. For our Comp Alliance members, the information on the components of a temporary traffic control zone in part 6 would be most beneficial. It emphasizes the best practice for a typical road or lane closure situation. Utilizing the acronym ATBAT, you can identify the advanced warnings for drivers and pedestrians, workspace protections and work zone termination controls. ATBAT stands for the five sections of a work zone, including Advanced area, Transition, Buffer, Activity area, and Termination. Proper control devices installed for these five areas will help reduce accidents and injuries in work zones, regardless of their size and scope.

We recommend reviewing part 6 of the MUTCD before starting on any roadway project to ensure your municipality follows the manual and you are utilizing the best procedures to protect your work zone staff and the public.

 

Safety Tip #2: Importance of Flaggers - Controlling Traffic Flow

flaggers

As part of the Comp Alliance’s recognition of National Work Zone Safety Week, we would like to remind all our members of the importance of flaggers who work these dangerous operations. In fact, the most vital part of any work zone operation is the flagger. They are responsible for the safety and protection of the workers as well as the public for safe navigation through and around a work zone.

Flaggers need annual training if they are new to the position. They should also undergo refresher training during the roadwork season. Training should be specific to the flagger position. They need to know where to be positioned, if the locations will change throughout the day, what devices they will need, what safety apparel to wear, what safety gear will be provided to them, and when and how breaks are handled. Breaks are important to keep flaggers fresh, alert and positively motivated to assist vehicle operators and pedestrians approaching work zones.

A good reference for appropriate flagger procedures can be found in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) by clicking here. Members should review chapter 6E. This section goes over the use of hand signals, high-visibility safety apparel, locations to be stationed including vehicle sight distances, and hand signal devices.

Another important suggestion is to assign the right employees as your flaggers. Think about your staff and how they would deal with aggressive drivers and questions from the public. One reminder for flaggers is this – you are not a police officer. Should an individual refuse your direction and pass through a work zone unsafely, use your warning signal to workers of the hazard, take down the vehicle’s license plate number and a description of the driver. Report this information to a supervisor immediately. You may then resume your responsibilities of controlling traffic around the work site. The use of surveillance cameras at flagger locations can also help assist during the presence of unlawful or dangerous behaviors from the public.

As work zones are inherently dangerous for municipal workers, the use of trained, knowledgeable, and professional flaggers is vital. Remember to provide them with the tools they need to complete their jobs safely and effectively!

Additional highway department safety information is available on the Comp Alliance’s Municipal Academy. You can also check out Safety Source Online for important information on traffic control work zone safety, including courses SS21001AE and SS21003AE.

 

Safety Tip #3: PPE Required for Work Zones

workers stock photo

For the Comp Alliance’s third safety tip during National Work Zone Awareness Week, we want to acknowledge the use of required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep employees safe in work zones. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most common event associated with deadly occupational injuries is when a worker is struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment at a road construction site. The agency reports that 609 workers died from injuries in work zones between 2011 and 2015. About 46% (280) of those employees were killed because of incidents involving vehicles. Most of these employees were fatally hit by cars or dump trucks. Of the 79 workers struck by an automobile, the automobile was moving forward in 72 cases. Of the 49 workers hit by a dump truck, the dump truck was backing up in 40 cases. As such, work zone “runovers” and “back-overs” are considered the greatest hazard to roadway construction workers and the leading cause of death.

Wearing high visibility clothing is one important strategy to help reduce the number of struck-by deaths at road construction sites. Required PPE for work zone operations includes reflective safety vests, which must be worn during construction projects that remain open to the traveling public. In accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) 6D.03 (2009), all workers within the right-of-way who are exposed either to traffic or to work vehicles and construction equipment within the work zone shall wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107–2004. Click here to review the MUTCD.

Additional PPE required for work zone employees includes hard hats, which are to be worn for protection during any work activity that may expose workers to a head injury. Safety glasses must be worn during any work activity that may expose workers to eye injuries. Workers can protect their eyes with safety glasses that have side shields, goggles, and/or face shields. Safety toe boots/shoes are also required when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, exposure to piercing the sole, or protection against electrical or chemical hazards. For hand protection, glove selection should be based upon the tasks to be performed and the performance and construction characteristics of the glove material. Chemical and/or electrical exposures within the work zone present their own unique hazards and will require additional, specific PPE regulations.

Additional highway department safety information is available on the Comp Alliance’s Municipal Academy. You can also check out Safety Source Online for important information on traffic control work zone safety, including courses SS21001AE and SS21003AE.

 

Safety Tip #4: What Equipment Operators Need to Know

The Comp Alliance’s 4th Safety Tip during National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week focuses on the importance of equipment operators and what they need to know to stay safe while on the job. Roadway work takes planning, training, equipment, and cooperation. Some keys to keeping the equipment operators within your temporary traffic zones safe include prioritizing planning for the work, as well as confirming staff and equipment are available for the full length of the project.

During a temporary work zone project, all applicable staff should be trained on their duties and on situational awareness when working within the proximity of traffic and utilize spotters when necessary. Employees should also be trained on the warning alerts which may be initiated by flaggers or other personnel, personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn, and other factors in the work zone environment.

Operators in work zones may be required to wear hearing protection due to increased noise levels, and therefore may be unaware when notifications of hazards are present. An alternate warning system (visual, person-to-person) should be incorporated under these conditions. When incidents or accidents do occur within the work zone, the temporary suspension of work may be required as well as documenting the incident for all affected employees.

Protections for workers within the activity area of a stationary or long-term temporary work zone will likely require barriers, barrier vehicles or similar rigid devices. Buffer areas protect workers from vehicle traffic and may provide a recovery area for the placement of off-use equipment, and a vehicle roll-ahead safe zone may also be necessary. Staging areas for supplies and equipment shall also be protected from vehicle traffic so workers can access them safely. Night work will require additional lighting equipment and retro-reflective signage which present their own issues including overhead obstructions and illumination distancing. 

Additionally, the equipment in a temporary work zone also needs to be equipped with safety devices.  Backing alarms must be active on all work zone vehicles and heavy equipment, as backing is conducted routinely and can alert nearby workers of approaching vehicles. Traffic flow within a work zone must be planned and understood by all affected staff. Spotters should be used when multiple equipment may be moved throughout a work zone, and communications clear between all operators and spotters.

The protection of operators within a work zone, whether it is short-term or long-term is vital to the success of maintaining safe roadways in and around your community. Click here to review the NYS Work Zone Traffic Control Manual for more information.

 

Safety Tip #5: Work Zone Safety Best Practices in Review

Throughout National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Comp Alliance has released safety tips to consider that will protect employees in and around work zones. The federal government and New York State have developed safety manuals on work zones due to the high hazard environment they pose, and the frequency and severity of injuries sustained. The federal document is called the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). We encourage our members to review part 6 within this document. New York has adopted rules from the federal document and incorporated them into the Work Zone Traffic Control Manual, which you can view by clicking here. You can also review the MUTCD by clicking here.

All temporary traffic operations require a keen eye to identify potential hazards and implement controls to minimize the risk to employees working in these areas. This week, the Comp Alliance has written about various exposures and controls for them. Street and road supervisors must continuously monitor the work zone operations to confirm that staff are safe and consider additional safety measures when necessary. Additional controls may include the use of surveillance cameras to oversee flagger operations or utilize local law enforcement’s traffic incident management programs to enforce traffic violations around your work zones. Any police presence can positively control your work zones with respect to passing vehicles and pedestrian traffic. 

Work zones can include short-term mobile activities, short duration, short-term stationary, intermediate-term, and long-term stationary operations. Each present unique scenarios which require different protective devices and controls.

As work zones present challenges for municipal street and road crews, routine safety meetings to review best practices for active work zones should be conducted. Work zones in place for more than a day require updating staff daily to understand the remaining work tasks and responsibilities, as they likely have changed from the previous day. Review any safety issues which may have presented themselves from earlier work and implement corrective measures.

Safety measures for staff can also include routine breaks, flagger change-outs, operator change-outs, hydration stations, as well as wearing proper clothing and sunscreen. Implementing these protective measures and reviewing the latest information from the federal government and New York State will help promote a positive safety culture for all employees in work zones.

Additional highway department safety information is available on the Comp Alliance’s Municipal Academy. You can also check out Safety Source Online for important information on traffic control work zone safety, including courses SS21001AE and SS21003AE.

For more information, contact Director of Loss Control Robert Blaisdell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (518) 330-8591.

 

Our mental health encompasses emotional, social, physical, and psychological feelings of wellbeing.  When we are relaxed, find joy in ourPolice Mental Health day-to-day lives, and have our social and emotional needs balanced we can handle a multitude of stressors that may be encountered as police officers.  National Police Week occurs during a month dedicated to mental health. As such, there are many resources, events, and programs online and in person that are linked at the bottom of this bulletin.  In this safety tip we will examine several ways to recognize signs of mental fatigue and distress in yourself and co-workers. We will also discuss tips and strategies to improve outcomes.  Exercising the mental parts of our bodies is just as important in self-care as going to the gym to improve our physical bodies.

Mental illness, mental fatigue, and mental breakdown, are some of the terms used to describe the state of a person who is struggling with coping in daily life or work pressures.  All of us have stressors that occur at home, at work, and in life.  Police work has particularly heightened stressors that come as a nature of the occupation.  Working long hours, dealing with difficult people, fear for physical safety. Even being in a vehicle for many hours or temperature conditions can cause acute and long-term stress that may lead to mental fatigue.  If we can bring awareness to ourselves, how we are feeling, how we are handing stressors and practice techniques to lessen this mental fatigue, and/or know when to ask for help, we can then reduce burnout, absences, and suicides and improve policing in our departments. 

Signs of Mental Fatigue – Awareness in the Body

Fatigue – When in a chronic state of stress, our brains and bodies are using more energy to cope with what is happening to us.  The neurons in our brains begin to fire at a rapid pace, our hearts beat faster, and muscles tense up.   When we have good mental health, our body systems return to normal quite quickly once the stress is removed.  However, when it doesn’t return to baseline, we will become quite fatigued.  Even after a good night of sleep you may feel tired all the time.  Chronic fatigue is a symptom of mental fatigue.  Take time to stop, observe, and seek help if you recognize this symptom in yourself or fellow officers. 

Muscle and Nerve Pain – Just like our brains go into overdrive during experiences of stress, our physical bodies do something similar.  We may hold our muscles in certain areas tighter, notice shoulders or rib cage feels tight, breathing is less controlled.  Lactic acid and cortisol begin to build up and you may feel pains such as pinching or burning sensations in joints and muscles, particularly in the region of the neck and shoulders.  Left untreated, this can lead to musculoskeletal injuries and chronic pain.   Take time to stop and observe how your body is feeling on a day-to-day basis. How does your posture feel? Do you feel tight or loose? Check your range of motion with arms, shoulders, and hips. 

Everyday Practices to Improve Mental Health

Finding Time for Joy – We all have things that make us feel relaxed, happy, creative, calm, and give us the brain and body experience of joy.  In a hectic and stressful busy-life it can be hard to carve out time for things we enjoy such as taking a walk, playing music, spending time with friends and family and other things.  Make time for joy a priority in daily life. 

Physical Exercise – Human beings are designed to be moving. Sitting, standing, and driving for long periods of time are activities police officers participate in.  Making any kind of physical exercises a priority in your daily life will increase your happy hormones (serotonin), boost your mood with increased oxygen to your brain and cells, and reduce stress in the body. 

Talk to Someone – Meaningful social relationships contribute to the reduction of stress and improve our mental muscles. Having a partner, friend, or colleague to talk to about your day is important.  Many of us hold things in and feel uncomfortable talking about our challenges and stressors but this is part of having good social relationships including the ability to share as well as listen.  This provides each person with the benefit of feeling heard and understood and provides an opportunity to lend guidance to one another.  Professional mental health counselors are now available with a variety of access like online, phone, groups, and in-person.  Reach out to someone if you feel that you need more than a talk with a friend.   

In this week to honor the vital work of our police departments, we recognize the incredibly important and difficult jobs that you all have.  We appreciate all you do and hope these short safety bulletins will be a reminder of our appreciation and be helpful towards improving the safety of the department.  We recognize National Police Week!

Resources on Mental Health and Links:

Tips to Boost Mental Health: First Responders Live: https://www.emergency-live.com/of-interest/10-tips-on-how-to-boost-your-mental-health-become-the-best-version-of-yourself/

SAMSHA – Suicide Prevention: https://www.samhsa.gov/suicide

NYS Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.naminys.org/nys/mental-health-awareness-month/

Upcoming Events

06 Jun 2022
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Live Zoom Safety Training for Comp Alliance Members
07 Jun 2022
08:00AM - 08:30AM
HAZWOPER Awareness Training Live Via Zoom
07 Jun 2022
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Live Zoom Safety Training for Comp Alliance Members