Which fire protection "entities" must report fire fighter injuries?
Texas Government Code §419.048, which took effect Sept. 1, 2009, requires the commission to "evaluate information and data on fire protection personnel injuries and develop recommendations for reducing fire protection personnel injuries."
Historically, the Texas Legislature has restricted the commission's enforcement authority to paid fire protection entities and paid personnel. However, the legislation that created the injury reporting requirement does not make a clear distinction between volunteer and paid entities, as other commission-related statutes do. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of fire fighter injuries throughout the state, the commission encourages volunteer departments to participate on a voluntary basis.
Who should report an injury when a fire fighter gets hurt working outside of his or her assigned duties?
The entity that files the First Report of Injury should report the injury. If an individual is not covered by Worker's Comp, the facility at which the injury occurs should submit the report. (The most common example of this is when a fire fighter is attending a training course as an individual).
Who should report if a rookie gets hurt at an academy?
In the case of introductory academies ("rookie schools"), the entity that submitted the course approval is the responsible party, whether the injury occurs "on campus" or at another facility.
Should fire departments report even minor injuries?
A department should report all injuries. When the department files a "First Report of Injury" with the Texas Workers Compensation Commission, it should report the injury to us as well. Departments must report minor injuries within 30 business days of the injury event. Departments must report serious or critical injuries within five business days of the injury event.
What is the difference between a minor and a "serious or critical" injury?
Minor injuries are injuries that do not result in the fire fighter missing more than one full duty period. Serious or critical injuries are those that require the fire fighter to miss more than one full duty period. (See Definitions - Missed Work).
When would the commission follow up with a department after the department reports an injury?
The commission's injury reporting staff may contact either the person who entered the report or the department's designated contact person for clarifications or additional information. We want to ensure that the commission has a clear understanding of the injury. The more accurate the information we receive, the better the reporting and analysis.
An individual from the agency may follow-up with a phone call or a visit to the department when an injury involves a failure or malfunction of protective equipment.
"Investigable" injuries are injuries that result from:
Regardless of the severity of the injury, a department must report investigable injuries within five business days.
Are there certain activities that trigger follow-ups?
Any injury may trigger a follow up when deemed necessary by TCFP staff.
If the commission finds that an injury requires an investigation, what should a department do?
In accordance with NFPA 1851, regulated entities must have procedures for securing the structural fire fighting ensembles that fire fighters were wearing when they were injured. The department should store and treat the damaged equipment in accordance with its own internal policies. NFPA 1851, Section 10.3.3 states:
The organization shall determine a specific period of time for retaining custody of structural fire fighting ensembles and ensemble elements and proximity fire fighting ensembles and ensemble elements.
In accordance with NFPA 1852, regulated entities must have procedures for securing SCBA that fire fighters were wearing when they were injured. The department should store and treat the damaged SCBA in accordance with its own internal policies. NFPA 1852, Section 4.3.2 states:
As part of the respiratory protection program, the organization shall develop SOPs for the handling and custody of SCBA that is removed from service due to the serious injury or fatality of the wearer.
If the commission determines that an injury report warrants further investigation, the commission's compliance personnel will contact the department directly. The fire department must provide the commission with a primary point of contact for the department, as well as contact information for any department personnel assigned to the investigation.
Why does the injury reporting system require an "anticipated" return-to-work date?
Reporting entities should not feel compelled to ascertain an exact date. A reasonable approximation is acceptable. We use this date as a follow-up tool to ensure accurate statistical data.
How do we know when a volunteer is back to work from a lost time injury?
When the volunteer fire fighter can perform the duties required by the department prior to the injury, the department should report that the volunteer is "back to regular duty."
Did our fire fighter miss work?
For injury reporting purposes, the commission defines missed work as "lost time" when an individual misses more than one full duty period as a direct result of an injury. Lost time includes time during which the individual does not return to the duties to which the department assigned the individual prior to the injury.
Example: an individual who sustained an injury returns to work on their normally assigned duty period, but the department temporarily assigns the individual to modified or light duty (temporary) rather than their normal, pre-injury duty. This person has sustained a lost time injury.
A duty period may be a 24-hour shift, an eight-hour shift, or anything in between.
Since fire departments often do not schedule fire protection personnel for 8-5 shifts, here is an example of not missing work: An individual is working a 24-on/48-off rotating shift schedule with a shift change at 0700 hours. The individual sustains an injury at 1500 hours and leaves for the remainder of the shift. The individual reports back to full duty at his next scheduled shift (at 0700) and completes his normal duty assignment. For reporting purposes, this individual has NOT missed work.
If, on the other hand, this individual does not return for their next scheduled shift, they have sustained a lost time injury.
If this same individual does not return to work due to a previously scheduled vacation, Kelly day, etc., but returns to work following the scheduled time off, he or she has NOT sustained a lost time injury.
What are the criteria for closing an injury report?
The commission staff will close an injury report when:
If we forgot to submit a report should we report it now?
Why are you requesting that we complete a report every quarter even if we have no injuries?
he monthly reports help to:
Reporting a cancer diagnosis is not required at this time, however, the commission encourages departments to report incidences of cancer voluntarily so that we can collect this data. There is currently no “cancer” category that can be used when reporting a diagnosis. We recommend reporting cancer as either an exposure (if, for example, there is some evidence that suggests an exposure to something like asbestos could be the cause), or as an injury to a specific body part. In either case, we encourage departments to indicate the type of cancer in the description text box.