The Training Safety Officer (TSO) Program helps reduce injuries to law enforcement personnel from training activities. A designated safety officer works in tandem with the training instructor to provide a safer experience for the training session without compromising its effectiveness.
The training safety officer is an ideal addition to training sessions that include a physical or practical application (i.e., a higher risk of injury to participants), such as use of force/defensive tactics, firearms training qualifications, active shooter exercises and the like.
Training Is Second Leading Cause of Injuries for Officers
With the hazards associated with law enforcement, it is perhaps no surprise that the majority of claims at MCIT come from sheriffs’ offices and jail operations. Training is currently the second leading cause of injuries for law enforcement officers among MCIT members, and training injuries for law enforcement staff jumped 300 percent for 2013 through 2015 compared to the previous three years. These injuries cost more than $1 million in such areas as wage replacement, medical expenses, rehabilitation and retraining.
The Training Safety Officer program seeks to reduce training injuries and is taken from the national award-winning program developed by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, the Association of Training Officers of Minnesota and multiple law enforcement and public safety departments.
More Realistic Training Increases Safety Risks; Training Safety Officer Is There to Control Them
The rise in training injuries can be attributed in part to the increased realism of sessions and scenario-based approaches to training. However, as training is conducted in a controlled environment, the TSO program aims to build upon the controllable aspects of the training session to reduce the amount of injuries.
Together the training safety officer and instructor work closely as a team to plan, set up, observe and review the training session with a focus toward safety while ensuring a valuable training experience.
6 Key Components of a Successful Training Safety Officer Program
- Planning meeting: The training safety officer and instructor meet and review the lesson plan and identify areas of the training session that present the greatest risk.
- Safety plan: The instructor and TSO create a plan to address the identified risks and develop a training-specific emergency medical response plan to address potential injuries.
- Site setup and inspection: The instructor and TSO prepare the training site and inspect the area for hazards, such as slip, trip and fall concerns, and set up a field emergency medical services station.
- Safety briefing: Immediately prior to the training, the training safety officer tells participants about specific safety rules for the training and briefly explains the TSO role to participants.
- Training observation: The TSO observes the entire training session trhough the lens of safety and informs the instructor of problems to address before injuries occur.
- Review: After the training, the instructor and TSO review the training session to help prepare a more effective and less hazardous training in the future.
These steps form the framework of the Training Safety Officer Program. Although the steps may seem complex, many can be combined, and not all must be implemented at once.
Learn More, Get Started
MCIT loss control consultants can discuss the Training Safety Officer Program with member sheriffs and their staff, as well as help them get started implementing the program. Members can contact their consultant at 1.866.547.6516.