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Recently it was decided at a department that they would no longer be allowing their men to attend outside training because of a discretion in workman's comp. They will still send some of their members to required classes for special teams, but if for example a member wanted to attend a truck ops class at FDIC they could not.

In the past if a member wanted to attend such a class it was not an issue. They still had to pay for the class out of pocket and take vacation time if it interfered with their shift to attend, but the department would still sign off for them.

Now because the department refuses to cover their members under workman's comp for those classes it eliminates the possibility of attending since any major training center or company require you to be covered under workman's comp.

I would like your opinion on this new "policy" and how your department stands on this topic. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated and helpful. Thanks.

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I encourage the members of our department to attend outside training. This gives them an opportunity to listen and learn from many different individuals in our profession and can only better the individuals along with the department. Unfortunately our department does not have the funding available to send our firefighters to FDIC, but any regional fire school or training being conducted by area departments our members are encouraged to attend. It is too bad that a firefighter can not further their training or education because of a policy like that. To me that is narrow minded thinking and how is a department to advance without firefighters being given the opportunity to learn from and educate each other.

Be Safe, Brother!!
Not only do we send qualified people to outside training, the department covers the cost of the class, room, board and you are on the clock while you are gone.

It’s never a bad idea to send people out of the area so that they can learn how other agencies work and learn new things with different people. If you don’t get many bad car wrecks, you need to go someplace to learn how to do it well. We don't have good house props and need to go where we can thrash around and spray water. Plus when you get to a school, you get the benefit of everyone else who has seen a strange situation and what they did about it.

Learning is FUNdamental!
I don't know what state you are in. In my state it is the WC carrier that determines what is and is not payable. Employees injured can appeal to the Industrial Commission that oversees the WC process. Is this really a WC issue or a department issue? I'd do some digging.

In our department we cover a member anytime they are engaged in official business, classroom or hands-on training, meetings, etc. We have had two issues in the past and both time the WC carrier sided with the employee not the employer.

In our WC carrier's eyes it does nto matter if the member is being paid their salary, overtime or the member goes on his own time. It also does not matter if we pay the tuition or the member pays the tuition.

What will matter is whether or not we "authorize" the training, which we do 99.99% of the time. We simply want to know where our members are at and insure they have competent instruction in case a chief gets that dreaded phone call that a member is injured or killed.
Ed,

I agree with Drew. Is this a WC issue or department cop out? I find it hard to believe the one would not be covered by WC if you are attending a job specific training event. I have to give my department credit because we send guys to outside classes all of the time.

Each year we send 12 guys to the FDIC. In addition we send people to any number of conferences for EMS, Haz Mat etc. In the past few years I've attended classes in Charlotte NC, Chicago (twice), Charleston SC, Cincinnati, and two tours of the FDIC. They pay for the classes, transportation, lodging and food. They also cover your shift with an overtime firefighter. The only stipulation is that you must come back and present the information to the department. That is more than fair.

There is much value in obtaining training and information from a variety of sources and not just what you learn locally. The opportunity to network and make contacts from around the country all contribute to an excellent learning experience.
Thank you all for your input. My feelings with this problem is the same as all of yours. It is both a WC problem as well as a departmental problem. I work for a large city department that has the means to send members and certainly cover members to these trainings.

Thanks and be safe
Too bad your department can't come into the current century. Sending the "men" infers women are not wanted on your department. The term is 'worker's compensation," not workman's compensation. Women are covered under the insurance, not just men.
Seriously?
Somes shorts are wound too tight. I noticed that every reply above uses the term "members." Using the masculine versus both the masculine and feminine should not be construed as some form of discrimination or exclusion. And, in some states it is still called Workmens' not Workers compensation.
Thank you drew
Sounds like a city government run amuck. I don't know of any city that has their own worker's comp insurance. I thought it was all under the state's jurisdiction.
Ill have to look into that Mike.
A good place to start may be at the OSHA web site. Once at their site search OSHA 300. It is the standard that defines what qualifies as a reportable workers comp. claim.

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