News. Injuries in the School District Workplace. Summer Inside This Issue: Special Article: Preferred HR Risk Management Helpline Q & A...

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1 Summer 2013 News Inside This Issue: Exclusive Article: Risk of Accidents for School Bus Drivers and Ideas to Avoid Injury... 4 Special Article: Preferred HR Risk Management Helpline Q & A... 6 Welcome New Preferred Members... 7 News Extra: Bullying Leads to Death - Is Your School Managing Bullying Effectively... 8 Member Spotlight... 9 Breaktime Fun -n- Games Injuries in the School District Workplace By Mayra Cortes, RN, BSN, CCM - Supervisor Telephonic Case Manager, AmeriSys Every day while our children are being educated there are countless accidents taking place in our school systems. Work-related injuries not only prevent the school s employees from not performing their duty properly, it affects our educational system as well. The economic impact of work-related injuries and illnesses on today s businesses continues to grow. The economic effects are not only a result of direct costs, such as insurance premiums and medical expenses, but also a result of indirect costs such as lost workdays, replacement workers, decreased productivity, retraining and decreased morale. While school districts are not typically categorized as hazardous environments accidents do happen. The most common types of injuries for this industry are injuries that affect the soft tissues of the neck, back, shoulders and lower body extremities. The higher rates of school-workerrelated injuries fall into the occupations of custodians, bus drivers and teachers. Employees with work-related injuries will need appropriate medical treatment and efficient claims handling to facilitate a safe return-to-work in a cost effective manner. School custodians and building cleaners have one of the highest rates of work-related injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They miss more work days because of on-the-job injuries than police officers. In addition, within the school district itself, school custodians have one of the highest rates of work-related injuries, more than food service workers and teaching assistants who work with severely disabled students. In a large county in Florida, there were 125 custodian injuries in 2011, which cost the district approximately $400,000 in workers compensation costs. Some of the risk factors identified for this occupation s work-related injuries are the extensive types of equipment being utilized, which is more than just mops and brooms these days. Machines can be up to the size of small tractors used to empty dumpsters and wax floors. Also, added stressors contribute, such as work overload due to shortage of staff and increased working hours. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

2 FEATURE ARTICLE School custodians frequently hurt their backs while completing the necessary duties of their position. They are regularly required to move or lift heavy objects. This is the second most common cause of employees taking time off from work after the common cold. Back strains are a result of damage to the muscles, ligaments, and/ or tendons in the back and are caused by over-stretching this body part. In addition to back injuries, other common injuries are chemical burns as result from the usage of cleaning solutions, and fractures due to falls after slipping on wet or freshly waxed floors. Bus drivers held 647,200 jobs in 2010 and of those about 70 percent were school or special client bus drivers. School bus drivers work only when school is in session. Some make multiple runs if different schools in their district open and close at different times. These drivers have unique work obligations and responsibilities. Unlike many workers who call an office, factory, or stores their workplace, a bus driver s workplace is a moving vehicle. Statistics show that school bus accidents are one of the most common types of vehicle accidents. These bus accidents not only injure the driver, but send over 17,000 students to hospitals with injuries every year. The risk factors that precipitate these accidents to occur are related to the work environment. Some factors are driving through heavy traffic, dealing with unruly passengers and slick roads caused by inclement weather or a spill. Poor visibility caused by windshield damage or inclement weather, potholes and other road hazards from road construction, fallen debris, or an accident can also contribute. The most common bus driver physical injuries reported are low back sprain, cervical sprain, bilateral knee pain and bilateral shoulder sprain. Though a teacher s job may not be considered as high risk for work injuries, it is still very possible to be injured on the job. In 2012 many of our large counties averaged approximately 400 injuries for the year. A teacher can be hurt by falling equipment, a slippery staircase and even be injured by an assault from the student. Most of the common work injuries from this occupation are repetitive strain injury caused by working on the computer, writing, or any other repetitive activities that involves the wrist and hands. Multiple body part strains due to standing for prolonged periods of time, and multiple body contusions due to falling materials such as hanging displays, banners or children s artwork, and falling off a ladder also contribute to the injury types. On occasion, there may be an incident involving a chemical exposure that causes respiratory symptoms or burns for chemistry teachers who have to deal with caustic chemicals, electrical equipment and fire. While these are rare occasions, they can be very serious claims. Minimizing the risk for these employees is essential to keep the workers safe and our school systems functioning at an optimal level. Many counties and workplace safety organizations have established policies to target these risks promoting a safe and healthy work environment. For custodians, some counties bylaws and policies have established Custodial Standards that each facility is expected to meet or exceed these requirements. OSHA believes that the work practices and precautions prescribed in its regulations will virtually eliminate significant health risks for custodial workers. Furthermore, the Agency s experience in enforcing its health and safety standards clearly establishes that training of employees is a vital component of any successful program to control. For Bus Drivers, the Department of Education FL Administrative Code 6A , Employment of School Bus Drivers section (8) requires that each school district establish by school board policy which includes a safe driver plan that specifies which infractions of the traffic code deem an applicant unqualified for hire and which causes any employee to be subject to a prescribed follow up action. The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures to implement this policy. (http://www.broward.k12.fl.us/sbbcpolicies/docs/p pdf). For teachers, OSHA provides guidelines for special courses. Science departments, for example, should have safety equipment such as goggles, gloves and aprons available, as well as eyewash equipment. Lab doors should be marked as such, and kept locked when not in use. 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

3 FEATURE ARTICLE Despite all efforts for prevention, accidents will happen. When an accident does occur, the goal is to coordinate the care so as to both improve continuity and quality of care and lower costs. AmeriSys Case-Managers can provide the following services: Assist employers in decreasing workers compensation and health care costs Coordinate injured workers return-to-work by acting as a liaison between the worker, the physician and the employer Identify treatment plans, oversee medical care and monitor an injured worker s progress Keep the employer and the claims adjuster informed of pertinent progress, return-to-work status and treatment recommendations Ensure all that all requested medical treatments are in accordance with evidence-based guidelines Monitor for any signs of over-utilization in any of the treatment areas Serve as a source of information for the injured worker, the employer and the physician Meet with the injured worker and the employer and complete a job evaluation, to ensure a safe return-to-work Provide detailed reports for the employer and the insurance company Our proactive medical management practices focus on disability-duration guidelines and treatment protocols, which help set goals for safely reducing lost days to minimize unnecessary treatment and decrease overall claim costs. Our nurse case-managers initiate medical triage and establish ongoing contact with the injured employee, providers and employer to develop a case management plan. We coordinate and maintain communication with all parties through resolution to ensure a timely return-to-work for your employees. Sources: Teachers and Workplace Injuries by Fraser Sherman, Demand Media (http://work.chron.com/teachers-workplace-injuries-1473.html) United State Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/bus-drivers. tm#tab-3) Florida School District Requires Fit Custodians. NPR Best Safety Practices for the Workplace, by Charles Green, Demand Media Common Work Related Injuries, by Paul H Jones, submitted On April 29, 2009 Mayra Cortes is a Registered Nurse with 13 years experience in multiple clinical fields. She has spent the last 8 years in the area of Workers Compensation Medical Management. Mayra graduated with a Bachelor in Nursing, and she attained her Certified Case Manager credentials in Inclusive of all areas, Mayra has ten years of case management experience. She was a Telephonic Case-Manager for various dedicated accounts for AmeriSys. She has received much recognition for her ability to provide quality care in a cost effective manner. Currently Mayra is the Telephonic Case Management Supervisor for two accounts. Her oversight has assisted in the successful hiring and training of all new staff, as well as the delivery of services to these accounts that not only meet but exceed their requirements. Mayra is a valued member of the AmeriSys management team. She has contributed to the development of policies and procedures in our continuing effort to provide quality care to the injured workers. 3

4 EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE Risk of Accidents for School Bus Drivers and Ideas to Avoid Injury Submitted By Brian Bolton, Esquire - Bolton & Helm, LLP Authored By Arti Hirani, J.D. & Christopher J. Martin, J.D. Every year, eighty percent of Americans spend over $100 billion on health care expenses for back ailments. 1 Additionally, back pain is the second leading cause for work loss. 2 Unfortunately, bed rest alone is often insufficient in relieving an individual s back pain. 3 This article focuses on the origins of lower back pain in school bus drivers. School bus drivers are particularly susceptible to back pain as a result of their occupation. 4 Studies have shown that up to fifty percent of school bus drivers complain of such discomfort. 5 The research reveals that the sedentary nature of their job is primarily responsible for their suffering. 6 The prolonged sitting causes the disks to compress, resulting in the deprivation of nutrients and oxygen. 7 Also, school bus drivers experience whole body vibrations causing micro traumas to the disks of the spinal column. 8 Compounding the issue is the design of the bus seats. 9 School bus seats are not typically designed to provide adequate support; and the shifting of gears and the opening of the door in the school bus requires the driver to engage in repetitive twisting of the upper body and head. 10 Florida law recognizes that accidents arising out of the course and scope of employment are covered by the employer. 11 In cases involving occupational disease or repetitive exposure to toxins or physical micro traumas, both causation and sufficient exposure to the substance or particular activity must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. 12 Additionally, even though an employee may have preexisting conditions which substantially contribute to an injury, the employer may be responsible for the entire injury under many instances. See Staffmark v. Merrell, 43 So.3d 792 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010). Regarding Florida law, the First District Court of Appeals case, Festa v. Teleflex, 382 So.2d 122 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980), outlines the basis to determine the threshold question of whether a repetitive exposure type accident is compensable. 13 Generally speaking, the test for compensability of this type of accident is known as the Exposure Theory of Accident. 14 Under the Exposure Theory, the injury is compensable if an employee is subjected to: (1) prolonged exposure to contaminants or micro traumas; (2) the cumulative effect of such exposure is injury; and (3) that the worker has been subjected to a hazard greater than that to which the general public is exposed. 15 Showing the length of time worked as a school bus driver may support the first element under Festa. The second element may be met if a doctor opines that the back injury is the result of this prolonged exposure. The third element is met by drawing a comparison of the activities of the job to the activities of normal daily life. There are ways employers can reduce the risk of back injury to school bus drivers due to sudden events or repeated traumas. For example, employers can encourage drivers to stay physically active by participating in aerobic exercises such as walking and biking. 16 Aerobic exercises aid in replenishing the nutrients in the spinal disks. 17 Requiring employees to take periodic breaks to stand and do mild stretches is another preventive measure employers may take. 18 Providing adjustable seats will offer support to the lower back, counteracting the burdensome physical demands of a school bus driver s job. 19 Furthermore, modification of the controls (i.e. the door, and brake), or the addition of a lumbar pillow on the driver s seat will furnish additional support for the lower back. 20 Solutions like those listed above are especially important considering that many workers have preexisting conditions which greatly contribute to an injury for which the employer may be responsible. 21 Interestingly, job dissatisfaction can have an adverse effect on how an individual perceives their level of discomfort. 22 Consequently, a worker who experiences lower job satisfaction may tend to show a higher inclination to concentrate on pain derived from their industrial accident and from the work environment overall. 23 One study reveals that truck drivers displayed a higher rate of job satisfaction as compared to bus drivers. 24 Bus drivers with back pain missed work at a higher rate than the truck drivers, despite the fact that truck drivers were subject to greater physical demands on their backs CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

5 EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, d/b/a LYNX, has implemented some unique programs in an attempt to rectify this issue. Even though LYNX is a commercial transportation entity, the principles for injury avoidance may apply to a school bus driving situation. LYNX, for example, provides their employees with a workout facility and promotes several wellness programs.26 They have trained supervisors who are ready to hear any complaints or issues the drivers may have.27 Linda Connell, LYNX Manager of Risk Management, states healthy employees are happy employees, and happy employees do not miss many days of work.28 The back injuries that school bus drivers experience continue to present a difficult and ongoing problem. Initiating programs that are aimed toward improving driver health, providing workout facilities, teaching Pictured is the LYNX employee workout facility drivers how to reduce any disk degeneration that results from prolonged sitting, and installation of safer seats are all ways to reduce healthcare costs and other costs associated with lost time from work. These programs may also increase productivity. Arti Hirani is a J.D. from Barry University Law School in Orlando, Florida, where she was a participant on the Trial Team. Ms. Hirani is also a graduate of the University of Florida with a B.S. in Marketing. She will begin practicing law in Florida in September Christopher J. Martin is a J.D. from Barry University Law School in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Martin is also a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. He will begin practicing law in Florida in September Id; See also Huff v. Loral American Berryllium Co., 967 So. 2d 244 (Fla. 1st DCA 2007). 15. Id. 16. Deyo et al., supra note 2 at Deyo et al., supra note 2 at Brian M. Berman, M.D. et al., Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain, 363 New Eng. J. Med. 454 (2010). 19. Johanning, supra note 8, at Jiu-Chiuan Chen, M.D., et al., Seat Inclination, Use of Lumbar Support and Low-back Pain of Taxi Drivers, 31 Scand. J. Work Environ. Health 258, 259 (2005); See also Dr. John L.M. Tse, et. al., Bus Driver Well- Being Review: 50 Years of Research, 9 Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior 89, 103 (2006). 21. Johannin, supra, note 8 at Eugene J. Carragee, M.D. Persistent Low Back Pain, 352 New Eng. J. Med (2005). 23. Rebecca A. Williams, PhD, et al., The contribution of job satisfaction to the transition from acute to chronic low back pain, 79 Arch. Med. Rehab 366 (1998). 24. Magnusson et al., supra note Magnusson et al., supra note Interview with Linda Connell, Director of Risk Management, Lynx Bus Services, in Orlando, Fl. (May 21, 2013). 27. Id. 28. Id. 1. Gregory S. Anderson, PhD. et al., Police Officer Back Health, 2 The Journal of Criminal Justice Research 1, 2 (2011). 2. Richard A. Deyo, M.D., M.P.H. and James N. Weinstein, D.O., Low Back Pain, 344 New Eng. J. Med. 363 (2001). 3. Id. 4. Marianne L. Magnusson, Dr.Med.Sc, David G. Wilder, Ph.D., et al., Are occupational drivers at an increased risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders? 21 Spine (1996). 5. Id. 6. Laxmaiah Manchikanti, M.D., Epidemiology of Low Back Pain, 3 Pain Physician 167, 173 (2000). 7. Anderson et al., supra, note 1 at Eckard Johanning, MD, MSc, Evaluation and Management of Occupational Low Back Disorders, 37 American Journal of Industrial Medicine 94, 98 (2000). 9. Id. at Id.; See also Dr. John L.M. Tse, et. al., Bus Driver Well-Being Review: 50 Years of Research, 9 Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior 89, 94 (2006). 11. Fla. Stat (2012). 12. Fla. Stat (1) (2012); See also Altman Contractors v. Gibson, 63 So. 2d 802 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011); See also (1) (heightened standard establishing exposure to toxins qualifying as an accident). 13. Festa v. Teleflex, Inc., 382 So. 2d 122, 123 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980). 5

6 SPECIAL ARTICLE Preferred HR Risk Management HELPLINE Q & A By Brian Hansen, Account Executive - Enquiron The information below is a sample question based on a potentially challenging client event. The question is an example of the types of issues with which the HELPLINE attorneys assist every day. In some cases, if organizations act on their own without first contacting the HELPLINE, there could be increased exposure to liability. Question: We have an employee, a custodian, who has missed 47 days of work. She has missed more than 37 over what she had available to miss and she has been docked for 41 days. In the past, the direct supervisor has written her up twice for excessive absences. Can we non-renew her based on excessive absences? Response: You have framed your inquiry as to whether the employer can non-renew the employee, which indicates that a contract or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) may be involved. If so, then the terms of that agreement as to renewal/nonrenewal will apply. (As reviewing documents is outside the format of the HELPLINE, you should consult with local counsel to assist with interpretation of any contract or CBA.) If not, absent an employment contract or CBA to the contrary, in an at-will employment relationship, an employer is within its rights to terminate employment with or without notice and for any reason or no reason at all so long as the termination is not for an unlawful reason. Generally speaking, excessive absenteeism would be a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for termination of employment, so long as such decision is consistent with company policy and past practice (to avoid discrimination concerns), and with the caveat below. If the employee s absences are not related to a medical condition for which the protection of state/federal disability discrimination and/or the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply, we are aware of no reason why the employer could not enforce its written policy or past practice as to attendance/absenteeism against the employee for his excessive absences. On the other hand, if the absences are related to a medical condition (which need not rise to the level of a life threatening disease ) that may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state discrimination statutes or as a serious health condition qualifying for leave under the FMLA, the employer may have been obligated to provide the time off -- without discipline -- as a form of reasonable accommodation under the ADA or as job-protected leave under FMLA. To our knowledge, and if it not inconsistent with company policy, the employer could ask the employee to state the specific reason for the absences with regard to whether the employee has a disability or FMLAqualifying purpose so that the employer can determine whether it has obligations under these statutes. See section of the FMLA regulations for the definition of serious health condition at: ext;node=29%3a ;idno=29;cc=ecfr#29: To the extent a disability and/or a FMLA-qualifying purpose exists, the employer should engage in a discourse with the employee about whether the employee needs a reasonable accommodation which may be a change in schedule, time off, etc. or in the case of FMLA, inform the employee of his rights to take job-protected leave under the FMLA if the employee is otherwise eligible. For more information on the employer s obligations to provide time off under the ADA and under the FMLA, please see: & 6 CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

7 SPECIAL ARTICLE Note also that FMLA leave can be designated retroactively for the absences that already have occurred, if appropriate. In such cases, the employer must give notice to the employee with the designation, and must be sure that no harm or injury is caused to the employee. (In this case, the opposite would be true because the absences would not count against the employee as violation of attendance requirements.) Alternatively, the employer and employee may mutually agree to the retroactive designation of FMLA. We recommend you carefully consider these issues in connection with whether there can be retroactive designation of FMLA. If so, then the employer has a duty to designate an employee s leave as FMLA (if the employee is otherwise eligible) and provide notice accordingly. The notices are available at: (scroll down, under heading Notices ) That said, beyond statutory obligations, an employer is not required to provide employees with time off for personal reasons or for medical conditions that do not provide ADA or FMLA protection. If an employee has exhausted paid time off/sick leave and continues to have non-disabling health issues or personal reasons that require absence from work, the employer can and should address such absenteeism consistently with its policies and past practices (i.e. warnings, write ups, termination). While the employer should not force an ill or otherwise injured employee to come to work, neither does an employer have to continue to tolerate an employee who continues to be absent (again, without statutory protection) in violation of company attendance policies and/or expectations, if consistent with employer policy and practice not to do so. Source: Preferred HR Risk Management HELPLINE 2013 Gordon & Rees, All Rights Reserved Preferred would like to welcome the following new members... Apalachicola Bay Charter School Miami Sports & Exhibition Center Waterlefe Community Development District Would you like additional copies of the Preferred News..? Additional copies of the Preferred newsletter may now be printed in PDF format by going to and accessing the Resources section of the website. There you will find not only the most recent edition of the newsletter, but also previous editions as well, or if you like, you may also look up current and past articles of interest by utilizing the article index. 7

8 NEWS EXTRA Bullying Leads to Death - Is Your School Managing Bullying Effectively A 12-year-old boy died several weeks after another student at his school punched him in the face during a bullying incident. The attack took place during recess. The sixth grader suffered a fractured nose, a concussion and seizures from the attack. In the days following the violence, he displayed uncharacteristic behavior and a general sluggishness. Two weeks after being punched, the boy was placed in a medically induced coma and was soon removed from life support. The boy s father said his son told him he did not want to fight the two boys who started pushing him before one of the boys punched him. School administrators sent the victim back to class, notifying his mother several hours after the incident. The district attorney s office is investigating video surveillance of the fight, as well as autopsy reports to determine if the incident was indeed bullying and if the punch caused the boy s seizures. The school district released a statement expressing its condolences to the victim s family and friends. It notified students and staff that the school will provide additional counselors to members of the school community and will work with the local police to investigate the bullying incident. Following his son s death, the boy s father created an anti-bullying campaign to raise awareness about the risks associated with bullying at school. Sarah Hoye, Parents say bullying led to 12-year-old son s death, (Mar. 6, 2013). Bullying can have the most serious of consequences, like death, and administrators should take responsibility for stopping, investigating, and reporting every incident of bullying. School administrators, teachers, and other officials should observe how students interact during school and on school grounds after class and watch for signs of bullying. Administrators should investigate every report of bullying and provide a safe environment in which students feel comfortable reporting bullying to school officials. If violence related to bullying does occur, actions such as notifying the child s parents and seeking medical attention should be taken immediately. Children should never be told to ignore bullying. This tactic rarely works to stop it. Rather, school administrators should teach students, whether victims or witnesses, to report bullying to a school official. All adults who interact with school-aged children should watch for any changes in behavior that may suggest a child is being bullied and take immediate action to address any reports of bullying. Both parents and teachers can work to build an atmosphere of open communication between children and parents. Here are some tips from Stopbullying.gov to help schools prevent bullying: Begin by assessing the prevalence of bullying in your school. Observe how often and where bullying tends to occur, and how adults and children react to the bullying to determine whether or not your current anti-bullying policies are effective. Create a task force to plan and implement the school s policy to stop bullying. Make sure the task force regularly evaluates the program to determine its effectiveness. Educate all members of the school community about the school s anti-bullying policy. Include rules, codes of conduct, and how to report bullying, as well as any changes to the policy as they occur. Create a campaign to build awareness among school children and parents about the risks of bullying. Work to create a climate at the school in which bullying is not tolerated. Immediately address any reports of bullying and make sure that children feel protected by school administrators should they report instances of bullying. Encourage an environment of mutual acceptance and respect at the school by presenting positive messages through student assemblies, parent and teacher meetings, and school publications. Distribute material on ways to prevent bullying and train teachers on the best ways to intervene to stop bullying. * Special thanks is given to The McCalmon Group, Inc., which has given us limited permission to reprint this article from www. mycommunityworkplace.org 8

9 MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Preferred Continues Support of FASD CDM Program Submitted By Kurt Heyman, Vice President of Marketing - Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc. Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust continued its support of the Florida Association of Special Districts (FASD) by once again, sponsoring two individuals in the recent Certified District Manager (CDM) program conducted during Legislative Days in Tallahassee in March. Jacquelin Massaline from Highlands County Board of County Commissioners and Michael Williamson from North River Fire District, both members of Preferred, were this year s recipients of the scholarships. The goal of the program is to ensure that participants comply with the Florida Statutes governing special districts. Core subjects covered include Contract Management and Procurement, Project Management, Intergovernmental Affairs, Public Relations, Strategic Planning, Budgeting, Board Relations, Ethics and Collective Bargaining marks the 7th consecutive year that Preferred has supported this educational initiative. Pictured are (L to R) Kurt Heyman, Vice President of Marketing - Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc.; Jacquelin Massaline, Non Ad-Valorem Department Highlands County Board of County Commissioners; Michael Williamson, Battalion Chief - North River Fire District Kissimmee Utility Authority Earns Industry Safety Award Submitted By Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc. - Safety & Risk Management Department The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) recently presented its annual safety award to Kissimmee Utility Authority for the utility s safe operating practices in KUA earned the state s third best safety record for electric utilities in category D, which is comprised of utilities with 400,000 to 999,999 worker-hours of exposure. Entrants were placed in categories according to their number of worker hours and judged for the most incident-free records during The incidence rate, used to judge contest entries, is based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses and the number of worker-hours during 2012, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This recognition reflects KUA s commitment to Pictured (far left) excepting the safety award on behalf of KUA at the FMEA awards protecting workers safety, said KUA president and ceremony is Michelle Scharfenberg, Safety & Workers Compensation Administrator, general manager Jim Welsh. In an industry where Kissimmee Utility Authority there is a high possibility of serious injuries and fatalities, safety training is the best line of defense against preventing accidents and saving lives. Preferred would like to congratulate the Kissimmee Utility Authority for its outstanding efforts... 9

10 BREAKTIME FUN -N- GAMES Florida s Historical Role in Our Nations Fight for Independence As we approach our nations 237th birthday, we thought we might share some interesting history on Florida s role in our nations fight for independence. In 1763 England diplomatically acquired North American territories from France and Spain. The territories acquired included the Florida peninsula plus parts of what would later become parts of the U.S. states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Florida peninsula during the Revolutionary War was divided into two British governed regions, West and East Florida. During the Revolutionary War there were three notable historical engagements that took place between American and British forces. The Battle of Thomas Creek (a.k.a. Thomas Creek Massacre) This battle is said to have taken place East of what is now known as the City of Callahan near the county line between Duval and Nassau County, FL. In the Spring of 1777, Lt. Col. Samuel Elbert of Savannah, Georgia led a force of Continental soldiers on a campaign to take control of St. Augustine from the British. As part of the campaign, a separate force of mounted militia under the command of Col. John Baker were to link up with Lt. Col. Samuel Elbert s forces at a landmark known as Sawpit Bluff. British command rallied Indian allies within the region to raid Col. Bakers camp, which resulted in failure. Due to concern of the Indian raid and the delayed arrival of Lt. Col. Elbert s forces, Col. Baker moved his forces to a better strategic location along Thomas Creek. On May 17, 1777, Col. Baker and his forces were besieged by a superior force of British Regulars, Tories and Indian allies under the command of Maj. James Mark Prevost and mounted militia under the command of Lt. Col. Thomas Brown. Upon receiving news of Col. Baker s debacle at Thomas Creek, Lt. Col. Samuel Elbert immediately withdrew his troops and abandon his planned invasion of East Florida in an attempt to take St. Augustine from the British. Skirmish of Alligator Bridge This battle is said to have taken place North of the City of Callahan, but some historians believe it may have taken place further to the East of the City. In the Summer of 1778, Col. Elijah Clarke with a force of Continental militia under the supreme command of General Robert Howe in his campaign to take control of East Florida from British forces advanced to Fort Tonyn to await Continental militia reinforcements under the command of Georgia s Governor John Houston and South Carolina General Andrew Williamson. On May 17, 1778, while General Howe and his forces were in wait of their arrival, a detachment of British forces made advancement on an outpost to the West of the fort, which resulted in them being routed from the outpost with Col. Clark s forces taking pursuit. Col. Clark s forces were halted in their pursuit at Alligator Bridge where it was discovered that the detachment was part of a much larger field fortified British force made up of British Regulars, Tories and Indian allies under the command of Maj. James Mark Prevost. After observation of the enemy s defenses, Col. Clark took a detachment of mounted calvary and attacked what he saw as a weak point in the British line to possibly create a breach for the rest of his forces to advance, but the constructed field fortifications proved to be impenetrable. Col. Clark was wounded and nearly captured, after which he ordered a withdrawal. Some time after the Skirmish at Alligator Bridge, General Howe withdrew and invasion plans of East Florida were abandoned. The Last Naval Battle of the Revolutionary War The last naval battle of the Revolutionary War took place off the coast of Florida near what was to later become Cape Canaveral on March 10, The fight began when three British ships (Alarm, 32-gun frigate commanded by Capt. Charles Cotton; Sybil, 28-gun frigate commanded by Capt. James Vashon; Tobago, 18-gun sloop-of-war commanded by Capt. George Martin) sighted two Continental Navy ships (Alliance, 36-gun frigate commanded by Captain John Barry & Duc De Lauzun, 20-gun ship commanded by Captain John Green) sailing northward along the east coast of Florida. The Alliance and Duc De Lauzun were loaded with $72,000 in Spanish silver specie they were transporting from Havana, Cuba to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in support of the Continental Army. One of the British ships, the Sybil, pursued the Alliance and the Duc De Lauzun to the south. The Sybil fired on the Duc De Lauzun first resulting in a volley of shots being exchanging with the slower Duc De Lauzun. Over concern that the Duc De Lauzen would possibly be sunk or boarded by the British, Captain John Barry of the Alliance reversed his course to engage the Sybil, and while under fire, maneuvered the Alliance in close position to the Sybil to deliver a direct broadside. The Sybil, outgunned and badly damaged, broke off from the battle and fled. The Alliance and Duc De Lauzun then continued on their mission, and on March 20, 1783, the Alliance sailed into New Port, Rhode Island instead of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania due to the strong presence of British patrols there. Source: Content for this article was obtained from various websites that provided historical information on the State of Florida and its involvement during the American Revolutionary War. 10

11 BREAKTIME FUN -N- GAMES AMERICA S STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM A F S G F Z Q S S H E C O N C O R D F R E T I E T K O E O N I B V F W Y I E P B F A B L W N I F G A M E B T R E I A R M I Y S P B N R L H P R N E D R S I D X T P J T X O A A F A O W O T L A H I Y T R E B I L N N Z I O M S Y U T P Y W N W Z I O O C D T R U D Z U I O L B B Z E W D Q C E A K T A T K E C N E D N E P E D N I R S R I I Y L U J S D P U R W O S L A H O N W T A P O V A A B C I A S E L N W A S H I N G T O N L T C N E V C S I T E J A L R C O J U I A Y R I E T L E Q T Q I I T H L R H H S G E D P C Z G G O N S M O E V T X P N S F B N N W T U O F V M Y N M Q L O U K X P S I T B T E A B U M Z B X C C N T C C F O U R T H E C N A I L L A W SOURCE WORDS: ALLIANCE AMERICA BOSTON COLONIES CONCORD CONGRESS CONSTITUTION DECLARATION ENGLAND FIREWORKS FOURTH FRANCE FREEDOM HOLIDAY INDEPENDENCE JULY LEVIES LIBERTY MILITIA PATRIOTIC PHILADELPHIA REVOLUTION STARS STRIPES TEA WASHINGTON AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR TRIVIA: During the American Revolutionary War the country of France was a direct ally of the American Colonies, but what other country was also involved in our nation s fight for independence through its alliance with France, and eventually took control of West Florida from the British. During the American Revolutionary War, St. Augustine s Castillo de San Marcos was not only used by the British as a fortress, but also a prison to house prisoners of war. Among those imprisoned there during the war were three signers of the Declaration of Independence, who were they? What did the British rename St. Augustine s Castillo de San Marcos during their occupation of East Florida ? KEY STAFF CONTACTS: Please visit /Resources/Preferred News Summer 2013/Article Index for word search solution key & trivia answers As a member of Preferred your first call should always be to your agent, if however you need help beyond your agent please feel free to contact us as indicated below: Marketing: Kurt Heyman Operations: Ann Hansen Loss Control: Mike Stephens Claims: liability Julius Hajas 11

12 P. O. BOX Lake Mary, FL Standard Presort U.S. Postage PAID Permit 1979 Orlando, FL

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