Audit of LAPD Workers’ Compensation Prevention Program

Over the course of the past four years, the City of Los Angeles paid out more than $800 million in workers’ compensation benefit payments and medical costs, and nearly 29,000 claims were filed by City employees. More than 60% of these claims were made by our sworn Police and Fire Department personnel. Most notably, a staggering 66% of all firefighters, and 60% of all police officers, filed at least one workers’ compensation claim against the City over the course of just the last three years. Some 44% of LAFD claimants and 42% of LAPD claimants filed two or more claims during the same period.

The problem of injuries and claims is a serious one — and growing. Workers’ compensation costs for the LAPD and LAFD have grown 35% over the last five years. The costs for workers’ comp for the LAPD and LAFD in fiscal year 2013-14 alone totaled $141 million — that’s a great many injured employees, and enough money to pay the entry-level salaries of 2,328 police officers or 2,374 firefighters.

Today, I am releasing audits of both the LAPD and LAFD workers’ compensation prevention programs. The reports detail two departments that seem to be more focused on preventing large, calamitous accidents than smaller, more common injuries. And yet, as the reports recommend, by preventing such common injuries, the City can keep our dedicated sworn personnel safer — with the potential to reduce our spiraling claims costs by up to $28 million a year.