Member Spotlight: Estes Valley Recreation and Park District

Training at the Top of the World: Every day is training day at Estes Valley Recreation and Park District

Estes Valley Recreation and Park District (EVRPD) sits only a few miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, so both fun and safety are always on their radar. Their amenities include a marina, campgrounds, golf courses, playgrounds, ball fields, and trails. This includes a recently-opened 67,000-square-foot recreation center that boasts pools, an indoor track, gymnasium, and fitness areas. We had the opportunity to speak with the EVRPD staff about their district’s safety culture and effective approach to staff training.

Top-to-Bottom Training

Management participation is one of the most important elements in an effective safety culture. When managers and supervisors commit to safety initiatives, it sets a good example for employees. Thomas Carosello, EVRPD’s executive director, believes that training starts at the top. He makes a point to release an annual announcement reminding everyone that safety is, and always will be, the top priority at Estes Valley.As EVRPD hires a large number of seasonal employees every spring, HR includes registration instructions to TargetSolutions in a welcome email. New employees can then start training right away on their first day. EVRPD also includes an attachment that lists all of the courses relevant to the new hire’s position, so that they have a sense of the kind of things they will be learning about. EVRPD’s HR Manager tells us that upper management has been supportive of these efforts. They believe that this approach demonstrates their commitment to training.

Assigning Safety

Last year, EVRPD began assigning training to specific employees or groups of employees based on past incidents. Rather than punitive, these measures were in place to prevent unfortunate events from recurring. For example, after an incident where a truck door was left open and then damaged, the district assigned courses about fleet management to their team to keep them more aware of those practices.

In another instance, there was a conflict between an employee and a supervisor. Per the district’s HR policy, they were asked to take the course Anger, Violence, and Conflict in the Workplace. Having these types of courses available to all staff, including management, has given the district an arsenal of problem-solving tools to overcome obstacles.

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Many of the district’s employees hold custodial or maintenance positions. Given the frequency of back injuries related to those positions, the back injury prevention course has shown how to prevent these from happening with simple, comprehensive instruction.

EVRPD has also assigned courses like sexual harassment and drug-free workplace. Liabilities aside, EVRPD’s management believes that it’s important that everyone knows what sexual harassment looks like. This will help employees prevent, halt, and call out these abuses before they become long-standing issues.

The drug-free workplace course is also important since medicinal and recreational marijuana use are legal. Despite this, EVRPD has a zero tolerance policy on drugs in the workplace, and wants new hires to be informed from the start. These rules are important for any district that operates heavy machinery or works in public accommodation.

Training Discount Program

All of the things we’ve discussed have made Estes Valley a much safer place to work and play. While that is a worthwhile goal in and of itself, there was a financial incentive as well. EVRPD has around 150 employees, and tasked each of them with taking courses that would the district for the Pool’s Training Credit programs. Even though this was a big task for a district of this size, it meant tremendous savings to their Liability coverage.

When we determined which districts qualified for the Training Credits last year, EVRPD was near the top of our list. Their dedication to training did not just earn them the discounts, but helped better an already great district.

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