For the third year in a row, the Waukee Community School District is the recipient of a “Slip, Trip and Fall Grant,” to help them address safety issues around the school buildings during the winter season. Representatives from the Waukee APEX Program and SFM Insurance were on hand to hand over a check for $1,600.


SFM Insurance works with Waukee APEX students in the Foundations of Insurance and Actuarial Science strand of the program. SFM also works with the school district to protect its employees with workplace injury and to manage claims when they occur, which helps to secure the districts financial assets by lowering their insurance premium.


Jason Clausen of SFM was at the Waukee School Board Meeting on Monday night and explained that the Slip, Trip and Fall Grant awards selected school districts that are insured by SFM a 50 percent or dollar-to-dollar match of up to $5,000 for projects designed to prevent slips and falls in the winter.


“The goals of the grant: decrease the risk of winter-time slips and falls for employees, provide equipment and resources that directly prevent these falls,” Clausen said.


Clausen said that awarding the grant to one school year three years in a row is a unique situation. In the past, the district used the grant to purchase a brine treatment product to pre treat sidewalks before the winter.


This year, the students in the Waukee APEX program worked on a deal with the Iowa-Illinois Safety Council to train school district employees on the Slip, Trip and Fall simulator.


Clausen said that this year’s group in the Waukee APEX program was a group of go-getters.


“They worked through a tough project that had to tackle many business challenges… that juniors in high school don’t usually run into, and they did it with grace and they came out on top,” Clausen said.


Waukee junior Charlie Barry, a student in the Foundations of Insurance and Actuarial Science strand of the Waukee APEX program gave a presentation on the project they worked on this year, that allowed Waukee to get the grant from SFM.


The hope is that by lowering slips, trips and falls through the project, the school district can lower its insurance premium.


The slip simulator that Waukee School employees will be traveling to experience is a 30-foot long glass floor with a soap-like solution, which makes it even more slippery than ice.


“So Danny (Drake, Barry’s partner on the project) and I went out and we tested that, which was pretty fun,” Barry said.


Employees will be wearing harnesses as they walk across the slip simulator while various things are happening, including having ping pong balls thrown at them, and being asked to hold a cup of water and not spill it as they walk across.


Videos will be made and then used during training sessions with additional employees back in the school district.


Waukee School Board President, Susan Bunz praised SFM for taking the chance to work with the Waukee APEX program each year.


“The APEX program, the students just get so much benefit out of that, but it wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have businesses that were willing to get engaged and work so closely with our students,” Bunz said.


Barry said that the project helped confirm that this is something he wants to do with his life in the future.