New Audit Shows Lack of Safety Protocols That Lead To Injuries and Waste of Taxpayer Dollars

Written by Sasha Reva

Based on a new city audit, millions in taxpayer money are wasted by San Diego which also includes rigorous safety protocols which are not preventing injuries to city workers.

The city’s rate of workers’ compensation claims is 17 percent higher now than in all of the average cities in CA. In 2017, the annual amount was $34.5 million and it got to $40.7 million, a 17 percent spike. 220 million dollars was spent in injuries to San Diego’s 11,000 city employees.  Last year, the city spent more than $216 million on libraries, entire parks and recreation systems.

The City Council’s Audit Committee has a meeting to review the new audit at 9 a.m. Thursday. According to city management, many departments don’t investigate injuries to their workers because they have not been trained to conduct such investigations. The audit puts the blame on the lack of training.

The Police Department was the only department that failed to meet all six of the audit’s criteria for safety programs. However, the Fire-Rescue Department and Environmental Services Department passed all six of the criteria. 

The criteria were:

  • Specific safety plan;
  • Regular inspections;
  • Hazard Corrections;
  • A person who is in charge of safety;
  • Communications of policies;
  • Regular Training.


Auditors received information that employees lack confidence in the city’s safety policies. About 42 percent of 821 employees surveyed said they don’t believe their department provides sufficient training and 36 percent said their department sometimes risks their own safety to perform a task.

“Workers’ Compensation is missing potential information on the pervasiveness of workers’ compensation claims fraud or potential trends across the city,” the audit says. “Additionally, without centrally tracking all fraud red flags and tips, there is a risk that some red flags or tips are not fully investigated.”

The audit also commenced the city for moving the Occupational Safety and Health Division into the city’s Compliance Department. The division will monitor safety plans in a more detailed way.

Photo Cred: California Department of Transportation