CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County saved millions of dollars last year in workers’ compensation costs thanks to new equipment and procedures the county put in place.

For more than a year now, we’ve told you the county was trying to find ways to lower workers’ comp costs because they were taking up millions of your tax dollars.

After cutting those costs by about two thirds in 2017, Horry County Council Member Johnny Vaught says that money could soon be used in other ways.

In 2015, Horry County had 261 workers’ comp claims costing the county $2.6 million, with the most expensive claims being public safety. 

 “If you look at our budget, human resources are about 74-75 percent of our budget. So, every dollar we can save there is major,” said Vaught.  

Vaught says those claims went from close to 3 million in 2015 and 2016 to just over one million in 2017.

“We’d like to get it down to zero, obviously, but by cutting it by 2/3 we’ve come a long way,” said Vaught.  

County Spokesperson Kelly Moore says Horry County Fire Rescue crews got new power stretchers so employees don’t have to lift heavy patients.

 “Each week our risk management team is going out into county facilities to see if there are any safety concerns that need to be addressed,” said Moore.  

Moore says they’ve also added backup cameras to patrol cars and now have every county employee go through multiple driver’s training courses.

We asked Vaught what the county will do with the savings if they continue to keep costs down.

“One of the things where we’re needing money all the time is public safety. So, if we’re saving and a  majority of the savings are coming through the efforts of public safety and decreasing those costs, why not feed it back into it,” said Vaught.

These costs are a lot like insurance costs. So, they’ll be high for a few years because of all of the claims the county saw in 2015 and 2016.

Moore says it’s not an immediate savings this year, but as long as the costs stay down, the county will be able to put those savings towards things like public safety in the next few years.