In the past three to five years I’ve become painfully aware how fundamental safety is to risk management and to business owners’ bottom line.

I’ve seen workers’ compensation “experience mod” rates soar with: a couple of nasty – but preventable – worker injuries; a shoulder “strain” that morphed into surgery and 9 months of rehab; a lost finger in a saw with a new OSHA-mandated guard; a worker crushed in a baling machine when “just” removing some snagged cardboard.

Costs can skyrocket ~

Not only can Workers’ Comp insurance premiums increase – sometimes dramatically, but some liability insurers will also increase premiums when they become aware of “sloppy” or unexplained WC losses. Business executives can become bogged down in OSHA inspections, recommendations, fines and penalties and sometimes shutdowns.  Some of your customers – especially in construction – can impose restrictions on your work rules or even ban you from the job site.  And all that is before lawsuits, time-consuming discovery and costly, and perhaps uncovered, legal expenses.

How can you protect yourself?  

A Safety Program (Injury and Illness Protection Plan or IIPP in California) provides significant benefits.  It can be simple, but it’s not fool-proof.  It must engage all workers and have unquestioned management commitment.

Here are the eight key sections of any safety plan (from a model IIPP):

  1. Who’s Responsible for safety and this plan, improvements, etc.
  2. What Compliance is expected
  3. How to Communicate
  4. What Hazards exist in the workplace
  5. What Corrective Action has been implemented for these known hazards
  6. What is the process for Accident and Incident Investigation
  7. What Training is required
  8. What Documentation and Recordkeeping must be done

Moving forward ~

Over the next several months RiskSmart Tips will review these eight sections with both details and stories or examples.  Please join the conversation and share your comments [ezine: on the blog site] [blog: below] about your experiences and ideas.

Call (510-685-3883) or email ( to discuss any time-sensitive concerns.  There’s never any cost or obligation for a discussion!