Safety and the Bottom Line

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 (charles@risksmartsolutions.com) to discuss any time-sensitive concerns.  There’s never any cost or obligation for a discussion! 

By | 2014-03-11T07:05:13+00:00 March 11th, 2014|Insurance Protection, Workers Compensation Insurance|1 Comment

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  1. Charles T. Wilson March 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    My good friend and fellow consultant, Corri DiBagno sent me this story by email:
    “I recall an industrial client that mandated “steel toe” safety shoes to work on the plant floor. Most new employees did not have such footwear…this specific insured would “sell” safety apparel thru their company store. One guy bought a pair of safety shoes and complained to his foreman his shoes were “too snug”, he went to the store to seek a return. The company would not accept a return as he had “worn them” (only for 1 day-shift). Well the guy continued to wear the tight shoes….his feet began to swell and he continued to complain to no avail. Ultimately, an infection took hold…this guy ended up losing his leg to the knee…lost time under WC…plus a lawsuit for not taking back the boots from their company store. All in all with lost time disability, medical, GL/Umbrella etc…the claim exceeded $ 2.5 million!! What a mess all for a pair of “snug shoes”!

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