Here's the story of how it helped one workers compensation client achieve a goal of zero injuries.
The personal and financial ramifications of inadequately managing risk are significant. Here is a story of how risk management helped one of my workers compensation clients achieve the important goal of zero injuries.
Five years ago, the principals of a large electrical contractor asked if I could help their company comply with customer safety requirements. After reviewing the contractor's workers comp injury reports, I noted numerous preventable accidents and injuries which had resulted in the temporary and permanent loss of valued employees, costly claims, a 1.37 experience modification rate, over $100,000 in additional workers comp premium, and disqualification from bidding on large construction projects.
The first thing I did was to ask the two principals to commit to elevating safety and accident prevention as a priority, on par with its other established business priorities: employee retention and satisfaction, quality work, profitability and engendering goodwill.
We then set about implementing the necessary practices. In addition to many generally accepted construction safety practices, such as adherence to electrical safety, personal protective equipment, fall protection, excavation and trench safety, we asked foremen to conduct and document a pre-start job hazard analysis (JHA).
A JHA is a process in which each day before commencing work, foremen meet with their crews to ask a number of questions to identify and address the ever-changing injury and illness risks and exposures in their workplace.
The questions include: What are we doing today? How could we get injured or ill? What do we need to do to protect ourselves? What equipment and personal protective equipment—such as hardhats, safety glasses, respirators, face coverings, and more—do we need and what other steps do we need to take to protect ourselves?
Foremen encourage crew members to make comments and suggestions that are recorded in the report. The risks and exposures are addressed and the completed JHA report is forwarded to the general superintendent.
The combination of the owners' commitment to safety as a corporate priority, employee and management execution of construction safety practices, and the daily JHA contributed to the contractor going more than four years without an injury, large customers awarding it platinum status, a dramatic drop in its experience modification rate to 0.65, and paying $150,000 less for workers comp insurance.
The contractor further minimized its risks and exposures by implementing a pre-task safety planning process for work and tasks with an inherently high risk of injury and illness.
This is just one small example of how employers and other entities, whether public or private, can embrace risk management. This approach is certainly transferable.
Robert K. Tuman, president of CCR Safety Consulting, is an independent construction risk manager and safety consultant with nearly 40 years in the industry. He can be reached via email or at 805-545-5976. Tuman thanks the many loyal agents and agencies which helped him get started as a risk manager and safety consultant—especially those Massachusetts-based agents and agencies. He is most grateful for their trust.