News You Can Use CORPORATE COMPLACENCY: The Silent Killer How to Create an Organization that is Focused on Zero-Injuries By Carl Potter, CSP, CMC and Deb Potter, PhD, CMC
A Workers’ Compensation News and Information Resource
2 0 1 0 W i n t e r I I s s u e 1 4 , V o l u m e
STATE ACCIDENT FUND
Every day in the United States on the average, 15 workers lose their lives as a result of injuries or illnesses related to their work – that’s over 5700 people. These people leave behind families, friends, and co-workers. The single most common cause is complacency – an attitude that “it won’t happen to me.” Complacency Kills Too often individuals and companies become complacent when it comes to safety. Managers are satisfied with mediocre safety performance and do not work to improve the environment by raising safety awareness and eliminating the potential for injury. Employees are content and are not attentive to their work environments. They become convinced that management is not concerned about safety. They begin to think they are not responsible for their own safety. Over time, the entire organization gives little meaningful attention to safety. The result is that employees begin to get in a hurry and take shortcuts on the job. They are more focused on production and getting the job done than getting it done safely. That attitude becomes an organizational norm. Near-misses go unreported. No one wants to take the time to fill our forms and employees don’t understand the connection between sharing information and eliminating injuries. Managers do not pay attention to reports, so they are unimportant. The number of injuries increases and they become more severe. Everyone becomes frustrated. Employees blame management and management blames employees, yet no one is
willing to take action to improve the situation. Unfortunately, it often takes a fatal injury to cause everyone to focus on safety. Don’t let this happen to your organization. The Complacency Trap Research shows that many incidents occur because people are distracted and do not pay attention to what is going on around them. Managers often fall into the same trap – they are distracted by pressing issues such as the needs to increase productivity, improve quality, and raise profits. They stop paying much attention to the importance of safety in the organization and are unaware of what is really going on with regard to safety. In other words, they become complacent. When managers and supervisors do not make safety a top priority in the organization, it is easy for employees to make personal safety a low priority. Then incidents and injuries occur with increasing frequency. There are two things that must happen to avoid this potentially deadly situation. First, managers must renew their commitment to the safety process and second, employees must get involved in meaningful safety activities. Managers – Get Committed! It takes more than just saying you are committed to safety – you have to put actions behind the words. Managers can demonstrate their commitment to safety in a number of ways. First and foremost, managers must follow the company’s (Continued on page 2)
SAF E-mail, Volume 14, Issue I Winter 2010
The Benefits of Early Reporting
TERM OF THE QUARTER
New Web Reports for SAF Policyholders
Medical Management Vendor: Group of nurses who authorize and direct the care of an accepted workers’ compensation claim.
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safety rules. Then, regularly attend safety meetings. Also consider the following ideas. •
Take time to walk around and talk employees. Visit employees in their workplaces whether on the shop floor, in the field, or in the office. Talk about your personal concern for safety, and then listen to their concerns. Take personal action to correct unsafe situations and follow up to let employees know the outcomes. Make it a point to personally review all reports of near-misses and injuries. When managers review reports of injuries and near-misses, it demonstrates the importance of the information. Follow up on the reports to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to eliminate the causes of incidents in your organization. Take care to ensure that your follow up is a positive action rather than a punitive one.
Integrate safety into all aspects of management planning. During the organizational planning process include safety goals and objectives then ensure that the budget includes appropriate items for safety improvement. Communicate expectations about the goals, objectives, and spending throughout the organization. Make it a point to review the progress on the goals and objectives to encourage sustainable change in the organization.
Enable employees to get involved in the safety process. Identify areas where employees can get involved in the safety process and encourage their participation by allowing work time for appropriate activities. Ask employees with specific skills or interests to participate in safety improvement projects. Then recognize their involvement and efforts.
Managers at all levels of the organization can have a profound effect on the safety culture of an organization by following these suggestions. Employees will be more committed than ever once they see their supervisors and managers taking safety seriously.
SAF E-mail, Volume 14, Issue I Winter 2010
How to Get Employees Involved Nothing energizes an organization’s safety improvement efforts more than employee involvement. First, make employees aware of how they can get involved in the safety process. Involvement can come in many different forms. Encourage employees to get involved in the following activities and others: Reporting all unsafe conditions Attending safety meetings Serving on employee safety committees Planning and leading a safety meeting Participating in incident investigations and facility walk-throughs Engaging in conversations with supervisors and managers to share improvement ideas Employees whose ideas and involvement are valued will increase safety performance faster than employees who are just simply following the rules. Create opportunities for employees to contribute ideas and information that will lead to safety improvement. Stamp out Complacency to Create a Safety-Focused Organization To create a culture in your organization where injuries are a thing of the past, remind everyone that complacency is a dangerous thing – it’s a killer. Find ways to pique employees’ interest in finding ways to make safety improvements. Create motivation for positive change in the organization by believing that it’s possible to have zero injuries in your organization and communicating that belief to employees. Show employees the relevance of working safe to their jobs, careers, paychecks, and, most importantly, their families. This will create an environment where everyone at every level in the organization will increase their commitment and their involvement in making the workplace injury-free. The result is that everyone can go home every day to their families without injury. ### Carl Potter, CSP, CMC and Deb Potter, PhD, CMC work with organizations that target a zero-injury workplace where nobody gets hurt. As advocates of a zero-injury workplace, they are speakers, authors, and consultants to industry. To order a copy of their latest book Zero! Responsible Safety By Design, contact them at Potter and Associates International, Inc. 800-259-6209 or www.SimplySeamlessSafety.com.
Reporting The Benefits of Early Reporting Reprinted with permission from The Workers Compensation Fund
You've heard it over and over again-report claims as soon as possible to lower claims costs, but do you put this adage into action? The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) confirmed that the faster the claims process is started, the lower the workers' compensation costs. When there was a delay in reporting, there were higher medical costs, higher rates of attorney involvement and litigation, and disputes over causation, and longer periods of disability than normal for a particular injury. In their research, IAIABC discovered there was little difference in claims cost with claims reported within a few days of the injury. However, after seven days, claims costs began to escalate and when reporting was delayed 29 or more days, the claims costs were about 45 percent higher. In a separate analysis, The Hartford examined 30,000 claims in three categories-back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve disorders, which accounted for two-thirds of all lost-time workers' compensation claims. They discovered the claims filed five or more days after an injury cost an average of 15 percent more than similar claims filed within 48 hours. In a review of 78,000 claims, Kemper Insurance discovered that injuries reported within 10 days cost an average of $12,082. Injuries reported between 11 and 20 days cost $15,582, and those reported between 21 and 30 days cost $17,920-an increase of 48 percent than those reported in 10 days or less. In 2009, the average number of days that it took WCF policyholders to report claims was approximately 28 days. According to the research done by Kemper Insurance these WCF policyholders saw a 48 percent increase in their claims costs simply for late reporting. Taking the following measures can help in reporting claims earlier and lowering your claims costs: 1. 2.
3. 4. 5.
Educate your employees on how to report an accident. Establish a written company policy that includes the individual's name in your company who receives accident reports. Don't ignore a claim, even if you think it is questionable. Report all incidents that require any medical treatment to your workers' compensation carrier. The law requires all employers to file a First Report of Injury. If you dispute a claim, report it anyway along with a letter outlining your concerns. It will allow your carrier to manage a claim without accepting liability until a thorough investigation has occurred. Establish a relationship with a company physician and clinic. Occupational Medical Centers serve as excellent company doctor choices. Be sure to notify your employees of your choice. Stay involved with your claims. Keep in contact with your injured employee. Address your employee's questions or concerns about returning to work. Provide modified duty as soon as possible. The sooner an employee returns to work, the easier it is to manage the medical costs. Often, they see the doctor and therapists less frequently. There is also a therapeutic value to being at work, following a regular schedule, and seeing friends and associates. It increases communication, is an effective way to handle a difficult claim, decreases potential for fraud, and controls benefits. Work closely with your adjuster. He or she will become familiar with your company and will help coordinate your workers' compensation needs, including providing loss runs, analyzing trends, offering suggestions, and helping you set up programs such as modified duty and a company doctor.
Safety Corner Eye Safety Reprinted with permission from The Workers Compensation Fund
Each year the American Optometric Association (AOA) dedicates the month of March to raising Americans’ awareness of the importance of regular eye care. When evaluating the eye care needs of your employees, take into consideration the following eye safety facts. Each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain jobrelated eye injuries that require medical treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). SAF E-mail, Volume 14, Issue I Winter 2010
Approximately 60 percent of workers sustaining eye injuries were not wearing proper protective eyewear, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "I didn't think I needed them" should never be the answer as to why safety glasses were not worn. An estimated 90 percent of eye injuries could be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear on the job, according to the National Eye Institute. (Continued on page 4)
SAF Help Desk New Report Available On-Line for SAF Policy Holders By: Steve Flowers
The SAF website, www.saf.sc.gov, was created with our policyholder’s needs in mind. We are continually enhancing and adding reporting tools to help our policyholders monitor their claims. Policyholder representatives who are registered users on our website will now see a new “Claim Activity Report” on the home “Reports & Forms” screen. The Claim Activity report is based on the data available on the older CM51A, providing an easy way to keep track of claims that are newly received (and still open) or closed for a given time period. As with all of our Ad-Hoc reports, the Claim Activity report runs from data that is refreshed every 24 hours. The constantly updated data means policyholders can better monitor claims as they are opened or closed. Like the CM51A, the Claim Activity Report contains dollar amounts for Medical, Indemnity, and Other Payments, Recoveries from Third Parties (TPY) and Second Injury Fund (SIF), The Total Paid, and the Projected Total Payout. Policy Holders can click on the Medical or Indemnity totals to see details for the transactions in that total. Unlike the CM51a, the Claim Activity report can be run daily for the month to date numbers, or for a wider range than a month (i.e. Quarterly or Annually).
Each column can be sorted by clicking the column title. The report also features an “Export to Excel” button that allows you to output the data to Excel for your convenience. If you haven’t tried the Ad-Hoc reports on www.saf.sc.gov, we encourage you to log-on and view the reports that are out there. The Claim Search, Loss Summary, Payment Activity, Claim Activity, and Loss Time Report all update nightly, providing up to the day data for all active policy holders. Many of the reports are based on the PDF Monthly reports, but have an active connection to update daily. If you are a policyholder representative and have not yet registered for on-line access to your policy, we encourage you to take advantage of all the tools available through our website. To register for this free service provided to all policy holders, contact your SAF Adjuster, Premium Auditor or Loss Control Representative and let them know you would like login credentials for the website. You may also contact the IT Department directly at email@example.com or (803)-8965848. As always, if there is an enhancement or modification that you think will allow you to better monitor claims, please feel free to e-mail your suggestions.
Safety (Continued from page 3)
Under the Healthy People 2010 program, the nation’s official public health agenda, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hopes to cut workplace eye injuries by almost a third over the course of this decade. Industry standards now recognize two classes of industrial safety lenses: traditional basic impact lenses and high impact lenses, shown in ballistic tests to offer improved protection against flying particles. Basic impact protectors can only be worn in situations where known or presumed hazards are low impact in nature. High impact protectors (Z87+) provide protection to hazards of high velocity and/or high mass. Safety eyewear is now available in a variety of new styles and materials that make it more attractive and comfortable to wear. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require employers to ensure workers have suitable eye protection.
To that end, OSHA requires employers to formally assess workplace eye hazards, select the appropriate type of eyewear to use, train and certify employees in eye protection, and plan for eye emergencies. (See the OSHA Eye and Face Protection eTool, a step-by-step guide to OSHA requirements, hazard assessment and safety eyewear selection at www.osha.gov/ SLTC/etools/eyeandface/index.html) Workers who wear prescription glasses must also wear required eye protection. Protective eyewear must be properly fitted to be effective. Don’t let lack of comfort be a barrier to full-time safety eyewear use. The American Optometric Association recommends that supervisory officials in the workplace, in schools, and at recreational events should mandate wear of eye protection in all activities in which a risk of eye injury exists. Source: American Optometric Association
This quarterly newsletter is provided as a service to SAF policyholders. If there are any items you would like to see addressed in this quarterly publication, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please e-mail Rachel Cambre at firstname.lastname@example.org. SAF E-mail, Volume 14, Issue I Winter 2010
Following are some “insider tips” to help ensure smoother policy administration:
By: Rachel Cambre
The SAF would like to welcome its newest staff members: Premium Auditors John Long Claims Staff Claims Adjusters Elizabeth Schachner Amanda Arnold Elizabeth McNair Shalawn Backstrom Cheryl Bennett Helen Burch Meredith Lyles Shannon Bedell Claim Tech Eddyann Cruz IT Department Jeremy Lane Erica Peake Lisa Morse Management Support Rachel Cambre
Get it in Writing Take a written statement from the injured employee immediately after a work-related injury or illness is reported. Have the employee document the reported cause, the scope of the injuries and the names of all witnesses. This prevents the employee from later embellishing the injury or work exposures—or naming surprise witnesses.
No Faxes The State Accident Fund will NOT accept faxed bills and/or mileage statements.
No Out-of-Pocket Policyholders, please discourage injured workers from paying out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Contact Changes When you have any staff changes that result in a change to your agency’s Workers’ Compensation contact person, please contact Rachel Cambre, email@example.com. Providing this updated information helps ensure that you receive all information in an appropriate and timely manner.
In memory of SAF staff member Warren Farray, who passed away February 10, 2010.
Question: If an employee gets stung by a bee and the sting is treated with ice, is this an OSHA recordable injury? Would the recordability change if the employee went to the doctor?
Question: The doctor placed an injured employee on restricted work activity, but we do not have any “light” work for the employee to do. How should we record this if we cannot accommodate the work restriction?
Answer: The injury would not be an OSHA recordable if the only treatment was ice and/or some other form of first aid. However, if the employee goes to the doctor, and the doctor gives the employee a Benadryl shot, then the injury becomes recordable because the employee received medical treatment. On the converse, if the employee is prescribed Benadryl over-the-counter (OTC) to be taken per manufacturer’s instructions, then the injury is not recordable.
Answer: Only the employer has the ultimate authority to restrict an employee's work, so the definition is clear that, although a health care professional may recommend the restriction, the employer makes the final determination of whether or not the health care professional's recommended restriction involves the employee's routine job functions. The employer must do an analysis of jobs to determine whether a suitable job is available to accommodate the employee’s job restriction. If you, the employer, cannot accommodate the employee’s job restriction and you send the employee home, you must record the injury as “Days Away From Work” instead of “Job Transfer or Restriction”. Reprinted with permission from the South Carolina OSHA website, firstname.lastname@example.org .
SAF E-mail, Volume 14, Issue I Winter 2010
REMINDER: Don’t forget OSHA 300 Logs must be completed, and the summary OSHA Form 300A posted, by February 1 and must remain posted for three months, thru April 30, 2010. If you have any questions about the changes or need assistance in processing, please feel free to contact the State Accident Fund Safety Office, Barney Derrick at 803-896-5935 or, Ray Coleman at 803-896-5855.
PO Box 102100 Columbia, SC 29221 Questions? Comments? Please contact Rachel E. Cambre, Editor Telephone (803) 896-5409 Fax : (803)612-2710 E-mail: email@example.com
Check out our policy holder services online: www.saf.sc.gov
Workers’ Compensation Insurance If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you would like to receive it directly, please email the above address.
South Carolina State Accident Fund’s Quarterly Workers’ Compensation News and Information Resource
SAF E-mail, Volume 14, Issue I Winter 2010