NonProfits have always fought the good fight – delivering on their mission to serve those in our communities who are the most in need.
Many tend to associate work-related injuries and accidents with construction and heavy manufacturing occupations. There are other jobs in which the occurrence of injuries is pervasive, and solutions to prevent those injuries are not as obvious. Often is the case with social service agencies that serve the needs of the developmentally disabled. While agencies may not be able to control the reimbursement for the services they provide, some have taken control of one of their largest line item costs: workers compensation insurance.
How This NonProfit Flipped Costs into Savings
A long-time Horton client operates a school for children and adults with autism. The professionals who work at this school are dedicated to the education and care of these individuals. Unfortunately, children and adults with autism can experience behaviors that present a hazard to staff and others. Staff can be exposed to bites, scratches, and being struck by clients experiencing behaviors. In severe cases, staff can be concussed or suffer serious soft tissue injuries.
For years, the Workers’ Compensation loss experience for this client escalated. They were close to being placed in the assigned risk pool. An assigned risk pool is where some clients are placed when all other insurers are unwilling to insure them. The risk pool not only represents higher costs, but the claims service provided by insurers forced to participate in the pool is often poor, resulting in even larger claims and additional costs. It’s a downward spiral that is difficult to stop. The school had attempted to stop the flood of injuries by increasing training and purchasing specialized personal protective equipment, but the flood of injuries continued.
Horton Safety Consultants were introduced during the summer of 2012. We started with the intention of identifying opportunities to prevent and reduce the number of injuries. Our safety consultant explained that many injuries are the result of decisions and actions taken by injured employees. A majority of the injuries occurred when staff intervened to disrupt the behaviors of their students. This intervening places staff in close proximity to the student exhibiting the behavior. Staff love their students and engage to mitigate disruptive or destructive behaviors because they care deeply about their student’s safety.
We recommended the creation of an accident review board process, based on success of successful implementation at the consultant’s previous employer. Most work-related injuries are poorly investigated. Rarely do they include the involvement of the injured employee in identifying root causes and actions to prevent the recurrence of similar injuries. Active involvement of the injured worker in the accident investigation process is critical to develop corrective action and a sense of “ownership” in preventing similar accidents and injuries in the future.
An accident review board consists of key executives from the C-suite, including the CEO. Human resources, safety personnel, operations, and a Horton Safety Consultant are also panelists on the review board. At an appropriate time following the accident and injury, the accident review board meets and interviews the injured employee and immediate supervisor. The employee and their supervisor are put at ease and told the board’s purpose is to identify the cause of the incident and develop corrective actions necessary to prevent similar incidents.
This particular client had Workers’ Compensation losses totaling at $660,000 in the 2011-2012 policy year. Seven years after the accident review process implementation, losses totaled $398,000 – a remarkable 49% reduction in the cost of workers’ compensation premiums.
Why it Matters
When properly implemented, the ARB process communicates a strong commitment of the organization to employee health and safety. It also reminds employees of the critical role they play in preventing injuries to themselves and others. Our customer learned that their employees put their own safety at risk to protect their students. As a result, employees increased the space between themselves and the student exhibiting behaviors. Additionally, we collectively developed and implemented different strategies designed to diffuse behaviors along with protective padding for employees to wear.
Is your business doing everything to keep employees safe while also driving down costs? Horton Safety Consultants can assist your organization in developing and implementing an effective accident review board strategy. We have successfully implemented this strategy for all types of industries, including construction, manufacturing, industrial, transportation, public entity, and nonprofit operations.
Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.