The importance of a Safety Programs and Meetings
Safety programs and meetings may seem like a time consuming task and they may seem like they do not make much of a difference until you have had a claim. Even the best run operations will eventually have some sort of work related injury occur. Whether it is a law firm who has a legal assistant injured in an auto accident or a construction worker who has a back strain occur on the job, something will generally happen the longer you are in business.
All carriers ask if you have a written safety program. This DOES come into play when agents are generating your quote and analyzing your business. For instance, if your business has a written safety program and conducts weekly safety meetings on a variety of topics than an underwriter might understand if you are having a year where a couple injuries occur. If you do not have these policies in place, your business may end up having a claims total higher than your premium paid. This may cause your current carrier to cancel you for claims. All of a sudden you can’t find an insurance carrier to cover your business.
I have had many clients in this exact situation. If your business has a safety program in place, what we have been able to do is make a case to the carrier on your behalf by using examples of your safety program and meetings conducted. We do this so when the carrier reviews your business they will take into account all of the right things you are doing and chalk up the recent stretch of losses to more of an outlier than an actual reflection of the way you run your business. On the flip side if you are not having regular safety meetings or do not have a written safety program than it is much harder to convince an underwriter that these losses are a fluke. With no examples to give them on why they will not happen again most underwriters and carriers will decline to offer a quote. This is because on paper it looks like there are no supporting arguments showing there is a plan in place to minimize the exposure in the future.
Now that we have established the importance of safety programs and meetings and programs, lets look at an outline that can be used. Meetings don’t have to be long. They can be quite quick and effective if you are prepared.
1. PLAN your meeting in advance by looking at topics you have encountered in your years of running the business, industry related issues, or ideas from your workforce.
2. Help your workforce see or understand what you are talking about through pictures and videos. Not everyone learns or is engaged the same way. Pictures and videos will allow you to show specific examples of the point you are hoping to make.
3. Tell your employees how to apply the information you have presented and see if they have any questions, thoughts or concerns.
4. Attendance should be required and not optional.
5. Document attendance so if it ever comes up you can show you are constantly training your employees on safety.
This is a simple guideline you can follow that will keep your team focused for the 10-30 minutes it may take to conduct safety meeting. Meetings don’t need to be long or cumbersome but they should be to the point and deliver your message in an efficient, effective manner.