Loss Control Bulletin - Summer 2009
Controlling Your Exposures
In today’s difficult economic environment, development of an effective Loss Control and Risk Management Program is more important than ever. Implementation of such a program will help your agency to achieve its mission by providing services for consumers while controlling costs. The statement “Loss Control is Cost Control” accurately reflects the fact that identifying potential exposures and implementing procedures to control them will reduce the potential for incidents and claims, control insurance related expenses, and help to achieve the goal of an incident and injury free workplace. The first step of an effective loss control program is establishment of a Loss Control Committee. No matter what the name of this committee (Risk Management Committee, Loss Control Committee, or Safety Committee), its function is critical in helping your agency achieve its mission through delivery of service in a safe and cost effective way. Individuals who typically participate in the Loss Control Committee include an administrative representative (Executive Director, Associate Director, or designee), program directors/managers, HR representative, fleet coordinator, CFO/designee, medical director/clinic director, representation from line staff, and risk manager/insurance representative. Typical functions of the Loss Control Committee include:
Identification of potential exposures based on review of operations, facilities,
Identifying policies and procedures to help control recognized exposures, and
Review of incidents which have occurred since the prior meeting including review of
Supervisors Accident/Incident Investigations (Supervisors Incident/Accident Investigations should be completed following each case to determine the cause and address appropriate corrective actions)
Review of OSHA regulatory compliance and safety training needs Review results of inspections conducted by regulatory agency, insurance representatives,
vendors, or in-house staff, and address compliance with recommendations developed
Review of other safety and loss control related concerns Maintain minutes to document attendance and meeting content
Based on the size and scope of the agency’s operations, the meeting frequency needs will vary from as often as monthly but no less than annually, for the smallest of agencies. For most organizations, a quarterly meeting schedule works well to accomplish the above functions without being overly burdensome to staff. Establishing the committee will help to identify and control potential exposures, thereby reducing the potential for incidents and claims, and controlling future insurance related expenses. For assistance in developing a Loss Control Committee or in conducting an effective meeting, contact your agency’s loss control professional.
Novel H1N1 Flu Update
The following CDC recommendations will help you to stay healthy and reduce the risk of infection from the Novel H1N1 flu. Commonly referred to as the “Swine Flu”, this strain of influenza virus is unique because it is a combination of genes from swine, bird, and human influenza viruses. Infected individuals report flu-like symptoms including fever, aches and pains, sore throat, coughing, and trouble breathing. Some people also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. At this point, the CDC has not recommended that people avoid domestic travel. If you are or will be in an area that has been affected, there are several steps that should be taken. The outbreak situation should be monitored. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one resource to help you do this. You should ensure that all your routine vaccinations are up to date including seasonal influenza vaccine if available. Health care resources in the areas where you work or will be visiting should be identified. The local situation should be monitored by paying attention to announcements from local authorities and following local public health guidelines. Healthy habits to help stop the spread of influenza include:
Frequent washing of hands with soap and water to remove germs from the skin and help
prevent disease from spreading. Waterless alcohol based gels (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) should be used when soap is not available and hands are not visibly dirty.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze and put your used
tissue in a waste basket. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands, if you don’t have a tissue.
Wash hands after coughing or sneezing using soap and water or alcohol based hand gel. Follow all local health recommendations (i.e. wearing a surgical mask to protect others). If you feel sick, seek medical care. If you are ill with fever and other symptoms of Swine Flu like cough and sore throat see a
doctor, especially if you think you had contact with someone with Novel H1N1 flu or severe respiratory illness in the past 7 days before becoming ill.
Individuals with certain chronic medical conditions, persons age 65 years and older, children
under 5 years old, and pregnant women are at high risk of severe illness from influenza and should consider anti-viral medication including Oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) or Zanamiver (brand name Relenza).
Avoid further work or travel until free of symptoms unless traveling locally for medical care.
After any travel, closely monitor health for 7 days
Call a doctor or clinic for an appointment immediately if symptoms of Novel H1N1 flu
appear, to test for influenza and decide whether anti-viral treatment is needed. Always alert the doctor to symptoms, where and when travelled, and if you have had close contact with a person who has Novel H1N1 flu.
Avoid leaving home when sick except for local medical care or as instructed by a doctor. Wear a surgical mask to keep from spreading your illness to others. Avoid close contact with
other people as much as possible. Follow hygiene practices noted above.
Cell Phones/Electronic Equipment Use While Driving
It has been well documented that use of cell phones and other electronic devices, such as devices used for text messaging, create a significant distraction while driving. Some studies have demonstrated that use of cell phones while driving creates greater impairment than driving while intoxicated. Statistics from Human Factors, the Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, indicate that cell phone distractions cause 2600 deaths and 300,000 injuries in the United States each year. There are several state laws which ban hand-held cell phone use while driving. In one recent case, an employee of International Paper rear-ended a vehicle while driving on I-16 near Dublin, Georgia. The impact pushed the other vehicle into a ditch causing it to overturn, trapping the driver’s arm between the door and asphalt. This case resulted in a personal injury suit against International Paper, which provided a cell phone to the company’s driver. Later medical complications resulted in amputation of the claimant’s arm. The International Paper employee’s cruise control was set at 77 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour speed zone at the time of the incident. This, in combination with use of the cell phone while driving, allowed the claimant’s attorney to raise the issue of intentional negligence on the part of the employee and International Paper, and to seek punitive damages. International Paper Company recently agreed to pay 5.2 million dollars to settle the suit. Another recent case involved a jury that ordered the defendant (a corporation which provided a cell phone to its employee who was on the phone while driving and struck and killed a pedestrian) to pay over 2 million dollars in damages to the victim’s family. The case was settled for an unenclosed amount after the plaintiffs initially sued for 30 million dollars. A written policy in a personnel manual indicating that drivers operating motor vehicles on behalf of the agency, whether in company vehicles or personal vehicles on agency business must comply with state statutes on cell phone use may not be sufficient to protect the agency. Employers need to develop and distribute an official written company policy prohibiting employees from use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving on company business. If such use is necessary, drivers must pull over and park the vehicle in a safe location and then utilize the electronic devices. By developing and issuing this directive and requiring employee sign off to verify receipt and acceptance, use of cell phones or electronic devices while driving becomes an unauthorized and prohibited act by the employee, which may help to protect the employer from liability. For assistance in developing a sample policy, contact your agency’s Loss Control professional.
Certificates of Insurance
In today’s litigious society, the importance of obtaining Certificates of Insurance cannot be overlooked. Certificates of Insurance should be obtained in all situations when a contractor provides a service to the agency; if the agency leases out any space in a building or recreational space for business, individual, or other agency’s use; when vendors provide service to the agency (i.e. bus transportation); and for venues of field trips. Certificates should reflect coverage by an insurance carrier authorized to transact business in the state with rating of A- or better from by A.M. Best and Company. Minimum limits of liability should be:
Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability - $2,000,000 general aggregate Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability - $1,000,000 each occurrence
Personal Injury Liability - $1,000,000 each occurrence
Coverage A - Statutory Benefits Coverage B – $1,000,000
Other coverage depending on contract requirements
Professional Liability/Medical Malpractice (architect, engineer, attorney, insurance professional, etc.) - $1,000,000
(3rd party employee dishonest) - environmental impairment liability
coverage, Property coverage (installation floater, builders risk, owned property exposure)
Additional insured clause is to be included on the Certificates when appropriate and specific to the contract, event location, etc. Include 30 day notice of cancellation or non-renewal
To ensure this is done effectively, staff must be assigned to verify Certificates are obtained in all such cases and a diary system should be created to follow up for renewal certificates. If a certificate is issued as a requirement under contract or lease agreement, limits should be equal to or better than limits required by the contract. A copy of the contract and certificate of insurance should be provided to your risk manager and attorney for review. For additional information, contact your risk manager or Loss Control professional.
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