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Safety Techniques and Actively Caring Principles
Steve Thompson  

Let’s begin with the assumption that your organization has met the basic legal requirements of safety, health, and workers’ compensation regulations. And that your company’s injury history has been reviewed, and existing trends have been identified. Your company has an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, and you are doing many things “right.” Some advanced safety topics include:

1. Safety is a value, not a priority. Corporate culture, mission/goals, and core values of integrity, authenticity, and honesty. Safety must be integrated as a core business function. Establish culture alignment for safety. Winning companies make teaching a priority.

2. Understanding that safety leadership is a choice, not a position. Key leadership ingredients include vision, passion, discipline, and conscience. Inspire commitment. Taking responsibility.

3. Safety must be internally driven. Establish a set of norms and improvement steps. Institute change if necessary (this will take time – remember it took miners nearly 50 years to establish a safety culture to wear hardhats.) Management orchestrates the change process.

4. Use “actively caring” vocabulary. Erase the word “claim” and “claimant” from your vocabulary. Use terms such as injured worker, or the person injured (vs. claimant), and injury, or stated injury (vs. claim).

5. Eliminate the mystery of workers’ compensation with supervisors and employees.

6. Minimize attorney involvement. Report injuries early to reduce costs.

7. Don’t focus on trying to eliminate fraud. Only 10% of injury cases are considered of fraud, although some cases may reflect abuse and malingering.

8. Healthy (emotionally and physically) employees have fewer injuries. Healthy workers have fewer workers’ compensation injuries.
9. Understand navigational principles of workers’ compensation. Studies of injured workers by Intracorp [1994, 1997, 2001], and University of Berkeley reveal the importance of keeping injured workers in the loop.

10. Real employee involvement in safety. Getting employees to commit to safety before they are hired. Public, active, and voluntary commitment

Steve Thompson is President of Aspen Risk Management Group. Contact Steve at: 619-294-9863, or via the Web at: www.aspenrmg.com