Loss Control Ideas

Controlling losses and minimizing the impact of losses usually equals money well-spent. Here are some general hints.

Property Loss Control

All locations should have walk-through inspections at least twice a year. Look for fire hazards such as the use of extension cords, broken or uncovered electrical outlets, paper materials near break room stoves, and accumulation of boxes or trash in storage areas. Are fire extinguishers up-to-date?

Document the property you own. Have someone take pictures of the inside and outside of your offices and branch locations. Videos can work well too. Store the photos (or the digital images) away from your location. Make two copies. Store one in the main office and another in a branch location.

Review fire extinguisher use with all employees at least once a year. Branch managers can use ten minutes in a staff meeting to go over proper use of the extinguishers at their location. No special training is needed for the trainer — read the instructions on the extinguisher. (OSHA wants you to do this, too.)

Regularly review evacuation procedures with all employees at all locations. Test alarms at least every three months.

Inspect all locations at night, looking for adequate lighting of parking areas and around the building. Proper lighting discourages vandalism.

Consider installing video cameras in parking areas and locations susceptible to vandalism. Cameras help with slip and fall allegations, too.

Are overhang and awning heights clearly marked? Consider installing warning barriers that will alert drivers before their too-tall vehicles hit the building.

Are all the parking areas adjacent to your buildings equipped with parking guards to prevent vehicles from rolling into the side of the building?

Are ATMs and other drive-up areas properly guarded against damage caused by vehicles coming too close?

Liability Loss Control

Insist on clear walkways and sidewalks during winter storms.

Use nonslip surfaces in entryways and corridors. Assign an employee at each location with the responsibility of keeping areas dry that are otherwise prone to tracked-in water during rainstorms.

Remind branch personnel of the importance of responding quickly to slippery and hazardous conditions. (I’ve seen far too many reports of slip and fall accidents that begin with the phrase, “Several people had slipped in the entryway during the morning…” If only someone had put out a nonslip mat after the first person slipped!)

Tiled restroom floors should be regularly treated to retain their nonslip characteristics.

Instruct all branch managers on the proper procedure for handling slip and fall claims.

Have a disposable camera available at all locations to document the conditions at the time of a reported injury.

Be aware of food safety issues when snacks are put out for customers.

Workers’ Compensation Loss Control

Preventing claims is the best approach to controlling your workers’ compensation costs. No claims means low premiums.

What services does your insurance company offer that can help you with this? Many insurers have training programs and training tapes for your use.

Have an active safety committee with the authority to impact operations. No showcase committees — demand real, engaged, pragmatic work by a group of interested employees.

Have regular walk-through inspections looking for hazards.

Review the circumstances and facts of all incidents. Learn from past mistakes. What could have been done to prevent the problem?

Lead by example. If your company’s policy requires stretch breaks, then management needs to participate, too — be out there with everyone else. Employees watch the boss and follow his or her example.

Make some aspect of safety a part of every employee meeting. It can be a review of fire extinguisher use or a discussion on the importance of having ergonomically correct workstations. There is a natural way to include safety in all aspects of the operation. Safety is a habit.

Place emergency phone number stickers on the phones. Include emergency and nonemergency numbers for the police and fire departments. Don’t forget about poison control as well. The national hotline of the American Association of Poison Control Centers is 1-800-222-1222. All these numbers are available in the front of most phone books.

Consider ergonomic issues when designing work areas. What can be done to lessen strain and repetitive motion issues? How can lifting exposures be engineered to reduce claims?