Help your small business clients establish a loss control program to minimize risks
Risk is a necessary component to running a small business: Is this supplier better than that one? Is this contractor licensed/bonded? Will this client pay in full? Whether your client’s small business operates as an entertainment or food establishment, a construction contractor, plumber, retail shop or practically any enterprise, risk is necessary to staying competitive.
At the same time, they also know that minimizing those risks is key to being competitive and profitable in today’s marketplace. Customer or employee injuries can easily lead to loss on their bottom line.
Because establishing a detailed yet organic loss control program is so important, we’ve compiled advice from a variety of insurance experts for you to provide to your small commercial clients. If they don’t yet have a loss control program, provide these guidelines to help them get started. Many of these points apply primarily to such industries as manufacturing, automotive services and labs, where potentially hazardous materials are used daily. If they already have a program in place, then use this information as a checklist to ensure they’ve covered all the bases.
Executive management will need to think through the following areas and determine strategy:
- Pinpoint what the program will do for the company (goals), why the program is needed (objectives) and how those outcomes can be measured (metrics).
- Create a policy statement to share with all employees that will clearly outline objectives, portraying top management’s determination in achieving an effective program.
- Involve all employees, whether management or work force, assigning responsibility as appropriate.
- Determine how to ensure effective employee participation at all levels.
- Outline how top management will review program results and employee involvement, making modifications as necessary.
Key elements in a loss control program for small businesses
Company safety policy. As part of their employee handbook, this policy should communicate the key role that safety plays in the company’s welfare.
Safety rules and procedures. These are developed and enforced primarily to help reduce or eliminate unsafe work practices that can cause personal injury and property damage. Rules and procedures should encompass both company wide and department-specific requirements and can also be used to justify disciplinary action in order to modify poor or unsafe work behavior.
Accountability. Because each employee has a responsibility for their own safe job performance, safety expectations should be incorporated into every job description. Assigning accountability and providing specific instructions for conducting work activities safely supports your client’s overall safety commitment.
Employee training. New hire orientation should incorporate training on the basics of safe job performance, in addition to the skills required to perform a particular job. Safety indoctrination instills a positive attitude toward safety from the first day on the job. Ongoing training is crucial as well, because it keeps safety in the forefront. Remember to include re-training for employees placed in new positions and those displaying poor or unsafe work practices.
Outside contractors. Third-party vendors and contractors, particularly those in landscaping, maintenance, janitorial, security or construction, may introduce hazards into the workplace. Provide guidelines to identify and control these health and safety risks, protecting contractors along with your client’s employees and patrons.
Site inspections. Critical to identifying and correcting workplace hazards, ongoing inspections should be directed at identifying both unsafe work practices and unsafe physical conditions. As part of your loss control program, all inspections should be documented in writing and submitted to appropriate management for corrective action. Incorporate follow-up procedures to ensure corrective action is completed in a timely manner.
Job Safety Analysis. For use in particular industries, a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) will help your client review specific tasks in order to identify its potential hazards and develop solutions to incorporate into job procedures to help eliminate or control the exposure.
Personal protective equipment (PPE). When hazards cannot be eliminated through engineering controls, use of appropriate personal protective equipment is mandatory. This equipment can help limit exposures and exposure time to a variety of physical, chemical, biological, and process hazards. Your client’s effective program should include equipment selection and maintenance procedures plus employee training.
First aid. Clients should consult with a physician when establishing first aid and medical procedures and in determining which first aid supplies to maintain. It is recommended that at least two employees trained in first aid and CPR techniques be available on each shift. Effective medical procedures will help reduce the potential severity of accidents by providing initial treatment and care of minor injuries, as well as by providing first aid care of more serious injuries until advanced medical help can be summoned.
Incident reporting and investigation. Provisions should be made to make sure that all accidents and injuries are reported immediately. Prompt investigation to uncover the real causes will allow for analysis and corrective action.
Once your client’s loss control program is in place, they need to continually monitor and evaluate its effectiveness. New techniques and procedures may need to be added to keep losses at bay.
Your Arrowhead underwriter or marketing representative can provide additional resources to help your clients maximize risk control and minimize loss.
This article was first published on our Tribal blog. It has been modified to better fit a wide range of small businesses.