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Spring 2003 Volume 19

Feature Articles

What’s the best way to protect your business from the many security risks you face? Surveillance cameras? Employee identification badges? Better exterior lighting? Since 9/11, more and more companies are struggling with decisions relating to the safety and security of their facility and employees. At the same time, companies selling everything from alarm systems to metal detectors are making claims about the best way to achieve that goal.

According to Jerry Loghry, an EMC security consultant, the best way to protect your business is a thorough and complete risk assessment. “A risk assessment is a qualitative measure of the potential for losses resulting from the occurrence of uncertain events in a specific period of time,” explains Loghry, who is currently conducting “Security 101” programs for various state safety organizations. “The outcome of the assessment will be a report outlining a company’s exposures, vulnerabilities, threats, probability of loss, potential impact to assets and mitigation recommendations.”

Components Of A Risk Assessment

A thorough risk assessment consists of the following components: exposure determination, vulnerability assessment, threat assessment, hazard assessment, mitigation/countermeasure determination, performance testing, strategy review and strategy modification.

  • Exposure Determination — Understanding what assets are exposed to which potential threats. Most organizations will have the following assets exposed to loss — people, property, liability and income.
  • Vulnerability Assessment — Determining where your operations are vulnerable. Typical high-level vulnerabilities many companies have in common include loss of access to premises, loss of building and equipment, loss of personnel, loss of utilities, loss of communications and loss of major vendors.
  • Threat Assessment — Determining the probability and severity of various threats if they were to occur, including accidental, intentional and environmental acts.
  • Hazard Assessment — Each identified threat has one or more hazards that allow the threat to attack your company’s assets. If these hazards are removed, manipulated or modified, your company can eliminate or mitigate a successful attack from a threat.
  • Mitigation/Countermeasure Determination — Identifying efforts, programs and updates that will eliminate or reduce the effectiveness of threats. These measures can take a variety of forms, from trimming trees and shrubberies to installation of a biometric access control system. Typically, there is more than one effort that can be applied to any given threat. The most important component of any mitigation effort is senior management support and participation in the process.
  • Performance Testing — Each component, system, process and program must be tested to ensure that the security of your organization is in place. This testing should be conducted during normal daily operations and during simulated emergency situations.
  • Strategy Review — Continually evaluate the effectiveness of your security program to ensure that your existing risk assessment is current. At a minimum, an annual review of the status of your security program and risk assessment should be conducted.
  • Strategy Modification — Modifications should be made if at any time during your review a core component of your organization has changed. For example, new threats may have developed or technological changes may have made your security program obsolete.

Trust The Experts To Analyze Your Risks

Security risk assessments have become a very specialized discipline of their own. The task of critically looking at all aspects of business operations to assure that all threats have been accounted for is formidable. “Very few security equipment vendors have the experience and don't provide a true assessment,” warns Loghry. “At EMC, we are fortunate to have the resources and internal expertise to provide clients with accurate information and analysis.”

So, what's the best way to protect your business from the many security risks it faces? The answer is simple - a professional and thorough risk assessment. For more information on this important subject, contact your EMC agent who can arrange a meeting with an experienced EMC security specialist.

How likely is it that your business could suffer a loss as a result of an electrical surge? Consider this fact - there are an average of 1,900 thunderstorms in progress around the world at any given moment. The lightning from these storms causes an estimated $200 million in property damage, including loss of equipment from power surges.

Although the most obvious source of these surges is from lightning, they can also come from normal utility switching operations or unintentional grounding of electrical conductors. Surges may even come from machines within a building when the normal electric circuit is suddenly exposed to a large dose of energy.

Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company offers the following guidelines on how to protect your electrical equipment from the devastating effects of high energy surges.

Grounding Is Fundamental
A surge protection device (SPD) is designed to divert high-current surges to ground and bypass your equipment. For this reason, it is critical that your facility have a good, low-resistance grounding system. Without a proper grounding system, there is no way to protect against surges.

Zones Of Protection
SPDs should be installed to provide maximum protection regardless of the source location. For this reason, a “Zone of Protection” approach is recommended.

  • Your first level of defense is achieved by installing an SPD on the main service entrance equipment.
  • Your second level of defense is achieved by installing SPDs on all distribution panels within a facility that supply power to critical equipment.
  • Your third “zone of protection” is achieved by installing SPDs on each piece of equipment being protected.

Data Line Protection
Electrical surges are not confined to your facility’s electrical distribution system. They can enter your facility through phone/fax lines, cable or satellite systems and local area networks. In order to achieve maximum protection from surge damage, SPDs should be installed on all systems susceptible to such surges.

For maximum protection, SPDs should be installed as close to the equipment being protected as possible. Cable lengths should be short and straight to minimize the resistive path of the circuit to ground. A solid connection to the system grounding conductor is essential for proper operation of SPDs. The surge protectors should also be equipped with indicators that show if the circuit is grounded and operating properly.

All service entrance and distribution panel SPDs should only be installed by a licensed electrician familiar with the equipment and its use. In addition, it is recommended that a professional engineer experienced with surge suppression technology be retained to design the protection scheme for your facility to ensure that all SPDs are properly sized and coordinated.

Surge Protection Is More Important Than Ever
From PCs to robotic equipment, the devices used in today’s businesses have become increasingly sophisticated. As a result, machines that contain modern, printed circuit boards are very sensitive to power source disturbances. Surge protection that is properly sized and installed is highly successful in preventing equipment damage, especially for the sensitive electronic equipment that makes your business run smoothly.

Contact your EMC agent to schedule a meeting with an EMC loss control specialist to review your facility's surge protection program.

More and more businesses are installing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as a convenience to customers and employees as well as a way of generating additional income. However, the installation of ATMs also presents some unique risk exposures for businesses.

If you currently have an ATM or are planning on installing one, consider the following safety and security tips.

  • A well-lit machine is a deterrent to criminals. Check with state authorities regarding minimum lighting requirements for ATMs.
  • Keep the view to the machine as unobstructed as possible. This may mean removing landscaping around ATMs placed outside your business.
  • Consider the installation of a surveillance camera to provide an additional level of protection.
  • Provide information to customers and employees about steps they can take to ensure their security when using an ATM. Your local financial institution should be able to provide you with this type of information.

Bombing and the threat of being bombed are harsh realities in today’s world. Every business must do their part to ensure a safe environment. The National Security Institute offers the following tips for reducing the potential for personal injury and property damage in the event of a bomb threat.

In preparing to cope with a bomb incident, it is necessary to develop two separate but interdependent plans — a physical security plan and a bomb incident management plan.

  • Physical security plans provide for the protection of property and personnel against unauthorized entry or other illegal acts.
  • Bomb incident management plans provide detailed procedures to be implemented when a bombing attack is executed or threatened.

If there is one point that cannot be over-emphasized, it is the value of being prepared. Do not allow a bomb incident to catch you by surprise. By developing a bomb incident plan and considering possible bomb incidents in your physical security plan, you can reduce the potential for personal injury and property damage. For more information about bomb threats and security planning, visit

Computer security issues can range from vandalism to theft of money, destruction of websites to stolen data. Installing the right hardware and software is not enough to protect your company from these types of risks. According to the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, the human dimension to computer security must also be considered. Their advice — make certain that employees understand the importance of security and are committed to following steps outlined in a written computer security policy.

The mission of EMC’s Partnership Services is to help policyholders improve operating leverage and cash flow in a manner that controls insured risks.

Work-related injuries can be prevented and insurance costs reduced by discovering and making reasonable improvements in your operations.

During the initial phases of the Partnership Services process, EMC consultants meet with administrators, key personnel and instructors from various departments to illustrate how much of the workers’ compensation premium is truly under their control.

The next phase is the formation of a steering committee made up of people authorized to make or recommend financial decisions for the district. Through examination of historical information, the steering committee will select task forces to study departmental and/or building operations. After receiving training from the EMC consultant in risk factors associated with their jobs, the task forces will identify those tasks most likely to cause injuries.

The “at risk” tasks will then be prioritized and studied to determine if equipment or procedure modifications could be instituted to reduce or eliminate the possibility of these injuries. These proposed changes are then submitted to the steering committee for evaluation, authorization and, if necessary, funding changes.

EMC’s Partnership Services process has been highly successful in reducing school district workers’ compensation injuries and claims in districts across the country. If your district would like to participate in this process, contact your local agent or Monte Ball, Consulting Services Manager at 515-280-2597.

According to the Association for Childhood Education International, over 200,000 children suffer injuries each year that require emergency room treatment. Many of these injuries occur at public park, public school and fast food restaurant playgrounds that do not meet certain safety standards. With spring approaching, now is the time to make certain your community’s playgrounds provide a safe and healthy environment for children.

Use the checklist below (courtesy of the Consumer Products Safety Commission) to inspect your playground before playground season gets into full swing.

  • Selecting The Best Surface Material — The surfaces under and around playground equipment should be soft enough to cushion falls. For most play equipment, these surfaces should contain a minimum of 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel or shredded rubber. For information on selecting the best surface, visit the National Program for Playground Safety at
  • Use Zones — To cushion a fall, the shock absorbing material should extend a minimum of six feet in all directions from stationary pieces of equipment. In front of and behind swings, the material should extend a distance equal to twice the height of the suspending bar.
  • Equipment Spacing — Play structures more than 30 inches high should be spaced at least nine feet apart to allow children space to circulate or fall without striking another structure. Moving pieces of equipment should be located in an area away from other structures so children have adequate space to pass from one play area to another without being struck by a moving swing or by another child exiting from a slide.
  • Catch Points and Protruding Hardware — There should be no dangerous pieces of hardware, such as protruding bolt ends, narrow gaps in metal connections, or “S” hooks at the top and bottom of swings. Exposed hardware can cut children, puncture skin or catch clothing drawstrings which could strangle a child.
  • Openings That Can Trap — Openings in guardrails and spaces between platforms and between ladder rungs, should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than nine inches. Children can get trapped and strangle in openings where they can fit their bodies, but not their heads, through the space.
  • Pinch, Crush, Shearing and Sharp Hazards — Equipment should not have sharp points or edges that could cut skin. Moving pieces of equipment, such as suspension bridges, track rides, merry-go-rounds or seesaws should not have accessible moving parts that might crush or pinch a child’s finger.
  • Tripping Hazards — There should be no exposed concrete footings, abrupt changes in surface elevations, tree roots, tree stumps or rocks which can trip children or adults.

Don’t Forget Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act

According to the ADA, all playgrounds need to be accessible to children and parents with disabilities. According to Steve King, founder of Landscape Structures, Inc., a company that specializes in the design of accessible playground equipment, the most commonly accepted definition of an accessible playground is “one that, when viewed in its entirety, may be approached, entered and used by persons with varied abilities. Like sensations such as swinging, sliding and climbing should be available to all.”

Equipping playgrounds with ramps and transfer points are commonly accepted solutions to providing access to disabled people. Transfer points are elevated surfaces on an accessible route of travel that is 15 to 17 inches high, with grab bars and adjacent parking.

Getting hurt is not just a normal consequence of growing up. When children are seriously injured on a playground, someone failed to do their job of providing a safe and healthy environment for play. Do your part now by inspecting equipment before the playground season begins.

Recent research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that the risk of a rollover crash is greatly increased when 10 or more people ride in a 15-passenger van. This increased risk occurs because the passenger weight raises the vehicle's center of gravity and causes it to shift rearward. As a result, the van has less resistance to rollover and handles differently than other commonly driven passenger vehicles, making it more difficult to control in an emergency situation. Placing any load on the roof also raises the center of gravity and increases the likelihood of a rollover.

What situations can cause a rollover?
In studies of single-vehicle crashes, NHTSA has found that more than 90 percent of rollovers occur after a driver has lost control of the vehicle and has run off the road. Three major situations can lead to a rollover in a 15-passenger van: the van goes off a rural road; the driver is fatigued or driving too fast for conditions; or the driver overcorrects the steering as a panic reaction to an emergency or to a wheel dropping off the pavement.

What can schools do to protect their passengers?

  • Over the past decade, 80 percent of people killed in rollover crashes in 15-passenger vans were unbelted. Schools that use 15-passenger vans should have a written seat belt use policy. Drivers should be responsible for enforcing the policy. Seat belt use is especially critical because large numbers of people die in rollover crashes when they are partially or completely thrown from the vehicle. NHTSA estimates that people who wear their seat belts are about 75 percent less likely to be killed in a rollover than people who don’t.
  • Significant differences in the design and handling characteristics of a 15-passenger van make it drive differently than other passenger vehicles. Therefore, schools that use 15-passenger vans should select one or two experienced drivers to drive the vans on a regular basis. These drivers will gain valuable experience handling the vans. This experience will help make each trip a safe one.

How can rollover crashes be prevented?
Because most rollover crashes don't involve other vehicles, they are often preventable. Here are some tips for drivers to minimize the risk of a rollover crash and serious injury:

  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Make sure you are well rested and attentive, and always slow down if the roads are wet or icy.
  • Be particularly cautious on curved rural roads and maintain a safe speed to avoid running off the road.
  • If your wheels drop off the roadway, or pavement, gradually reduce speed and steer back onto the roadway when it is safe to do so.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated and the tread is not worn down. Worn tires can cause your van to slide sideways on wet or slippery pavement. Improper inflation can cause handling problems and can lead to catastrophic tire failures, such as blowouts. Therefore, check tire pressure and tread wear once a month.

One of the most devastating and common natural disasters that can compromise the safety of your employees is a tornado. It’s a common misconception that industrial buildings are not vulnerable to tornadoes due to their steel and masonry construction. Tornadoes may cause less visible damage to industrial buildings than to conventional frame construction, however, there is still a significant danger associated with tornadoes in any type of building.

As part of a facility’s emergency action plan, you should consider the installation of a tornado shelter to ensure employee safety. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a set of performance criteria for shelters. Some of the key points in that directive are noted below.

  • In general, the best protection from a tornado is an underground shelter. When constructing underground shelters, it is important to consider the number of current and future employees, the necessary space for each individual, and employee accessibility.
  • An above ground shelter is a safe alternative when underground construction is not feasible. To ensure occupant safety, the shelter must be constructed in accordance with FEMA guidelines. Shelters need to be properly constructed to eliminate the chance of material penetrating the walls.
  • Tornado shelters should always be maintained in an unlocked state so that employees may access them in an emergency.
  • If tornado shelter construction is infeasible or not yet complete, there are several things that can still be done to ensure employee protection. The most important step is to have an emergency action plan describing the procedures to help your employees reach a safe location. In general, the safest place to go is the basement (if one exists) or an interior room or closet with no windows, located furthest away from exterior walls.

Do not concede your property and your employees to a tornado. A properly exercised emergency action plan and a well-designed tornado shelter can ensure employee safety whenever severe weather strikes.

In an effort to tighten up licensing procedures and make the roads safer for all drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced new provisions of the commercial drivers license (CDL) and stiff penalties for violations. The rules, which were effective on September 30, 2002, include seven new provisions addressing the following: disqualification for driving while suspended, disqualified, or causing a fatality; emergency disqualification of drivers posing an imminent hazard; expanded definition of serious traffic violations; extended driver record check; new notification requirements; masking prohibition; and disqualification for violations obtained while driving a noncommercial motor vehicle. Some of the specifics of those provisions follow.

  • One-year disqualification for leaving the scene of an accident, for driving when your license has been suspended, or for causing a death through negligent operation. If you are transporting hazardous materials, the disqualification period extends to three years. Second convictions will result in disqualification for life. These penalties apply even when the vehicle being driven is not a truck.
  • Using a truck to commit a felony will result in a one-year disqualification for the first conviction, and permanent disqualification for a second.
  • Two-month disqualification for a second conviction within three years for speeding (15 mph above the limit), reckless driving, improper lane changes or violating a local traffic law in connection with a fatal accident. A third conviction for any of these offenses within three years results in a 120-day disqualification. These penalties apply even when the vehicle being driven is not a truck.
  • Two month disqualification for a second conviction within three years for driving a truck without a CDL, for not having the CDL in your possession or for driving without the proper CDL endorsement. A third conviction within three years results in a 120-day disqualification.
  • A first conviction for violating railroad-crossing laws results in at least a 60-day disqualification. A second conviction within three years results in a 120-day disqualification, and a third means at least a year off the road.
  • If FMCSA finds that a driver is an “imminent hazard,” up to 30 days of disqualification will be levied.

Other changes in the CDL program are aimed at state procedures to improve licensing procedures. According to FMCSA, the primary benefits expected from these new rules are fewer CDL-related fatal crashes because of the additional noncommercial motor vehicle operators — and CDL holders, specifically — who will be suspended or disqualified for violation of the new disqualifying offenses and serious traffic violations under this rule. For more information about these rules, visit

According to OSHA, workplace violence is the biggest threat to your business and employees. At its most extreme form, homicide is the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries, accounting for 11% of the 5,915 fatal injuries in 2000. OSHA has identified control strategies that can be implemented for a number of work settings.

The key to protecting the value of your buildings is determining accurate replacement costs. Using a data base developed specifically for this purpose, EMC provides building valuations to assist you in determining appropriate policy limits.

Your property valuation begins with an on-site survey conducted by a local EMC loss control specialist. Measurements, photos, diagrams and construction details will be noted and forwarded to EMC’s risk improvement department where cost estimators model each building according to its various components. The result is an accurate replacement cost valuation that includes overhead and profit, architect fees and regional adjustments for cost of materials and labor factors.

Accurate commercial property valuations are just one more reason why you can count on EMC to help protect what you've worked so hard to get.


Printer manufacturer Brother is voluntarily recalling about 100,000 printers. The printers (Models HL1040, 1050, 1060 and MFCP2000) can overheat, posing a fire threat. For more information call 8662366835.


OSHA has rewritten the requirements for exiting buildings quickly during an emergency. To view or download the final rule, visit


Stihl, Inc. is voluntarily recalling about 3,000 chain saws. Fuel can leak out of the saw’s tank, which could cause a fire or injury. The recall includes model numbers MS170 and 180. For more information, call 8006106677.


EMC’s online loss prevention information manual continues to expand. The newest section - Hearing Conservation - is now available online at Policyholder Information & Resources.