Spring 2004 Volume 23

Feature Articles

Click to view Work Comp - Accident Type chart

A Midwestern manufacturer had concerns about the security of its facility. Responding to the request, EMC loss control specialists conducted a comprehensive risk assessment for the company. To the manufacturer's surprise, security was not as big a potential financial risk as they thought. Far greater threats to the company were the potential for accidents and fires. Security didn't even make it into the top ten list of risks!

(click each chart to enlarge and view)

Loss Drivers Should Drive Your Loss Control Efforts

Click to view Property Loss chartDo you know what your leading causes of financial loss and business disruption are? They may not be what you think. Nor are they the risks you might be reading about. For example, this issue features a story about musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).

According to a review of five years of EMC's worker's compensation claims, overexertions account for 24.5 percent of claims and 22 percent of claims costs.

You should consider beginning your loss control efforts on those big risks (like overexertions) — the ones that not only happen the most, but result in a higher cost of claims and interrupt your business operations.

Click to view General Liability Loss ChartTo better serve the loss control needs of policyholders, EMC recently completed a comprehensive review of all commercial claims submitted between January 1998 and August 2002. “Although we discovered that our claims experience tends to run in the same slots year-in and year-out, we noted a discrepancy between the incidence of certain types of claims and the costs associated with those claims,” noted Norm Anderson, vice president of Risk Improvement. “Our advice would be to ‘follow the money’ — the larger the cost of the claim, the more severe impact it has on your finances.”

We encourage you to review the charts on these pages to help you direct your loss control efforts in the right direction. Your EMC insurance agent can access similar reports for your specific organization.

Click here to view Commercial Auto Loss chartOnce you understand what your loss drivers are, implement the necessary programs to reduce the incidence and severity of those drivers. “Organizations that have used this data to implement loss control programs have reported significant changes in their experience mods,” notes Anderson. “However, those changes will not happen overnight. They take time, energy and the commitment of everyone on your staff - employees and management!”

  1. Look for signs of potential musculoskeletal problems in the workplace:
    • OSHA Form 300 logs or workers' compensation claims show cases of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD).
    • Certain jobs or work conditions cause employee complaints of undue strain, localized fatigue, discomfort or pain that does not go away after overnight rest.
    • Job tasks involve activities such as repetitive and forceful exertions; frequent, heavy or overhead lifts; awkward work positions; or use of vibrating equipment.
  2. Show management’s commitment in addressing possible problems and encourage worker involvement in problem-solving activities. Management commitment can be expressed in a variety of ways — policy statements, meetings, goals, committing resources, compensatory arrangements, dissemination of information, and evaluative measures.
  3. Offer training to expand management and employee ability to evaluate potential musculoskeletal problems. For ergonomics, the overall goal is to enable managers, supervisors and employees to identify aspects of job tasks that may increase an employee's risk of developing WMSD, recognize the signs and symptoms of the disorders and participate in the development of strategies to control or prevent them.
  4. Gather data to identify jobs or work conditions that are most problematic, using sources such as injury and illness logs, medical records, and job analyses. Early reporting allows corrective measures to be implemented before the effects of a job problem worsen.
  5. Identify effective controls for tasks that pose a risk of musculoskeletal injury and evaluate these approaches once they have been instituted to see if they have reduced or eliminated the problem. A three-tier hierarchy of controls is widely accepted as an intervention strategy for controlling workplace hazards, including ergonomic hazards. The three tiers are as follows: (1) Reducing or eliminating potentially hazardous conditions using engineering controls; (2) changes in work practices and management policies, sometimes called administrative controls; and (3) use of personal equipment.
  6. Establish healthcare management to emphasize the importance of early detection and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders for preventing impairment and disability. Medical management responsibilities fall on employers, employees and healthcare providers.
  7. Minimize risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders when planning new work processes and operations. It is less costly to build good design into the workplace than to redesign or retrofit later.

This information has been excerpted from the “Elements of Ergonomics Programs” primer, prepared by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Washington, D.C. To read the complete primer, visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/97-117/

Computer Keyboard Wrapped in a Chain and Lock

No question about it, the use of computers has made our lives easier and our businesses more productive. Unfortunately, with the widespread use of technology comes numerous risks — viruses, vandalism, destruction of websites and stolen data. In most cases, the question isn’t whether your business will be a victim, but when! According to an FBI survey, 90 percent of the respondents detected computer security breaches in the last 12 months costing between $2,000 to $20,000 each. Installing the right hardware and software is not enough to protect your business from these risks. The human dimension must also be considered. Make certain your staff understands the importance of security and is committed to following steps as outlined in a written computer security policy. What should be included in such a policy? Consider the following tips from the National Infrastructure Protection Center.

Simple Computer Security Tips for Small Business

Tip 1 Use strong passwords. Choose passwords that are difficult to guess. Give different passwords to all accounts.
Tip 2 Make regular backups of critical data. Backups should be made at least once a day. Larger organizations should perform a full backup weekly and incremental backups every day. At least once a month, the backup media should be verified.
Tip 3 Use virus protection software. That means three things - having it on your computer in the first place, checking daily for new virus signature updates, and then actually scanning all the files on your computer periodically.
Tip 4 Use a firewall as a gatekeeper between your computer and the Internet. Firewalls are software and/or hardware products. They are essential for those who keep their computers online through DSL or cable modem connections, but they are also valuable for those who dial in.
Tip 5 Do not keep computers online when not in use. Either shut them off or physically disconnect them from your Internet connection.
Tip 6 Do not open email attachments from strangers, regardless of how enticing the subject line or attachment may be. Be suspicious of any unexpected email attachment from someone you do know because it may have been sent without that person's knowledge from an infected machine.
Tip 7 Regularly download security patches from your software vendors.


This information is provided courtesy of the National Infrastructure Protection Center.

Last year it was the Blaster Virus. This year, Mydoom is causing problems for many organizations. Protect your system from whatever comes along by taking these precautions:

  • Keep anti-virus software up to date.
  • Stay aware of current virus news.
  • Don’t open unexpected or suspicious e-mail attachments.
  • Download Internet files from reputable sites only.
  • Use caution when exchanging files between computers.
Electrical Plug

May Is National Electrical Safety Month!

Each year, hundreds of people are killed and thousands injured in preventable electricity-related accidents. One of the best instruments for prevention is education. In support of National Electrical Safety Month, EMC offers the following workplace electrical safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

General Safety Tips

  • Only trained personnel should perform electrical work.
  • Plan every job and think about what could go wrong.
  • Isolate equipment from energy sources (lockout).
  • Test every circuit and conductor before you touch it.
  • Work on electrical equipment only when deenergized, unless safeguards have been established to ensure zero exposure for the worker and other people in the area. Wear protective clothing and use insulated tools.
  • Deenergize and visibly guard (where possible) whenever contact with uninsulated overhead power lines is possible.
  • Double-check safety procedures when a ladder or parts of any vehicle or mechanical equipment structure will be elevated near energized overhead power lines.

Cords, Equipment and Tool Grounding

  • Check cords for cut, broken or cracked insulation.
  • Keep slack in flexible cords to prevent tension on electrical terminals.
  • Make sure the insulating qualities of a splice are equal to or greater than the original cord.
  • Use extension cords for temporary use only.
  • Verify that all three-wire tools and equipment are grounded.
  • Remember, water, electrical equipment, and power cords do not mix! Use GFCI protection in wet and damp environments.
  • Use non-conductive tools whenever possible.
  • Always double-check the operation of your voltage testers by testing a live circuit.

Other Considerations

  • Verify location of all buried or embedded electrical circuits before digging or cutting.
  • Determine the reason that a fuse is operated or circuit breaker tripped or opened before replacing or resetting.
  • Know where your overcurrent devices are (i.e. circuit breakers and fuses), so they can be easily and quickly reached in case of emergency.

OSHA’s Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) addresses employers who, despite OSHA’s enforcement and outreach efforts, ignore their OSH Act obligations, thereby placing their employees at risk. A primary component of the program is Priority Enforcement Cases (PEC). A PEC is defined as any inspection that meets one or more of the following criteria at the time the citation is issued:

  • A fatality inspection in which OSHA finds a serious (or willful or repeated) violation related to death.
  • An inspection that results in three or more high gravity serious violations classified as willful or repeat violations (or any combination of willfuls and repeats adding to three or more).
  • An inspection that results in two failure-to-abate notices where the underlying violations were classified as high gravity serious.

Any fatality inspection in which OSHA finds that a willful violation of a standard caused the death of an employee will, in addition to being subject to these PEC procedures, also be considered for criminal referral under section 17(e) of the Act.

Need information about OSHA inspections? You’ll find it online in EMC’s Loss Prevention Information Manual. Looking for fire prevention tips? Look no further than EMC’s Loss Prevention Information Manual. You’ll find it on the Policyholder Information & Resources page.

More than 30 different sections of our paper Loss Prevention Information Manual are now available at the click of a button. Some of the newest sections added to this site include Material Handling, Required Written Programs and Security, with more sections to be added throughout the year.

Count on EMC for online access to a wealth of loss control tips including the Loss Prevention Information Manual, Technical Information Sheets, Safety Talks, safety signs and EMC’s safety video library.

p>School bus transportation is pretty safe. In fact, buses are safer than cars! Even so, last year, approximately 25 students were killed and another 9,000 were injured in incidents involving school buses. More often than not, these deaths and injuries didn’t occur in a crash, but as the students were entering and exiting the bus. Consider posting these safety tips where students and staff can see them.

Play It Safe To And From School!

  • Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.
  • Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
  • When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten giant steps away from the bus. Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are out away from the bus.
  • Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
  • Stay away from the bus until the driver gives his/her signal that it’s okay to approach.
  • Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses, however, not all do.
  • Protect yourself and watch out!

Some Tips For Walkers

  • Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard. Never cross the street against a light, even if you don't see any traffic coming.
  • Walk your bike through intersections.
  • Walk with a buddy.
  • Wear reflective material. It makes you more visible to street traffic.

Contractors

Contractors shouldn’t focus so much of their time and money on reducing low frequency and severity losses. According to a study of EMC’s claims reported by contractors between January 1998 and August 2003, commercial auto and workers’ compensation claims top the list in terms of number of claims, but commercial auto and general liability are the most costly. “Although you may be reading more and more about crime and lawsuits, commercial auto claims represent 49.2 percent of contractor claims and 47.9 percent of total claim costs,” notes Norm Anderson, EMC vice president of Risk Improvement.

What types of commercial auto claims are most costly for contractors?

  • Despite the fact that rear-end accidents only account for 14.3% of total claims, they represent 30.4% of claim costs.
  • Open highway accidents, which represent 12% of the total claims, account for 21.6% of costs.

Compare those costs to auto glass, which accounts for more than a quarter of all claims, yet represents only two percent of total costs.

Contractors - Loss Drivers ChartAs the charts to the right indicate (click graphic to enlarge), general liability claims rank second highest in terms of cost (32.4%) and third in frequency (16.1%).

Your EMC agent can access reports based on your operation’s loss experience, which can show the loss for workers’ compensation, commercial auto, general liability, and property insurance. With that information, you can focus your loss control efforts on the big risks — the ones that not only happen the most, but result in a higher cost and greater interruption to your business and profits.

Local Governments

Municipal organizations shouldn’t focus so much of their precious time and money on reducing low frequency and severity losses. According to a study of EMC’s claims reported by local governments between January 1998 and August 2003, general liability and workers’ compensation claims top the list, both in the number of claims and the cost.

“The real surprise is that general liability only represents a little less than a quarter of the total number of losses, but it represents half of the total claim costs,” notes Norm Anderson, EMC vice president of Risk Improvement. What types of general liability claims are more frequent and most costly for local governments?

  • Claims involving streets and sidewalks represent 37.5% of claims and 23.4% of costs.
  • Falls represent 27.7% of claims and 18.1% of costs.

Local Governments - Loss Drivers ChartAs the charts to the right indicate (click on graphic to enlarge), workers’ compensation claims ranked the highest in terms of loss frequency (36.4 %), but represented only 20.1 % of total claims cost. Of the workers’ compensation claims, overexertion was the most frequent and most costly type of claim.

Your EMC agent can access reports based on your organization’s loss experience, which can show the loss drivers for workers’ compensation, commercial auto, general liability, and property insurance. With that information, you can focus your loss control efforts on the big risks - the ones that not only happen the most, but result in a higher cost and greater impact to your daily operations.

Petroleum Marketers

Petroleum marketers and retailers shouldn’t focus so much of their loss control efforts on reducing low frequency and severity losses. According to a study of EMC’s claims reported by petroleum marketers between January 1998 and August 2003, commercial auto and workers’ compensation claims top the list both in the number of claims and the cost.

“Although you may be reading more and more about fires and security, auto claims represent 27.2 percent of total claims and 31.5 percent of total claim costs,” notes Norm Anderson, EMC vice president of Risk Improvement.

What types of commercial auto claims are most costly for petroleum marketers?

  • Although auto glass represents 27.4% of claims, open highway accidents are the most costly, representing 25.8% of total claim costs.
  • Auto property damage represents 19.5%of total losses and 15.7% of total costs.

Petroleum Marketeers - Loss Drivers ChartAs the charts to the right indicate (click on graphic to enlarge), workers’ compensation claims rank the second highest in terms of number and cost. Of the total workers’ compensation claims, falls were the most frequent (30.1%) and the most costly (25.8%). Although claim costs for overexertion equaled falls, the frequency of overexertion claims was only 22.7 percent.

Your EMC agent can access reports based on your operation’s loss experience, which can show the loss drivers for workers’ compensation, commercial auto, general liability, and property insurance. With that information, you can focus your loss control efforts on the big risks - the ones that not only happen the most, but result in a higher cost and affect your daily operations and profitability.

Schools

Schools shouldn’t focus the majority of their time and money on reducing low frequency and severity losses. According to a study of EMC’s claims reported by schools between January 1998 and August 2003, workers’ compensation incidents top the list both in the number of claims and the cost.

“Although you may be reading more and more about terrorism and lawsuits, the recurring problem is still injuries to employees,” notes Norm Anderson, EMC vice president of Risk Improvement. “Employee injuries are also the costliest claims to most school districts.”

What types of workers’ compensation claims are most prevalent in schools? According to the study:

  • Slips and falls account for 24.7% of all claims and 34.1% of incurred dollars.
  • Overexertion accounts for 21.5% of all claims and 28.7% of incurred dollars.
  • Employees being struck by an object accounts for 17.2% of all claims and 6.2% of incurred dollars.
School loss drivers chart

As the charts to the right indicate (click on graphic to enlarge), losses involving autos rank second highest in terms of number and cost. Of the total auto claims, 52.7 percent involved auto glass, yet auto glass only represented 5.9 percent of the total claim cost. In contrast, open highway accidents accounted for more than 30 percent of the cost, yet it only represented 3 percent of the total claims. If your school is developing a fleet safety program, both of these issues should be covered, but placing more effort on reducing open highway accidents has a greater potential impact for your school, staff, and students.

Spring 2004