Having a safety culture in which the proper policies and programs are in place, understood and properly enacted is key to helping prevent and lessen the severity of any incident, according to ARA Insurance Preferred Agent Jordan Clarke, vice president, Charles M. Moore Insurance Agency, Bowling Green, Ky.
“When we meet with clients, we always look at their policies and training. We try to be proactive. We promote the fact that safety needs to be the most important issue for the owner of the rental operation. If it is important to the owner, it will be important to all the employees. It creates a culture of safety,” he says.
This is true for any potential risk, including issues involving first aid and emergency care as well as others including distracted driving.
“First aid and emergency care are important to mitigate any injury that happens at work,” Clarke says. “Our job is to help rental operations focus on safety. We help them mitigate those risks, ensuring that they have the proper first aid and eyewash stations, the right policies and procedures and other measures in place, so if someone gets hurt at work, they know exactly what to do. It’s also helpful to have someone on site who is CPR- and blood-borne pathogen-certified to assist when an incident takes place.”
Such measures are important because, “from a risk management standpoint, all these injuries affect a business directly as well as indirectly. When an injury happens at work, the employee might be off work for a while. Not only does that impact the injured employee, but it also affects the employer. The employer might have to work overtime or pick up the job of the person who is out. There are additional costs, too, such as paying medical bills, possibly having workers’ comp premiums increase, having less people doing the same amount of work, figuring out scheduling, etc. First aid and emergency care go back to how they will affect the overall business. We try to put that into context for the rental operator. The more they focus on safety and the less people get hurt at work, the less the rental owner and the entire business will have to deal with these issues that end up being unintended consequences,” he says.
Clarke also helps rental operators by handling the workers’ compensation side of an injury. “We have a whole workers’ comp division. Once an employee is injured, we take over that claim. The work-related injuries are important to the experience module on the workers’ comp side. We do a lot of managing of injuries. As a risk manager, we facilitate care for the employees. We follow through to help that employee get back to work as soon as possible and make sure those claims are closed,” he says.
Another significant issue is distracted driving. “Probably 60 percent of all the claims we see are auto-related,” Clarke says. “It is important that the employer puts together a fleet safety program so all employees know what the rules are for driving in a company vehicle.”
That means Clarke makes sure at every annual review that the fleet safety program is in place, the company has sign offs from the employee and employer, and the plan is updated in regards to any change in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and/or state laws.
Then Clarke builds on those processes, encouraging his clients to utilize the American Rental Association’s (ARA) driver training programs and take advantage of technology to assist in this effort, from adding telematics to dashboard cameras and GPS systems.
“It is all a process of being proactive, making our clients have safety as part of their culture. We want our clients to continually coach and talk with their employees about these issues on a weekly or monthly basis. We come in and help them facilitate that so it stays front and center,” he says.
Clarke’s approach is to help his clients reduce their risks. “We consider ourselves risk managers. That is the biggest part of what we do. Most rental operators are entrepreneurs. They are focused primarily on running their business. They lean on us to help guide them with the education, training, procedures and other safety resources so they can reduce the number of incidents they have and minimize the severity of those that unfortunately do happen,” he says.