SAFETY
Long Electric: Putting A Charge Into Safety Planning

Like many companies,Long Electric of Indianapolis had made an effort to establish safer working guidelines,but the company was still beset by an overwhelming number of claims and resultant costs. That is when Amerisure and Pillar Group Risk Management, Inc. began working with their policyholder to help fix the situation. With approximately 240 employees,Long Electric is a valued policyholder with its own designated Claim Adjuster.

“From the beginning in 1999, Claims has been actively involved,” said Risk Management Specialist Tim Byrd. “We started by establishing a Loss Control Partnership Report that outlined action plan responsibilities for the entire team. The plan not only included specific safety actions for Loss Control,but also a strong commitment by Claims to ongoing involvement.”

The key to the plan’s success was maintaining constant communication. Quarterly meetings were held at Long Electric’s offices to monitor progress. The concentrated communication kept everyone in the loop. Key participants were Long Electric CEO Yvonne Shaheen and Safety Director Dave Sevier, as well as Bill Barnhorst and Stu Peterson of Pillar Group and Amerisure Workers’ Compensation Claim Supervisor Steven C. Holsclaw.

As part of the comprehensive communications strategy, in 2002 Amerisure conducted a formal Professional Consulting Group Accident Investigation seminar for Long Electric’s supervisors. This was followed up with ongoing reviews and training in 2003. Then, in 2004, Long Electric completed the Workplace Safety Culture Survey, a survey identifying safety perceptions of policyholders’ employees. Supervisor training and job site safety inspections were, and continue to be, conducted at Long Electric operations in Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Fort Wayne, with the participation of Amerisure Loss Control Consultant, Jody Wilburn. The results speak volumes about the credibility of Amerisure’s and Pillar Group’s planning and the willingness of Long Electric to put the findings into action.

“They have taken positive actions on all of our risk enhancements and action plans,” said Byrd. “In fact, at Yvonne Shaheen’s request, we provided them with 40 additional copies of the final [Workplace Culture Survey]report so that she could personally review it with all her foremen and supervisors.”

Even as the safety program has bred success, the consistent communication that made it work has continued. “Long Electric is very in tune with their claims, offer full cooperation with our investigations, and truly adhere to a Return to Work program,” said Holsclaw. “We conduct open and candid quarterly Claim Reviews, which have always been very constructive. When the reviews are concluded, everyone is aware of the respective objective on each file and follows up accordingly to bring it to resolution.”

Everything that relates to the work is discussed—current claims, future training, past and future jobsite visits, according to Sevier. “We discuss many things with Tim and Jody, like ideas on how to best be able to get injured employees back to work. We have worked closely with Tim and Jody to schedule jobsite visits so that they can look over our projects and offer suggestions so that our employees work within a safe environment. It’s a pleasure to be associated with such professionals knowing that they are just a phone call away.”

Charged with overseeing Long Electric’s safety program,Sevier is well aware of the contribution each of the partners in the process has made. “The dramatic decline in Workers’ Compensation claims speaks for itself,” he said. “The partnership we have in place with Amerisure and Pillar is an excellent way to brainstorm through safety issues. We have been able to take advantage of the OSHA 10-Hour Construction and Accident Investigation training offered by Amerisure and Tim Byrd, and our supervisors want even more of this kind of class. They see that it works.” The close professional connection between the agency, the policyholder and Amerisure also became personal. When CEO Shaheen retired at the end of 2004, Pillar Group and Amerisure donated $500 in her name to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

“Ultimately,” said Sevier,“from insurance companies to company ownership to project managers, foremen,electricians and apprentices, safety is a team approach. We all have a stake in our successes or failures as safe workers. The most important aspect of any safety program is that all employees return to their friends and families unhurt at the end of their workday shift. Being able to partner with Amerisure and Pillar Group has given us an opportunity to look over our jobs, safety manuals and procedures with fresh eyes and new ideas.”

Reprinted with permission:
SafetyNews: A Publication for Amerisure’s Loss Control–PCG, Volume 1 2005