Safety Q&A

07/26/2012 -

Does the Trust provide Safety and Loss Control services to TNRMT members?

Tennessee Risk Management Trust provides Loss Control and Safety services for all members of the Trust. The loss control staff consists of Safety Engineers with Bachelors of Science degrees in Occupational Safety & Health. Our safety engineers are experts in the field of reducing injuries and use cutting edge loss control techniques to achieve our goals of reducing claims.

Are there costs associated with the Loss Control Services provided by TSB-RMT?

With the exception of a few members in need of a proportionately high concentration of services to address temporary problems, there are no costs associated with these services.

What results can we expect to see from these loss control services?

Your school system should see a dramatic reduction in workers’ compensation and property/casualty claims if you provide the necessary management support, safety training for all employees, establish an employee-based Safety Committee, and provide department head/principal training as indicated by your loss history. We have seen reductions in nearly every school system that we have worked with in the Trust.

Please explain how/why we should implement a Return to Work Program for Injured Employees?

A Temporary/Alternative Duty Program (Return to Work) is a proactive way for your school system to help an injured worker return to productive and safe work as soon as physically possible. This program, with proper implementation, can benefit all parties involved. The employee should be responsible for active participation in the program and the school system supervisor is responsible for implementation and monitoring of the program outcome.

School Board supervisors should work in conjunction with the authorized treating physician to obtain physical limitations and develop a position to accommodate the specific restrictions. This may be done within one of the following modifications: part-time employment, temporary jobs, alternative tasks, job sharing, jobs in other departments, or transitioning through different jobs and job modifications.

Your school system understands the value of the contributions of all employees; thus, every effort should be made to accommodate physical restrictions. Administrators, supervisors, principals, claims adjusters, and medical providers should work in conjunction with your injured worker to find suitable work until regular duties are resumed. Once a “First Report of Injury” is submitted, the TNRMT claims adjuster will contact the injured worker to discuss returning to work on alternative duty. If your school system needs assistance with this program, please do not hesitate to contact John Wilburn, Claims Manager or your TNRMT Safety Engineer.

What Departments should be wearing non-slip shoes?

The employees in your Food Service, Maintenance, and Custodial Departments should be provided non-slip shoes. This will drastically reduce your slip/trip/fall injuries in these departments.

What are some of the main topics involved in a good safety program?

  • Management Commitment
  • Safety Committees
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Chemical Awareness/Material Safety Data Sheet training and your employees’ right to know about hazardous substances used in the workplace
  • Accident Prevention including back safety, good housekeeping, material handling, slips-trips-falls, ladder safety, welding safety, and power tool safety
  • Emergency Action Plans
  • Lockout/Tagout
  • Confined Space Entry Procedures
  • LFire Prevention and Fire Extinguisher Training
  • How to handle/avoid Bloodborne Pathogens

When is the best time to conduct training? Is it best to train employees when they are new to the position?

You definitely need to conduct training on school system time, and employees need to be paid for the time spent in training. Don’t tie up an employee’s break or lunch periods. The employee should feel that safety is as important as production. It is best to review all training topics with new employees before sending them to their new job.

Are TNRMT Safety Engineers available to present at School Board Meetings?

The Safety Engineering staff is available to make presentations to school boards across the state. We are available to discuss your school system’s Workers’ Compensation Experience, Safety Committee Achievements, and Needs/Goals from the Safety Committee.

Does a safety suggestion box program really work?

Yes, we have found that by providing safety suggestion boxes, we can allow employees to voice concerns they have with safety hazards without fearing repercussions from management.

Why should I have to wear non-slip shoes instead of my regular shoes?

Non-slip shoes are designed to increase traction in areas where slip hazards are present. Regular shoes are not designed with those hazards in mind.

Why should employees, rather than supervisors, make up the safety committee?

By allowing employees to be a part of the safety committee it lets them know that management cares about their safety and that their voice is heard. Employees also deal with hazards on a daily basis in their departments and have greater ability to create a reasonable solution.

How can you convince all employees that it takes a team effort to create a good safe work environment?

With proper training for all employees and management support we can create a safety culture that encourages all employees to feel responsible for the safety of their coworkers as well as themselves.

Why should I report an accident/incident to my supervisor if I didn’t get hurt?

You should report all accidents to supervision so these accidents can be reviewed and to see what changes need to be made to prevent future occurrences.

What is the cost of a safety and health program per employee?

This is difficult to determine. It is tough to put a price on safety. There are many ways to cut costs by constantly re-evaluating your programs and their effectiveness. We have incentive programs that reward employees for working safely. However, the money you may spend on these programs is more than saved in workers’ compensation costs and medical bills. The programs that we implement in your school system create a very interesting question: "How many accidents did we not have today?" There is no way to tell other than benchmarking your historical loss data and communicating to management.

How much time should be spent on a safety and health program per employee?

Attention to safety training should never end. There should be no maximum limit. Many things are worth repeating and can be done in a manner that employees don’t even realize they are learning. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Safety should not only be a part of an employee’s job, but also a part of their lives. It is good to have safety become a part of the routine so safety is second nature to the job. This is an underlying theme of the Behavior Based Safety approach we use in your school system. Ideally, we would like to speak with every employee in your school system at least once per year.

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Frequently Asked Questions

07/26/2012 -

1. Is there a board of directors of the Trust?

Yes. The Tennessee Risk Management Trust is governed by a nine member Board of Trustees which currently includes a county schools superintendent, a county mayor and several local school board members.

2. How are trustees chosen?

Trustees are elected from the nine geographic districts established by the Board of Trustees of the Tennessee Risk Management Trust. Members of the Board of Trustees serve staggered three-year terms with three members elected each year. The term of a Trustee is three years beginning July 1. Voting delegates of each member in a district whose trustee’s term is set to expire is contacted in April and invited to send one to three nominations to the Trust Administrator.

Each entity which is a member of the Trust may designate one voting delegate for each Trust program (worker’s compensation and board liability) in which the Trust member participates. Each voting delegate will receive a ballot for the purpose of voting for a district representative to serve a three year term on the Board of Trustees. Delegates may vote only for the representative to the Board of Trustees for the district in which their entity is located.

3. Is the Trust healthy?

Yes. There are 99 school boards in the Worker’s Compensation Program and 52 other governmental entities, primarily County governments. There are 99 school boards and 53 other governmental entities in the board liability (property and casualty) program. We are highly pleased with the success of the programs and the increased membership enables the Trust to negotiate much better rates than would otherwise be possible.

Tennessee Risk Management Trust is operating in a very financially sound manner. We have an audit and an actuarial analysis of our program done each year in order to ensure that our operating principles are on target and our practices are continuing to strengthen the Trust. Currently, our reserves are $10,081,000 and are projected to continue to grow for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The Trust’s success over the past 19 years in providing coverage to over 80% of eligible school boards and almost 50% of the county governments in Tennessee attests to its ability to provide excellent service, comprehensive coverage and competitive price.

4. Are members of the Trust required to bid insurance coverage?

No. A Tennessee statute provides that governmental entities participating in a pool such as the Trust are not required to bid for insurance (TCA 29-20-407). That is because the legislature recognizes that the Trust bids for coverage each year on its member’s behalf. The Trust is owned by its members so when your board does business with the Trust, it is doing business with itself. The more members the Trust has committed to participate during the new year, the better the bargaining power for excess insurance. When a member elects to bid that member cannot be included in the business that is guaranteed and will not benefit from the bargaining power of the Trust.

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