Risk Insider: George Browne

Developing a Loss Prevention Program

By: | March 12, 2015 • 2 min read

George Browne, CFPS, has a B.S. in Fire Protection. He is Manager of Training Services for Global Risk Consultants. He manages fire protection services, and develops and delivers training programs for clients on an individual basis. He can be reached at [email protected]

Topics: Risk Insider | Safety

There are many different approaches to property loss prevention programs. Can you identify what factors set your loss control program apart from the rest?

The better question may be: do you know the best practices to reduce your overall risk? This article is the first of a series designed to assist you in developing an effective property loss prevention program.

Step 1 and the most fundamental component of any loss control program is management commitment. This top level involvement should emphasize:

• Creating a culture where individuals accept loss control as a key part of business success.

• Requiring accountability throughout the organizational structure, from corporate to facility level, and

• Supporting a process of continuous improvement through various feedback mechanisms (e.g. loss control audits).

This top-down method pinpoints and reinforces what is considered appropriate performance throughout the organization. Corporate risk management programs should set the standard for all personnel to confirm they know what is expected of them and that they understand the overall consequences to the business if not followed.

At the same time, it is important for management to lead by example and set realistic expectations. Selecting recognized standards, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, as the minimally acceptable criteria used for your property loss control program will provide consistency and help reduce future losses. Inspections, using those standards as the baseline, should be approached from the bottom up.

Local plant personnel are part of this process and should be responsible for continuously improving and ensuring compliance at their plant or facility.

For instance, you may have a corporate program on how to handle hot work. Maximum benefit from the program is not achieved unless all managers support this program to ensure it is implemented and managed correctly at all facilities.

To prevent fires caused by hot work, personnel must be trained to identify hazards and be required to take proper precautions every time hot work is performed. This additional time needs to be recognized and supported.

Corporate management may be required to make capital allocation decisions for loss prevention which may affect one or more facilities. Part of that decision making process is identifying how available capital will be allocated and the impact it will have on the overall loss potential.

Risks must be weighed to determine which are acceptable and which must be resolved. While fire codes are the minimum requirement you must comply with, your chosen loss control provider can identify risk exposures where the most effective solution exceeds the fire code.

Management must consider the requirements of the internal standards, fire codes and other laws/regulations. To reduce risk and protect your company’s assets, start by establishing a baseline level of compliance. Audit your program, implement improvements and provide periodic re-audits to establish a cycle of continuous improvement.

Management commitment is just the first step in creating an effective risk management program. In the next article we will discuss inspection, testing, and maintenance programs.

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.


That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.


Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]