2019 Risk All Star: Susan Shemanski

This Risk Manager Freed Up 75% of Safety Managers’ Time — and Cut Injury Severity by 47%

Every employer strives to keep their employees safe on the job. But for staffing agencies, the challenge is unique: How do you keep thousands of employees safe on the job when you have little to no control over the safety of the worksites you’re sending them to?

Susan Shemanski, VP of corporate risk management, The Adecco Group

Staffing company The Adecco Group was doing its best to stay on top of things, deploying personnel to review more than 6,000 safety evaluations a year.

But their process generated a mountain of paper and required the attention of four full-time safety managers to review each evaluation, approve or deny it, and communicate safety recommendations to be put in place.

Soon after taking on the role as VP of corporate risk management, Susan Shemanski had an eye-opening meeting with the safety management team. She learned the safety evaluation process and realized they were using an Excel document and manually cutting and pasting safety messages to branch offices. “Oh, we can do so much more,” she thought.

“A light bulb went off when I realized how manual of a process and how task driven it was, said Shemanski. “We realized that today, anything task driven can be done by technology to free up our time to be more strategic.”

And that’s what Shemanski set out to do, enlisting the help of the artificial intelligence team at broker Marsh. Together, they built an online platform and mobile safety app that could automate a large part of the process. The difference was night and day, said Shemanski.

“When we started, 80% of the safety evaluations that were completed could be analyzed for the risk and safety messages sent out within five minutes after they had been completed. The app would do the background evaluation and generate safety advice. We only had to manually review 20% of the safety applications or send out a safety manager for further evaluation.”

What was once the work of four people could now be done by one, she said, freeing up the other three to dig deeper into the company’s workers’ comp losses and find opportunities to improve.

The results have been transformative for Adecco. The team was able to refocus its attention, identifying 10 to 12 clients that were driving 80% of the company’s losses.

“Adecco partnered with Marsh Risk Consulting for safety services and went about safety in a very systematic way. Initially a safety manager completes a site survey and develops a job safety analysis of each job that’s completed at the site.

“They then do training based on the job safety analysis. Ergonomic training was developed to instruct associates on how to use good body mechanics in the absence of tools or equipment to reduce ergonomic risks. In addition, training included pinpointing behaviors, utilizing behavioral-based safety techniques to avoid injury and improve workplace culture.

“With Adecco being a temp staffing company, a lot of times we can’t change the workplace of our client. We take a very focused look at the ergonomics of a job and train our associates to perform the job correctly so that they don’t injure themselves while they’re doing it.

“By adding the technology, it allowed us to be so much more effective and keep our workers safe.”

Freeing up time and manpower enabled the company to pursue even more creative ways of driving safety, developing engaging videos to accompany the huddle cards that were being used for safety training. Even more recent initiatives involve the use of custom wearables that help prevent injuries related to manual materials handling.

The results speak for themselves. The first year after the mobile app was implemented, the company saw a 17% reduction in losses. But because of improvements made by freeing up resources, the company has now seen a 47% reduction in severity.

At the end of the day, however, it’s about keeping workers safe, even when you can’t be on site to protect them.

“In my role, I see people who get injured every day and it really changes their lives,” she said. “The goal is, when everybody shows up for work in the morning, we want them to be aware of how to properly do the job so that they can go home safely to their families at the end of each day.”

Shemanski credits the Adecco team and its partners at Marsh for embracing the transformation and working to drive it.

“Everybody is very supportive of each other. We do a lot of cross training, whether it’s claims, safety or insurance renewals. Everybody’s been a part of this whole process, even down to the way we run our data, and how we look at it — it’s been a great team effort.” &


Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2019 Risk All Stars.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance