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Four Strategies to Minimize Risk for Your Business 5/11/2017

Managing Risk

By Stacey Lemons, Head of Business Development - Lubbock

Businesses of all sizes face a myriad of risks, from cyberattacks to property damage, and guarding against these threats is paramount for any organization. Although insurance coverage helps provide valuable protection, it does not consider the hidden costs of claims, especially as relates to lost productivity. Taking a risk management approach to losses involves looking at ways to protect employees from injury, improve their health and wellbeing, and reduce downtime if an unfortunate event does occur. Here are four strategies to help minimize risks for your business and protect your workforce as well as your bottom line.

Lead by example. Company culture plays a vital role in reducing the likelihood of an accident or injury in the workplace. Creating a safety culture starts from the top down, with management spearheading initiatives to promote a safer workplace and reinforcing the messaging during meetings and through internal communications. Inviting employees from across the organization to participate in a safety committee and sharing recommendations company-wide makes it easier to get buy in at every level.

Of course, different businesses face different types of risks. Accidents and injuries may be the main concern in a manufacturing plant, while white collar workers may have a higher incident of carpal tunnel syndrome. The safety committee’s chief function is to identify the primary risks to the organization and establish clear safety protocols, whether designed to reduce the chances of a slip or fall, improve driver safety, or increase security around how sensitive data is managed. The committee also should create a documented process for how workplace accidents or injuries are investigated, and share the information throughout the organization, to ensure that all employees follow the same procedures.

Promote a healthy workplace. The healthier your workforce is, the less prone employees will be to getting sick or hurt on the job. More than one-third of Americans are obese, which not only can lead to chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease, but also can put added strain on the back and knees, increasing the chance of a workplace injury. Employees who are overweight, in poor health, or have a sedentary job and lifestyle, also don’t heal as fast when they are hurt in an accident or through a work-related injury. Implementing a wellness program that encourages workers to be physically active can help reduce stress and improve their overall health, which in turns can improve productivity and reduce the amount of time lost due to illness or injury.

Act quickly. If someone does get hurt in the workplace, take swift action to report and investigate the matter. In general, the sooner an injury is reported, the less it will cost. The employee can get early care and assertive treatment upfront, and feels reassured that the company cares about their wellbeing. You also should examine the mechanics of what happened in the wake of an incident to determine what could have been preventable. Injuries occur because of unsafe conditions or unsafe acts, and understanding the causality of the incident is key to preventing a similar event in the future.

Keep people connected. Whether an employee gets hurt on the job or is out due to illness, the goal is to get them back to work as quickly as possible, so they don’t fall out of their regular routine. The longer someone spends watching TV on the couch while they recover at home, the higher the cost of lost productivity, and the less motivated they are to return to work. First and foremost, supervisors should stay actively engaged with an absent employee, calling regularly to keep up with their recovery. Sending balloons and flowers on behalf of the company or coworkers also can make them feel like a part of the organization and motivate them to return to work sooner.

From a productivity standpoint, having predetermined modified duties for each job role helps ensure employees can return to work faster, as well. For example, if somebody has a lifting component to their job, but the doctor has them on a lifting restriction after an injury, the employer might provide a helper to do the lifting for a limited period, or give the injured worker administrative duties until they have made a full recovery. A return to work program that establishes alternatives prior to an injury occurring keeps employees in the habit of coming to work, and helps minimize lost days.

In the big picture, mitigating losses goes beyond buying an insurance policy. It’s about partnering with a knowledgeable risk management expert to evaluate your total cost of risk, not just the hard cost of your premium dollars. Whether you’re dealing with a work-related claim, auto claim, or property claim, effective risk management is about reducing all the costs, from tangible assets to data restoration, medical expenses, or lost time. Whether you have 500 employees or 5000, and regardless of the industry you’re in, we can help you take a fresh look at your exposures and apply a risk management approach to losses to safeguard your business.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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