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Handling Safety Inspections

Bookmark and Share Safety consciousness tends to slip over time - and it's your responsibility to make sure that this doesn't happen. A well-prepared and well-executed safety audit/inspection program can play a key role in your risk management by uncovering conditions and work practices that could lead to job accidents and industrial illnesses.

Stated more positively, this means checking to see that things are in good shape. In addition to help preventing accidents, the inspection program will keep management informed about the "safety status" of your organization, provide a consistent method of recording observations, and reduce the possibility of important items being overlooked.

Safety inspection tours are like preventive maintenance. Every piece of equipment wears down and deteriorates sooner or later, and needs to be checked. Similarly, employee work procedures fall into routines - some of them unsafe - over time, which means that you need to evaluate them at regular intervals.

Safety inspections have a number of objectives:
  • Spotlighting unsafe conditions and equipment.
  • Focusing on unsafe work practices or behavior trends before they lead to injuries.
  • Uncovering the need for new safeguards.
  • Getting all employees to buy in to the safety program.
  • Re-evaluating the safety standards of the organization.
  • Comparing safety results against safety plans.
  • Gauging the relative success of safety training efforts.
  • Anticipating problems in advance of any OSHA inspection.
Our agency's risk management professionals would be happy to work with you on developing and implementing a comprehensive safety inspection program for your business. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

Loyal Employees Reduces Risk

Bookmark and Share During the past few decades, the workplace has changed significantly, and one of the biggest shifts has been in the number of years an employee remains with one employer. While a half century ago, it was "normal" practice for the majority of employees to remain with an employer for many years -- sometimes entire careers -- today's employees are likely to change employers every few years.

That's bad news for employers: Workers who remain longer with a company attain a far deeper knowledge of the company, its brand, its products and its customer base, making them much more valuable than any new hire. And unlike a new hire that's an "unknown quantity," loyal, long-term employees can actually help reduce a company's level of risk.

Still, when it's time to take stock of a company's assets, valuing employee loyalty can prove problematic; many companies wind up ignoring the value of loyal employees in favor of focusing on easy-to-grasp tangible assets. Likewise, many companies don't bother to learn how to retain employees for the long term, or even know where to start.

Motivating employees to stay on board doesn't have to be difficult. If you're interested in learning what you can do, Monster.com offers the following tips:

  • Implement career paths that offer opportunity for advancement, and let employees know how to advance in your company.
  • Proactively monitor morale and seek out ways to help improve morale in ways that are meaningful to your employees.
  • When devising management training programs, consider what makes a good, effective manager from a worker perspective rather than focusing in what management wants.
  • When considering compensation, think beyond salary to include health insurance, vacation time, pension plans and other perks.
  • Teach your managers how to provide consistent and valuable feedback and mentoring, and ensure they understand how to listen to employees and value their input.

Learning to retain employees isn't rocket science; but it does take commitment and time. Take some time today to brainstorm ways your company can develop a workforce that's as committed to your company's success as you are.

Recovering After a Disaster Strikes

Bookmark and Share Three out of five firms that suffer a major disaster go out of business or are sold. Preparing your business to survive a disastrous event involves a multi-step process: assessment, planning, implementation, testing, and documentation.

  1. Assessment: Brainstorm and list all potential losses. Then rate them on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the most disastrous and 1 having the least impact on the business.
  2. Planning: Formulate a comprehensive, detailed action plan, using both in-house and outside sources. The plan should include both steps to prevent the loss and remedies to take if the loss occurs. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Implementation: Act on the plan. Determine what steps you must take to now insure a positive outcome if disaster strikes; Who will be accountable for taking these steps when and to whom will they report?
  4. Testing: For example, if you're planning to deal with a computer crash, data recovery is essential. Test back-up media regularly to ensure that they will be available when needed. All too many businesses lose data due to malware or mechanical breakdown only to find that their backup is either corrupted or unavailable when needed.
  5. Documentation: Put the details of the plan (who, what, when, and where) in writing. Keep one copy in the office, another on the computer, a third off premises - and make sure that every manager knows these locations. Finally, review and update the plan every six months.
Although nothing is foolproof, implementing these five steps can go far to prevent a disastrous loss, or at least, mitigate its impact.

To learn more about developing a disaster plan for your business, feel free to give us a call at any time.

Protect Your Business from Internal Theft

Bookmark and Share 3According to the U.S. Commerce Department, employee crime costs American businesses more than $50 billion a year - that's "billion with a 'B" - and three out of four employees have stolen from their employers at least once.

To help prevent a fox from getting into your hen house, a leading risk management group recommends these guidelines:
  1. Screen job candidates. You might discover that a potential employee was fired from another job for stealing. A thorough background check can give you hard evidence when doing an interview. Look for discrepancies between what the candidate says and what's on paper; too many differences will point to a problem.

  2. Reduce the temptation to steal. Be careful when making operational changes. The thief might become familiar with the change and believe that they have specialized and private information they can use to their advantage. To avoid this danger, let everyone know about new procedures. Also, lock and bar all windows in warehouses or storerooms, create employee sign-ins in these areas, and never leave anything lying around to be picked up easily.

  3. Protect monetary assets. Thieves sometimes write checks to ghost employees or vendors and use the money for their own finances. Separating accounts payable from accounts receivable will reduce the chances of such a fiasco. Also, if Jim in sales never, ever takes a vacation, something might be amiss; he might be snooping around or doing something besides genuine hard work.

  4. Schedule periodic audits. If this isn't possible, have an outside party review your accounting and bookkeeping practices.

  5. Create a zero-tolerance policy. Potential in-house thieves won't be as inclined to steal if they know that they're risking their job.

  6. Investigate suspected fraud. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (www.acfe.org) offers expertise in this field.
For an in-depth review and analysis of your in-house security precautions, please contact our risk management specialists.