In This Issue
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources for NYS Public Entities
- Coronavirus Controls for Public Entities
- New Course and Webinars Added to the Comp Alliance Academy
- Member Access to Over 850 Safety Training Videos from Safety Source
- Comp Alliance Presents the Town of Cornwall with the G. Jeffrey Haber Leadership Award
- Comp Alliance Events Calendar
- New Safe Workplace Award
- Improving Your Safety Culture this Spring
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
In an effort to keep public entities informed of the latest updates related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic the Comp Alliance has launched a Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources Page on our Website. Please visit the page for daily updates throughout the Pandemic.
Given the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we want to assure our Comp Alliance members that we are taking your employee health, community health, and that of our staff as a top priority. We are working diligently to meet the extraordinary challenges presented by the Coronavirus. In order to ensure the protection of our own employees, we have much of our staff working remotely.
These employees have access to all our computer systems, claim files, and email. Phone calls to their desk phones are being electronically routed to their home or cell phones in real time. Our claim examiners will be able to perform 100% of the functions they normally perform at our office. In addition we will continue to have key staff members in the office to perform essential functions, including check printing, to ensure that all payments to injured employees and services providers are made on an uninterrupted basis.
With many public entities throughout New York State utilizing limited on-site staffing we felt it was essential to roll-out an abbreviated client service kit for at home use. This kit includes contact information for our entire service team, instructions for filing claims, and the common claim forms.
The NYS WCB has also announced temporary relief from original signatures on several documents.
Our Risk Management team is closely working with program members to answer any questions that arise during this time. As you are aware the Comp Alliance is a service focused program performing many regional safety seminars throughout the state. With the h
ealth of all communities throughout New York State in mind and to help slow and minimize the spread of the virus our seminars over the next month are currently postponed and we are working to reschedule many of these later in the year.
Please visit our events calendar located at https://www.compalliance.org/events/calendar.html for a complete updated listing of seminars and conferences that have been cancelled and postponed as well as our reschedules as they are made. In the meantime if you have immediate training needs or would like to proactively enhance your safety efforts please visit our member exclusive safety training center located at https://www.compalliance.org/.
Rest assured, we are actively monitoring this evolving situation and are here to work with each program member and continue to provide the best possible workers’ compensation service. We wish everyone good health and urge all program members to exercise caution and watch for further guidance.
By now, we are all well aware of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, but let’s take a closer look at controls to help slow transmission of the virus in our communities. Municipal facilities are normally locations the public visits to conduct business and attend public gatherings. From this standpoint, the community spread of this virus can be more easily transmitted from within our facilities. Community spread means that people have the potential to be infected by the virus through general contact means and not necessarily directly from an infected individual. Municipalities must consider community mitigation measures to help slow the transmission spread of the virus, especially with the absence of a current vaccine available to control the spread medically.
Please click here for the complete article (updated regularly)
New Course – Worker Fatigue
The Comp Alliance continues to expand its online safety training resource center available to program members to help enhance your safety efforts. The Alliance has recently added its 30th Course to the Comp Alliance Academy on the topic of Worker Fatigue.
The goal is to reduce accidents resulting in injuries caused by worker fatigue. About 20% of Americans get less than six hours of sleep per night, which can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
Tired workers can be susceptible to injuries and mistakes costing their organization thousands of dollars.
Once fatigue sets in, sleep is the only cure.
Sleepiness can be similar to drug or alcohol impairment:
- Slow reaction time
- Decreased awareness
- Impaired judgment
Symptoms of fatigue:
- Heavy, tired or sore eyes
- Excessive yawning
- Poor concentration, attention lapses, and mistakes
- Communication failures
Tips to reduce fatigue:
- Wake at the same time every day
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before bed
- Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room
- Avoid exercise within two hours of going to bed
- Caffeinated drinks (coffee, cola or tea) are not substitutes for proper sleep
- Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night
- Younger adults need more sleep than older adults, not less
- Wandering thoughts are a sign that rest may be needed
Safety Webinars Added to Comp Academy
The Comp Alliance has also recently added 13 safety and workers’ compensation related webinars to the Comp Alliance Academy. These webinars cover a variety of topics which can help you to reduce your workers’ compensation exposure and costs.
Some of the Webinar topics include:
- Preventing Back Injuries - Through Good Ergonomics
- Distracted Driving Awareness
- Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
- Preventing Material Handling Injuries
- Developing and Maintaining Safety Awareness in your Facilities
- Getting Employees off on a Safe Start (First 90 Days)
- Developing an Effective Safety Program
If you are not yet registered for the Comp Alliance Academy and would like to access these courses to supplement and enhance your safety efforts please contact you Comp Alliance Risk Manager today.
The Comp Alliance is excited to introduce a new partnership with Safety Source providing program members a library of more than 850 safety training videos. The videos are effective and easy to understand and designed to supplement your in-house safety initiatives and training programs.
Safety Source’s video library enhances the offerings currently provided through the Comp Alliance Academy. The following are examples of some of the additional topics from Safety Source:
- Chain Saw Safety
- Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Bucket and Dump Truck Operations
- Fire Extinguisher Training
- Confined Space Entry
- Reasonable Suspicion
Routinely the Comp Alliance notifies members about especially effective or popular titles, so they might be utilized promptly and routinely, to easily complement your own training programs.
Safety Source has also recently launched four videos that can help public entities enhance their training during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These videos include:
- Pandemic Flu - Facts and Prevention
- Proper Hand Washing Techniques
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Know Your Risk
- Workplace Stress - The Basics
It is with great pleasure that the Comp Alliance recently presented the Town of Cornwall with the annual G. Jeffery Haber Leadership Award. The Town of Cornwall received the award in recognition of the town’s efforts to minimize the amount of time lost to workplace injury through its claims management practices and return-to-work initiatives. The leadership that the town has shown is an example for all program members.
This award is presented in honor of G. Jeffrey (Jeff) Haber. Jeff served as the Executive Director for the Association of Towns of the State of New York (AOT) from 1985-2012, and is the founder and first chairman of the Comp Alliance. His vision to create a workers’ compensation program tailored to the unique needs of New York State’s local governments became a reality through his leadership. What started in 1994 with just eight members and less than $500,000 has grown to a program with more than 300 members and $47 million in funding contributions.
This award was presented before fellow town officials at the Association of Towns’ Annual Meeting and Training School at the New York Marriott Marquis, New York, NY on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
Pictured is the Town of Cornwall Supervisor, Dick Randazzo receiving the Leadership Award from Comp Alliance Executive Director, Michael Kenneally.
Congratulations again to the Town of Cornwall on this accomplishment.
The Events Calendar on the Comp Alliance website which is located at www.compalliance.org/events/calendar.html, is your go to location for a calendar listing of all upcoming Comp Alliance Safety Trainings, Conferences, Presentations, Events, and more.
With the recent Coronavirus Pandemic we have postponed all on-site safety trainings throughout the month of April. Please visit the events calendar for the latest developments and reschedules once available.
The Comp Alliance provides many regional and local seminars throughout New York State to address current trends and legal issues that create potential loss exposures for public entities. These safety training seminars provide Comp Alliance members with the New York State Mandated Safety Training topics that are required for ALL municipal employees, administrators, board members, volunteers, and seasonal hires on an annual basis, including; workplace violence prevention, right to know/hazard communication, blood borne pathogen, and HAZWOPER training.
The Alliance also attends approximately 20 municipal and school conferences throughout the calendar year. We invite you to please stop by our booth at any of these conferences with any questions or to say hello. At many of these conferences we present on various industry related topics to keep public officials abreast of any updates and safety news. For a complete listing of upcoming conferences and presentations please visit the events calendar.
The Comp Alliance’s NEW Safe Workplace Award Program rewards Comp Alliance members for their positive contributions to the Comp Alliance. The way it works is simple: after the end of the policy period, current members’ losses during the prior policy year will be evaluated. Members with excellent loss-experience during the previous policy year will be eligible for a monetary award.
The first disbursements under this program are expected to be made to qualifying members in 2021 based on policies effective January 1, 2020 and after. As we are always careful not to compromise the fiscal integrity of the Comp Alliance, Safe Workplace Awards are subject to annual appropriation by the Comp Alliance Board of Trustees based on an annual review of its financial condition, and are not guaranteed.
The Safe Workplace Award Program benefits Comp Alliance members by providing a monetary incentive for members to take a pro-active approach to maintaining safe workplaces and prevent injuries. Members who qualify for the awards will not only receive a direct benefit through the award, but will also stand to benefit from the improvement in their loss experience and reduced rates expected to result from fewer losses.
With spring weather just around the corner, now is the time to prepare for outdoor work and another opportunity to improve the Safety Culture at your municipality. The Culture of Safety can be described as the application of safety standards throughout your organization. Some worksites might pay little attention to safety issues and look to comply with the bare-minimum, including limited training programs and barely-passable safety equipment, while others will go above-and-beyond the minimum standards to develop a comprehensive safety culture for their employees and the public, making safety a mutual benefit for all involved.
This spring, your municipal safety culture will include a pro-active approach to safety with thorough pre-use equipment inspections that confirm safety devices are working properly, initiating safety training programs for equipment and job functions to be utilized this time of year – like grounds equipment, chippers, graders, bucket-trucks, etc. Building conditions should also be evaluated, including water infiltration sources which can lead to the development of mold and contribute to poor indoor air quality. Replace furnace filters, clear roof drains, gutters and down-spouts, check the exterior and interior of foundation walls, and inspect basements for water collecting on floors and seeping through walls. Inspect basement sump pumps for proper operation and their disposal lines are clear. It is also a good time to review the condition of your garage floor grates, as they tend to become damaged from contact with winter plows and heavily loaded trucks. Damaged floor grates lead to trip and fall injuries and should be repaired or replaced.
Improving safety culture this spring also affects your seasonal workers – from training them for their new positions, training on the mandatory safety topics, and updating them on any and all applicable procedural responsibilities will go a long way to making them effective and safety conscious employees.
The attitudes and values that employees share towards safety make up your municipal safety culture, which are promoted by senior administrators and department heads. The more positive we feel about our safety and the ability to make improvements to our work environments to make them safer, the more likely the work is to be completed on-time and in a commendable manner – employees know that safety is more than just a passing thought and is instead emphasized throughout your organization as a realistic, achievable expectation.
So take a look at your commencing spring work functions and review the safety protocols for each. Confirm that employee attitudes and values benefit your safety culture through commitment to realistic safety practices for continuous organizational learning, improving hazard awareness and management for hazards shared across the workforce.
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