Good Bye to Auld Anxiety

This year, resolve to manage risk in your operation

The advent of the New Year offers an opportunity for a fresh start or the chance to re-affirm a commitment. It can be a time to commit to kicking a bad habit or initiating a good one. Waste businesses can use the New Year to commit to keeping their workers safer, their assets sound and their operations profitable. A few resolutions to consider:

Boost employee training initiatives. Any employee’s actions can become a liability. Training employees in everything from how to use a fire extinguisher to how to react in the event of an emergency can help limit risk. Committing to a safe driver training program is not only an investment in employees’ professional development, but also in reducing potential auto liability claims. Insurance companies are a good source for finding available employee training to help control day-to-day operational risks.

Write it down. No one likes more paperwork, but a renewed commitment to documentation is a worthwhile resolution. Documenting employee training programs, for one, may demonstrate to your insurance company and OSHA that you are serious about safety.

Renew your commitment to preparedness. Take a more active role in preparing for emergencies, be it a situation of workplace violence or inclement weather that prevents employees from providing clients with service. Prepare emergency response plans for different scenarios and keep employees informed about their roles in these plans. Then, continually re-evaluate those plans to ensure their effectiveness.

Vow to always look for improvements. Risk management is an on-going process. Seek ways to improve processes that can either eliminate risks or minimize potential exposure. Establish a hearing conservation program as part of a health and safety plan. Monitor workplace noise levels and determine potential employee exposure. Show employees how to use hearing protection equipment and insist that it be used.

Plan to plan. For waste companies, spill prevention, control and countermeasure (SPCC), storm water pollution prevention and other advanced emergency response plans are an essential part of environmental risk management plans. Developing SPCC and other emergency response plans can lessen potential financial and environmental impacts.

Learn more about your insurance coverage. Too many businesses pay an insurance premium and never fully understand the details of their insurance protection. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your insurance policies and how your coverage is applicable in various situations.

Pledge to communicate. Even the smallest line of communication can make a big difference in preventing a problem or dispute down the line. Employee feedback, for instance, can encourage good behavior and result in a more motivated staff. Employees also can provide valuable insight into improving processes.

As we begin a New Year, there is no better time for waste firms to make a risk management resolution to be active and more aggressive in managing their potential exposures.

Kate McGinn
XL Specialty Insurance Company