P&C the November 2022 issue

Important Loss Control Considerations for Manufacturers

Q&A with Sandy Smith, ARM, AINS, Assistant VP, Policyholder Services, EMC Insurance Companies
Sponsored by EMC Insurance Companies Posted on November 1, 2022

Leader’s Edge caught up with Smith to learn how agents can help their manufacturing customers avoid top loss drivers.

What are the top causes of loss that manufacturers face?

For an industry filled with heavy machinery, automated equipment and hazardous chemicals, the top loss drivers in manufacturing are not as obvious as you’d expect. However, we know that the more “mundane” factors play a larger role in overall productivity and profitability in manufacturing.

The top five loss drivers we see at EMC are:

• Slips, trips and falls, especially from spills, weather and ladders

• Ergonomic issues and overexertion

• Struck-by-object accidents from forklifts, cranes and other large equipment

• Auto accidents involving employee drivers

• Fire accidents from things such as improper storage of combustible materials, faulty electrical equipment, flammable liquids and more

What loss control or risk management services should manufacturers expect from their insurer?

First, it’s important to find an insurer with a solid background in manufacturing that has specialized knowledge and expertise. Due to the industry’s specific needs, you’ll want to ensure you’re working with someone who is already comfortable and experienced in writing this business and providing loss control expertise.

Also, make sure the insurer offers specialized safety resources specifically for manufacturers, including ergonomic evaluations, injury management programs, a work injury hotline, slip and fall prevention, hazard control assessments, and online safety training. Lastly, insurers should also offer an array of safety educational resources such as fact sheets, checklists, forms, safety posters, sample policies, newsletters and more.

Tell us more about on-demand, online safety training. How does that work?

The ability to access training materials on demand changes safety culture on the factory floor. Instead of setting aside large chunks of time to go through safety protocols and keep the staff up to date on best practices, employees can instead access a series of shorter videos that provide the same information in a more easily managed time frame. These trainings can be used in group settings or assigned on an individual basis, depending on the manufacturer’s need and their employees’ schedules.

This approach not only prevents information overload for employees; it also maximizes uptime and helps prevent accidents, saving money overall.

Workers comp has special loss control considerations. What services should manufacturers look for?

Not all workers comp services are created equal, especially considering the additional risk of serious injury in manufacturing. Look for a variety of medical management services that help employees receive the care they need to recover safely and return to work quickly.

Workers comp services can include:

• Medical bill review

• Pharmacy management

• Utilization review

• Case management

• Rehabilitation services

• Return to work programs

• Catastrophic claim management

• Prework screening

• Drug-free workplace and wellness programs

• On-call nurse or work injury hotlines

On-call nurse or work injury hotlines are of particular importance, aren’t they?

Absolutely. Access to a 24/7 work injury hotline allows injured workers and their supervisors to immediately speak with a registered nurse and receive guidance on the appropriate level of medical care. For policyholders, using an on-call nurse service can streamline paperwork processes and ensure timely injury reporting. Additionally, we’ve seen business owners save more than $1,200 per claim with an on-call service compared to claims without.

I recommend checking into fees when it comes to hotline service, as some companies include it for free while others offer it at an extra charge.

Collisions are the number-one cause of occupational deaths. What can be done to keep drivers safe?

That’s a great point. Not only are collisions extremely dangerous; they’re also largely preventable. Studies have shown that anywhere from 86% to 94% of all accidents can be attributed to driver error in one way or another. Therefore, driver training and fleet safety are incredibly important.

To help keep drivers safe, implement a training program that covers topics such as braking, cell phone use, driver fatigue, safety belt use, vehicle maintenance and more. Look for insurers that also offer additional loss control resources like fleet safety programs or driver monitoring services.

There’s a lot of discussion about wearable technology. Does EMC see that wearables have a big impact?
One of the more exciting things about the rise in wearable technology is how it’s rapidly evolving our understanding of employee ergonomics. Rather than working with an ergonomist, we can leverage wearable measurement devices and artificial intelligence to monitor and gather data around the clock. If a task is being performed in an unsafe manner, the device can note that instance and generate an alert to the worker or supervisor. This information can then be leveraged to prevent injuries and further establish best practices.

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