Risk Management & Safety Training: Why You Need to Have It!
July 09, 2013 | 1511 Views
Risk management. It's not a bad word, so why don’t we talk about it more in terms of training? In most hospitality industry conversations, the focus typically is on skill training – how do I train so employees will deliver top notch food and service execution which brings our guests through the front doors again and again.
There are several reasons why we need to incorporate risk management into our training conversations:
- Workers’ compensation premiums continue to escalate
- Rising cost of short and long term care for those who miss work due to injuries incurred while on the job
- Insurance companies are putting an increasing number of loss control investigators into the field requiring them to increase expectations on workplace safety as well as documentation levels which may lead to your organization holding the short end of the stick when it comes renewal time.
- Safety practices not only affect the financial big picture but also can have a significant life changing impact on the long term quality of life for our employees when they experience a serious injury.
Lessons Learned: While just one or two “freak” accidents may be at the root cause of your losses, which was the case for us, your insurance company will not hesitate to hold you to a higher level of accountability in all areas. Take it seriously and train your way to stronger practices or you may find yourself in a high risk pool; unquotable by insurance companies. Three year cycles determine your “modification calculation” (MOD rate) which is used to set your annual premiums. Unfortunately, after incurring an extremely high MOD rate in two out of the past three years we found ourselves with over a 25% rise in our premium for this coming policy year. Trust me; you do not want to land in the open market with sky high rates as that will shrink your bottom line.
New Focus: I now find myself examining not only the emphasis we place on safe workplace practices but also the scope and breadth to which we provide risk management training to both our management teams as well as front line employees. It is important that everyone is on the same page.
It’s crucial we go beyond the standard “knife safety training video” or merely encourage the wearing of slip resistant shoes while explaining how to use the “wet floor” sign. Just pointing out the facility’s “MSD Sheets” for cleaning chemicals is not enough. With the cost associated with injuries escalating, the importance of establishing a comprehensive risk management program with pro-active on-going training is being put at the fore front by insurers looking to make their profit margin on your policy.
While restaurant and lodging facilities are not usually compared to a manufacturing plant, the injuries are similar. Did you know the top two injury categories are slips, trips and falls as well as burns, cuts and lacerations?
- Do any of your employees use a ladder to change a light bulb, wash a window, or move products to or from the top shelf? Consider providing ladder safety training and also train on lifting techniques to avoid lingering back injuries.
- How many of your employees use fryers or steamers? Both are common sources of severe burns. If you’re not convinced of the importance of proper training, take a look at this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSU4g2wL9Oc . We have shown it and found it to be extremely impactful in bringing heightened safety awareness and practices to our team members to prevent eliminate treacherous mishaps.
- Do your service team employees perform any landscaping duties? Again, training is important to ensure that they wear protective clothing and eye wear when using the weed whacker or hedge trimmers.
Too Busy? Rolling out or even maintaining another program certainly seems daunting or perhaps absolutely absurd at a time when our resources and departments have been downsized; however, it is also an opportunity for you to show increased value as well as a higher ROI for your department.
What Next? Much of your safety training can be incorporated into daily task training of new employees. For those already on the job, quick in-house refreshers can help bring increased awareness to their daily practices. When developing or retooling a program, keep the following in mind:
- KISS it! Keep it simple, stupid….don’t make your message and training cumbersome. For example we have found that one page bullet pointed and diagramed “101s” not only effectively provide the steps needed to be safe on the job but also bring continued focus on safety when hung in the proper areas of your property.
- Lean on your Workers’ Compensation provider for assistance. Your loss insurance investigators are there to help you; they often have video links and quick best practice hand-outs that you can use when developing your materials. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel!
- Are your safety goals established and communicated? Executive management often has their top three safety goals of the quarter or year….are they known? Work in conjunction with HR to get this message out. An effective risk management and safety program starts with all individuals knowing what the goals are and working together to achieve.
Above all else, keep in mind the safety behavior practiced today not only affects your profit margin of tomorrow but also the health and well-being in the lives of your employees.