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Executive forum.

We have heard it said time and time again, "People are our Greatest Asset." When examining the various issues related to the risk management process, what are the implications of appropriate or inappropriate human resource management?

Throughout the country, we continue to hear how the cost of workers' compensation claims has escalated, and that severe workers' compensation reform is necessary in most states. It is true that in some states, ambiguous, lucrative workers' compensation benefits contribute to the escalation of these costs. However, if the employee never has an occupational injury or illness, the costs are not incurred no matter what the workers' compensation statutes may be.

Isn't a good part of reducing workers' compensation costs a human resource management issue? Creating work involving job satisfaction has been stated to be the most effective tool for reducing workers' compensation claims. Employees satisfied with their work are also said to be more responsible, more accountable and more apt to feel a contributing part of the company.

Satisfied, "empowered" employees are more perceptive in noticing hazards in the workplace and concerned about protecting themselves, other employees and assets of the company. When you examine losses relating to people and physical and financial assets, the majority relate to human behavior factors. There are many ways we as risk managers can be involved in human resource management and the impact this may have on our ability to assist our companies in preventing, reducing or controlling losses. We can aid in creating training programs to give employees much more knowledge of their work environment, encourage input from employees on how to improve their work environment, open up avenues of communication with employees and their families concerning health and safety issues, and institute employee assistance programs that can help relieve outside pressures such as substance abuse, financial circumstances and the other stresses we all face day-to-day during our life-times. Human resource management is a risk management issue. We need to become more knowledgeable in this area and more involved in assisting our companies in evaluating this very important factor in our risk assessment formulas.
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Title Annotation:personnel management
Author:Gallagher, Lucille
Publication:Risk Management
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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