Printer Friendly

Fighting comp problems with education, publicity.

Escalating workers' compensation costs have become the anathema of risk management. While there may not be an instant antidote to the problem, three campaigns are under way to slow the crisis with the weapons of education and publicity.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has joined forces with two insurance groups-the American Insurance Association and the American Insurance Services Group-and trade associations from six industries to launch Project Safe Georgia, an educational effort aimed at small businesses in Georgia. Launched in October after a year's groundwork, the endeavor provides safety and health information to fields primarily populated with small businesses-restaurants, printing, home building, sawmills, auto body repair and refuse collection.

Project Safe Georgia begins as a two-phase program, according to Joe Collier, director of the office of consultation at OSHA. "We used insurance industry, OSHA and Bureau of Labor Statistics data to identify the most significant and costly hazards in these industries," says Mr. Collier. "We developed a series of pamphlets that cover hazards significant in the industries that can be controlled or eliminated with reasonably inexpensive and easy methods." The industries'trade associations distributed the pamphlets to their respective members, he adds.

The second phase of the program, Mr. Collier continues, will be the development and continuation of occupational safety resources. For instance, he notes that Project Safe Georgia is helping restaurants by testing slip-resistant floor treatment and shoes as well as synthetic gloves that would reduce cuts. Training aids and videos are also being planned. Similar programs may be introduced in other states.

Mr. Collier concedes that OSHA has had limited success in reaching small businesses on these issues. "Sometimes people with smaller businesses seem to be so busy keeping their operations going that they don't have the resources or the time to turn their attention to safety and health issues," he says. Furthermore, Project Safe Georgia will seek to dispel the expensive reputation of accident prevention. "This pro will show that on-the-job safety can come through simple, inexpensive steps any business can take," says Dick Dorsey, southeast regional vice president for AIA. "We hope it can break the domino effect that starts with a misunderstanding and ends up with an injury and a workers' compensation claim. "

Meanwhile, the National Council on Compensation Insurance is trying to take the workers' comp bull by the horns with a national anti-fraud campaign. The NCCI has formed a special investigations unit that specifically targets losses resulting from fraudulent claims.

"For too long, there has been a tendency to treat these kinds of abuses as either ambiguous or unethical, but not as illegal business practices," says William Hager, president of NCCI. "That is the kind of mindset we want to break and break permanently."

John Lacy, NCCI director of government, consumer and industry affairs, was named director of the unit. He will be concentrating on what he termed "high-impact cases" in which carriers lost substantial premiums. Investigative units will be established in each NCCI field office and will examine and pursue applications that raise the suspicions of other NCCI departments. Additionally, Mr. Lacy will be working with federal and state prosecutors to pursue fraudulent practices in the courts. "We'll be contacting them on an individual basis," he says, adding that many cases of workers' comp fraud "border on white collar crime."

Separately, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents believes people should speak up about the crisis facing workers' comp-and the group is providing the words to say. The association is offering "Making Workers' Comp Work," a public relations kit that enables agents to speak to business groups on saving employers money on their premiums.

The kit includes a speech on workers' comp issues that can be delivered to business or civic groups, instructions on how to present the speech effectively, samples of press releases to be sent to the media for promotion, prepared questions that could be generated by the speech and 50 copies of the four-page brochure "Straight Talk: Making Workers' Comp Work." The kit costs $50 and is available to both agents and the public.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Risk Management Society Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:workers' compensation insurance; Project Safe Georgia
Author:Hall, Phil
Publication:Risk Management
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Words:675
Previous Article:The shape of things to come.
Next Article:What is the proper bidding approach?
Topics:


Related Articles
REFORM SPURS ITT HARTFORD TO EXPAND WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE BUSINESS IN FLORIDA
FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS COMPANY TO STOP SELLING WORKERS' COMP COVERAGE IN NC
FREMONT COMP & KAISER PERMANENTE SIGN PIONEERING HEALTH CARE PACT
LIBERTY MUTUAL AND HEALTHCARE COMPARE FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO OFFER NEW WORKERS COMPENSATION MANAGED CARE PROGRAM
Fremont Comp Acquires Citation National
Paralyzed by 'third rail' issues.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters