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Loss Control Surveys: What You Don't Know WILL Hurt You

by Safety Management Group

Many companies often don't know how to focus efforts on specific areas that are causing workers' compensation losses. Loss Control Surveys are a great tool that can be used to identify significant issues causing losses. They may also help companies develop sound countermeasures that will save money.

Loss Control Surveys vary in design and scope. Some are very detailed while others may be brief recaps of the opinions of the creator of the report. Loss Control Surveys have been traditionally prepared by Loss Control representatives of insurance companies (or their representatives). Often, the costs associated with the preparation of these surveys are included in a company's workers' compensation premiums.

For the purposes of this article, a Loss Control Survey is defined as a report containing analysis of a company's operations with a focus on occupational injury and illness exposures. The survey taker utilizes a combination of loss data, injury statistics and site visits to accumulate information for the Loss Control Survey. If warranted, the survey will contain recommendations designed to help the company reduce workers' compensation losses.

Collection of loss data is the first step in preparing a Loss Control Survey. Loss data is available from a company's workers' compensation carrier or agent. While formats differ between insurance producers, loss data or 'loss runs' typically contain information about claims such as:

  • names of injured or ill employees

  • date of the incident

  • nature of the injury or illness

  • amount of money paid to date

  • amount of money held in reserve

  • status of the claim (open or closed)

From a loss control perspective, loss data offers insights into how a company is losing money due to work-related injuries and illness. The Loss Control advisor will categorize the losses contained in the loss data for analysis. For example, if hand injures are occurring with the most frequency and represent 40 percent of workers' compensation losses, closer evaluation of the main causes of these injuries would be warranted. Subsequent site visits and program evaluations associated with preparing the Loss Control Survey for this company would probably include close scrutiny of employee hand usage and potential hazard exposures.

Despite the usefulness of loss data statistics, they often don't tell the entire story of a company's potential for injuries and illnesses. OSHA injury logs are also reviewed. Injury rates are then calculated and compared to national average injury rates of similar companies based on Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. This will help the Loss Control Representative determine if a company is being more successful at controlling losses than other companies that perform the same work.

Once loss data and injury statistics are reviewed, a site visit will follow. The visit provides the Loss Control Representative an opportunity to observe active work areas. Obvious physical hazards and employee behaviors will be compared the statistics prepared prior to the visit.
Are there any hazards or work practices that could be better controlled to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses' How are employees involved in injury prevention' Do employees follow established safety and health procedures' The Loss Control Representative will attempt to collect sufficient information to answer these questions in his final survey report.

Site visits allow the Loss Control Representative an opportunity to assess whether a safety program exists and to what extent it is being implemented.

Following the site visit, all the data collected by the Loss Control Representative is reviewed, evaluated, and packaged in a Loss Control Survey.

Loss Control Surveys don't follow a strict format and differ between insurance carriers. Typical surveys may include:

  • contact information (address, locations visited, etc.)

  • a brief history of the company

  • company-specific injury/illness statistics

  • hazard exposure issues (i.e., material handling, ladders, etc.)

  • safety program evaluation

  • recommendations (if applicable)

The most significant part of the Loss Control Survey is often contained in the recommendations section. Recommendations, if warranted, are developed to counteract issues discovered in the process of developing the Loss Control Survey. Specific, well-defined recommendations can offer a useful action plan that will provide the company cost-effective strategies to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses.

well-prepared Loss Control Surveys can offer a snapshot of where a company is and what issues may be presenting a challenge to their injury and illness prevention efforts.

For additional information about Loss Control Survey, or to have a Loss Control Survey performed, contact Safety Management Group at 800-435-8850.

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