By K C Pawling, Road Safety and Loss Prevention Specialist

Loss leader reports are one of the tools used by the Loss Prevention Team at NIRMA. “Loss leaders” are the most frequently submitted type of claim that we receive from members during a specified period of time. The data is collected from all coverage lines, such as workers’ compensation, and the property-related coverages. As part of our efforts to stay informed about the loss leaders, we receive weekly, quarterly, and yearly reports. The reports supply frequent reminders to help us focus on the reality of what our member counties are experiencing. We are not left wondering or guessing what the focus of our efforts should be.

The areas of concern that are always on the top of our loss leader reports for claims falling under the worker’s compensation coverage are slips trips and falls, strain or injured by, and struck or injured by.  For property claims, loss leaders include adverse events related to road maintenance, collisions with equipment or other equipment loss, and motor vehicle accidents.

It is tempting to react dismissively to the loss leader statistics, since these types of losses are going to naturally occur and should be expected with the nature of county business operations.  But this is a dangerous attitude, as it fails to take responsibility for what is within our control. We can, through loss prevention and risk management efforts, mitigate losses and improve safety. In fact, our whole business in the county road department IS taking responsibility for the safety of those around us.

The following are six reminders to reduce the incidence of our loss leaders, in both the areas of property, and workers’ compensation.

  • Know your limitations. Ask for help when lifting heavy items or even if you need a spotter while using a ladder.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Are there weather-related concerns that we need to consider?  Are you working around railroad tracks, where extra situational awareness is essential?  Are there multiple operators that need to coordinate with each other?
  • Are you using all the appropriate signage to warn road or shop users of potential hazardous or high-risk situations?  This is for your safety AND theirs.
  • Is the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) available for your use? Are you taking the time to use it?
  • Have you had the proper training for the tasks you are asked to do, or the equipment you are asked to operate, or even training for the environment you are asked to work in?
  • Report any perceived unsafe condition to your supervisor. Whether it is a road concern, shop, or equipment concern, report it.

This is not intended to be a specific or exhaustive list of practices that a road department can do to lower loss incident rates, but it is aimed at getting you thinking about safe work practices. What can you, and should you be doing to work safer this year?

If you need training or would just like an outside perspective of a situation you are dealing with, do not hesitate to contact us here at NIRMA.  We will do what we can to come alongside you to help decide the best plan of action for your situation.  Let’s try to work safer in 2024.  I can be reached at 402-310-4417 or