Injury Prevention Best Practices – Part I

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

How can we better prevent injuries in our workplace? In response to this question, the following best practices are offered as essential elements that teams may use to develop, implement and maintain programming effectiveness:

  • Safety Roles and Responsibilities
  • Safety Planning and Loss Analysis
  • Safety Program and Process
  • Education and Training

The benefits of fully utilizing each best practice includes organizational clarity, increased accountability and maximum effectiveness with injury prevention efforts. Simply put, the organization will experience a synergistic effect (i.e., more results with less effort).

So, in Part I, let’s consider the first two best practices: safety roles and responsibilities and safety planning and process.
Safety Roles & Responsibilities

Establish clearly written safety roles and responsibilities for all workers, and ensure everyone knows and understands them. List the key responsibilities for each person’s role in the program. This document should be shared with new hires during orientation training so that they immediately begin to understand the organization’s safety culture. This fosters proactive planning, clarity and accountability.

Safety Planning & Loss Analysis

Establish a planning process for setting injury prevention program goals. Create annual and quarterly goals that will achieve the desired results, and monitor progress towards them. Create focus by selecting only the most important 3-5 things to get done each year and each quarter. This takes some effort to think through and develop, but it is critical for reducing workplace injuries and creating a safe work culture. SMART1 goal setting brings about awareness, focus, accountability and results.

In preparation for the goal setting process, complete a loss analysis using workers’ compensation, auto, and general liability loss runs (Note: Goals should also include the prevention of third-party injury to foster comprehensive injury prevention!). Focus planning, goal setting, and daily efforts on prevention of the top most frequent and most severe injury types. Use simple charts and bar graphs (easily done with Excel or other spreadsheet apps) to communicate performance to all within the organization. Create awareness and maintain focus through loss analysis.

Please be sure to check next month’s article to learn about 3.) a safety program and process and 4.) education and training, and the difference between the two.

Should you require assistance with loss analysis or safety planning, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.


Resources: SMART (Goal) Criteria: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria

Posted in 2018, January 2018, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President
and Industry Relations

Apartment Inspection Reform Bill Signed By Governor

As a follow-up to my column last month, Governor Snyder has signed the apartment inspection law reform bill passed by the Michigan Legislature. This new law, Public Act 169 of 2017, amends the Housing Law of Michigan to provide that the lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Current state law allows a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allows the owner right of entry at any time. AAM has stated its concern that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and lawsuits relating to warrantless searches in other parts of the country support this position. In addition to providing for tenant permission for inspection, the new law lays out the resident notification/inspection scheduling process, specifies certain exceptions (complaints, vacancy, etc.) to the permission requirement, and states the landlord’s duty to allow inspection of common areas. The new law takes effect February 19, 2018.

AAM is holding the following educational sessions to explain the new law, and provide owners with additional resources to be ready for this change. The sessions are free to members and are scheduled for Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 10:00 am and Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 10:00 am. These sessions will take place at AAM’s new office, located at 30400 Telegraph Road in Bingham Farms, in the first floor conference room. Register at www.apartments.org.

Voter Registration Legislation Introduced

Legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives requiring landlords to provide new tenants with a voter registration application and instructions. House Bill 5266 would amend Michigan’s Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act with a mandatory process for landlords to follow. The bill directs the Secretary of State to post all of this information on its website for landlords to access. The legislation does not apply to sublessees unless the sublessee takes possession of the unit with the landlord’s knowledge. The bill also prescribes a civil infraction and potential fine up to $1,000 for violation of the act.

 

Posted in 2018, January 2018 | Leave a comment

Preventing Cold Weather Slip & Fall Injuries

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

Slips and falls are among the most common hazards in the property management business, especially during colder weather.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) analysis conducted using 2014 data, Michigan ranked #3 in the nation (behind #1 New York and #2 Pennsylvania) in the number of lost time, slip and fall injuries resulting from snow and ice. Additionally, the National Floor Safety Institute (www.nfsi.org) reports the following facts:

  • Annually, slips and falls account for over 1 million hospital emergency room visits.
  • Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • Fractures rank as the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5 percent of all people who fall.

No matter how often snow and ice is removed from walking surfaces, you will still likely encounter slippery surfaces this winter. Walking to and from parking lots, on sidewalks and between buildings during the winter months requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Often, we forget how dangerous slipping and falling can be for our health.

Use the following suggestions to help stay slip-and-fall-free this winter.

  • Don’t get caught by surprise. Monitor the weather and changing conditions.
  • Contract with a snow removal company to help keep parking lots clear of snow and ice.
  • Keep adequate supplies of snow and ice removal tools in accessible areas. Assign responsibilities and review the plan for using these tools.
  • Shovel and apply ice melt as necessary to keep walking areas clean and dry.
  • Watch for areas where ice tends to form. Remove ice accumulations promptly and apply additional ice melt to prevent buildup during freeze-thaw cycles.
  • Beware of black ice—a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice caused when temperatures rise above freezing and quickly drop below freezing.
  • Provide good lighting and clear path markings in parking lots and walkways.
  • Clearly identify steps, ramps and other elevation changes that might not be visible in snowy conditions.
  • Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas will greatly increase the chances of injury.
  • Look ahead when walking; a snow or ice-covered sidewalk may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.
  • Do the “penguin shuffle.” Walking like a penguin can reduce your chances of slipping and falling. Here’s how:
    – Point your feet out.
    – Keep your head up.
    – Slowly take short steps or shuffle
    – Extend your arms out to your sides for balance and walk flatfooted.
  • Wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice. Avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels.
  • Consider foot traction products such as Yaktrax® that may be worn over existing shoes or boots. These products have helped athletes, construction crews, public service workers, soldiers, outdoorsmen, and many more walk, run and work on packed snow and ice.
  • Place high quality, beveled edge mats in walking areas subject to water or snow accumulation. Change mats regularly to ensure those in place are dry.
  • Apply a slip-resistant floor treatment in areas that tend to become wet and slippery. Clean and maintain these floors according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Use vehicles for support when getting in and out from a parking location.
  • Get help with carrying packages that are large or heavy so as not to affect balance and obstruct view
  • Lastly, in the event you start falling, try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine; relax your muscles and fall onto your side.

Should you require additional assistance with preventing cold weather slips and falls in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

  1. National Floor Safety Institute Slip & Fall Facts: https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/
  2. OSHA Winter Weather Resources: https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/
  3. Yaktrax® FAQ: https://www.yaktrax.com/faq

 

Posted in 2017, DECEMBER 2017 | Comments Off on Preventing Cold Weather Slip & Fall Injuries

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President, and Industry Relations

Apartment Inspection Reform Bill Passes Legislature

In a major victory for the rental property industry, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 102-6 in favor of Senate Bill 107. This bill is AAM’s effort to reform the Housing Law of Michigan to provide that the lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Current state law allows a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allows the owner right of entry at any time. AAM has stated its concern that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and lawsuits in other parts of the country support this position. The Michigan Senate already approved the bill, on a 37-0 vote, on the final day of Senate session prior to its summer recess. As of this writing, Governor Snyder had not acted on the bill, but we will advise you when that occurs.

Detroit City Council Enacts Changes to Rental Property Ordinance

On October 31, the Detroit City Council passed a set of amendments to the city’s rental property ordinance. These changes begin a two year effort by the Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) to get all rental properties registered and inspected. BSEED will divide the city up in five zones, and phase in compliance via inspections in each zone. Ordinance amendments include:

  • The ability for the city to withhold certificates of compliance to landlords who are more than six months delinquent on their property taxes and owe more than $1000.
  • Provide landlords with an expedited process (between 7 and 30 days) for appealing the denial or suspension of a certificate of compliance.
  • Less frequent inspections for landlords who, for at least one year, have remained current on their taxes and received no blight violations. Certifications would extend from one year to two years for multi-family properties and to three years for one- and two-family properties.
  • Continue annual lead hazard inspections (except for those properties where long-term or permanent abatement measures were made) even if there are less frequent property inspections.
  • Allow the city to accept inspections of multifamily property conducted by HUD under the real estate assessment center inspection process, or by other government agencies.

Landlords who fail to have their property inspected during their compliance period will not be able to legally collect rent nor evict any tenant for withholding rent.

 

Posted in 2017, DECEMBER 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Apartment Inspection Reform Bill Moves Forward In House

AAM’s efforts to reform the current apartment inspection law took another step forward with the recent approval of the Local Government Committee in the Michigan House of Representatives. Senate Bill 107 was approved by the committee unanimously, on an 11-0 vote, and now goes to the full House for a vote. As you may recall, this legislation amends the Housing Law of Michigan to provide that the lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Current state law allows a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allows the owner right of entry at any time. AAM has stated its concern that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Michigan Senate already approved the bill, on a 37-0 vote, on the final day of Senate session prior to its summer recess. We appreciate the leadership of the bill’s sponsor, Senator Rick Jones (R–Grand Ledge).

MCRC Will Not Reinterpret Civil Rights Act

An effort to reinterpret Michigan’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity has failed in the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC). MCRC was petitioned by Equality Michigan to provide an interpretive statement to clarify the Elliott Larsen Act’s definition of sex discrimination. The interpretive statement would have included protections for the LGBT community. However, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office testified that only the Michigan Legislature could reinterpret the act, and if the commission issued such a rule it could be subject to a lawsuit. This latest action comes after multiple legislative attempts to expand the civil rights act have failed.

On a federal level, legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes currently identified in the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act. The legislation, called the Equality Act of 2017, would explicitly ban discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in housing, employment, credit, public education, and other areas covered by anti-discrimination laws.

Fair Housing Seminar Set for November 15

If you have staff in need of a Fair Housing seminar, AAM has scheduled a program for Wednesday, November 15 from 9:00 am – Noon. The instructor will be Kathleen Mabie of Success OnSite. Please visit http://www.apartments.organd click the link at the top of the page for details and registration.

 

Posted in 2017, November 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update