Training

Lexipol - Police Policy Development Tools

Are you a Police Chief, or an officer responsible for developing policies for your law enforcement agency?  If so, it’s time to spring into action and take advantage of another OMAG Value Added Service. We’ve reached the two-year mark since the Title 11 policy mandate went into effect.  As of January 1, 2016, every municipal police agency has been required to have written policies which address critical safety and liability issues which officers are confronted with on a regular basis. 

The Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group has assisted our law enforcement agencies with policy development for over a decade now.  Two years ago, OMAG took policy development assistance to the next level by partnering with Lexipol. Have you considered Lexipol and just need assistance with getting started?  Are you stuck in the middle and just can’t find the time?  Your OMAG Law Enforcement Specialist can come alongside you and assist in the development and implementation of your new policy manual. 

If you would like to learn more about Lexipol, the country’s premier policy development tool for law enforcement, contact Kevin McCullough at 405-657-1408.  You can also email Kevin at kmccullough@omag.org.

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"Root Cause" Accident Investigation - Not a Band-Aid, but a Solution

In route to repair a water main leak, a newly hired backhoe operator drifts to the edge of the road and slams into the back of a car, injuring a mother waiting for her kids to get out of school. 

The young operator is near tears, the supervisor overflows with accusations, another worker slams their hand in a door. Everything is confusion.

Eventually, when the mess is sorted out, the safety coordinator will investigate the accident. He learns the steering and brakes on the backhoe were bad. Someone will get blamed, and the equipment issues will be repaired.  The safety coordinator, overwhelmed by the demands on his time, will go off to fight the next fire. 

This is not an extreme case.  Accidents are handled like this every day. At best, this type of approach deals with symptoms and not the actual or root cause.  In a few days, another piece of equipment, perhaps a manifold at the water plant, will fail.  Someone else will be injured or maybe killed.  The plant will shut down for a while and the damage will be repaired, but the risks will remain.

To identify and control risk, an accident investigation must get to root causes. Why was a new employee operating the backhoe?  How much training had they received?  Why wasn’t the faulty equipment taken out of service immediately?  Why wasn’t it clearly tagged out of service? Reported? Was the equipment regularly inspected?  Is there a preventative maintenance program? What must be changed in maintenance, training or safety to keep this from happening again?

Accident investigation should be a critical part of overall safety program strategy. Done correctly, it can enhance safety and reduce costs.  All accident investigations should be conducted in a professional manner and should always focus on causes: the why's. Using the 5 “Why’s” of a typical Root Cause Analysis allows the employer to discover the underlying or systemic, rather than the generalized or immediate, causes of an accident.  Correcting only immediate cause may eliminate a symptom of the problem, but not the problem itself. The more incidents that are reported, the more problems can be investigated and resolved. The more problems solved, the safer and more cost effective the operation will be.

The fact is that the only difference between a near miss and a catastrophe may be chance. That's why every potential problem should be resolved. 

For more information on conducting accident investigations, and developing a Root Cause Analysis please view “Incident [Accident] Investigations: A Guide for Employers” https://www.osha.gov/dte/IncInvGuide4Empl_Dec2015.pdf

Accidents and injuries are not a cost of doing business; all are preventable!

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Keep Older Workers Safe! Tips For an Aging Workforce

By 2020, one in four American workers will be over 55, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To raise awareness of the health and safety issues affecting older workers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a web page with information to help employers match the needs of an aging workforce (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/productiveaging/).

According to NIOSH, older workers tend to experience fewer workplace injuries than their younger colleagues, perhaps due to their experience and their lowered likelihood to take risks.  However, when older workers are injured the health care costs are higher and the recuperation period is longer. In addition, statistically there has been a dramatic jump in fatalities around age 60.

The following are some of NIOSH’s tips for keeping older workers safe:
    Match Tasks to Abilities: Everyone benefits when workers are able to perform their jobs well.  If older workers have physical limitations, assign them to tasks that do not require them to strain beyond their ability. Consider using self-paced work and splitting physically strenuous work up with self-directed rest breaks.
    Manage Hazards: When assessing hazards in the workplace, make sure to consider whether conditions that might not be hazardous for younger employees could pose a problem for older workers.  For example, a noisy work environment might not bother a 25-year-old (though you should still assess noise levels and provide hearing protection if necessary), but an older worker in the same environment might have difficulty hearing coworkers to communicate about important safety issues.
    Consider Ergonomics: Provide and design work environments that address ergonomic concerns. Examples include better illumination, screens and surfaces with a minimum amount of glare and ergonomic sit/stand workstations.  In addition, the use of ergonomically designed tools for high frequency task should also be taken into account.
    Invest in Training: It should be a priority to build work skills at all age levels. Older and younger workers can learn from each other, with older works serving as mentors and sharing their experience, and younger workers helping older workers adapt to new technologies.
    Manage Return to Work Process: Statistics and anecdotal evidence have shown that employees   recover more quickly from injury and illness when they’re at work.  Proactively managing reasonable accommodations and the return-to-work process, is a win-win situation.
    Train Supervisors: Train specifically on the issues associated with an aging workforce and the best way to address them.

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