Safety

How Cross-Team Collaboration Improves Worker Safety

In the legacy workers compensation system, the onus for worker safety fell squarely on the shoulders of health and safety personnel. Although innovations like risk management software and wearables have helped improve cross-team communication and foster more involvement from brokers and carriers, costly gaps remain.

Today, almost every player along the insurance value chain has an opportunity to contribute to worker safety. Risk management technology promotes cross-team collaboration that can create a more robust safety net of support for workers. And getting involved can set you apart from the competition, in whatever space you occupy. 

Brokers & Carriers Serve as Safety Partners

Brokers and carriers deliver products. The rest is up to the insured, right? Not quite.

To deliver more value to insureds, brokers need to go beyond providing paperwork and running through loss runs. Developing a sense of trust goes a long way in not only building a better partnership but influencing clients to prioritize safety over compliance.

How do you get started? It’s simple: keep in touch with your clients. What do your clients need that they aren’t getting? How can you provide the support clients need? What will it take to position workers compensation as an ally rather than a cost-driver?

These answers will be different for different clients and markets, but the questions are worth asking in every broker-carrier-client relationship. Because worker safety is a worthwhile endeavor, your experience, perspective, and access to market tools can make you an invaluable resource to clients who need a hand. And that makes it even more important that you work with carriers who promote, empower, and reward safe behavior.

IT Delivers Digital Solutions

Where can IT personnel play a role in injury rates? The answer lies in risk and safety technology. IT works with health and safety personnel to identify opportunities to digitize paper processes and establish technology-based safety programs.

Whether it’s software, apps, wearables, or all of the above, IT may play a crucial role in identifying, rolling out, and maintaining the chosen solution.

And it’s a bigger deal than you might think: legacy tech systems still dominate the insurance industry, but insurtech is rolling out highly-integrated technology designed to streamline safety and allow safety teams to remove administrative burdens and focus on process improvement, collaboration, and building culture.

At Foresight, we wrap our proprietary technology into every policy. Unlike legacy technology, it works on any desktop or mobile device and can be set-up in minutes with minimal IT support.

Operations Balance Risk and Efficiency

While some like to boil “safety” down to behaviors, risk is often a symptom of operational efficiencies or inefficiencies. Many of the safety problems that workers see as “intractable” aren’t obstacles but an operational choice.

While traditional thought doesn’t see efficiency and safety in the same category, they go hand-in-hand when you have a set of common goals. To emphasize safety, you need worker participation.

Operations should collaborate with the EHS team to identify areas for strengthening safety and minimizing or mitigating risk. Both teams are a force to be reckoned with, and both are stronger together. 

Environmental Health and Safety Team Deploy the Program

The safety team tends to be insular. And who could blame them with so much ground to cover in so little time? 

For the EHS team, communication is key. But they need to communicate with more than workers and OSHA. Bringing all the other players, including brokers, operations reps, and IT teams, into regular conversations fosters alignment and promotes company-wide safety culture.

During these meetings, talk about where your weaknesses are and, most importantly, what’s already working. These knowledge-sharing sessions allow every stakeholder to better understand how their actions influence the program as a whole.

At the same time, safety program directors shouldn’t neglect the workers ‘at the end of the shovel.’ As the direct link between the field workers and decision-makers, EHS personnel help companies avoid a top-down structure where everyone gets a say except the people doing the work.

Frontline Workers Bring Safety to Life

No one knows safety like foremen, floor managers, and site supervisors. These are the people who make safety programs effective — or leave them to languish. Frontline workers need to have a seat at the safety table, and effective EHS teams put the worker experience and organizational knowledge front and center.

In addition to giving frontline teams recognition and support for all they do, it’s also vital for everyone in the safety net of support to empower them with technologies that help make their workday easier. Digital safety management saves them time on paperwork, reporting, and communication. 

When rolled out across teams, the software even enables managers to empower and delegate to their workers, for whom safety is critical but who don’t necessarily have safety responsibilities. Together, these experiences allow more workers to take ownership of the safety program, which drives engagement, productivity, and morale.

CEOs and C-Suite Set the Tone

What role do the CEO and C-suite play in injury prevention? After all, you make high-level decisions and set the tone. Research shows that CEOs aren’t the most significant safety influencers. Wearing a hard hat on a site visit is important, but these kinds of acts won’t do much to lower your incident rate.

Instead, CEOs and other leaders should see themselves not as safety leaders but as the driving force behind safety priorities. When CEOs drive a safety climate, you set a top-down example that reaches workers through investment in technology, a stronger safety culture, and organizational learning.

To influence culture, the C-Suite should stay actively involved, attending periodic safety meetings with operations, IT, and their broker. Focus on the shared responsibilities leadership has with those groups and develop trust between the C-Suite and those making the day-to-day decisions. These actions can have practical implications for safety culture.

Strengthen Safety and Workers Compensation with Teamwork

Workplace safety isn’t a process or a template: it’s a commitment from all stakeholders to identify risk, make changes, and share knowledge to actively minimize risk. Safety teams can’t do it alone, and they don’t need to. Whether you sell insurance, run IT, or take a high-level view from the C-Suite, you have a defined role in building the safety net of support.

Are you ready to build your service offering by empowering your clients to run safer workplaces? Learn more about how Foresight’s innovative risk management technology is helping brokers better serve their middle-market customers.

Author: Foresight

We’re a team of compliance, safety, and commercial insurance professionals transforming workers compensation. We write about technology, trends, regulations, and value-adding services.