MIIA presents Loss Control, Wellness awards during Annual Meeting

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MIIA honored 15 member municipalities for their exemplary efforts to control costs and losses, reduce insurance claims, and promote cost-saving employee wellness measures, during the association’s annual meeting in Boston on Jan. 21.
 
The conference was held in conjunction with the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show.
 
“We are proud to honor these member communities who have found creative and innovative ways to manage risk and keep employees safe and well,” said Stan Corcoran, executive vice president at MIIA. “Congratulations to them on a successful year. We look forward to continuing to work closely with all of our municipal partners to develop customized programs that help meet risk management and employee health and wellness goals.”
 
Risk Management Awards
In recognition for successful efforts to control municipal costs and enhance employee safety, MIIA presented 12 awards in four categories. Each of the award winners has excelled at lowering insurance loss ratios by taking advantage of the MIIA Rewards incentive program, and working in close partnership with their MIIA loss control representatives to implement process and safety improvement measures.
 
The following awards were presented:
 
Individual Department of Excellence Awards: Winners were recognized for having ongoing and effective safety committees, focused training efforts, and a commitment to strong infrastructure and maintenance protocols. These departments also consistently drove favorable loss ratios.
 
• Town of Reading, Department of Public Works: Reading continues to be one of MIIA’s most active members, with a focus on risk management from the top down. This year, the Reading DPW and MIIA partnered to provide regular training tailgates with a focus on injury prevention and wellness. The DPW regularly conducts proactive safety training refreshers on current topics based on injuries that have occurred.
 
• Town of Wilmington, Department of Public Works: The Wilmington DPW provides monthly training to staff, participates actively in the town’s Safety Committee, and runs a departmental committee that develops and updates department safety procedures. The DPW’s dedication to risk management has paid dividends, as the department has experienced a 0 percent loss ratio in fiscal 2016 for general liability coverage.
 
Innovation Awards: Winners displayed a willingness to explore and support new and creative risk management solutions.
 
• Town of Duxbury: Duxbury’s Risk Management Committee has taken action to improve workplace safety by evaluating and providing ergonomic equipment town-wide. With the ergonomic upgrades, the town is working to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks.
 
• Town of Sudbury: Sudbury and its police chief were early proponents of the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) program, which provides a proactive emergency response plan to active shooter scenarios. Initially implemented within the Police Department, Sudbury has since expanded it into the school system. This past fall, MIIA and the town co-sponsored an ALICE “Train the Trainer” program that reached out to non-municipal Sudbury entities (local churches, camps, etc.) – effectively creating a community-wide emergency response plan.
 
Risk Management Best Practices Awards: Winners were recognized for their commitment to consistent implementation of best practices for various lines of coverage. Through this dedication, member communities have seen success with favorable loss ratios.
 
• Town of Easton: Easton maintains a successful, longstanding safety committee. The town reports workers’ compensation claims in a timely manner, consistently uses occupational health facilities, and implements modified duty when possible.
 
• Town of Wilmington: Wilmington maintains a highly organized protocol for reporting workers’ compensation claims. The town reports claims almost immediately upon injury, and though a formal “return to work” program is still in the works, all departments are willing to accommodate modified duty on a case-by-case basis.
 
• Town of Walpole: Walpole conducts regular safety committee meetings with participants from each department. Internal accident investigations are conducted on all workers’ compensation claims, and the town provides modified duty when available.
 
• Town of Foxborough: Foxborough conducts regular safety meetings and places a high priority on pre-placement physicals, accident investigations, and ongoing safety training. In an effort to increase modified duty possibilities, the town has updated all job descriptions.
 
Commitment to Risk Management Awards: Winners demonstrated either an expanded risk management focus and/or a sustained, long-term commitment to risk management.
 
• City of Leominster: For the past decade, Leominster has met MIIA’s tough benchmark standards for mitigating risk and controlling losses in property and casualty. The city has an active safety committee that has met regularly for more than 17 years, and has steadily increased participation in MIIA’s training programs.
 
• Town of Cohasset: Cohasset’s Safety Committee recently focused on workers’ compensation losses and has seen immediate results, including enhanced accident investigations and timely reporting of claims. The town continues to accommodate modified duty, creatively at times, when there is an opportunity to safely return an employee to work in some capacity.
 
• Town of Cummington: Cummington has seen no lost-time injuries for more than a decade, thanks in large part to its proactive town officials. The town takes advantage of many of MIIA’s training and grant programs, and has hosted a number of MIIA regional programs. Cummington displays how a small town can use outside resources to assist in developing risk management solutions to concerns that plague many cities and towns.
 
• Town of Lanesborough: Lanesborough’s Safety Committee has been instrumental in applying for and receiving risk management grants to mitigate exposures, and the town consistently participates in MIIA’s training offerings. Specific areas where the town has increased its focus are municipal building safety and security, work zone and driver safety, and building freeze up prevention.
 
Wellness Awards
MIIA presented three different awards to member communities in recognition of their efforts to improve employee health and promote a culture of wellness in the workplace.
 
• Ipswich received the Excellence in Wellness award for its efforts to reach as many employees as possible with activities that target departmental needs and interests. Ipswich has shown remarkable support for wellness programs by allowing employees to leave work early or take breaks to participate in programs such as a Fitbit walking challenge. The town has offered a variety of wellness initiatives – online, onsite and self-directed – including some specifically for library and DPW employees, as well as organized basketball and kickball games for employees to promote activity during the Fitbit Challenge.
 
• Walpole received the Excellence in Wellness award for its support of wellness programs that reach all departments. The town’s Wellness Committee meets 10 times each year and includes representatives from the Health Department, Council on Aging, Fire, Police, Accounting, Veterans Affairs, and Schools. Walpole has offered a range of wellness programs for employees, including nutrition, exercise and mindfulness classes, and hosted a fun Employee Appreciation Day with exercise and healthy food options.
 
• Manchester-By-the-Sea received a Best Progress in Wellness award for its increased participation in wellness activities. The town is participating in the Massachusetts Working on Wellness grant program for worksite wellness, and has established an enthusiastic local Wellness Committee to plan employee programs. The town has offered a training program for the DPW targeting driver fatigue, and is planning a mindfulness workshop.
 
Stephen Batchelder is MIIA’s Director of Claims Operations, and Wendy Gammons is MIIA’s Wellness Coordinator.