During its Annual Meeting in Boston on Jan. 20, MIIA honored 18 members for their impressive efforts to control costs and losses, reduce insurance claims, and promote overall employee wellness.
The meeting was held in conjunction with the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show.
“We appreciate the hard work and congratulate our award-winning member communities for their commitments to risk management and employee health and wellness goals,” said Stan Corcoran, executive vice president at MIIA. “We look forward to continuing our work not only with the communities recognized at our Annual Meeting, but with all of our municipal partners. During 2018, we will continue to develop customized programs that help meet risk management and employee health and wellness goals in the future.”
Wellness Awards
MIIA presented two awards to member communities in recognition of their efforts to improve employee health and promote a culture of wellness in the workplace.
• The city of Pittsfield received the Best Wellness Program for a Newcomer award. The city’s wellness program grew substantially this past year, thanks to an active wellness committee and strong support from municipal and school leadership. In 2017, Pittsfield opened a new Wellness Center in City Hall, featuring a well-attended health fair. Pittsfield’s program has grown into a yearlong, multi-faceted program with on-site and online choices including, but not limited to, the Biggest Winner Challenge, cooking classes, mindfulness and self-care programs, well-being coaching classes, boot camp programs, and more.
• The town of Dartmouth received the Best Wellness Committee award to acknowledge the outstanding and active committee that supports the town’s top-notch wellness program. All members of the committee attend meetings and participate in on-site and online programs throughout the year. The committee advocates for policies that promote healthy behaviors and supportive environments that foster emotional well-being and life balance. Employee participation in programs is high, due in part to the committee’s grassroots promotion. During 2017, Dartmouth offered more than 10 programs, such as workstation ergonomics, kickboxing, mindfulness, and snowplow driver training.
Risk Management Awards
In recognition of successful efforts to control municipal costs and enhance employee safety, MIIA presented 15 risk management awards in four categories. Each winner has excelled in its commitment to lowering insurance costs by taking advantage of the MIIA Rewards incentive program and working in partnership with their MIIA loss control representatives to implement process and safety improvements.
Community Excellence
The towns of Dennis, Franklin and Reading each received a Community Excellence award for their commitment to risk management through both individual departments and community leadership. Factors considered were solid implementation of risk management fundamentals such as ongoing and effective safety committees, focused training, and a commitment to strong infrastructure and maintenance protocols throughout the community. These towns also actively sought out new and creative ways to promote safety and mitigate risk.
• Dennis: The town of Dennis is one of MIIA’s most active members in all departments, with a focus on risk management from the top down. In 2017, the town’s Department of Public Works, the Department of Labor Standards, and MIIA Risk Management collaborated to develop and implement a station-based, hands-on, refresher training program. Each station focused on a specific training and included visual-comprehensive testing. This innovative and successful training approach included neighboring towns.
• Franklin: The town of Franklin demonstrates an enthusiastic enterprise-wide commitment to risk management and safety. The town’s Public Works and Facility Maintenance departments have proactively engaged in, and focused on, OSHA-related training and implementation of risk management best practices. Their collaborative efforts include comprehensive quarterly safety meetings in which they review and investigate all incidents, routine site and building inspections, and continued use of MIIA Rewards training.
• Reading: The town of Reading demonstrates an unwavering commitment to risk management and safety practices at all levels of their operations. The town has moved beyond a strong commitment to risk management fundamentals, creating a safety coordinator position specifically tasked with design, development, scheduling and tracking of training within the Department of Public Works. With the potential for heightened regulatory oversight, coupled with new technology opportunities affecting DPW operations, town leaders believe it is imperative that the workforce receives continuous training and support to remain current with these new obligations and opportunities.
The towns of Duxbury, Wrentham, Plainville and Cohasset received Innovation awards, which recognize a willingness to explore and embrace new and creative risk management solutions.
• Duxbury: The town of Duxbury has implemented a new human resources program designed to target and reduce professional liability risk by standardizing and automating manual and repetitive HR-required transactions, while simultaneously helping to ensure regulatory compliance. This will produce a more strategic and consultative product townwide and will include updated professional conduct training.
• Wrentham and Plainville: The towns of Wrentham and Plainville collaboratively conducted an A.L.I.C.E. training exercise involving members of the respective police and emergency response departments. The “active shooter” training session was conducted at the Wrentham Outlets during off hours, as the size and scale of the facility allowed for significant police presence to create a large-scale active shooter scenario and simulated emergency response. A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) provides a strategy for individuals and organizations to proactively respond to the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event, and provides option-based avoidance tactics, rather than traditional lockdown strategies.
• Cohasset: Since July 2014, the Safe Harbor Cohasset Coalition has worked to promote awareness and implement resources to make an impact on substance abuse within the town. The coalition operates under the auspices of the Social Service League of Cohasset and is guided by a seven-member steering committee. The coalition includes senior leadership from the School Department and representatives from law enforcement, the Fire Department, town government, religious institutions, the medical and recovery communities, mental health professionals, and parents. The coalition aims to help break down the silos that exist between various agencies, mental health providers, and systems that can often hinder access to mental health and wellness services for individuals.
Risk Management Best Practices
The towns of Marshfield, Wilmington and Falmouth, the city of Easthampton, the North Adams School Department, and the Bi-County Collaborative were presented with Risk Management Best Practices awards, which recognize member commitment to consistent implementation of specific, high-value best practices for various lines of coverage.
• Marshfield: The town of Marshfield implemented a safety committee this past year that has produced positive change. Town departments regularly attend the quarterly meetings, and emphasis has been placed on a “return to work” approach. The School Department has made significant efforts to identify and create opportunities that facilitate the ability of employees to return to work on a modified-duty basis.
• Wilmington: The town of Wilmington is very creative in exploring light- and modified-duty options for employees.
• Falmouth: The town of Falmouth recently reinstated its safety committee, with all respective department heads involved, and is willing to entertain light-duty return-to-work options whenever possible.
• Easthampton: The city of Easthampton is revising Department of Public Works job description requirements from “must be able to lift 100 pounds” to 40 pounds. The change is a result of a specific workers’ compensation claim, where the union resisted any modified duty. In addition, the city has charged the DPW with developing a plan to implement a two-person lifting rule. This represents a proactive approach to employee safety and a potential reduction of injuries.
• North Adams: Over the past year or so, the School Department in North Adams has expanded its return-to-work program with an emphasis on the identification and implementation of light- or modified-work opportunities. In addition, the department consistently produces accurate and thorough reporting, with corresponding documentation of workers’ compensation claims.
• Bi-County Collaborative: The Bi-County Collaborative, which consists of 17 member school districts in Bristol, Norfolk and Worcester counties, has been creative in exploring ways to accommodate work restrictions when safely bringing an employee back to work. It is rare that work restrictions are not accommodated.
Commitment to Risk Management
The towns of Bedford, Westborough and Charlton received Commitment to Risk Management awards, which highlight members who have demonstrated either a renewed focus on, or a long-term commitment to, risk management fundamentals.
• Bedford: The town of Bedford holds routine safety committee meetings each quarter, attended by all town departments. Attendees participate in interactive discussions regarding losses, site and building safety conditions, and other safety concerns and improvements. The committee aggressively works with employees to provide in-house training, in concert with vendor and MIIA-sponsored training.
• Westborough: The town of Westborough takes full advantage of MIIA Rewards training and adopts risk management best practices to establish a culture of safety, with particular emphasis on OSHA and Department of Labor Standards focus areas. Preliminary results from the fiscal 2017 policy year show favorable loss-ratio results.
• Charlton: The town of Charlton has energetically supported risk management efforts throughout the town. Local officials embrace and maximize training opportunities, establish protocols for building inspections, and investigate all loss incidents, supported by an established safety committee with representation from all departments.
Wendy Gammons is MIIA’s Wellness Manager and Stephen Batchelder is MIIA’s Director of Claims Operations.