DIVISIO N OF
RISK MANAG EM ENT
A Quarterly Publication from the Division of Risk Management
Volume 3, Issue 1 July 2009
Special points of
interest: Driver Safety Training - Roger Livingston, State Risk Manager
• Auto accident claims
Because auto accident claims have outnumbered Please note that the multiple choice test covers
have historically out-
numbered every other any other type or class of claim every year since only a small portion of the information provided
type or class of claim the Risk Fund was created, Risk Management has in the video. In order to provide a greater learn-
since the Risk Fund required all covered entities to implement ap- ing experience, most of the test questions were
was created. proved defensive driving training. Notwithstand- selected from the Utah Driver Handbook for the
ing those cooperative efforts, we are experiencing express purpose of reviewing important safety
• Risk Management has
an increase in crash-related claims. Some of standards and rules of the road that all of us had
launched a new Driver those claims to master in order to get our driver’s licenses.
Safety Training pro- have been
gram, which can be heartbreaking. To help your organization track the testing proc-
accessed at ess, please ensure that online test-takers enter
www.risk.utah.gov. Given the re- their employee ID number, email address, and the
cent trend, I email address of their supervisor or entity desig-
• Risk Management wel-
invite all of you to redouble your efforts to re- nee. Upon completion, the test results will be
comes your ongoing
input to reduce auto- duce the costs and effects of these incidents. If emailed to test-takers and their supervisors or
related claims, injuries, your entity is not holding regular and effective entity designees. Test-takers can also print a cer-
and deaths. accident review committee meetings, please start tificate of completion for their personnel files. If
today. To assist you in your loss control endeav- you have employees who do not have Internet
ors, we have developed and launched a new access, please contact Lisa Adams via email
Driver Safety Training program, which can be (email@example.com) or telephone
Inside this issue: accessed via the “Driver Video and Test” link on (801.538.9560) and she will send you a DVD,
the left menu of our website’s main page testing materials, and certificates of completion.
Because our license to use the Coastal Safety
All drivers are expected to view a 14-minute DVD and Video and workbook expired on June
video and complete a multiple choice test with a 30, 2009, please destroy all copies of the work-
At-Will Employ- 2 score of 70% or greater. Those who fail the test book and return all DVD’s and VHS tapes to our
ment will be permitted to re-test, but with a different office at your earliest convenience.
set of questions.
At-Will Employ- 3 Based upon your input, we have decided to elimi-
ment (cont.) The video portion of the training was a collabora- nate the ambiguity between “frequent” drivers,
Ergonomics & 3 tive effort involving resources and representatives who were previously required to undergo annual
Economy from the University of Utah and the Departments training, and “infrequent” drivers, for whom train-
of Administrative Services; Public Safety; Trans- ing was required every three years. Hereafter, all
Risk Happenings 4 portation; Natural Resources, Technology Ser- drivers will be expected to undergo Driver Safety
vices, and the Tax Commission. Critical insight training every two years.
Working in the 4 was provided by Dr. David Strayer of the Univer-
Heat sity of Utah and Dr. Howard M. Leaman of the Thanks for your ongoing, proactive efforts. Please
Intermountain Sleep Disorders Center. Thanks continue to give us input, so we can improve our
to all who participated. services to you and your associates.
Page 2 RiskWatch
Performance, Conduct, and Disabilities—Melissa Frost, ADA Coordinator
The Equal Opportunity Em- action to prohibit vio- • Recognize accommoda-
ployment Commission has lence or threats of vio- tion requests—no magic
recently issued guidelines for lence; stealing; destruc- language is required.
applying performance and tion of property; insub- • Promptly refer all health
conduct standards. The fol- ordination; disrespect to related issues to your
lowing is a summary of those clients, customers, or the
guidelines. public; inappropriate
behavior between co-
• Review and update job
descriptions and physical
• An entity need not lower workers; and alcohol or
The ADA or change its quality, illegal drug use.
quantity, or production • If an employee’s disability
• Provide honest perform-
does not standards as an accom- does not cause the mis-
modation. conduct, the individual
may be held to the same issues, not health condi-
require an • It is generally preferable
for the employee, rather conduct standards.
than the employer to • If an employee’s disability • Protect essential func-
employer to raise a disability issue. causes the misconduct, tions by never granting
an entity may apply disci- long term “unofficial”
• It is generally inappropri-
lower or ate for employers to pline, provided the disci- accommodations.
focus discussions about a pline is applied uniformly • Closely monitor transi-
change its performance or conduct and consistently to all tional work assignments
to ensure they are effec-
problems on an em- employees who engage in
tive and temporary.
quality, ployee’s disability.
Rather, the focus should •
If termination is appro- • Avoid and eliminate any
be on correcting the priate for the miscon- form of retaliation.
quantity, or problem. duct, the employer may • Maintain confidentiality.
• Accommodation re- usually terminate an em- • Do not make assump-
production quests are prospective. ployee with a disability, tions regarding an em-
Generally, discipline for and without further con-
ployee’s health issues.
standards. an employee’s previous sideration of the request
for accommodation after
• Research options and be
actions or inaction does creative in identifying and
not need to be rescinded approval from Risk Man-
evaluating possible work-
simply because an em- agement.
ployee has subsequently
made an accommodation As you confront these issues,
For additional information,
request. it may be helpful to consider
please visit our webpage at
• Employers can and the following list of best man-
should take appropriate agement practices.
At-Will Employment—Sol Garcia, HR Consultant for Charter Schools
Employment at-will is a com- Employment-at-will protections at-will employees for any rea-
mon-law principle which ac- have been significantly eroded son without any repercussions.
cords employers the right to over the years by state and The costs and consequences of
hire, fire, demote, and promote federal legislation, court deci- those erroneous assumptions
for any reason, absent a law or sions, and legally recognized can be substantial.
contract to the contrary. Em- public policies.
ployees also have the right to In order to maintain at-will
quit a job at any time and for Employers who are unaware of status and avoid significant
any reason. Still, employers the many exceptions to em- liability, employers must
and employees may not sever ployment-at-will tenets tend to
their relations with impunity. assume that they can terminate (continued, top of page 3)
Volume 3, Issue 1 Page 3
At-Will Employment by Sol Garcia (continued from page 2)
• Be familiar with employee agreement or document that dismiss an at-will employee,
rights and protections, includ- highlights the terms of employ- take the time to gather and
ing, but not limited to, Title VII ment. review all of the facts and evi-
of the Civil Rights Act, the • Including an at-will policy dence. Ensure the decision to
in the employee handbook and terminate is not based on
ADA, FMLA, and USERRA. unlawful reasons. Review your
• Be familiar with public being explicit that no one can
organization’s rationale and
policy exceptions. alter that relationship.
decision with legal counsel.
• Be familiar with “just • Including an at-will state-
cause” exceptions—created by ment in job descriptions and If management cannot articu-
law and/or unintentionally employment applications. late a legitimate non-
created by management. • Reiterating the at-will discriminatory reason for the
relationship to employees, proposed termination, stop and
• Understand what consti- re-evaluate. Clarify issues and
tutes an explicit contract and particularly when applying cor-
rective action or discipline. expectations. Then, set a time-
an implied contract. line for improvement with clear
• Including at-will state- consequences.
Prudent employers bolster ments in all employee commu-
their at-will employment rela- nications, such as newsletters Lastly, review these matters
tionships by: and Intranet pages dedicated to with us, so that we can help
• Including an at-will dis- employees. you avoid liability and protect
claimer in any employment the Risk Fund.
If your organization intends to
Ergonomics and Economy—Tim Villnave, Ergonomics Consultant “Prevention
As budgets get tighter, manag- crimination charges and poten- health care system, and entitle- programs, such
ers reassess the allocation of tial lawsuits associated with the ment programs of Medicare
resources to identify expendi- expanded definition of disability and Social Security. as ergonomics,
tures that can be cut. Ergo- created by the ADA Amend-
nomic programs can look like ments Act of 2008. Although In a recent Guidance Statement improve
an unnecessary or luxury activ- still a work in progress, Con- by the American College of
ity. But, much like viewing an gress has clearly indicated that Occupational and Environ- workers’ health
iceberg, only part of the story the definition of disability will mental Medicine, an association
is seen at the surface. encompass more individuals of Occupational Medicine phy- and optimize
than in the past. sicians, the workforce is called
According to a United States “the engine that drives the the global
General Accounting Office Federal OSHA is expected to economy”. The white paper
analysis, ergonomic programs: become more active under concluded that prevention competitiveness
President Obama’s administra- programs, such as ergonomics,
• Reduce the incidence of tion. In late February, Hilda improve workers’ health and of the United
Solis, a worker advocate, was optimize the global competi-
work related injury/ ill- States.”
confirmed by the Senate as tiveness of the United States.
ness; Secretary of Labor. It is ex-
• Lessen workers’ compen- pected that an OSHA Ergo- Risk Management encourages
sation costs; nomics Standard will be a pri- every covered entity to de-
• Improve worker produc- ority for the department, along velop and implement an effec-
with an increase of related tive ergonomic program that
tivity; recognizes the value of “the
• Increase work perform- engine that drives its unique
ance/quality; and In a broader perspective, ergo- economy.” Remember that
• Heighten worker morale. nomic programs have been investing in the health and well-
seen by a national physician being of our employees will
Further, an ergonomic program association as promoting fiscal yield significant dividends.
can assist you in avoiding dis- soundness in the economy,
Risk Quarterly Training
• State Office Building Auditorium
• Tuesday, September 15, 2009 from 9:00 a.m.—12:00 noon
• There will be a general session followed by four breakout ses-
sions for charter schools, school districts, higher education in-
stitutions, and state agencies. Come prepared to discuss your
challenges, issues, and solutions.
Working in the Heat—Karen Peterson, Property/Life Safety Specialist
During our hot summer injury—some more obvious Prevention is critical with heat
weather, many employees end than others: injuries. When one begins to
up in the emergency room due • High temperatures; experience dizziness and weak-
to heat injuries—most of which • High humidity; ness, it may be too late. Take
are totally preventable. • Sun exposure; the following steps to prevent
• Excessive activity and heat injuries:
Heat injuries occur when one’s exertion; • Drink water often before,
body temperature rises above • Coffee and alcohol; during and after exerting.
We’re on the Web normal, or when the body is no • Medications, especially Don't wait to become thirsty.
www. risk.utah.gov longer able to regulate heat diuretics; and • Wear loose fitting clothing
loss. Heat injuries are generally • Illness, especially vomiting that doesn't restrict your
defined in three stages. and diarrhea. movement and also allows for
good air circulation.
There are plenty of warning
• Dehydration: This is the • Avoid the extreme heat of
signs that dehydration is setting
first stage of a heat injury. It's the middle of the day.
in. Unfortunately, most people
the mildest form of heat injury • Avoid sunburn at all costs.
tend to ignore them until it's
in which your body simply suf- Sunburn draws fluid from all
too late. The following signs
DIVISION OF fers from a lack of fluid. areas of your body to replenish
and symptoms are outlined
RISK MANAGEMENT moisture in the skin.
from mildest to most severe.
• Heat Exhaustion: This is • Use a work-rest rotation
5120 State Office Building
the next step beyond dehydra- when working in the sun is
Salt Lake City, UT 84114 • Headache
tion. If not treated immediately, unavoidable.
Phone: (801) 538-9560 • Nausea
serious injury and even death • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and
Fax: (801) 538-9597 • Cramps
URL: www.risk.utah.gov can result. sugary drinks.
• Lastly, use a bit of com-
• Weakness, no energy
• Heat Stroke: This is the mon sense and don't ignore the
worst stage of a heat injury. warning signs.
• Hot, dry skin
Without proper medical atten-
• Weak, but rapid heart
tion a victim can die within Watch out for one another.
minutes. If you or your co-workers
• Low blood pressure
begin to experience more se-
There are a number of contrib- • Rapid breathing
vere symptoms, get medical
uting factors that increase the help immediately.
chances of suffering a heat