Get creative with accident-prone new workers: Panelists

Workers with less than one year experience in their job represent 30% of an employer’s workers compensation claims, prompting the need for “robust onboarding and ongoing training,” a risk management executive at a temporary staffing company said Tuesday.

Susan Shemanski, Jacksonville, Florida-based vice president, risk management, at Adecco Employment Services Inc., spoke Tuesday during a panel session on the future of safety at Riskworld, the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s annual conference in Atlanta.

“We are seeing a lot of unskilled or deconditioned workers, and all of this is really leading to more injuries,” Ms. Shemanski said. “We have to have robust onboarding and ongoing training.”

Adecco uses “gamification” training, which Ms. Shemanski described as anything involving human behavior, motivation and leader boards versus traditional classroom training. Employers with bigger budgets can use virtual reality — training forklift drivers using ocular glasses and video gaming, for example — and those with smaller budgets can turn a training topic into a quiz game like “Family Feud,” she said.

Such engagement leads to greater information retention: 80%  versus traditional classroom training where workers recall 15% of what they are taught, Ms. Shemanski said.

Wearables measuring unsafe conditions, such as poor lifting and ergonomics issues, can also promote safety early, said Shanna Levesque, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Southeast practice leader and senior vice president at Marsh LLC.

“I’m a firm believer that traditional safety and risk management models certainly still have their seat at the table, and they can still produce great results, but what I saw from my perspective with the wearable technology is that we were able to get the insights faster than if we were just going through that visual observation method,” she said.

Management buy-in can be a concern with such initiatives,

according to the panelists, who said the technology solutions need time to work.  

“When we started all the technology, I probably went back to my CFO every week for six months,” Ms. Shemanski said. “Once you start doing all these things you’ll see the savings; you just really have to keep going back and having the conversations.”

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