In This Issue
- Comp Alliance Issuing Member Loyalty Award
- Comp Alliance Excited to Welcome 11 New Members in June and July
- Risk Management During Challenging Times
- Safety Culture Tool Box Talks for Members Including School, Fire, and Police Talks
- Risk Management Safety Webinars – Re-Opening NY
- Safety Source Video Library Resources – New Releases
- PESH Zoom Virtual Training Available to Members
- Comp Alliance Events Calendar
- Comp Alliance Issues a Workforce Reduction Credit
- Face Masks Provided to Program Members
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Comp Alliance Issuing Member Loyalty Award for 2020
The New York State Municipal Workers’ Compensation Alliance (Comp Alliance) is pleased to announce its will issue another Member Loyalty Award for its 2020-2021 fiscal year.
The Comp Alliance Board of Trustees recognizes the difficulties our members are going through in this unprecedented time. In appreciation of its members that have stood by the Comp Alliance and contributed to its continued success, the Comp Alliance will again distribute a portion of its surplus to members. This special monetary award reflects recognition by the Board of Trustees of fiscal challenges faced by municipalities and provides a tangible benefit of municipal cooperation by returning funds to local governments and schools for the betterment of their communities.
All Comp Alliance members who agree to continue their membership with the Comp Alliance beyond February 1, 2021 are eligible for the Loyalty Award. Members will receive their award following the commencement of its new policy period. Award amounts are based on the individual member’s longevity of membership with the Comp Alliance and its annual funding contribution.
The Comp Alliance is a not-for-profit workers’ compensation group self-insurance program for municipalities and school districts, with a focus on improving workplace safety and providing stable funding for its members. When the Alliance was formed in the early 1990’s, municipalities in New York struggled to annually budget for unpredictable workers’ compensation costs. The Comp Alliance offers its members budgetary stability and the opportunity to achieve significant savings by sharing the costs of workers’ compensation insurance. The Comp Alliance covers over 300 public entities with $46 million in contributions and more than $39 million surplus to help maintain long-term financial stability.
With sponsorship and oversight by the Association of Towns of the State of New York and New York State Conference of Mayors, the Comp Alliance’s mission remains the same as it was more than 25 years ago —ensuring members are able to meet their long-term workers’ compensation liabilities while maintaining stable funding contributions.
For more information on the Member Loyalty Award Program, please contact a Comp Alliance Marketing Manager or your insurance broker. Visit the Comp Alliance at www.compalliance.org for more information, as well as on Twitter and Facebook for additional program enhancements and announcements.
Comp Alliance Welcomes 11 New Members in June and July 2020
The Comp Alliance is happy to welcome the following new program members in June and July. We look forward to working with all of these members to help control workers’ compensation costs while delivering the best service in the industry.
- Lackawanna City School District
- Owego Apalachin Central School District
- Spencer Van Etten Central School District
- Town of North East
- Town of Owego Fire District
- Town of Pompey
- Town of Sennett
- Village/Town of Mount Kisco
- Village of Port Jefferson
- Village of Piermont
- Windsor Central School District
Comp Alliance Risk Management During Challenging Times
Wow, what a period we are going through as a country, state and community! During normal operations, we are challenged with problematic safety processes – from using personal protective equipment (PPE), maintaining safety standards for summer hires, implementing protocols during summer-only activities like work zone safety practices, heat-stress controls and practicing safe driving. Add onto these usual hazards, we have the added risks of COVID-19, protest events, stressed-out staff members and heightened levels of anxiety from the community – your customers! Dealing with these additional concerns significantly raises the potential for workplace injuries.
The Comp Alliance Risk Management Department has been diligently working through this Coronavirus pandemic, developing additional content for the www.compalliance.org web-site, from a new Safety Culture Talk heading with a number of tool-box talk documents and Power Points, to updating a Coronavirus page with relevant safety information for our members. Our members can utilize the Comp Alliance Academy on the site for compliance with PESH-required trainings, including Workplace Violence, Blood borne Pathogens and Right-To-Know/Chemical Safety. Our Risk Management staff are currently updating these programs to make them more user-friendly and adjusting for current OSHA standards.
Perhaps the most anticipated development for our Risk Management Department has been our recent introduction of virtual trainings. Our Risk Management Specialists have been working with the Zoom video conference application, getting acclimated to the process of virtual interactions with our members, and are excited to reestablish our training connections with our members. We have identified every Monday at 10:00 as Virtual Training Mondays, when the Director of Loss Control, Robert Blaisdell, will present on the three mandatory topics. In addition, each of our three loss control representatives, Crista Grisanti (Western and Central NY), Joe Rupinski (Central NY and Hudson Valley) and Bryan Abramovich (Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties) are scheduling virtual training sessions for their members at various times. To view a schedule of the trainings, please visit the Comp Alliance Events Calendar: https://compalliance.org/events.html . To register for a particular training, contact your Risk Control Specialist above who will provide the Zoom link, Meeting ID and Password. We are all excited to offer this new training opportunity to our members. To this end, the coronavirus pandemic has required our staff, similar to your municipal operations, to expand our services to accommodate our members – a process we are enjoying and accomplishing with strong member support.
As was mentioned above, your municipal operations may have changed recently, adapting to a “new normal” but established operations remain vital to your success. Add to this the variations in our daily activities brought about by the pandemic, stressful employees, anxious customers, and hot, humid weather; all of which can lead to severe injuries, fatalities and an increase in workplace violent events. As we all know, “The Show Must Go On” and that includes your routine summer operations. A good risk management document produced this time of year would not be worth much if it failed to recognize the potential workplace safety concerns associated with summer operations.
OSHA recently stated ‘Most outdoor fatalities, 50% to 70%, occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes.’ Keep this in mind when your staff works outdoors (also for indoor activities when A/C is not available), especially for summer staff as they may have been ‘home quarantined’ for the past few months and their bodies are not acclimated to the heat and exercise/work. Work zones by their nature pose increased risks, as you know, and something additional to consider is the attitude of drivers approaching and maneuvering through your work zones – they may have increased stress from a quarantine situation or perhaps they don’t drive as frequently as they have in the past. Flaggers should be on alert for these situations, as they may become hostile or unsafe. Heat illness affects many employees, due to the risk factors of heavy physical activity, warm or hot environmental conditions, lack of acclimatization, and wearing clothing that holds in body heat.
Administrators must monitor staff during summer’s heat conditions, and not just when temperatures reach 90-degrees plus, but under all conditions when acclimation has not been accomplished – provide frequent brakes, provide water during breaks, identify a shaded area to rest, and eliminate work when it is dangerous to staff – OSHA has a Heat App which can be downloaded and provides some guidance on excessive heat.
Monitor weather conditions for outdoor staff as well, including flash flooding and lightning strikes. The National Weather Service says there is no safe place outdoors in your area when thunderstorms are present – they can contain extremely high electrical voltage and contain average temperatures over 30,000 degrees. “When Thunder Roars – Get Indoors” should be standard practice emphasized to all staff. Monitor weather activities for your community to avoid flash flood conditions and know your safe place to assemble.
Our Comp Alliance Risk Management staff is here to assist our members with their safety needs – from virtual training programs, heat-stress exposures and controls, safety advice during re-opening procedures, and general information on safety protocols for our municipal and school members. Reach out to your safety specialist for information on these programs and topics, we are all here to safely manage these conditions together and improve our safety culture.
Safety Culture Tool Box Talks
The Comp Alliance is excited to launch Safety Culture Toolbox Talks as the most recent addition to the Comp Alliance Academy. These toolbox talks include a power point and handout and are designed as brief (10-15 minute) discussions to help keep safety on the forefront.
These New Safety Culture Toolbox Talks add to the extensive resources available to you as a program member through the Comp Alliance Academy and will also include School, Police, and Fire Safety Culture Tool Box Talks. The Academy contains topical webinars, videos, quizzes, bulletins, and other training resources along with access to an extensive video library through Safety Source.
To access the Safety Culture Tool Box Talks please visit www.compalliance.org and login to the Comp Alliance Academy.
Over the summer of 2020 the Comp Alliance will continue to enhance its member safety resources available by adding additional safety culture tool box talks that are focused on police, fire, and school exposure specific safety topics. Updates will be sent when these are launched and available.
Comp Alliance Safety Webinars
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the Comp Alliance has hosted several live safety webinars for our program members. These webinars have focused on safety and the latest news for public entities during the Pandemic.
The next Comp Alliance Safety Webinar is scheduled for Friday July 31, 2020 at 10:00 AM. Access to our recorded versions is available by visiting www.compalliance.org and logging on to the Comp Alliance Academy/Safety Webinars Section.
New Safety Training Videos Available Through Safety Source
The Comp Alliance has partnered with Safety Source providing program members a library of more than 850 safety training videos. The videos are effective and easy to understand and designed to supplement your in-house safety initiatives and training programs.
Safety Source’s video library enhances the offerings currently provided through the Comp Alliance Academy. The following are examples of some of the additional topics from Safety Source:
- Chain Saw Safety
- Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Bucket and Dump Truck Operations
- Fire Extinguisher Training
- Confined Space Entry
- Reasonable Suspicion
Routinely the Comp Alliance notifies members about especially effective or popular titles, so they might be utilized promptly and routinely, to easily complement your own training programs.
Safety Source has also recently launched the following videos that can help public entities enhance their training during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These videos include:
- COVID-19 - various videos on safety practices, re-opening, wearing masks, etc.
- Workplace Stress - SS1098AE
- Civil Unrest - Being Prepared - SS2214AE
- Reasonable Suspicion - SS9202AE
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace - SS9201AE
- Fall Protection - SSC0023AE
- and many more - look at the New Release tab for additional topics
Comp Alliance Providing PESH Virtual Training to Members
Since the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented the Comp Alliance Risk Management Team from presenting on site safety trainings the Comp Alliance is utilizing Zoom virtual trainings to help our program members meet their annual PESH compliance guidelines. The Comp Alliance Events Calendar (more information below) includes our up-to-date safety training schedule.
Comp Alliance Events Calendar
The Events Calendar on the Comp Alliance website which is located at www.compalliance.org/events/calendar.html, is your go to location for a calendar listing of all upcoming Comp Alliance Safety Trainings, Conferences, Presentations, Events, and more.
With the Coronavirus Pandemic we have postponed all on-site safety trainings throughout the month and are hosting Live Zoom trainings for members.
Comp Alliance Issues a Workforce Reduction Credit
In May 2020 The Comp Alliance issued a Workforce Reduction Credit Refund for all our members for the 6-week period beginning March 16, 2020 through April 2020.
We recognize and appreciate the extraordinary efforts our members have undertaken to continue to provide essential service to the public. These changes include adjusting work schedules, changing work duties and encouraging work from home where possible (telecommuting). The result is a temporary reduction in workload and capital projects. With fewer employees working, scaled down operations and capital projects put on hold, the Comp Alliance gave back to its members.
One of the founding principles of the program was providing an up front, predictable cost for workers’ comp insurance. Since our inception, we have not conducted payroll audits after a coverage term is complete, and we do not have any intention of doing so now. The temporary changes in workforce and operations, however, prompted us to perform an internal review of our job-classifications and develop an appropriate response. We will continue to monitor changes in municipal operations and workforces as we transition to reopening in the coming weeks.
Face Masks Provided to Program Members
Beginning in mid-April 2020, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order with new requirements for all essential businesses or entities. Any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. This order applies to local governments, so to the extent that any Comp Alliance member has employees that have direct contact with the public, they are required to provide face coverings.
To assist our members in complying with this new requirement, the Comp Alliance provided face masks for all program members. Each member received facemasks in April. We may have additional quantities available as well, so please contact your Comp Alliance Marketing or Loss Control Representative for further details.
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