George Tway

Big News for Small Firms

George Tway 

George Tway.

Speaking with George Tway, senior vice president and Western Region manager for Employers Holdings Inc., a 97-year-old provider of worker's compensation coverage to about 45,000 policyholders in 30 states, gave me a strong sense of déjà vu. Pardon me for repeating myself in this space, if you will, and see whether you've also written, said, or thought this before: Being safe at work doesn't cost money, it saves money. Lots and lots of money. Why don't more companies' leaders get it?

"It can save a considerable amount of money for them to have a good safety program. We preach that here at Employers constantly, to get the business owners to understand what it means to their bottom line," Tway said. "A lot of businesses don't understand how just lacking a safety program can cost them a lot of money. They don't understand about their experience mod. They don't know that they're compared with other businesses of the same type within the state."

A very good performer in terms of safety might pay 75 or 80 percent of the premium that comparable businesses in that state pay, while a poor performer might pay 150 percent or even 200 percent, he explained.

I broke in at that point, asking a question to be sure I'd heard him right. While some things are outside their control, employers decide how much emphasis to place on safe operation and can hold workers responsible for following the rules. Do they really not know they significantly control what comp coverage costs them? It's puzzling.

Employers, based in Reno, Nev., insures many small businesses, including restaurants, auto sales, grocery stores, and plumbers. Such businesses often don't employ full-time safety professionals. Fortunately, Employers offered help this year in the form of a Loss Control Connection online site that fills some of the gap. Once there, policyholders can utilize a Job Hazard Analysis development tool, a library of OSH policies and training materials, MSDS management aids, software for maintaining an OSHA log, and more, Tway said.

"We wanted to have something online where, late in the evening, when the business owner has a chance to go and do something, they can work on their safety program. Because a lot of them just put it off and put it off. And when they put it off and don't work on it, it just costs them money," he said. "Quite frankly, if the small-business owner makes money, and they're safe, then we make money, too."

To learn more about it, visit www.eig.com/business/loss_control.aspx.

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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