October 2012 - Issue 8

Carl Warren & Company

Workers’ Compensation Root Cause Analysis

California JPIA Parks and Recreation Academy

San Marcos Deputy City Manager Continues to Expand Efforts to Educate Community and Preserve Safe Environment For Youth

Personnel Files Now More Accessible

Keeping Employees Safe

Jon Shull

News: Worthy

Carl Warren & Company

by Jonathan Shull, CEO

Carl Warren & Company is responsible for administering the Authority’s general liability program. The California JPIA and Carl Warren & Company share a long-term strategic partnership that dates to the formation of the California JPIA in 1978. Carl Warren & Company has been an integral part of the California JPIA’s growth from its initial membership of thirty-three contract cities to over one hundred twenty members today.

In October 2012, Carl Warren & Company was selected by the California/Western States Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Association as its 2012-2013 Company of the Year. The California / Western States ESOP Association represents over 350 ESOP companies and professional service providers in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. The award recognizes an ESOP company for excellence in a wide-range of categories including communication, employee and customer retention, business success, values and integrity, community service, sustainability, and education. 

In 2011, Carl Warren & Company was selected by The National Center for Employee Ownership and the Beyster Institute at University of California, San Diego as the recipient of the 2011 Innovations in Employee Ownership Award. The award recognizes the outstanding innovations by ESOP companies nationwide. In 2010, Carl Warren & Company was recognized on the distinguished Business Insurance "Best Companies" list, and its CEO, Caryn Siebert, was acknowledged as one of the "Top 25 Women to Watch" in the insurance industry. In that same year, The Orange County Register named Carl Warren & Company as one of the best employers in Orange County.

The sharing of mutual core values and principles unites the California JPIA and Carl Warren & Company. Over the past three and a half decades, Carl Warren & Company has continued to protect the interests of California JPIA member agencies. 

I am proud of the Authority’s relationships with its strategic partners. I am confident Carl Warren & Company will continue to grow and adapt to the needs and demands of the California JPIA and its members.

News: Worthy

Workers’ Compensation Root Cause Analysis

by Bob May, Risk Management Program Manager

For a number of years, the Authority has been interested in understanding fundamental facts surrounding the cause of claims. Early thinking saw it simply as a means to explain "why" preventable claims happen. There are many theories on the study of why damaging outcomes occur, and all attempt to address conditions and behaviors that need to change in order to prevent them from recurring.

Staff first introduced the idea of root cause analysis in early 2011 and returned with a more developed concept in 2012, which relies on understanding facts surrounding the convergence of a condition, event, and control. Strategically, its importance is related to the Authority’s LossCAP program, which will use root cause information in both self-insured programs. It is anticipated that the reporting of root causes information will become a standard element when reporting a workers’ compensation claim.

Seven members in the Workers’ Compensation Program have agreed to participate in a three-month pilot program, which will allow the Authority to fine tune its methods for collecting root cause information, given the uniqueness and complexity of workers’ compensation claim reporting. Those members are Claremont, El Centro, Norwalk, Poway, Seaside, San Gabriel, and West Hollywood. 

The Program is designed to help agencies develop an effective safety culture that reduces workers’ compensation claims; identify behaviors including values, habits, and state of mind at the time of an event; identify any hazardous acts or unsafe conditions that occurred during an event that may have led to or contributed to the event; and ensure members’ safety protocols provide a safe work environment as required by Cal/OHSA.

Near the conclusion of the pilot, the Authority will provide information to members at large, explaining the role and purpose of collecting root cause information for all preventable claims, which will begin in early 2013.

If you have any questions about the Workers’ Compensation Root Cause Analysis Program, contact Robert May, Risk Management Program Manager, at bmay@cjpia.org

News: Worthy

California JPIA Parks and Recreation Academy

by Joe Eynon, Senior Training Specialist

The California JPIA Parks and Recreation Academy is set to take place Monday, February 11 through Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach. Butch DeFillippo, managing partner for PlaySafe, LLC will facilitate the three-day academy which consists of 10 sessions designed for parks and recreation directors, managers, and supervisors. The Academy will provide participants with strategies for developing new programs and evaluating existing ones, staffing, overseeing special events, and providing safe environments in parks and aquatic centers. 

Dr. Nancy White, consultant for PlaySafe, along with DeFillipo will present Parks and Recreation Risk Management, a session dealing with managing risk in recreation facilities, programs, and services. Topics include the legal aspects of risk, practical methods for identifying risk, taking appropriate actions to mitigate risk, and continual assessment of safety. They will also present Playground Safety and Defending Your Agency against Playground Litigation

Preparing a Parks and Recreation Master Plan: Protecting Citizens Now and in the Future, will be presented by Nick Fazio, member of the planning team for PlaySafe. Fazio will be joined by DeFillipo in presenting Public Input Process: Meetings with Meanings, focusing on the methodology of designing, collecting, and interpreting input from residents and users of the community parks and recreation systems. The pair will wrap up with a session on the Essentials of Grant Writing

Dr. Todd Seidler, member of the planning team for PlaySafe, will present Safe Facilities: Conducting a Facilities Risk Review, where participants will review the inspection process and ways to eliminate or avoid hazardous conditions and injuries within their facilities. Seidler will also present, Emergency Plans, that will teach participants how to develop an Emergency Action Plan appropriate for their respective agency. Seidler and Dr. White will present Recreation for Tomorrow: Keeping Safety First, that will focus on current risk management issues in recreation facilities along with practical solutions for mitigating risk and removing/addressing hazards.

Contracts and Joint Use Agreements will be presented by Bob May, Risk Management Program Manager with the California JPIA. May will discuss strategies to protect an agency against financial loss through contracts, contractual risk transfer and its importance, approaches for avoiding risk assumption, and guidelines for drafting contracts and joint use agreements.

Dr. White will present, Aquatics, a discussion of effective risk management strategies for reducing liability, increasing safety, and improving operations of aquatic facilities. The session will provide information about recent changes in legislation (including the Americans with Disabilities Act), new guidelines for spray parks, best practices, and a discussion of liability concerns in recreation. Registration is limited to 30 participants. The cost to attend the Academy is $375 members/$775 for non-members and includes two nights at the Shorebreak hotel, breakfast and lunch, and materials.

For further information or to register for the Parks and Recreation Academy, click here

San Marcos
Lydia Romero, with San Marcos Councilwomen Rebecca Jones, Mayor Jim Desmond and Vice Mayor Hal Martin in a 2008 file photo. Romero recently received a county award for the city's efforts to reduce binge and underage drinking.

Re: Members

San Marcos Deputy City Manager Continues to Expand Efforts to Educate Community and Preserve Safe Environment For Youth

Lydia Romero, San Marcos Deputy City Manager, was honored earlier this year with an award from the Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County for her work and commitment to reduce binge and underage drinking in the community.

Celeste Young, program manager for Mental Health Systems North Inland Community Prevention Program, nominated Romero who serves as the liaison to the city's Student and Neighborhood Relations Commission and compiles reports on alcohol and substance abuse for the Commission and City Council.

Romero, who has been serving the City of San Marcos since April 2007, is strongly committed to the work of the Student and Neighborhood Relations Commission.

"My dedication to this issue stemmed from working with the Commission on our mandate to preserve the safety of youth and provide them with a safe environment," said Romero who quickly realized the education process needed to extend beyond the youth to those sell and serve of alcohol as well. "We established a city ordinance that requires mandatory training for sellers and servers and conduct monthly sessions at City Hall. We offer training sessions in both English and Spanish."

Romero was also the force behind the city’s Social Host Ordinance which makes the serving of free alcohol to minors a misdemeanor and possibly a felony. Romero advocated for the ordinance and efforts to further educate youth of the after effects of drinking following a 2009 tragedy that left one young man dead when he was run over by a car after falling asleep in the street while walking home after consuming alcohol at a party.

There is also a regulation currently pending that will hold underage party-throwers who serve alcohol liable in addition to their parents.

"San Marcos is home to both Cal State University San Marcos that has 10,000 students and Palomar College with another 25,000," continued Romero who shares that some of the next steps to reduce binge and underage drinking include creating local community groups and peer to peer education and counseling. 

Legal Matters

Personnel Files Now More Accessible

by Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager

Requests to inspect personnel files are not an everyday occurrence. Does an employee have an absolute right to inspect their personnel file? Does everything in the personnel file need to be disclosed? How often can an employee request to inspect their personnel file, and how long does an employer have to comply with a request to inspect?

AB 2674 makes significant changes to Labor Code Section 1198.5, which governs the right of a current or former employee to inspect certain personnel records relating to them. The new changes will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

Current and former employees now have the right not only to view the contents of the personnel file, but also to receive a copy of the contents on request, provided they pay the actual cost of copying. An employee can designate a representative to conduct the inspection of, or to receive a copy of, the employee's personnel file. The representative must be authorized, in writing, by the employee to inspect, or receive a copy of, his or her personnel records. If an employee is required to inspect or receive a copy at a location other than the place where he or she reports to work, no loss of compensation to the employee is permitted because of the time needed for the employee to travel from the site where the employee normally reports to work.

With respect to requests by a former employee, the new law provides that employers are required to comply with only one request per year to inspect or receive a copy of the former employee’s personnel records. Additionally, employers are not required to comply with more than 50 requests filed by employee representatives in one calendar month. The law also provides that if a current or former employee files a lawsuit in a personnel matter against an employer, the right to inspect and copy personnel records ceases during the pendency of the lawsuit. 

Employers have new obligations under the amended Labor Code Section 1198.5 including the following:

  • Employers must develop and provide upon request, a written form for employees to use when making their request. It is imperative that this form be immediately given to an employee in the case of a verbal request.
  • Employers are obligated to allow viewing or to produce a copy of the records within 30 calendar days of a written request of a current or former employee, or the employee's representative.
  • An employer is required to keep the personnel file records for a period of three years following the termination of an employee's employment.

However, there are a few limitations to the statute. The amended statute does not apply to those employees that have a collective bargaining agreement that provides for a specific procedure for inspection and copying of personnel records. The amended statute does not apply to employees that are subject to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights or the Information Practices Act of 1977.

Are employers required to allow current and former employees to view (and copy) all contents of the personnel file? The new law provides for only a few exceptions:

  • Redaction of names of non-supervisory employees
  • Documents related to a criminal investigation
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Promotional exam documents

In the event an employer violates these provisions, a current or former employee, or the Labor Commissioner, may recover a penalty of $750 from the employer. In addition, a current or former employee may obtain injunctive relief and attorneys' fees necessary in asserting these rights.

Under existing Labor Code Section 1198.5, an employer who fails to permit an employee to inspect the employee's personnel records is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or imprisonment, as specified. The amended statute provides that a violation of the provisions requiring that personnel records be made available for inspection is reduced to an infraction, which is a lesser criminal offense than a misdemeanor. 

Given the new requirements, the California JPIA makes the following recommendations:

  • Train managers and human resources staff on the statute as they may be the initial recipient of a request from a current or former employee
  • Draft a written form employees may use to request access to, and a copy of, records in their personnel file.
  • Identify who in your organization will be responsible for responding to requests and ensure they are trained on the statute amendments
  • Update employment policies and procedures manual to reflect changes

Members are encouraged to consult their labor and employment counsel regarding the new legislation. Members may also contact Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager, at pzeglovitch@cjpia.org

Risk Management Solutions

Keeping Employees Safe

by Jim Gross, Risk Manager

The California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSHA) was enacted in 1973 to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for California workers. The California Department of Industrial Relations administers the Cal/OSHA Program. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health within the Department of Industrial Relations has the authority to enforce all laws, standards, and order protecting worker safety and health on the job.

Cal/OSHA standards are contained in the California Code of Regulations - Title 8, Industrial Relations. Cal/OSHA covers virtually all workers in the state, including those employed by state and local government. 

Periodically Cal/OSHA releases statistics on citations issued to employers found to be in violation of various safety standards. Following are the top 10 violations cited, along with the associated penalties:

Cal/OSHA Standard Number of Citations Penalty (dollars) Code Description
1 3203 2032 $1,270,950 Injury and Illness Prevention Program
2 3395 1097 $628,385 Heat Illness
3 1509 750 $290,710 Code of Safe Practices
4 5194 591 $192,970 Hazard Communication
5 3314 566 $1,736,255 Lockout Tagout/Blockout
6 6151 526 $74,500 Portable Fire Extinguishers
7 342 445 $1,609,335 Reporting Injuries
8 461 402 $81,355 Permit-Air Tank
9 5144 392 $145,351 Respiratory Protection
10 2340.16 339 $65,737 Workspace-Mounting and Cooling of Equipment

Over the past several years there has been little change in the nature of citations issued by the DIR, and failure to have a compliant Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) remains the most cited violation. The IIPP establishes the framework for an agency’s safety program and employers should remain focused on keeping workers safe from injury by holding supervisors accountable to ensure safe workplaces and practices. When was your agency’s IIPP last updated? When was your agency’s IIPP last reviewed to ensure supervisors understand their role and responsibility for their safety and the safety of the staff they supervise? Periodic review and evaluation, along with refresher training are both critical to the effectiveness of an agency’s safety program.

The third most cited safety violation is the failure to have an established Code of Safe Practices. The Authority’s recommendation is to have the Code of Safe Practices referenced and attached to the IIPP. The Authority has developed separate Codes of Safe Practices for employees and supervisors. Both Codes of Safe Practices are available in the Authority’s Resource Center.

The eighth most cited standard pertains to the requirement to have pressurized vessels inspected and permitted by an authorized State Inspector and to have a current permit posted at the pressurized vessel. Members who participate in the Commercial Property Program with Boiler and Machine coverage are eligible to have all pressurized vessels inspected annually at no cost. If your agency is not already in the inspection program, contact Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager, at jthyden@cjpia.org to arrange for an inspection. Once your pressurized vessels are in the Chubb schedule system you will be reminded before permits expire to arrange for subsequent inspections.

Program, policy and procedure templates, and other training resources can be found in the Resource Center. The Authority remains committed to Providing Innovative Risk Management Solutions for Our Public Agency Partners; and, your agency’s assigned Risk Manager is available to help.