April 2019 - Issue 86

Mac Anderson, Keynote Speaker at Risk Management Educational Forum – Registration Opens in May

California JPIA Seventh Annual Capstone Award

Employment Liability – Resources to Protect Your Agency

League of California Cities’ Legislative Action Day

Workers’ Compensation Cost Containment Services

Workplace Harassment Training Update

Join Social Media Conversations with the Authority

Innovative Risk Assessments – The SLO Way

Keeping Aquatic Programs Safe for Children


News: Worthy

Mac Anderson, Keynote Speaker at Risk Management Educational Forum – Registration Opens in May

RMEF 2019Registration opens soon for the 24th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells from October 9 - 11, 2019. 

Keynote Speaker

The California JPIA is pleased to announce this year’s keynote speaker, Mac Anderson, founder of Simple Truths and Successories, Inc. Simple Truths is a publisher with one of the largest collections of motivational/inspirational books in the country with over 150 titles or themes such as: attitude, leadership, teamwork and customer service.

Mac Anderson
Mac is also the founder and CEO of McCord Travel, the largest travel company in the Midwest, and part owner/VP of sales and marketing for Orval Kent Food Company, the country's largest manufacturer of prepared salads.

His accomplishments in these unrelated industries provide insight into his passion and leadership skills. Mac has authored or co-authored twenty-five books that have sold over four million copies.  Visit his website for more information: http://www.macanderson.com.

For questions regarding this year’s Forum, email us at forum@cjpia.org.


News: Worthy

California JPIA Seventh Annual Capstone Award

By Abraham Han, Administrative Analyst

Each year, the California JPIA presents the Capstone Award to an outstanding individual who best exemplifies the practice of risk management in the public sector.  This process begins with members identifying and nominating staff who are worthy of recognition for their noteworthy risk management efforts at their agency.

An individual nominated for the Capstone Award is someone who could be working at any level within a member agency and ideally embodies the following characteristics:

  • Works to support traditional or enterprise risk management efforts for the member agency.
  • Develops, implements, and administers loss prevention and loss control programs to mitigate risk exposures for the member agency.
  • Coordinates support systems that serve the member’s risk management goals and needs.
  • Influences others in developing quality risk management programs for the member agency.

We invite you to tell us who should be considered for the seventh annual Capstone Award by clicking here to complete a brief Capstone Award nomination form.  The Capstone Award depends on people like you to identify a deserving colleague who works diligently behind the scenes to promote excellent risk management in your agency.

Submissions will be accepted through Wednesday, June 19, 2019.  Once a nomination is received, Authority staff will contact the nominator for more information about their nominee and what makes them worthy of consideration for the Capstone Award.

The Capstone Award winner and finalists will be recognized at this year’s Risk Management Educational Forum (Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells, from October 9-11, 2019), and will receive complimentary hotel accommodations and a travel stipend for their Forum attendance.

For questions about the Capstone Award or the nomination process, please contact  Abraham Han, Administrative Analyst.


News: Worthy

Employment Liability – Resources to Protect Your Agency

Employment liability remains one of the largest exposures facing the Authority’s membership.  With exposures leading to employment practice claims increasing over the years due to economic conditions, demographics, and the ever-evolving legal environment, it is important human resource professionals and practitioners effectively navigate the current employment environment.

Human Resources Academy

Human resource issues—including employment liability—impact every public agency in some way. That’s why it’s important to understand the fundamental issues surrounding human resources. To that end, the California JPIA’s Human Resources Academy, April 9-11 in Indian Wells, provided an educational opportunity for human resource professionals to learn about recent trends and management practices to better mitigate their agency’s employment-related exposures.

The Academy provided essential training in basic theory, practical knowledge, and problem-solving techniques presented by the Authority’s subject matter experts. Topics presented and discussed at the Academy included conducting effective workplace investigations, practical tips for reducing your agency’s workers’ compensation costs, legislative and case law updates, and creating a culture of mentoring.

Attendees, including 24 professionals representing 21 member agencies, expressed enthusiasm for the Academy’s content and environment.  “I appreciated the comprehensive information presented at the disability management session,” said Lyanne Mendoza, management analyst with the city of Loma Linda. “The workers’ compensation session gave me a significant understanding of the resources and services offered by the Authority.” 

“The Academy was a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with other HR professionals. The sessions were relevant and informative. I highly recommend the Academy,” says Deborah Dixon, human resources analyst with the city of Lomita.

The next Human Resources Academy will be offered April 22-23, 2020.

Employment Hotline!

A new resource for members is the Authority’s Employment Hotline!  The Employment Hotline! provides members assistance when they send a brief email to epl@cjpia.org explaining their circumstances. That email is received directly by the law firm of Burke, Williams and Sorenson (BWS), the Authority's strategic partner on this program. BWS will assign an employment attorney and reply to the member via email, commencing the assignment. Generally, these assignments are conducted by way of email exchanges and conference calls. The Authority's Liability Program Manager

and the member's assigned regional Risk Manager will oversee all communication.  The types of employment matters that this program is designed to encompass include:

  • Discipline to include reduced pay, demotion, suspension or termination
  • Complaints of harassment or discrimination
  • Complex leave issues
  • Abusive employees
  • Suspicion of embezzlement or other criminal activity
  • FEHA or EEOC complaints (although we do not actually handle those matters directly)
  • POBR or FOBR matters
  • Accommodation issues

Employment Assistance and Intervention Program

The Authority continues to provide employment-related assistance through its Employment Assistance and Intervention Program, designed to supplement the guidance and legal counsel provided by a member’s employment counsel. By engaging one or more of the Authority’s defense attorneys that specialize in employment practices and litigation, the Authority can provide a comprehensive perspective on an employment practices scenario. By working together with a member’s human resources department and employment counsel, this early intervention may limit or even eliminate any potential liability in the areas of harassment and discrimination allegations, adverse employment actions such as suspensions or terminations, leaves of absences, and the interactive process.  

For more information about the academies and training offered by the Authority, please  contact Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator.

For more information about the Employment Hotline! or the Employment Assistance and Intervention Program, please contact the Authority’s Liability Program Manager, Paul Zeglovitch.


News: Worthy

League of California Cities’ Legislative Action Day

Four months into the California State Legislature’s 2019-20 legislative session, the Authority continues to monitor bills that may impact municipal risk management and local government operations, and to communicate relevant updates to members.

California JPIA team members Assistant Executive Officer Norm Lefmann, Chief Financial Officer Alex Smith, Administrative Analyst Abe Han, and Workers’ Compensation Program Manager Jeff Rush networked with local officials and addressed priority issues at the League of California Cities’ (LOCC) Legislative Action Day, April 24, 2019, at the Capitol Event Center and State Capitol in Sacramento.

In addition to hearing from legislators and being given a budget, legislative and policy update, the event included an educational panel, “Addressing California’s Housing Needs.”

“The League of California Cities’ Annual Legislative Action Day presents an important advocacy opportunity,” says Lefmann. “Because bills are subject to amendments and revisions, the Authority closely monitors content changes throughout the legislative session. The Authority’s presence at this event allows us to provide an insider’s perspective on current topics and guide our members accordingly.”

For further information regarding currently tracked legislation, please visit the February 2019 issue of the Authority’s newsletter or contact Abraham Han, Administrative Analyst.


News: Worthy

Workers’ Compensation Cost Containment Services

By Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager

Coverage under the workers’ compensation program includes benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work-related activities.  Benefits include medical treatment, temporary and permanent disability payments, compensation for permanent impairment, and other statutory requirements. 

To rein in expenditures and improve cost effectiveness, the Authority has implemented several cost containment programs. These cost containment programs--offered at no cost to members participating in the Authority’s workers’ compensation program--help reduce the severity of claims and expedite the return of employees to work.

Telephonic Nurse Triage

The California JPIA has partnered with Company Nurse for over five years to provide member agency employees with immediate access to a medical professional at the time of injury. The concept behind the program is that by providing initial medical evaluation by registered nurses at the time a work place injury occurs, the injured employee is directed to the most appropriate and cost-effective level of medical care.

The injured employee calls into a treatment center (24/7 access) and a triage nurse will assess the injury over the phone with the injured employee. Based upon approved medical treatment protocols, the triage nurse identifies a course of treatment and can refer the injured employee to the most appropriate level of care, including:

  • Most employees (typically about 60%) are referred to an occupational medicine clinic.
  • Some employees (usually under 10%) are referred to emergency care.This occurs most often when the injury takes place when the local occupational clinics are not open.
  • Many employees (approximately 30%) are referred for self-care.

The self-care option helps employees with minor injuries to avoid otherwise unnecessary visits to a medical clinic, although the employee may still be evaluated if they choose.  Not surprisingly, the California JPIA members that utilize Company Nurse services have experienced reductions in their overall workers’ compensation claim costs. 

Return to Work

When one of your employees gets injured and is provided modified duty, do you have a plan in place that will expedite the return-to-work process?  Norm Peterson & Associates (NPA) does, and they have been the California JPIA’s return-to-work partner for over five years.

NPA utilizes its Optimal Utilization of Resources System to help employers around the country to return injured employees back to the workplace with suitable and productive modified duty assignments that aid in the recovery process. 

The program’s success is based largely on two factors. The first is NPA’s team effort to work with an agency’s management team to identify appropriate modified duty assignments before an injury occurs.  By doing this, the ability to obtain a physician’s release is expedited.  Since each agency employs people performing different functions, each agency’s list of modified duty assignments is different. 

The second factor in the program’s success is the assignment of a Placement Assistance Team specialist whose sole function is to help facilitate the employee’s return to work.  If a physician is unresponsive or as work restrictions change, the specialist will provide the physician with different modified duty assignments to consider as they re-evaluate the injured employee.  Studies show the longer an employee is off work following an injury, the less likely they are to return to work.  The OUR System helps keep employees at work performing the work your agency needs, and consequently, increasing the likelihood of a successful recovery.

Remote Physician Exams

The California JPIA’s newest partner, Kura, is a provider that offers employees access to a physician via cell phone or tablet.  For certain medical conditions, employees can participate in a remote examination without physically visiting a medical clinic.  The examining physician is able to assess the employee’s condition, address their work status, and prescribe medication, where necessary.  Kura’s services are ideal for employees working in remote areas or after hours. 

To learn more about these services, please contact Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager.


News: Worthy

Workplace Harassment Training Update

by Ryan Thomas, Training and Loss Control Specialist

Sexual harassment training became mandatory for all employers in California with at least five employees after former governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1343 into law last year.  This legislation, effective January 1, 2019, expanded existing harassment training requirements to include all employees, not just supervisors, as previously required.  To assist employers in satisfying this obligation, SB 1343 also directs the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to develop and make available two interactive, online training courses – a two-hour training for supervisory employees and a one-hour training for nonsupervisory employees.  To date, the only estimate that the DFEH has given for the availability of their online courses is “late 2019.”

The California JPIA continues to offer training to ensure members will meet the requirement for workplace harassment training as required by SB 1343 and all other legislative and regulatory requirements.  The Authority provides two training resources for members:  1) instructor-led classroom training for supervisors, local agency officials and general (non-supervisory) employees; and 2) a new workplace harassment e-learning series that incorporates contemporary training topics including workplace civility, unconscious bias, a across-the-board look of workplace bullying, and harassment prevention techniques.

This new e-learning series is available on myJPIA and includes the following courses:

For Supervisors/Elected Officials:

  1. Sexual Harassment, California Edition – 13 minutes
  2. 8 Keys to a More Respectful Workplace – 47 minutes
  3. Consciously Overcoming Unconscious Bias – 8 minutes
  4. Let’s Talk…Bullying, Abusive Conduct and Their Consequences – 10 minutes
  5. Harassment Prevention Essentials for Managers – 11 minutes

For Non-Supervisory Employees:

  1. Sexual Harassment, California Edition – 13 minutes
  2. 8 Keys to a More Respectful Workplace – 47 minutes
  3. Consciously Overcoming Unconscious Bias – 8 minutes

For further information or assistance with scheduling instructor led training, e-learnings or group e-learnings please contact the Authority’s training team.


News:  Worthy

Join Social Media Conversations with the Authority

Social Media LogoIn order to better connect with current members and reach potential new members, the Authority has an active presence on social media. Members can find information on various topics on the social media channels listed below. 

Connect with our latest topics:  

Facebook 

“April is National #VolunteerMonth. Does your agency utilize the power of volunteers? Do you need help finding new ones? Visit the National Corporation for National and Community Service website to find information on recruiting volunteers for your next project and be sure to visit cjpia.org for helpful volunteer resources. https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve” Like, comment and share:
https://www.facebook.com/California-JPIA-650664764970940/

LinkedIn Page
“Did you know that the California Department of Industrial Relations recognizes three types of workplace violence circumstances? Review their Injury & Illness Prevention Model Program for Workplace Security and learn how to prepare your agency for known hazards associated with workplace violence. https://lnkd.in/gJVe6sr” Follow us, comment and share about risk management:
https://www.linkedin.com/company/california-joint-powers-insurance-authority/ 

California JPIA  Administrative Staff - 2019Twitter
“On this #AdministrativeProfessionalsDay, we want to thank all our admin staff for the outstanding work they do on behalf of our members, from managing projects, to writing correspondence, to helping members when they contact us for assistance. Your hard work is appreciated!”
https://twitter.com/californiajpia/

For information on how to join these sites or participate in discussions, please contact Courtney Morrison, Administrative Analyst, by email or by phone at (562) 467-8779.


Re: Members

Innovative Risk Assessments – The SLO Way

By Tim Karcz, Senior Risk Manager

The City of San Luis Obispo is well known for its hard work, innovation, and out of the box thinking. This is evident in their efforts to maintain a productive, efficient, and safe working environment. The city has developed a unique approach to managing safety exposures using task-based job hazard assessments. By conducting these detailed assessments, the city can identify, understand, and manage risk exposures on a step-by-step level; a process that includes breaking down key tasks into individual steps to identify the hazards associated with them. These assessments allow the city to develop specific safety protocols to ensure that tasks are not only completed efficiently, but safely.

Laura Matthieu, Safety and Technical Training Engineer with the city’s Utilities Department is a leader in the city’s innovative effort to create a safe workplace for its employees. “Being a full-service city, there are plenty of hazards present in our daily operations.” Laura said as she described the city’s risk assessment process. “This process helps us to approach work tasks with safety in mind, using it as a tool to break down tasks into individual steps and to develop strategies to mitigate the risks associated with them. This helps us to not only document the process, but ultimately build a story for management so they can make informed decisions on what is needed and where.” The information is then used to tailor specific training, standard operating procedures and, in some cases, equipment modification recommendations.
  
To briefly outline this process, the following risk assessment was conducted on the key task of cleaning a Screw Press (a device used to separate liquids from solids). The city identified the following steps, along with the hazards that go with them:

  1. Workers stand on moveable, eight-foot tall platforms.

    Hazards: Working at heights can result in a fall. Platforms can inadvertently move or be slippery.

  2. Lifting and manipulating 40-pound metal panels by hand.

    Hazards: Lifting hazards (such as back and shoulder strains). Awkward body positioning while moving panels.

  3. 08aSpraying the Screw Press with hose and nozzle to clean the perforated drum inside.

    Hazards: Awkward body positioning while holding the hose. Slip and trip hazard due to slippery surfaces.

  4. Use of Muriatic Acid for cleaning. 

    Hazards: Acid presents corrosive hazards requiring specialized personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and gloves. PPE can restrict worker visibility.

08bThrough this assessment, the city was able to ascertain various hazards associated with each individual step. It was determined that the likelihood of an accident occurring was high; and if one did occur, the resulting injury could be moderate to major in nature. As a result, several loss control measures were implemented, including specific task-based training and standard operating procedures to perform the cleaning correctly and safely. In addition, the city installed a permanent platform and guardrail system to prevent inadvertent falls.

Unique hazards require unique approaches to manage them. For more information on conducting your own Job Hazard Analysis, click here. If you are interested in learning more, contact your regional Risk Manager.


News: Worthy

Keeping Aquatic Programs Safe for Children

By Melaina Francis, Risk Manager

Summer is fast approaching, and aquatics programs for all ages will soon be making a splash at local community pools and recreation centers. Aquatic programs are the core of many members’ recreational programming.  Agencies often scramble to find seasonal workers that only want to work from April to September, knowing their job will end after Labor Day. 

Once hired, training aquatics employees on water safety, CPR and first aid, and drowning prevention are some of basic skills required to perform their jobs as lifeguards, pool attendants, and recreation staff.

One thing that aquatics employees are often not trained on — and much less prepared for — is dealing with sexual predators.

The following illustrates an exposure facing all aquatics centers, and underscores the need for this training. 

In June 2018 a jury awarded $10 million in damages to the family of a boy who was allegedly repeatedly molested at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center (RBAC) when he was 11 years old. The jury found the Aquatic Center was 70 percent responsible, while the patron who reportedly molested the boy was 30 percent responsible.  The trial stemmed from a lawsuit filed in May 2018.  It alleged that the RBAC did not meet its legal obligations to protect the boy.  In particular, the lawsuit argued the center’s employees fell under the definition of mandated reporters, meaning RBAC would be required to train them to identify and report potential child abuse.  Another factor the lawsuit cited was a lack of adequate security. The molestation occurred in the changing rooms and locker room, where the family’s attorney said there were no security measures in place.

How could this tragic event have been avoided? 

Screening Applicants

One in five children is a victim of sexual abuse, and less than 10 percent of sexual abusers are prosecuted, 90 percent, therefore, have no criminal background.  Ensuring the safety of children begins with the hiring process.  

Agencies are often rushed to hire and fill positions while working to conduct inspections and perform preventative maintenance on aquatic facilities before the start of summer programs. The hiring, screening, and onboarding process take time.

Screening job applicants and volunteers is an important responsibility for managers, coordinators and administrators.  How can hiring managers distinguish between a dangerous individual and an appropriate candidate ready to serve?

It is important to combine criminal background checks with abuse prevention and incorporate comprehensive screening that can help deter or prevent an abuser having access to children.

The Authority hosted a Risk Manager Roundtable last November entitled: Sexual Abuse Awareness Training presented by Kimberlee D. Norris, a partner at Love & Norris, attorneys at law. The presentation focused on the importance of skillfully screening applicants that work with children and the need to train all staff working with children in abuse awareness. 

Hiring and screening personnel must be trained to recognize high-risk responses, which indicate that an individual may be a danger to children.  Skillful screening is a tool that provides a series of interview questions and plausible answers that warn of potential red flags. Here is an example interview question from the Skillful Screening Tool Program:  

Question:
Do you have a preference concerning the age group or sex of children or students with whom you would like to work?

High-Risk Response: I've always enjoyed working with young teen boys. I feel I can really relate with them and they seem to like me. My hobby, playing video games, seems to be something that appeals to boys of this age. (I'm really just a big kid....)”

Low-Risk Response: I'd prefer to be with my son's class, but I would consider elsewhere, if there is a need.”

Silence and ignorance are the playground of the abuser. The Skillful Screening Process, combined with appropriate criminal background checks, can encourage a sexual predator to “self-select out” of employee or volunteer pools. These measures help deter or prevent the abuser from having access to children. 

Mandated Reporter Training

Under California law, anyone who is an “administrator or employee of a public or private youth center, youth recreation program, or youth organization” is considered a mandated reporter, meaning they are required to receive training in the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.  It is important that employees understand that they have a legal obligation as a mandated reporter and know how to report any potential ‘abuse’ or ‘neglect’ of a child. Additionally, employees should feel empowered to report any suspicious behaviors of fellow employees or patrons immediately to supervisory staff. 

In addition to mandated reporter training, it is recommended that agencies establish a written Mandated Reporter Policy. The California JPIA has a Mandated Reporter Policy Template available for members.

Aquatic Facilities

Instituting precautions such as staffing locker-room attendants at aquatic facilities is positive step to keep children safe, especially if it is not feasible for an agency to dedicate space for a family locker-room.  Some centers have considered adding a ‘family’ cabana near the pool deck to accommodate families with small children. This approach may have a few concerns and would require diligence to ensure that the curtains remain completely open when not in use and perhaps installing a sign that reads “Please limit changing time to 10 minutes as a courtesy to others,” or similar wording.  

Conducting assessments of facility practices, written policies and procedures, making necessary modifications can help safeguard your agency’s aquatic operations. 

For information about mandated reporter training, abuse prevention, and Skillful Screening. please contact Ryan Thomas, Training and Loss Control Specialist.