Issue 112 - June 2021
8th Annual Capstone Award Nominations Being Accepted
The nomination period is open for the 8th Annual California JPIA Capstone Award. The Capstone Award is presented annually at the Authority’s Risk Management Educational Forum to an individual who best exemplifies the practice of risk management among the Authority membership. Submissions will be accepted through July 15, 2021.
We encourage you to tell us who should be considered for the Capstone Award by clicking here to complete a brief nomination form. The success of the Capstone Award depends on you and others to identify a colleague who works tirelessly behind the scenes to promote excellence in risk management.
An individual nominated for the Capstone Award could be a person who is working at any level within a member agency, and ideally would be someone who:
- 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.
All finalists will be recognized at this year’s Forum. For questions about the Capstone Award, please contact Habib Ali by email or at (562) 467-8726.Print Article
13th Annual Workers’ Compensation Symposium
The California JPIA is pleased to announce the program for the 13th Annual Workers’ Compensation Symposium, which will take place virtually on Thursday, August 5.
The Symposium will provide an opportunity for member risk managers and human resource professionals to learn about emerging issues relevant to their agency’s workers’ compensation program.
This year’s Symposium will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will include the following topics:
|9:00 – 9:30 a.m.||Vaccines, Long Haul COVID, and Mental Health
Taha Ahmad, MD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente
|9:30 – 10:00 a.m.||The Benefits of Telemedicine
Megan Hart, Concentra
|10:00 – 10:30 a.m.||Accommodations in a Post-COVID World
Kelly Trainer Policky,
Employment Practices Manager,
|10:30 – 11:00 a.m.||2021 Legislative Update
Workers’ Compensation Program Manager,
The event’s website provides information on how to participate in the Symposium.
For questions, contact Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Manager, by email or at (562) 467-8707.
Academy UpdateBy Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator
The California JPIA successfully broadcast five virtual academies this year from its campus in La Palma. The Authority’s training team created virtual academies when it became apparent that in-person trainings would be canceled due to the pandemic. A survey of past academy attendees helped guide the decision to develop the virtual academy format.
A new Governance Leadership Academy focused on issues unique to seasoned elected officials was added this year at the request of members. Presenters Kevin Duggan and Ken Hampian, both former city managers, led the attendees through a series of sessions, including “From Campaign to Governance” and “Keys to Being an Effective Governing Body Member.” In the session entitled “Goal Setting,” Kevin and Ken were joined by Jim Lewis, City Manager of the City of Pismo Beach.
Additional academies in 2021 have included the Parks and Recreation Academy, Risk Management Academy, Executive Academy, and the Newly Elected Officials Academy. Robin Picken of the City of Bishop attended the Executive Academy in May and commented, “I felt that the academy addressed many issues that we, as public servants, deal with every day that we don’t get to reflect on and evaluate very often. We were able to discuss and evaluate topics such as the city’s use of social media and website effectiveness, how to be prepared to handle the media and the city’s public perception in time of crisis, ethics in both our personal and professional lives, our overall role as ‘leaders’ in each of our organizations, and how we can each have a direct effect on the agency’s culture.”
The Authority will close out this year with three more virtual academies: the Human Resources Academy, August 17 – 19; the Public Works Academy, October 12 – 14; and the Management Academy, November 9 – 11. For more information on these and other academies, please contact Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator.Print Article
Join Social Media Conversations with the Authority
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 posts:
“Tomorrow is #InternationalPicnicDay! While vaccination rates are up and COVID infections are down, many people still feel safer spending time outdoors, making this a great time for picnics. Authority members can review our Picnic Area Maintenance Checklist to get ready for summer crowds. Find this resource in our online library: https://tinyurl.com/2f6xyfhk”
Comment and share:
“The Authority has updated its Facility Use Agreements resource for members. A single resource was created that includes two separate facility use agreements: one for agency buildings and property, and the other specific to fields and/or sports complexes. Learn more: https://tinyurl.com/3pbny5bf”
Follow us, comment and share about risk management:
“The California JPIA’s Newly Elected Officials Academy was held from 6/7-6/9 & was all-virtual for the 1st time. The agenda consisted of 3 half-days packed w/ valuable best practices & leadership info. from subject matter experts. Learn more: https://tinyurl.com/7bubj6rv”
Like and follow us: https://twitter.com/californiajpia/
For information on how to join these sites or participate in discussions, please contact Courtney Morrison, Management Analyst.Print Article
ReClaim: Define. Educate. Mitigate.
Since 2016, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and its members have incurred over $46M in liability litigation costs involving cases where the application of government immunities were a potential dispositive defense.
To help members identify, understand, and reduce the cost of these and other claims, the Authority is launching ReClaim, a new awareness campaign. This important, data-driven initiative will help members develop a deep understanding of those claims that represent the greatest impact to them and to build strategies about how to reduce these claims in the future.
While the impact of these claim costs depends on each agency’s size and history, Assistant Executive Officer Norm Lefmann identified this unifying data point during the 2019 Risk Management Educational Forum: “For the liability program alone, the one program in which all California JPIA members participate,” he said, “the top five claims have cost the pool $85M over the last five years. That is about $17M a year that all of you share in paying.”
Reducing these claims will help redirect critical funding toward important programs and services carried out by the Authority’s member agencies.
California law states that personal injury and other tort liability against public agencies must be expressly provided by statute or constitutional provision. Any statute setting forth an immunity may except a public entity from liability.
This summer, the ReClaim campaign will focus on three specific governmental immunities: hazardous recreation activity immunity, design immunity, and trail immunity. To receive an alert when new materials are available, please contact Management Analyst Courtney Morrison.
“ReClaim is simple,” said Lefmann, “but only in concept. Carrying this out will take effort. A primary goal of the ReClaim program is to instill in every staff member in every one of the Authority’s member agencies an understanding of these claims in a way that makes our undertaking achievable.”Print Article
New Employment Practices Liability Resources
Employment practices liability (EPL) claims alleging wrongful employment acts such as discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination, have for some time been among the most severe experienced by the California JPIA. Indeed, in the 10 years from 2008 to 2018, the Authority spent approximately $50 million defending and resolving EPL claims. Members also incur a variety of other costs related to such claims. These include the cost of conducting internal investigations, responding to and defending against EEOC/DFEH claims, and costs associated with the reduction in employee morale and productivity. These costs are uninsurable and are borne individually by each member.
The Authority has historically provided several resources to assist members in this area. These include instructor-led and online self-paced harassment prevention training, HR policy templates, and an EPL hotline that members can contact for guidance on addressing challenging or complex employment matters.
In 2019, to better understand why EPL claims persist at such a high frequency and severity despite the availability of these resources, Authority staff formed an EPL task force. The task force analyzed claim data, solicited input from subject matter experts and member HR and management staff, and ultimately developed a series of recommendations for how the Authority can better assist member agencies in managing this risk.
To prevent or reduce EPL claims, member leadership must cultivate a work environment of civility and respect, the task force concluded. Further, members must adopt a no-tolerance approach toward abusive and harassing behaviors. When such behaviors occur, members must act decisively to correct the behavior and impose appropriate discipline.
The task force also recommended development of the following resources to better assist members with managing EPL exposures:
- Training to address organizational culture and the behaviors of employees and officials. Topics include abusive conduct, ethics, cultural diversity, implicit bias, nepotism, and cronyism.
- Training to improve manager and supervisor soft skills. Topics include effective communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution.
- HR practitioner training. Topics include absence management, disability management, discipline, compensation, and labor relations.
- Additional HR policy templates and other HR reference materials.
- Access to an anonymous harassment reporting system.
- An EPL white paper making the business case for why member leadership should actively manage EPL exposures.
These additional resources, which will be rolled out in the coming months, are designed to help members address the root causes of EPL claims, and thus prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of such claims. Authority staff is optimistic that these initiatives will have the desired effect.
If you have any questions about these upcoming resources, please contact your regional Risk Manager.Print Article
Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness
California JPIA members are reminded to protect outdoor workers from heat illness as excessive heat is expected throughout California this summer. A recent Cal/OSHA News Release advises all employers to take steps to protect outdoor workers from heat illness by providing water, rest, shade, and training. The state’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor workers, including those that spend a significant amount of time working outdoors, such as public works, maintenance, parks and recreation, and public safety personnel. Heat illness is more likely to occur when workers are not accustomed to working at full capacity in the hot weather, so preparation is an essential part of staying safe.
Supervisors and workers must be trained on the signs and symptoms of heat illness to know when to take steps that can prevent a coworker from getting sick. Employers must also evaluate each worksite, and make sure their workers know their procedures for contacting emergency medical services, which includes directing them to the worksite if needed.
Members with outdoor workers must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
- Plan: Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
- Training: Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
- Water: Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool, and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least one quart per hour and encourage workers to do so.
- Shade: Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
Members are encouraged to take advantage of the Authority’s E-Learning Training. The Authority has developed several new e-learning safety courses that comply with Cal/OSHA safety requirements, including Heat Illness – Refresher Training. Additionally, the Authority has developed a Heat Illness Prevention Plan, available on MyJPIA, in accordance with CCR Title 8: Section 3395.
For more information, please contact your regional Risk Manager.Print Article
Employee Participation in Safety – Improving Results
Active employee participation is critical to the success of a safety program. Enhancing employee participation in safety at all levels of an organization is considered a best practice by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, OSHA reports that high worker participation in safety helps to improve morale, lower absenteeism, and increase productivity while at the same time reducing injury risks. Further, this effort can increase employee acceptance of future changes in workplace safety and health policies. From this, we can clearly see the importance of actively involving all levels of your agency in ongoing safety efforts, including training, program development, job hazard analysis, compliance requirements, and safety committee participation.
California JPIA members can strive toward high worker participation in their safety program by implementing the communication strategies outlined in their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The following table illustrates important aspects of your agency’s IIPP, and connects them to the activity designed to achieve high employee participation:
|Safety Program Activity||Enhancing Employee Participation|
|Safety Program Development||Safety policies are developed and managed by a team that includes employees. Recurring reviews involve employees.|
|Incident Reporting||Employees know reporting procedures and are comfortable reporting concerns to the agency’s management.|
|Hazard Identification||Management gets information regarding employee safety directly from employees. Methods include anonymous reporting, comment boxes, discussion groups, and employee-driven inspections.|
|Hazard Correction||Employees are allowed to help find solutions to safety issues. Management ensures that suggestions are presented to the workforce for additional input.|
|Communication & Collaboration||Training opportunities, safety committees with employee participation, employees assist in developing safety metrics.|
|Other||Employees are given the time and resources needed to participate.|
When implementing safety program initiatives, the California JPIA encourages its members to utilize strategies that enhance the involvement of employees from throughout the organization. While leadership sets the tone and expectations for safety performance, field-level employees are often the first to know about existing hazards or challenges to safety in their daily work activities. As a result, they can provide valuable insight and unique perspectives that frequently result in more effective loss mitigation strategies. Bridging this potential gap and enhancing participation in safety program activities can benefit both employees and the employer. For assistance in developing your agency’s safety program, please contact your regional Risk Manager.