(Thanks for coming over from my LinkedIn page article…)
I’m guessing that a total of 20 minutes had elapsed from the time they arrived until that moment. Nothing really productive or meaningful had happened, and for a minute I thought the meeting might be over, but then they began introducing me to their “web based safety resource portal.”
They logged onto the carrier website and showed me how to navigate to their safety resource center. Inside the center were all kinds of health and safety resources like generic program templates, web-based training videos, forms, safety tests, and so on. They explained that “everything that I needed to build a solid safety program was available to my staff and I,” and it was all free of charge.
As disappointed and surprised as I was about their refusal to visit job sites and lack of meaningful advice on how to improve our safety program, I was equally, and oddly enough, impressed by the safety resources that they offered. I’ll never forget, what turned out to be, the false sense of security that overcame me as I somehow got the impression that my company was now “covered and in OSHA compliance” now that we’d been given access to this huge library of resources. The feeling was undeniable and powerful at the time. I was certain that my staff and I would make great use of the tools that they offered, that we would end up creating a fantastic safety program, and would somehow magically end up being “OSHA compliant.” And with that feeling a huge burden had been lifted.
The meeting soon ended, less than an hour after it had started, and that actually ended up being the first and last time that I ever visited or saw that website portal again. True story.
Given my experience, it’s not surprising that I routinely hear other small business owners and managers echo this same false sense of security that I once felt, when they confidently tell me, “sorry we don’t need your help, our insurance company manages all of our safety requirements.” When I press for details, they normally follow up with comments like, “they audit our facility every year and make recommendations,” “they gave us a health and safety manual,” “they came out a few months ago and gave us forklift training,” or “they give us safety training videos that we have our employees watch.”
I always make a point of agreeing that their insurance company offers great resources, but also remind them of how critical it is that someone within their company actually “harnesses” and make use of these resources, and manages them on a regular basis to ensure that all OSHA compliance requirements are covered, but how difficult and rare it is for a company to actually succeed in doing this.
Then I’ll try to explain about additional OSHA requirements that their insurance company can’t possibly manage, like developing equipment specific LOTO procedures, conducting routine health & safety inspections to identify and correct hazards, conducting annual emergency response drills with employees, etc, etc, but am nearly always met with skepticism and a stubborn sense of false security that seems to scream “dude, we’re good, our insurance company is taking care of everything!”