Risk Management Team Creates a Safer Workplace

Every last Wednesday of the month, ILA’s Risk Management Committee gathers at Mulrooney Manor to review new safety information and investigate incidents. Led by Director of Quality Assurance Richard Gruber and Manager of Administrative Services Tanya Dinkins, the committee comprises 12 ILA staff, including Nursing Coordinator Mitzie Cope, Incident Management Coordinator Theresa Kolsin, Compliance Specialist Velma Leacock, Consumer Resource Specialist Andy Lewis, Area Coordinator Donna Lundy, Coordinator of Maintenance Mechanics Billy Reyes, Resource Specialist Ben Soto, Benefits Specialist Laverne Tuzo, Human Resources Manager Amanda Villacis, and Director of Nursing Melody Virtusio.

ILA Executive Director Arthur Palevsky formed the group about ten years ago. Tanya explains, “Arthur started the committee after a devastating fire killed four Individuals at a group home in upstate New York.” Arthur’s goals: to ensure staff and Individuals are safe and to prevent such accidents.

The Risk Management Process

“We review accidents, how they could have been avoided, and recommend operational changes,” Mitzi explains. “We interview the persons involved to get their perspectives and collaborate to resolve the matter.”

Ben adds, “In ensuring that we conduct each investigation professionally to its fullest, we always treat staff respectfully when interviewing them. We make sure they have a strong understanding of the actions that brought them to Risk Management and the correct course to rectify any mistakes.”

Many Risk Management Committee members also serve on a committee that reviews safety practices and investigates safety incidents at our residences. That committee is named Code Rule 60 (CR 60), after a codification of practices contained in New York State Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Its purpose is to achieve greater safety in the workplace. ILA’s CR 60 Committee was formed by Frank De Lucia, ILA’s Deputy Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer, who explains, “During CR 60 investigations, we determine the root causes of incidents and recommend appropriate corrective measures. Findings from all ILA safety reviews go to ILA’s administration, residence supervisors, and nursing staff.”

The scope of CR 60 Committee activities is vast. The Nursing Department creates a safety data log created listing all chemicals used in ILA’s facilities and related precautions. The committee also designed a form for maintenance staff to share with residence supervisors about the time and duration of a house cleaning for staff and Individuals to vacate the premises. Additionally, they developed first aid procedures for all chemical breaches along with emergency contact numbers if someone is affected by a chemical. “Every residence maintains a copy of this manual and staff are trained extensively on how to use it properly,” Tanya says.

Risk Management Prevents Accidents

Scott Glaser, a consultant for Philadelphia Insurance Senior Risk Management, attends every Risk Management meeting to share pertinent claims data. “We partner with our insured companies to share our analysis with the group,” Scott says. “ILA can then control their costs, and Philadelphia Insurance will pay fewer claims.”

ILA has seen a sharp decline in safety incidents in recent years. Mitzi says, “Since staff are required to meet with us to explain incidents, they know what’s at stake, which motivates them to ensure the safest possible environment.”

Richard attributes the decline in automobile incidents to installing driver tracking devices in all Agency vehicles, the latest being GPS. “Monitoring driving is a preventive step that has made drivers more aware of their speed and habits,” he says.

Richard points out the unique safety challenges in operating vehicles in New York. “Parking is at a premium, streets are narrow, and there’s double-parking. Vehicles can get hit. We understand sometimes nothing can be done, but in most cases, our recommendations do prevent accidents,” he says. ILA’s newly leased vehicles are equipped with backup cameras and sensors for added safety.

As for ILA’s CR 60 Committee, Frank proudly reports that its implementation has resulted in a 5% decrease of the Worker’s Compensation premium, and he promises more efforts to attain greater reductions.

“Our committees prevent and correct mishaps,” Ben says. “They help keep us informed about staff’s efforts to maintain a safe environment and reinforce that we’re educating people appropriately to make sure they and our Individuals are safe.”