Magazine article Security Management

Making Employees Part of the Plan

Magazine article Security Management

Making Employees Part of the Plan

Article excerpt

Total quality management (TQM) is the latest business talisman sweeping the nation as a panacea for remaining competitive in today's rapidly changing world economy. While it cannot work miracles, it can make a difference for security managers who follow its precepts.

TQM requires management to involve all levels of employees in a continuous effort to improve operations - the cornerstone of any quality-based management method. The implications of this approach are best understood by illustration.

Consider workplace accidents. No other security concern yields more measurable and immediate positive effects to the profitability of an organization than the reduction of employee injuries. Rising employee health care costs and associated litigation have become a major drain on American business.

Applying TQM in five strategic ways can enhance a company's loss control program. The five points are measurement, data analysis, intervention, tracking, and standardization.

Measurement. Primary to any loss reduction effort is a measurement system. With the vast amount of time security managers spend documenting accidents, they already have a wealth of information, but the information may not lend itself to easy analysis. Security operations using a narrative report-writing style should adopt a format of blocks that note specific information.

The information needed includes location, time, day of the week, activity engaged in at the time of the accident, employee's job title, employee training, and length of service.

Many companies have extensive employee accident reporting procedures in place. All employers are required by federal health and safety regulations to maintain a log of employee injuries. The log may serve as a starting point if the company needs to investigate prior employee accidents that occurred.

Insurance carriers may be an additional source of information. Many workers' compensation insurance carriers can provide a loss run, detailing each reported employee injury.

Data analysis. Prior to conducting a statistical analysis, the security manager should assemble as much data as possible. Covering a two-to-three year period is reasonable. Once all the factors involved in each accident are sorted, certain trends will emerge.

As the manager compiles and cross-references the data, he or she should target injuries most often resulting in a loss to the company. These are typically soft tissue strains, such as a pulled back. They are difficult to prove or disprove and leave the employee out of work for extended periods of time. Often these injuries are the result of slips and falls or improper lifting.

Once the most costly type of injury is identified, the analysis should focus on those cases. The security manager should look for trends in location, and other nearby activity. He or she should closely study the individual employee involved in the accident. If possible, the employee and any witnesses should be interviewed to identify unreported probable causes. Although individually a single piece of information may not seem important or relevant, collectively these bits and pieces often tell a valuable story.

Employee safety training, which is a requirement in many states, must also be closely examined. Was an employee trained in the activity he or she was engaged in at the time of the injury? Was the employee aware of any associated risks related to the activity? Have all risks involved in the workplace been analyzed with appropriate documentation and training for each task?

A computer database of incidents can ease the analysis process. Many inexpensive database and graphing software programs are available. With these programs, selected fields of data can be quickly assembled, sorted, and cross-referenced.

Intervention techniques. Now that the approximate causes or categories of accidents have been identified, the security manager must develop techniques that prevent the accidents from recurring. …

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