Your Joint Loss Management Committee: Active or Absent?

By Matthew Comai

The State of New Hampshire Department of Labor’s (DOL) requirement for employers to form and keep active a Joint Loss Management Committee (JLMC) can seem to some like a daunting task. Frequent comments heard from New Hampshire Local Government Center (LGC) Member Groups refer to a lack of participation, action and support from their administration.

Getting Started
Meeting the required minimum of convening your JLMC four times per year should be done on a schedule that is developed at your first meeting. Scheduling all remaining meetings at the first meeting establishes a commitment to carry out the duties of the committee and provides plenty of time for rescheduling if needed. It is also recommended that meetings be held more than four times per year if it is determined that there is a greater need for time to accomplish the committee’s intended goals.

The first meeting should begin by addressing the requirements or duties of the committee as set forth by the DOL. A chairman must be elected with that position rotating yearly between management team and staff members. This should be one of the first tasks accomplished by the committee. Next steps include the following:

Develop a committee policy statement.
Set an agenda.
Establish committee goals for the committee.

The policy statement should include a statement of commitment from your group’s administration to support compliance with DOL rules and provide employees with the necessary training, tools and equipment for a safe work environment. Setting an agenda should be done immediately and follow the committee’s required duties and responsibilities.

The first meeting should seek to establish attainable goals. These might include the following:

Conducting walk-through safety inspections of your facilities between the first and second meetings so that safety hazards and/or concerns can be addressed at the second meeting.
Obtaining workplace accident and injury data for review at the second meeting.
Determining the extent of compliance currently being maintained by your group. Is there a written Health and Safety Program? Has the Safety Summary Form been submitted to DOL? Are there training requirements that need to be met?

Second Meeting
Your second JLMC meeting should seek to review workplace accident and injury data and determine if there are specific areas where training could assist in reducing losses. LGC provides numerous training programs and resources designed specifically to help reduce losses from workplace accident and injury. Visit www.nhlgc.org and click on “Training and Consulting" to access our “Risk and Health Management Training" offerings.

A review of your facility inspections should be done next. From these inspections, a list of potential hazards or compliance deficiencies should be developed that sets priorities for addressing them. Many of the items can likely be addressed with little effort while several may require capital improvement allocations or significant policy changes. These larger items can be provided to your administration for review if related to the budget process.

The next item on the second meeting agenda should be a compliance review by answering the questions posed in this article’s “Getting Started" section related to establishing attainable goals. Your group’s LGC Risk Management Representative can assist you in developing a Health and Safety Program and its required components plus provide training opportunities for your employees and guidance on submitting the DOL’s Safety Summary Form.

You should now have a list of potential safety hazards/concerns, items in need of attention for maintaining compliance and training needs. There may to be a need to form small subcommittees to address these items between the second and third meeting with goals set for each group that are realistic and obtainable. Subcommittees may want to meet separately to work on these goals. For example, one group can be charged with addressing safety hazards/concerns that can be addressed immediately while coming up with cost estimates for items that may need capital investment to improve. Another group could be tasked with drafting a Health and Safety Program for review at the third meeting while also completing and submitting the Safety Summary Form. The third group could be tasked with setting up training opportunities for compliance with DOL rules.

Third Meeting
The third meeting may include updates from each group regarding their tasks. Developing a Health and Safety Plan and providing employee training can be accomplished relatively easily by using related programs and services from LGC. You simply need to provide the time since LGC’s offerings are complimentary to Member Groups.

The most difficult task to accomplish typically is addressing complex safety hazards and concerns. Some of these issues can be emotional, and/or cost money that may not be readily available. Setting realistic goals and formally providing information to your group’s administration through your JLMC can be the best way to get the attention these items deserve.

Next Steps
Using the steps previously outlined to set your agenda can lead to a fourth meeting. Hopefully, that meeting will close out many of the action items you’ve already addressed, create a list of recommendations for your administration and provide time to set the following year’s meeting schedule and agendas. This is also a good time to discuss recruiting new members.

A well-organized JLMC with realistic goals can create safety awareness and provide an incentive for other employees to become involved. The DOL provides plenty of helpful information on their Web site (www.labor.state.nh.us/business.asp) to help guide you in organizing, facilitating and maintaining the committee. Additionally, your group’s LGC Risk Management Representative is available to assist you on facilitating a JLMC. You can reach them by calling LGC’s Risk and Health Management Department at 800.852.3358 or e-mailing wellness@nhlgc.org.

Matthew Comai is LGC’s School Risk Management Representative.

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