A maxim is a simple truth, and the truth is we have been making risk control and safety a lot harder than it should be. What business owners need is an effective, simple, repeatable approach for implementing safety and risk control programs. One that doesn’t break the bank or take loads of time to develop. The AMAXIM is a straightforward six-step system that is easy-to-follow and easy to implement.
I developed this system, and it has resulted in a 50-80% reduction in premiums after 18 months of relentless implementation. Following this program will lead to fewer insurance claims and a safer workplace. It really is that simple.
Step 1 – Analysis
This step is essential. Assess your company’s hazards and controls so a roadmap for improvement can be created. Would you expect a doctor to conduct an exam before prescribing meds? Of course, you would! The purpose of an assessment is to identify potential risks so you can implement the proper controls. Only after we understand what risk our organization is exposed to can we formulate a plan to manage and mitigate these risks.
Smarter Risk offers a free assessment tool you can use that will make this first step much easier. It is comprehensive and fast. (www.smarterrisk.com)
Step 2 – Master Plan
In the master plan step, you take the issues identified in our assessment and create a roadmap for improvement. From there, you must develop policies and procedures that outline controls to mitigate these identified hazards. Create new initiatives based on your findings and outline specific goals and objectives.
Step 3 – Alignment
In the alignment phase, communication is vital. Your company’s policies and procedures should be clear, concise, and consistent. Ensure your company’s communication is written so everyone can understand what is required, and train employees to ensure they do.
Leadership MUST be “front and center” in supporting changes. Communicate directly with employees and create energy and enthusiasm around new programs. Nudge individuals in the right direction by making it clear that this is important to their success and the company’s success.
Step 4 – X Factor
In this step, you will use innovation to improve the speed and overall results of implementing your new risk management plan. There are a lot of low-cost or no-cost tools and technologies available that can help you improve your results. Trello is a great app for managing and tracking new initiatives. Hemingway.com provides feedback on the clarity of communications, which helps ensure alignment. It can also evaluate your text and show you what level of education is required to understand the content. Another helpful tool is the microlearning platform 7taps (our favorite), which provides employees with bite-sized training on specific topics. Other tools like Google Slides (PowerPoint Alternative), Canva (graphic design), and Pixabay (free stock photos) can help you take your communications to the next level.
Step 5 – Implement
The implementation phase is where you really want to “hit the gas.” You have assessed your risk, you have your master plan, you have rolled out new programs, you have been effectively communicating the changes to your team, and you are using the tech that can best help you get everything done. So, during the implementation phase, you must ensure you are focused on getting everyone pulling in the same direction. At this stage, you must:
• Set clear expectations
• Identify barriers
• Coach employees
• Hold employees and management accountable
• Align incentives and disciplinary procedures.
The program’s success will depend on the active participation of everyone in the organization. Following the steps above can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and that the changes stick and stay. If anyone is having an issue with making the changes, first lead with the incentives, then use disciplinary action if necessary. I am very serious here. I have seen managers and employees who refuse to go along with needed changes and severely injure the efforts of the organization as a whole. As a last resort, transfer, demote, or terminate those who won’t get on the train because it is leaving the station. Injuries, claims, and no accountability should now be a thing of the past.
Step 6 – Measure
The final step is to measure. This step involves creating a feedback loop to measure the new program’s success. Management should review and communicate leading indicators. Leading indicators can include:
• The number of safety meetings
• The number of reported near misses
• The number of job safety observations performed.
• Number of inspections
This is important because humans are creatures of habit. We need to create new safety habits centered around positive, proactive actions. Management should also review lagging indicators. A lagging indicator review should include the following:
• OSHA 300 logs
• The total recordable incident rate (TRIR)
• Insurance loss runs
• The workers’ compensation experience modifier.
Perform a trend analysis and focus on the severity and frequency of claims. Determine what changes need to be made to avoid the reoccurrence of the same incidents. Can we implement a new technology? Can we perform more regular inspections? Can we improve employee training? Document these changes and ensure your insurance carrier understands what you have done to address these incidents. Measuring results is part of the continuous improvement process.
The AMAXIM method improves the chances that your organization will be successful. Each step is essential and builds on the previous one to create a comprehensive program. So, it’s vital to remember that these programs require commitment and continuous improvement. Prioritizing risk control will create a safer work environment, increase productivity, and improve insurance costs over time. And that is just a simple truth.
AMAXIM – 6-Step Approach for Implementing Safety & Risk Control Programs