In This Issue


Spring Workshops

Additional Named Insured Endorsement

Business Continuity Planning

Police SOPs

Slipping and Sliding


Tennessee Trivia

Q. The Polar Plunge is an annual event hosted by Special Olympics of Tennessee. How many cities in Tennessee will host this event in 2018?

Click here for the answer

Message from the President

Dawn

Do you remember when you started a new job? Most of us experience information overload when we enter a new workplace. Once the initial orientation is over and the basic requirements of the job have been covered, it's time to move a new employee into the workforce and introduce the people with whom he or she will be working.

Co-workers play a big role in helping a new employee start off on the right foot, which is very important. Statistics indicate that up to 60 percent of all job injuries occur to new employees with less than six months’ experience on the job. Repeated, friendly reminders from a mentor about safety procedures and work rules can greatly reduce the chances a new employee will have an accident. Many times, new employees will not have questions until after they have worked a few days and begin to understand the job requirements more thoroughly. As a co-worker, making yourself available to answer questions shows your willingness to provide a safe workplace for everyone involved.

Getting new employees off to a good start can help prevent an accident or injury to everyone on the crew. Helping to develop a productive co-worker is not a burden. It is an investment in the future of your work group and your organization.

Stay safe,
signature
Dawn R. Crawford
President/CEO

 

Spring Workshops

Employees: Your Most Important Investment

It’s not too late to register for our spring workshops, which begin in West Tennessee on March 6th and wrap up the following week in Kingsport.

This is a special opportunity for supervisors, administrators, managers, elected officials and other public administrators to receive training on methods for avoiding employee-related liability. All PE Partner members are encouraged to attend and bring along multiple staff members. Registration is free and lunch is provided.

Unfortunately, employment-related claims continue to be one of the most expensive liability areas for our members. Investing in your employees and ensuring that your workplace operates in an ethical and legal manner is crucial for minimizing the likelihood of employment-related claims.

This workshop will focus on behaviors and actions that can lead to these claims, outline exposures, and provide a clear understanding of what is involved in a workplace investigation. The enforcement guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will guide discussion on investigations. This course will also help you manage harassment claims related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Tennessee Human Rights Act.

Please note: We have added an additional workshop in Middle Tennessee. Should you need to change your registration, please contact Halie Gallik at 800.624.9698 or hgallik@PEpartners.org.

What:

Employees: Your Most Important Investment Workshop

Dates / Locations:

March 6 — Bartlett
Bartlett Station Municipal Center
5868 Stage Road
Bartlett, TN 38134

March 7 — Medina
Medina City Hall
201 US-45E
Medina, TN 38355

March 8 — Gallatin
Gallatin City Hall Dining Room
132 West Main Street
Gallatin, TN 37066

March 9 — Franklin / Cool Springs
Belmont – Williamson County Campus
310 Billingsly Court
Franklin, TN 37067

March 13 — Collegedale
Collegedale City Hall
4910 Swinyar Drive
Collegedale, TN 37315

March 14 — Knoxville
City of Knoxville Public Works Complex Community Room
3131 Morris Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37909

March 15 — Kingsport
V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex, Douglass Room
301 Louis Street
Kingsport, TN 37660

Time:

9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Lunch is provided
All workshops qualify for 4.5 hours of CMFO credit

Instructors:

J. Michael Billingsly, Esq., City Attorney, City of Kingsport
Michael Fann, Director of Loss Control, Public Entity Partners
George Dalton, Assistant Director of Loss Control, Public Entity Partners

Topics Covered: 

Employment-related lawsuits, identifying your employment
practices liability exposure, how to properly handle a
workplace investigation, legal requirements for handling
employment-related complaints and allegations

Who Should Attend:

Anyone with supervisory responsibilities, elected officials,
city managers or administrators, human resources
administrators, risk managers and other public
administrators

To register, please visit www.PEpartners.org/Workshop.

For questions, contact Halie Gallik at 800.624.9698 or hgallik@PEpartners.org.

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Additional Named Insured Endorsement

Do you know what your Additional Named Insured Endorsement is for, or how it changes the coverage you receive under your liability policy?

The Additional Named Insured Endorsement is the mechanism by which coverage is added under your liability policy for boards, commissions or formal committees you may create, or in which you participate. Common examples include planning commissions or beer boards. The decisions and actions these various boards undertake can create liability for your entity, and it is important to have the proper coverage in place to protect your entity.

If your employees or elected officials participate in their official capacity on other boards, commissions or committees outside of your entity, those should also be listed on your Additional Named Insured Endorsement and shared with the underwriting department. Any outside board will be named “as respects” the board, because we are insuring you for your participation in the board, not insuring the board itself.

Interlocal agreements, mutual aid agreements and memorandums of understanding also need to be listed on your Additional Named Insured Endorsement. Your liability policy will cover your interests in formal interlocal agreements only if they are endorsed onto the policy.

You may notice that your Additional Named Insured Endorsement contains a listing of some of your departments. If you have coverage for your schools or utilities (such as water, gas or electric) included in your liability policy, they will be listed on this endorsement.

This endorsement is included each year in your liability renewal application, and we encourage you to take a close look at what is listed. Keep in mind that there is not a premium charge for having anything listed on this endorsement, and the list serves to protect you by extending your coverage. Underwriting will ask for copies of these agreements, along with supporting documentation, as these need to be endorsed onto your policy for coverage.

If you have questions about Additional Named Insured Endorsements or your liability policy, please reach out to the underwriting department. As always, we encourage you to take time to read your policy document, including all terms, conditions and exclusions. Please note that this article is intended to provide helpful information, and does not change or alter any coverage.

East
Jodeen Baumann
jbaumann@PEpartners.org

Middle
Anthony Roman
aroman@PEpartners.org

West
Janine Helton
jhelton@PEpartners.org

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Business Continuity Planning

Have you ever thought about what your disaster recovery or business continuity plan should include? Do you have a plan in place that outlines how employees will communicate, where they will go and how they will keep doing their jobs? From tornadoes to severe power outages or ransomware attacks, every entity needs to have a written plan in place on how basic operations and services will continue in the event of a disaster.

As you start your business continuity plan, take some time to identify your critical business functions. These are the functions that are vital to your organization’s survival — and are needed in order to resume providing services to your citizens. For many local governments, these include your IT infrastructure, your phone and Internet connections, vendors for critical supplies for utility systems, and fuel for vehicles. When you evaluate what your critical functions are, consider what functions are the most sensitive to downtime, help you fulfill legal or financial obligations, or are difficult to replace.

A template is available on the AgilityRecovery portal to help you work through your evaluation of your critical business functions. This also works in conjunction with evaluating what key risks can threaten your organization and employees. If you would like to receive a copy of the critical business function template to aid you in creating your business continuity plan, please contact Member Services.

Wayne Anderson
wanderson@PEpartners.org

Callie Westerfield
cwesterfield@PEpartners.org

Celeste Taylor
ctaylor@PEpartners.org

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Police SOPs

Public Entity Partners has long recommended that every police department adopt a written policy and procedures manual.

Addressing high-risk topics is crucial for ensuring consistency throughout your department, and for making certain that all officers’ actions are consistent with your organization’s goals and legal requirements. High-risk topics include high-speed pursuit, use of force, proper arrest, search and seizure, investigatory stops and detention, domestic violence calls, off-duty employment, emergency assistance, mutual aid, medical attention, training, supervision and discipline.

Having comprehensive written policies and procedures can be challenging for any entity. Many cities and towns in Tennessee have struggled to devote the necessary time to give this important administrative component the attention it requires. For PE Partner members, law enforcement liability is a high-exposure area due to the costly nature of these types of claims.

Operating without established written guidelines provides a wide range of discretion for officers to adopt their own policies, thus increasing the liability exposure for both the officers and the city. Having policies and procedures that are based on the current legal environment — and that pass constitutional muster — is essential for preventing claims and lawsuits, and for reducing exposures in the event of a claim. In addition, police departments must also effectively train all staff on those policies and procedures.

Public Entity Partners has partnered with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP) to develop sample police operational policies and procedures and make them available to all TACP members. These sample SOPs, which are now available through TACP’s website, give TACP members a customizable resource and guideline for police operations. This extensive sample policies project has yielded more than 110 sample policies designed to help bring police agencies into compliance with the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation (TLEA) Program’s 150-plus standards.

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Slipping and Sliding

As snow and ice have made their way across Tennessee this winter, many of us have been reminded of the challenges of driving and walking in these conditions. Unfortunately, local government employees are frequently called to serve during the most challenging weather events. Police officers, fire personnel and EMTs are the most frequent employees who slip and fall on ice while working, but employees from all local government departments face the same risks.

Slips, trips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims throughout the year. Even when snow and ice are not an issue, we still see almost twice as many slips, trips and falls than the next leading cause of workers’ compensation injury. Since July 1, 2012, slips, trips and falls have accounted for over $19 million in claims from PE Partner members due to medical costs and lost work time. No matter the time of year, putting programs in place to reduce this hazard for your employees is essential. Our goal is for every employee to go home each night, free from injury.

How can you reduce and prevent slips, trips and falls? The best way to start is by educating employees on the real danger that slipping and falling can pose. A good place to start is identifying and evaluating the number of walking surfaces between your vehicle and your primary work site. Common causes of slips include: wet or oily surfaces, spills, weather hazards, rugs or mats, and flooring or other walking surfaces that lack traction. Tripping is commonly caused due to poor lighting, cluttered areas, wrinkled carpeting or rugs, uncovered cables, or uneven walking surfaces.

One of the best ways to prevent slips, trips and falls is general housekeeping. Cleaning spills immediately, marking spills and wet areas, mopping or sweeping debris from floors, removing obstacles and clutter from walkways, keeping work areas and walkways well lit, and covering cables that cross walkways are just a few ways to practice good housekeeping in your workplace.

Once you have tackled housekeeping issues, other good areas to address are the flooring in your workspace and the use of proper footwear. Replacing old, loose carpet is more than an aesthetic issue; it is also a safety issue. In addition, areas of slippery tile or linoleum should be replaced with a non-slippery flooring.

Proper footwear should be regarded as a method of preventing slips, trips and falls. For wet work areas or for those who work outside, Public Entity Partners recommends a written policy requiring footwear with adequate traction and grip, specific to the job function.

Mark Miller, Public Works Director for the City of Pigeon Forge, shared that while his entity focuses on employee safety every day, ensuring employees stay upright and avoid slips, trips and falls is something into which they put a great deal of effort.

“We are fortunate to have a footwear policy where the department provides a pair of work boots each year to our employees,” Mark said. “We feel strongly that it’s an important component of safety. We are able to use the Safety Partners Matching Grant offered each year by Public Entity Partners to cover 50 percent of the cost. Each department picks footwear that best fits their needs. All the public works employees wear steel toed heavy-duty work boots.

“We've been able to almost eliminate slips, trips and falls, as well as foot injuries,” Mark added. “We really do want to protect our employees. Our guys can’t do their jobs effectively if they are injured or their feet hurt. It impacts them at home, too. Since we provide their boots, we know they have good traction.”

If you are looking for ways to raise employee awareness of the dangers of slips, trips and falls, please consider the training materials available in Public Entity Partners’s DVD training library or Local Government Risk Academy, our online training platform. In addition, we encourage you to log into our online portal to view the top causes of workers’ compensation injuries.

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Tennessee Trivia

Q: The Polar Plunge is an annual event hosted by Special Olympics of Tennessee. How many cities in Tennessee will host this event in 2018?

A. Nine Tennessee cities will be hosting this event: Chattanooga, Dickson, Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, Lebanon, Memphis, Nashville and Union City.