In This Issue​​

Driver Safety Matching Grant

Social Media & Disaster Communications

Ransomware and Other Malwares

5 Keys to Mitigate Workers' Compensation Fraud and      Reduce Costs 

Trench Rescues

Tennessee Trivia

Q. What country music singer had to end his potential baseball career with the New York Yankees because of a sun stroke?

Click Here for the Answer
Message from the President 
Most of you know Halie Gallik, who has been with Public Entity Partners for nearly seven years. Halie covered the entire state until we hired two additional staff, which has allowed us to serve members with greater breadth and depth. With extra staff in place, Halie has been able to devote more time covering the Middle Tennessee region.
We are now pleased to announce that Halie has earned a well-deserved promotion to Member Services manager. A 2007 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Halie received her master’s degree in public administration from UT in 2009 and served as a graduate assistant with the Institute for Public Service while working through the MPA program.
In her new position, Halie will be take on the role of enhancing our communication opportunities, spearheading our monthly newsletter and annual report, and she will work more closely with Public Entity Partners’s various departments to provide better overall services to the membership, and assist other Member Services staff as needed.
Callie Westerfield is the newest addition to our Member Services Department. She will cover the Middle Tennessee territory, providing assistance to members and promoting the various programs offered by Public Entity Partners. Callie is a seasoned marketing and member services professional, with experience in risk pooling, commercial lines of property and liability insurance, health insurance, safety training and local government.
She spent seven years with the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC), working with the insurance services team (KLCIS ― the Kentucky version of Public Entity Partners). During five of those years, she served as a marketing agent, assisted KLC members with their insurance and training needs, recruited new pool members, and promed the various programs and services offered.
She was born and raised in Richmond, Kentucky, and now resides in Nashville. A 2006 graduate of the University of Kentucky, Callie holds a bachelor’s degree in integrated strategic communications with a minor in sociology. She is an active member of the Junior League of Nashville and a diehard UK sports fan. Callie and her husband, Christopher, were married in August.
Please join us as we congratulate Halie on her promotion and welcome Callie to Public Entity Partners family!

Dawn R. Crawford, President

Driver Safety Matching Grant for 2015-2016 
Reminder: Applications are DATE SENSITIVE and need to be received no later than 12 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.


Disasters strike every day. Unfortunately, we never get to decide when a natural disaster or major event will strike and interrupt our normal operations. Do you have a plan for how you will communicate with your citizens and stakeholders during a disaster? Many entities now use social media as a method of communication. If you fall in this category, have you thought about how you will respond when a disaster strikes?
This Social Media & Disaster Communications Checklist will help you plan a deliberate and organized social media response in the event of a disaster.

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Local governments continue to be the targets for hackers and cyber criminals. Recently, many local governments across the state have been the target of Ransomware (a type of malicious software designed to encrypt the data on your computer[s], holding your data ransom until a sum of money is paid). You may think that your organization is immune from this type of threat or that you would never be a target, but that is not the case anymore.
In the most recent round of attacks, affected users have had requests for sums of money ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars, with the promise that lost files will be unencrypted after the ransom is paid.
Here are some items to be aware of to help protect you from these attacks:
Policies and Procedures
  • Your entity should have a policy addressing acceptable computer use, including access to data from nonentity-owned devices.
  • Mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) are increasingly being attacked. Your entity should have a policy concerning how access is/isn’t allowed from these devices. If access is permitted, what protections will be required before access is granted?
  • Your entity should have a computer password policy and that policy needs to be enforced. This provides an extra layer of protection for your entity. The key elements to a strong password policy include:
    1. Complexity of characters
    2. Password length
    3. Variety – you should change your password regularly!
  • Social media continues to be a mechanism that hackers and cyber criminals use to target organizations. Your entity should have a social media policy.
  • Your entity should have a procedure in place to back up your data so that if something like a Ransomware does affect your computer, you can recover from it.
  • Your entity should formally train employees on how to recognize — and avoid — malware emails that may enter via business or personal email accounts, and the threat of clicking on attachments and connecting to links within emails. This is the number one cause of malicious software getting installed on a system.
  • Your entity should provide ongoing training to continuously remind employees about the dangers of malware and viruses.
  • Your entity should have a software and hardware solution to minimize the risk of suspicious emails getting through. These solutions include the utilization of firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware software, SPAM protection, etc.
Malicious software (malware) can infect computers by way of email with or without attachments from what appears to be a trusted source. Unfortunately, once the attachment is opened, hidden code within the email or attachment can execute a command that can download and install the malware onto the computer. Also, the attachment can direct the user to another website. When that website is visited, the malware can be automatically downloaded and installed.
More information is available within our Sensitive Information and Computer Safety Checklist. Please contact Loss Control for a copy of this guideline.

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Don't Inherit a Claim: 5 Keys to Mitigate Workers’ Compensation Fraud and Reduce Costs

Publication Date 08/12/2015
Source: EHS Today
Finding new ways to facilitate a safe and healthy workplace environment while preventing on-the-job injuries is an ongoing challenge for most labor-intensive organizations. Not only are there regulations and compliance issues that have to be addressed, but there also are issues from "the unknown" that have to be managed, like the possibility of slipping incidents, falling and tripping occurrences, equipment malfunctions, chemical exposure and ergonomic injuries that can surface from repetitive motions.
While most employers want to prevent workplace injuries and workers' compensation claims from occurring in the first place, they also are dedicated to addressing the needs of a worker should an incident occur. The challenge for employers is recognizing when an employee has a legitimate claim and fighting against illegitimate claims from employees who try to take advantage of the system through workers' compensation fraud.
Fraud is a major concern because workers' compensation already is a high-cost industry, issuing more than $60.2 billion in payments in 2011 alone, according to the most recent available data. Regrettably, adding to the high costs already associated with managing legitimate claims is the increasing cost of managing illegal claims from fraudulent activities. In fact, employee fraud is listed as one of the most costly types of workers' compensation fraud in the marketplace.
The good news is this type of fraud is also very preventable if organizations deploy the right solutions.
Here are five innovative best practices that companies can now consider implementing to support a fraud-free workplace environment:
Pre-work screenings: Pre-work screenings (PWS) help weed out applicants who physically cannot perform the job. A pre-employment test is initiated to identify an applicant's ability to perform the physical demands that are specific to each job. A PWS is post-offer/pre-hire practice. Basically, the offer is extended to the applicant with the contingency that the PWS must be passed.
Drug screenings and background checks: Both drug testing and background checks allow organizations to identify the integrity of an individual prior to hiring. Drug tests determine if there is a history of drug use, and, if so, indicates the types of drugs in the system. Background checks investigate the criminal and financial records of an applicant. If any applicant shows negative incidents on a drug or background check, he or she could be a candidate for future fraudulent activity.
On-site ergonomic solutions: Utilize physical therapists or ergonomists before injuries occur (not just after occurrences) to work with employees, supervisors and management to understand workflow and all job task requirements. Physical therapists and ergonomists are able to recommend optimum positions, ergonomic strategies and physical movements required at work stations to minimize musculoskeletal impact on the employee.
Employee education: Encourage managers to educate employees on how to use workers' compensation legitimately and how it can be used illegitimately. Information also should be shared about penalties and fines that could be incurred with fraudulent claims. By educating employees on a consistent basis, it will encourage a fraud-free workplace.
Prompt injury reporting: Train and engage employees to report any health concerns as soon as they notice any discomfort. Once these early notifications are reported to supervisors, they are able to immediately address the concern and respond with appropriate evaluations, diagnosis and/or medical care — before the issue escalates.
Reducing workers' compensation fraud is easier than you think, given the latest solutions now available to employers. By utilizing these innovative prevention and early-intervention models, costs associated with managing illegitimate claims can be reduced, and legal and medical fees significantly can be mitigated as well.
About the Author: Liz Griggs is chairman and CEO of WorkWell Prevention & Care.


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Trench Rescues
Making sure that every employee gets to go home to his or her family each day should always be a priority. For many local government employees, everyday tasks can be very hazardous without the proper training and tools. The proper techniques for trenching and excavation are high on the list of areas that deserve attention and training. According to OSHA statistics, two workers are killed every month in trench collapses.Photo courtesy of the City of Dayton

The City of Dayton recently conducted safety training pertaining to trench rescue, with participation from the fire, wastewater, sewer and human resource departments.

Glenn Fraley from the city’s wastewater treatment plant provided hands-on training in trench rescue and reviewed the dangers of trenching for the Dayton Fire Department. This type of training was well received by the first responders, giving them the opportunity to experience firsthand what a real trench rescue could entail.

“The Dayton Fire Department and the City of Dayton continue to seek out opportunities to improve service and prepare to be an all-hazards department,” says Tammy Vicry, human resource administrator for the City of Dayton. “We strive daily to identify and address potential deficiencies through training. The city’s training program is centered on increasing safety for city personnel, as well as for Dayton’s residents.”

Do your employees have the proper training for trench rescues?

OSHA provides a Trenching and Excavation Fact Sheet, as well as tip cards and posters, which you can use to remind all employees of the dangers of entering an unprotected trench. Our DVD Library has 283 DVDs available for checkout, with several DVDs specifically addressing excavations and proper shoring techniques. Visit our website to request a DVD or view our DVD library.




Tennessee Trivia

 Q. What country music singer had to end his potential baseball career with the New York Yankees because of a sun stroke?



A. Roy Acuff