Common Tree Care Injuries and How to Prevent Them

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Don Parrott (not verified)

commented on Dec 06, 2013 at 11:09am

We started documenting training many years ago in order to keep in OSHA compliance. What we've realized is that just the process of documenting adds to the seriousness of the training. The new guys realize that we focus on training and it helps to focus them on being safety minded. I hadn't anticipated that effect, so it was a good bonus.

Linnie Leavines

commented on Dec 06, 2013 at 12:03pm

Don,

That's great to hear! I also wanted to point out, for those who don't know, that TCIA offers resources to help out with documentation and compliance issues. You may find them here: http://tcia.org/resources/29

-Linnie

cassidy lancelin (not verified)

commented on Dec 04, 2013 at 3:15pm

Does documentation of hazard awareness and safety training offer any protection to the company if the workers may be exaggerating or if the workers ignored company policy? Obviously the point is for accident prevention but in the case of worker neglect of policy is the company protected from an avoidable claim? Thanks.., Cassidy lancelin, ctsp Riverside, Ca

Linnie Leavines

commented on Dec 04, 2013 at 4:39pm

Hi, Cassidy! Thank you for your thoughtful question. I spoke with our staff, and here are their thoughts:

Each claim is a little different, but in general, documentation does not help with the direct WC claim expenses, such as medical expenses, loss work time, etc.

Good documentation can help to avoid or reduce negligence claims the employee might make against the company. Good documentation can also make extending a claim into a law suit less attractive. It might also convince counsel to settle for less money before a trial.

Another very important point is that good documentation is vital for OSHA compliance. If there is an OSHA citation related to the claim, the citation could be used by the employee as proof of negligence against the company. Under the Occupational Safety & Health Act, when the compliance officer spots an unsafe condition, the employer is automatically held accountable for it. One affirmative defense to a citation is called, “unpreventable employee misconduct.”

Using this defense successfully entails proving beyond the shadow of doubt that you had a policy, training and enforcement that should have prevented the unsafe condition, but the employee acted against those things. In other words - if it wasn’t in writing, it didn’t happen.

For your insurance company, a similar process happens when the claim is serious. Documentation is unlikely to keep your rates from going up, but it could lessen the damage. Documentation may be considered proof that the incident was an isolated occurrence and not a pattern of safety violations. Good documentation could also convince your insurance company to keep you as a client, as documentation may be proof that you run a tight ship and the employee is the one who did not follow your safety training and procedures.

I hope this answers your question!

-Linnie

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