Employee safety saves Pelham thousands

Pelham's employee safety program has saved the city thousands of dollars on workers' compensation, city officials confirmed. (File)

Pelham’s employee safety program has saved the city thousands of dollars on workers’ compensation, city officials confirmed. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Employee safety is important in any work place. In Pelham, the city’s dedication to employee safety has not only secured a safer work environment, but has also saved the city thousands of dollars, city officials confirmed.

In addition to required workers’ compensation insurance, the city provides a stringent safety program to every city employee, Human Resources Director Janis Parks said. The program keeps employees safer on the job and has saved the city around $30,000 on the workers’ compensation insurance premium over the past two years.

“(Most) businesses and corporations are required to have workers’ comp insurance (because) accidents happen on the job,” Parks said. “The way that we reduce cost is by reducing claims, and we reduce claims with a proactive safety program.”

Led by Risk Manager and Safety Officer Chris DeShazo, a former police officer, the safety program includes meetings specific to each municipal department’s line of work, potential job hazards and routine work observation.

“Our highest risk job is our Public Works employees,” Parks said, noting they face inattentive drivers as well as hazardous weather conditions on the job. “There’s all kinds of safety involved that you wouldn’t think (about).”

DeShazo also performs detailed safety inspections on municipal vehicles, Parks said.

“There’s a wellness aspect too,” Parks said of the safety program, explaining it also covers the health of each municipal employee, from medical protocol to ensuring each employee has the appropriate vaccinations.

“When you have less accidents and less claims, the cost of your insurance goes down,” Parks said. “We have been so proactive in addressing all safety in all employees.”

Pelham’s employee safety program has produced tangible financial results, saving the city around $10,000 in 2013 and more than $20,000 in 2014, Parks estimated. These savings are substantial as workers’ compensation insurance usually costs the city between $700,000 and $800,000 each year, Parks said.

“That is a huge savings to the city and to the tax payers,” Parks said. “It’s very rewarding to know all the work and effort you put into that program did have a true benefit.”