The end of the calendar year is an excellent time for reflection – to look back on achievements and evaluate what was done well and what can be done better. At the Puget Sound Workers’ Compensation Trust and Unemployment Pool, we have been working on several year-long projects to best serve our member districts. As with any endeavor, there are bumps in the road, but we are excited at the services we have been able to roll out this year, and to share with you what we hope to achieve in 2017.
One change at the Trust I am excited to share with you is our new Return-to-Work Manager. We are fortunate to have recruited Suzanne Metz for this role. Suzanne comes to us with more than 15 years of experience in return-to-work programs and will be leading the effort to design and implement a collaborative return-to-work process that achieves the best outcomes for all stakeholders. She’ll be working with each district to strengthen and develop effective return-to-work programs. You can read more about Suzanne and her efforts here. Our commitment to return injured workers to work has never been stronger.
Another big change we are working on is the implementation of a new claims system. We are excited about the potential transformative impact this technology will have on our operations including enabling enhanced communication between the Trust and district claim contacts, and providing districts with on-demand access to, and more control over, the claim data they are most interested in. As part of this implementation, we are also evaluating the intuitiveness and transparency of our communications and processes. If you have any feedback on which of our processes are working or not working for you, please reach out to your district contact. We appreciate your perspective. A big thank you to Laveda Nichols of Federal Way School District and Kathy Kemp of Bethel School District for their valued input as we mapped out the claims intake process for the new claims system.
Each of these initiatives opens up opportunities for us and positions us for future success. That is why we continue to promote and implement our best-practice risk reduction programs – strategies proven to impact claim frequency and severity. This year we expanded on our risk reduction programs to include hazardous chemical management and laboratory safety under the expertise of our Industrial Hygiene Consultant, Elizabeth Jakab.
In addition, we continue to offer annual audiograms for those job classifications with a high risk of hearing loss, including music teachers. Please read our article, “Music to My Ears?” for more information on why these tests are beneficial to your music department staff. Another area of risk that we talk a lot about is safe lifting techniques, and the consequences of these types of injuries in the form of time missed from work and expensive medical treatments. We are offering a giveaway that may help your staff lift more safely. Check out our article on back injuries.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their efforts this year in making your respective school districts a safe place to work and educate our children. We’ve come through a year that was filled with both challenges and victories. How reassuring it has been to know that we can work as a team.
On behalf of the Trust and Pool, I offer our best wishes to you and your families for the upcoming holiday season. We look forward to continued collaboration to make 2017 the safest ever!