St. Lawrence County Risk Manager Visits Municipalities to Investigate Potential Safety Hazards | County of Saint-Laurent
MASSENA – The St. Lawrence County Risk Manager and Compliance Officer will visit the facilities in the Village of Massena to investigate any safety or liability concerns.
Jody Wenzel is the Risk Manager for the St. Lawrence County Self-Insurance Plan, which administers the county’s workers’ compensation program. The village of Massena is a participating municipality in the plan.
He said he is available to answer any questions about workers’ compensation claims, documents or incidents.
“If something does happen and you are not sure if it increases to a reportable incident or accident level, please contact us and I would be happy to help you get over it. The complaint will go through my office anyway. If we can do everything right in advance, it really speeds things up, ”Mr. Wenzel told village administrators.
Anyone with older or existing complaints who have questions can also direct them to Mr. Wenzel for assistance.
“We have a pretty good system there and we follow up on all these complaints ourselves. If anyone has a question, if they’re confused or whatever, let them know we’re here to help, ”he said.
As a risk manager, Mr Wenzel said he carried out on-site visits to facilities owned or operated by the participating municipality.
“This means planning a time to go out and take a tour of the facilities that come under each municipality. So it would be this building or any office that you have in this building that falls under the village, or any other facility supervised by the village and where employees work, ”Wenzel said.
He said one of the reasons for walk-through inspections is to find anything that could be unsafe.
“Second, you have to find whatever could be a potential future liability, to try to mitigate injury claims. The fewer claims we have as a county, the less it costs. Each participant in this county pays a portion of the costs, ”he said.
During the tour, Mr Wenzel said he would look for administrative elements such as ensuring that the correct messages are on bulletin boards.
“Do you have the right messages? Do you have everything that’s supposed to be in place? ” he said. “The point here is that if you were to do a Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH) inspection, you want me to find these things before the New York State inspector does. I submit to you a nice regular report. They solidify it. It works much better if I find them in advance.
Mr Wenzel said he or his secretary would reach out to try and find a convenient time for village officials for the guided tour, which takes one to four hours. He will then prepare a unique report for each establishment, identifying the problems that he could have found.
He said a “severity rating” of one to four is assigned to the report. A single note is something that poses an immediate danger to life or health. If anything is identified as one, Mr Wenzel said they stop there to fix it. A grade of four is more of an administrative element.
“Maybe you didn’t have the right position on your board,” he said.
The reports include space for Mr. Wenzel to initial and date when the issues have been resolved. The reports are returned to him and kept on file in case they have been cited during another PESH or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection.
“We can extract these files and show that we are proactively trying to address safety and health in the workplace, and that could help you mitigate a fine. The results of the audits are only shared between my office and the village. It doesn’t suit anyone else. This is done as a service to municipalities. It’s free. We don’t charge for it, ”he said.