Area PEO Expands Focus To Workers Safety

June 5, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS – One year ago when Employment Traditions, a local professional employment organization (PEO) hired Marion McLemore, the company decided to take on a new area of service: employee safety and risk management.

The company, a provider of staffing and occupation services for small and mid-size businesses with an emphasis on office/clerical, professional companies, technological businesses and manufacturing companies, added this new avenue to expand and enrich the business.

As the safety manager, McLemore is responsible for completing a safety inspection on every business with which Employment Traditions does business. From there he brings back what he has found and writes a safety policy as needed.

The policy is within the OSHA, MIOSA and DOT requirements and is suited to that specific business. “Every accident and problem is important to us,” McLemore said.

“When we sign on a client, or employer out there what I do is I go out there and do a complete wall-to-wall safety inspection. If they have safety policies I will go back and review them. To be honest with you many of these companies are small companies that don’t have safety regulations and so what I do is I go back and write a policy that is needed to fit that type of business.”

McLemore also follows through on each claim made by the on-site supervisor. “We enlist the supervisor to do the preliminary investigation and then I investigate from there and follow-up on each accident that they report,” he said.

The accidents reported by the supervisor are called “recordable” and are accidents where the employee loses work time; an accident where more than first-aid treatment is required.

“What we spend a lot of time on is when we have what OSHA refers to as a near-miss accident. If an employee has a near-miss today and it is not a big severity, we still investigate that. If it is one employee and there have been several near-misses, we look at the problem and assess the situation and change it if we have to,” McLemore said.

McLemore, involved with the military for 24 years before retiring has many years of background in safety and risk management training and human resources. His training and shows in the numbers he has been able to produce between this year and last year.

“Between the first quarter of this year and the first quarter of last year we are seeing a 74 percent drop in payout of workers' comp and a 59 percent decrease in actual recordable accidents reported under the OSHA guidelines,” McLemore reported.

However, there has been an increase in paperwork, but that is a statistic McLemore likes. “We have seen an 80 percent increase in the amount of paperwork that comes across our desks but that is good because that means more near-miss accidents are being reported and those are important to us,” he said.

These numbers are not the only proof that Employment Traditions is succeeding in the area of safety and risk management. Tomorrow the National Safety Council for West Michigan will present its 54th annual Safety Awards Presentation and confer 29 Employment Traditions PEO co-employers safety awards.

Awards go to companies for no loss time accidents, improved accident and incident rates and for the greatest reduction in accident and incident rates, by group. McLemore said three of the company’s clients are to receive two awards and one client is being awarded all three.

McLemore views one of the company’s greatest strengths as being honest. “We go into the field and we are honest with the employees. We are serious when we say report the accident, it is important to us,” he said. “Over the year we have had two serious accidents and we are there, with the patient, in the hospital, spending time with them. We treat them as we would our own employees.”

Through the process McLemore looks to see that three things are in place, quality, productivity and safety, not in that order and not in any specific order in fact, just present.

“We work as a team here and we see these elements as members of the team. If one element is not there or if one is higher, it is going to cause the others to fall,” he said. “We have to work and perform as a team.”

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