Each spring, VML Insurance Programs (VMLIP) presents awards to members who have demonstrated a proactive risk management attitude and commitment, excellent loss experience and reporting time, or a significant improvement in their loss ratios.
This year, awards were presented at the annual meeting held Friday, May 16 at The Place at Innsbrook. Two members received Risk Management Performance Awards, four individuals received Individual Risk Management Excellence Awards, two police departments received the new Innovation in Law Enforcement award, and as always, one member received the Margaret A. Nichols Risk Management Leadership Award.
This year’s award winners were:
The Pruden Center for Information and Technology, 2014 Risk Management Performance Award
“The Pruden Center has taken a proactive stance on managing safety issues and has worked diligently with VMLIP safety staff to schedule and assist with site-visits,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “Those visits have resulted in very few safety issues – and those noted have been addressed quickly, often while safety staff are still on-site.”
The center has also implemented many recommended safety policies and utilized the plethora of safety resources offered by VMLIP. They have utilized funds available through the VMLIP Risk Management Grant program, recently purchasing an AED and battery-pack with grant funding.
Halifax County Service Authority, 2014 Risk Management Performance Award
“The Halifax County Service Authority places a priority on effective risk management practices and utilizes many of the safety resources offered by VML Insurance Programs,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “They currently participate in the Where the Rubber Meets the Road driver safety campaign, utilize risk management grant funds, and routinely contact VMLIP staff for assistance with safety consulting.”
The authority consistently looks for ways to improve their facilities, as well as their policies and procedures, to ensure safety is key. They recently worked with VMLIP safety staff to conduct powered industrial truck training and reverse signal operations training for their staff.
Rosemary Creekmur, Spotsylvania County Schools, 2014 Risk Management Excellence Award
Creekmur, a human resources assistant with Spotsylvania County Schools, was awarded based on her proactive risk management efforts on behalf of the school system.
“It is dedicated individuals, such as Rosemary, who are the spark that initiates a risk management culture within their organizations,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “As part of Spotsylvania County Schools’ safety committee, Rosemary has played a vital role in ensuring that all information needed to make a compensability decision is provided to VMLIP – ensuring that injured employees receive the best possible care after an incident.”
Creekmur has also been instrumental in finding light-duty work opportunities for injured employees. Her return-to-work letters have been used as an example for other VMLIP members when bringing employees back to work light-duty.
Stephanie Tomlin, City of Lexington, 2014 Risk Management Excellence Award
Tomlin, executive secretary and utility clerk with the city, was awarded based on her proactive risk management efforts on behalf of the city.
“It is dedicated individuals, such as Stephanie, who are the spark that initiates a risk management culture within their organizations,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “One of Stephanie’s roles is that of the contact for workers’ compensation claims for VML Insurance Programs. This is not a duty she takes lightly.”
“Stephanie has consistently gone above and beyond in providing valuable information needed to complete incident investigations while ensuring injured workers contact VMLIP in a timely manner. This ensures that compensability can be determined quickly and that injured workers get the best possible care after an incident.”
Deaundria Pleasant, Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC), 2014 Risk Management Excellence Award
Pleasant, a claims consultant with GRTC, was awarded based on her proactive risk management efforts on behalf of GRTC.
“It is dedicated individuals such as Deaundria, known as Dee Dee, who are the spark that initiates a risk management culture within their organizations,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “In her role, Dee Dee noticed that injured workers were not promptly signing and returning medical authorizations sent to them by VMLIP claims staff.”
“To address this, Dee Dee incorporated the authorization into the packet provided to injured workers – ensuring compensability decisions could be made more quickly and injured workers could receive the best quality care.”
Additionally, Dee Dee facilitated the provision software to VMLIP, which allows claims representatives to view footage from accidents without having to travel to GRTC offices.
Jim Honeycutt, Prince William County Schools, 2014 Risk Management Excellence Award
Honeycutt, safety specialist with Prince William County Schools, was awarded based on his proactive risk management efforts on behalf of the school system.
“It is dedicated individuals, such as Jim, who are the spark that initiates a risk management culture within their organizations,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “Jim recognized the need for principals within the school district to gain a better understanding of the hazards safety staff were identifying during facility inspections at their schools.”
“He developed a booklet which outlined the top ten observations most often seen in safety inspections to educate principals and staff on how to recognize hazards. Five years later, safety inspectors are finding nearly 93 percent less hazards and those that are found are corrected quickly.”
Additionally, Honeycutt utilized grant funding available through VMLIP to purchase an evacuation chair to assist disabled persons in the event of an emergency evacuation from a building with multiple floors. Taking it one step further, he created training videos, which detail how to handle evacuations in various situations.
Ken Gillie, City of Danville, Lifesaver Award
Gillie, director of planning with the city, received the award for an act of heroism that took place on September 20, 2013. Gillie was nominated by VMLIP Safety Consultant Matt Reid.
“On this day, Ken was driving past a house in a Danville neighborhood when he saw smoke coming from the roof,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “He pulled over to investigate, and once he suspected there was a fire, he summoned a neighbor and proceeded to pound on the door until he woke Mr. Doug Anderson, who was asleep in the house.”
Anderson, who had already been affected by the smoke, made it to the front door of the house and then fell unconscious. It was then that Ken and the neighbor pulled Anderson out of the house and into a safe location.
“Ken is not a trained firefighter or emergency medical technician,” said Pallansch. “He simply stopped out of concern for a potential house fire. His actions to alert the occupant to escape most likely saved his life.”
VMLIP’s Lifesaver Award is presented to a person who is directly responsible for saving a human life, going beyond the regular duties required by their occupation. Previous lifesaver award recipients have included individuals performing lifesaving efforts of rescuing a victim of electric shock by a line worker, the rescue of a family from a house fire by a nearby maintenance supervisor, a senior custodian rescuing an elevator mechanic who had suffered an electric shock, and more.
City of Fredericksburg Police Department, Innovation in Law Enforcement Risk Management Award
“The law enforcement profession is fraught with hazards and risks that no other profession faces,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch.
“This award was developed to recognize those agencies that have demonstrated a willingness to address these risks and hazards through the development and implementation of an innovative program designed to reduce their exposure.”
The City of Fredericksburg Police Department was recognized for their proactive role in addressing safe driving practices among officers. Statistically, operating an emergency vehicle is one of the leading causes of officer injury and death – as well as litigation.
Chief David Nye of the City of Fredericksburg Police Department recognized this, and proactively partnered with Geotab to install GPS telematics devices in all of the city’s patrol cars. The data collected has provided valuable feedback to both drivers and administrators that will be used in the future to coach drivers on developing better habits.
Town of Leesburg Police Department, Innovation in Law Enforcement Risk Management Award
The Town of Leesburg Police Department was recognized for their recently incorporated evidence-based crime policy in response to increased organized retail crime in the area.
The policy – “customer servicing” – is based on retail data research that suggests that interactions – such as friendly greetings, eye contact and offering assistance – reduce crime. It is also believed to reduce complaints against officers.
The department has directed officers conducting uniform foot patrols in retail areas to greet all patrons they pass, make eye contact and smile, in lieu of conducting spontaneous field interviews on suspicious persons.
“Additionally, the department has provided 16-hours of training on specific behaviors associated with retail crime offenders to the officers, so they can articulate their observations prior to initiating an investigation, field interview or non-consensual encounter,” said Pallansch.
This approach reduces the possibility of complaints against officers and allegations of Fourth Amendment violations that can lead to litigation.
York County, Margaret A. Nichols Risk Management Leadership Award
The Margaret A. Nichols Risk Management Leadership Award is presented each year to recognize and encourage innovation by members in the area of risk management. The award is designated for entities that demonstrate:
- Strong support from top management;
- Employee involvement;
- Innovative solutions to safety challenges;
- Injury and illness rates lower than average for comparable entities;
- Comprehensive training programs;
- Evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process;
- Communication about the value of safety; and
- Ways to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.
“York County has shown tremendous dedication toward enhancing their risk management efforts,” said VMLIP Members’ Supervisory Board Chair Karen Pallansch. “Under the leadership of Risk Manager Casey Nance, the county has participated in the Where the Rubber Meets the Road campaign, volunteered to be a pilot member of the Geotab program for driver safety, and works diligently with VMLIP safety staff to seek best practices and utilize consulting to solve safety issues within the county.”
Nance attended the Public Risk Management Association conference in April to enhance her knowledge in public risk management. Results of her dedication include a 100 percent score on the county’s Risk Management Guidelines assessment.
Additionally, the county is one of the top five users of the VML Insurance Programs Online University for free online training, and county staff have utilized a number of videos from the VMLIP Multimedia Library – including the Driven to Distraction video to enhance understanding of the risks of distracted driving.
In addition to the awards ceremony, workshop speakers presented on a number of topics including a 2014 Legislative Update; Technology, Social Media and the Next Generation of HR; Distracted Driving: How the Where the Rubber Meets the Road Campaign is Striving to Address the #1 Cause of Workplace Fatalities; and Confronting the Opioid Epidemic.
The luncheon featured a selection of cakes from Cakes By Graham complete with winner logos.
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