• 45°

County plans safety improvements

County commissioners set the stage Thursday for reducing workers’ compensation costs.

Friday, September 22, 2000

County commissioners set the stage Thursday for reducing workers’ compensation costs.

The board outlined safe work practices and administrative safety policies, adopting a mission statement that calls for all employees and managers to practice safety methods while at work.

Lawrence County participates in a group workers’ compensation plan, yet because of high numbers of workplace injuries in the last six years, it pays a penalty premium rate.

The county hired a consultant, Bruce Harbour, to develop safety strategies in order to get back to that better rate.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio recommends implementing a 10-step plan to help achieve that and Thursday’s measures is the first of those plans, commission president Bruce Trent said.

Some safe practices adopted by the county include: no work while ability or alertness is impaired by fatigue or illness, supervisors can take action to ensure employees comply with all safety rules, anyone suspected of being under the influence may be required to submit to testing, work will be planned and supervised to prevent injuries, all injuries will be reported to supervisors.

Supervisors’ responsibilities include investigating all injuries and accidents, setting examples of safe practices, instruct new personnel on safety procedures and others.

Commissioner George Patterson said many of the practices seem to involve employee contracts, which need union approval.

Harbour said the county must meet with union negotiators where necessary.

The costs of enacting the safety program will pay for itself, Trent said.

It’s estimated the program will return $38,000 to more than $100,000 a year once implemented, Harbour said.

In other action Thursday, commissioners:

– Referred a petition for water service on County Road 59 to grant writers.

– Awarded a $139,500 construction contract for bridge No. 1 on County Road 73 to Ohio Bridge of Cambridge.

– Requested Shepard Logging of Oak Hill provide a $10,000 bond to guarantee repair of any future damage to County Road 14 and County Road 48.

– Recognized Joe Black, CFM, who recently passed the certified floodplain manager exam with the Association of State Floodplain Managers.

Black is the only person in southeastern Ohio to hold the certification, one of only 15 in the state, one of only 118 in the nation, the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization announced.