Getting excited about risk management

Published 10:43 pm Friday, May 27, 2011

Perhaps it’s not the most exciting thing that happened in Suffolk this week, maybe not even the most exciting thing that took place at City Hall, but the news that the city had won the Margaret A. Nichols Risk Management Leadership Award from the Virginia Municipal League Insurance Programs actually amounts to a pretty big deal.

Nobody gets excited about risk management except for accountants and human resources people, but poor performance in that facet of an organization’s operations can be expensive. It’s the reason you’ll see site managers following with clipboards while safety inspectors scour their buildings and operations for missing fire extinguishers, cords crossing floors and other potential hazards.

In Suffolk, a concerted effort by the city’s administration to take care of those potential hazards, as well as some of a much graver potential, has resulted in a culture of safety first among city employees and, hence, a reduction in accidents. Fewer accidents, in turn, means less taxpayer money lost to rising insurance costs and employee downtime.

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“They have shown a commitment to the philosophy that nothing is so important that it can’t be done safely,” said Steve Craig, managing director of Virginia Municipal League Insurance Programs.

That philosophy has saved taxpayers money. And that’s pretty exciting.