Zero Accident Culture: Disrespectful Today…Employer of Choice Tomorrow

By implementing a safety solution process, you make a difference to your most important asset—your employees and profits.

John Wayhart

Solid waste collection is #7 of the top ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This directly impacts the cost of workers’ compensation, automobile and general liability insurance which indirectly impacts the bottom line of these companies in other ways. Many companies are falling short when it comes to putting the right processes in place to eliminate exposure and improve employee relations after an injury has occurred according to the benchmark data. Following are cost-effective solutions to these issues.1

Great Companies Versus Good or Average Organizaions

The three most disrespectful things companies do every day to their employees and don’t even know it are:

  1. Not reporting a work injury the Day of the Occurrence

  2. Not evaluating the Core “Root” Causation to a corrective state or elimination

  3. Not communicating the “lesson learned” to everyone in the organization in order to prevent another person from being injured

It is so easy to forget how your company became successful. The hard work, attention to detail, absolute conviction toward your employees and the quality of their work can begin to take a back seat when the focus is on top line growth and profit.

This is exactly the space where great companies separate themselves from good or average organizations. In the psychology of the work environment it is oftentimes the little things that are truly the home run or where great companies consistently “knock the cover off the ball.”

Nevertheless, the three (unknowingly) most disrespectful things continue to be present. When a company begins to take itself and their employees for granted, trouble looms right around the corner. The disrespect goes three ways: your injured employee, all of your employees and then your business.

Inexpensive Solutions

A simple, easy and extremely inexpensive correction is all it takes. Let’s think about each one and why they are important.

  1. Day of Reporting

    • Efficient and proper medical attention

    • Medical bills and temporary disability payments are established with the insurance company

    • Appropriate documentation for possible subrogation

    • Shows your care and concern for your injured worker and their family

    • Establishes trust

  1. Evaluation of the Core (Root) Causation of Loss to Eliminate/Reduce Exposure

    • Immediately reconfirms care and trust

    • Removes a known exposure to prevent injury

    • Sets an example to learn from mistakes, continuous improvement process

    • Potential for improving operational efficiency

    • Injured worker returns more proud, more motivated of their job and company

  1. Communication of Lesson(s) Learned to Everyone in the Company

    • Teaches everyone within the company how to perform their work in a safer manner

    • Spotlight shines on safety

    • Organizational strength and readiness; creates a best practice for the company

    • Places appropriate respect for when someone is injured—we have to make a difference

    • Reinforces the zero accident culture process

As a Result

How much do these three processes cost to implement? The answer is insignificant when you compare it to not implementing any kind of safety solution process. As you can imagine, the return on investment to implement each of these techniques is significant. Each of these risk management techniques will become your “tipping point” to impact workplace safety and productivity. After implementation, some of the following will begin to happen:

  • Begin to experience a reduction in the frequency and severity of work related injury

  • Accelerated return to work

  • Reduction in litigated claims

  • Operational efficiencies in workplace safety, claims management and work culture

  • Reduction of fraudulent or malingering workers compensation claims.

  • Lower your experience modification factor, lower composite rating on automobile insurance

  • Building an employer of choice organization

The companywide communication to your field operations about Day of Reporting, Core Causation/Corrective Action and Strong Communication Plan on the Lesson(s) Learned is powerful, meaningful and demonstrates the care you have for your employees—“It’s the Right Thing to do!”

Great organizations seem to do everything well and it’s these little things that might appear to be trivial to some. Make a difference to your most important asset—your employees and profits will follow.

John Wayhart is a Senior Vice President at Assurance Agency, Ltd. With more than 29 years in the insurance & risk management industry, his expertise lies in providing solutions for a wide range of businesses including waste and recycling industry. For help, assistance or a consultation to your company on the Creation of a Zero Accident Culture® he can be reached

at (847) 463-7161 or via e-mail at [email protected].

*2011 copyright – Zero Accident Culture® is a registered trademark – John Wayhart.


  1. Article is an excerpt pulled from Wayhart’s Zero Accident Culture® philosophy.