Developing an Effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)

Author, Daniel Frazee, Executive Vice President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

 The words “Safety Procedures” on a piece of paper in a 3-ring binder.

If you have operated a business in the state of California for any period of time, you have very likely heard about or run across the acronym IIPP. Wherever you stand with your knowledge within the world of safety, injury, and illness, it is important for every organization to understand the mandatory parts of an IIPP. What is often overlooked is how developing an effective safety program can create positive change and truly impact your bottom line.

What is an IIPP?

An Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) is a required written workplace safety document that must be maintained by California employers (Title 8 of the CA code of regulations, section 3203). These regulations require eight (8) specific elements that are summarized below. In many cases, this process requires direct questions about how the company currently views and manages safety. Answering these questions will begin to highlight the positive aspects of what already is currently in place and shed light on areas that need improvement.

Responsibility

Clarifying the name, title and contact information for the person(s) with overall responsibility for the IIPP is a critical first step to this process. Making the IIPP available and accessible at all business locations becomes the first task of the “responsible person.”

Compliance

What is the content of the company’s safety meetings? Who runs those meetings? How do you discipline employees if they do not follow safety guidelines? How might the company recognize or reward their employees for safe practices or behavior?

Communication

Safety meetings are held on what type of schedule within your organization? How can employees anonymously notify management of safety and health concerns without fear of reprisal? Is there a safety committee in place that provides communication to all employees? If not, who would be considered as important members of that committee?

Hazard Assessment

Who within the company is responsible for periodic inspections to identify and evaluate workplace hazards? Provide detail on this schedule along with accompanying documentation that these visits occurred. Continuously communicating with employees for feedback and constantly reviewing hazards on a jobsite or within the workplace are crucial. Lastly, does the company use a standard or tailored JHA (Job Hazard Analysis) checklist to accomplish this? Re-visiting these checklists regularly as exposures change is critical to reducing claim frequency.

Accident/Exposure Investigation

Post-accident, who is the name of the person within the organization responsible for conducting those investigations? What type of form or checklist are you using to establish “root causes” of the accident or injury? And, back to the compliance section, what type of discipline could be handed down in the event of employee error that causes an accident or injury?

Hazard Correction

After the company has identified the hazard and determined exactly how and why an incident occurred, the IIPP must provide detail on how the company will correct the problem from happening again. One solid first step can include a review of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use. That is, did the equipment being used cause the accident or injury and, if yes, why? Answering the\is question may show that the piece of equipment was not appropriate for the task, or the item was defective or too old, which caused failure.

Training and Instruction

Ongoing and job specific training and instruction are really the lifeblood of any truly effective IIPP. Presenting the information in a clear, concise format that is easily understood is often the most difficult task in this process. Yet, it remains perhaps the most important as it is vital that employees are continually educated and RETAIN their instruction. Peeling back this process with managers, foreman, superintendents, etc. and learning specifically how the training is being disseminated, allows for a true baseline to be established.

Recordkeeping

Document, document, document! While establishing a written version of the IIPP might be the first step, and revising/editing on an annual basis is recommended, having the proper documentation that accompanies each section is just as important. This provides the responsible person(s) an important tool to continually compare the company’s actions, trainings, assessments and prevention techniques with the available documentation.

Can An Effective IIPP Impact my Bottom Line?

Building an effective IIPP means that the document represents a part of the company’s culture. For it to be meaningful and have a real impact on reducing workplace injuries and illnesses, it must reflect what your company is actually doing on a day to day basis. As the company’s ownership ties this into the overall business, building the IIPP from the ground up into a living, breathing document has measurable impact on controllable costs like workers’ compensation. Reducing frequency of injury can help lower the experience modification, improve the loss ratio, and establish a solid risk profile in the insurance marketplace. Having the supporting documentation along with specific examples of forms, checklists and assessments can arm an insurance broker with the tools they need in the marketplace. More specifically, this information provides a broker important leverage points when negotiating the most competitive terms possible for the employer with the insurance carrier’s underwriter. Those points can lead directly to premium savings, which leads to healthier margins and stronger profitability. Build the IIPP because it is a CA state requirement and it is the right thing to do. But, believe that building a first class safety program will absolutely lower your long-term insurance costs.

For a sample IIPP, visit the Risk Management Center or contact Alyssa Burley at (619) 438-6869.