County safety efforts pay off

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  A yearlong effort across Alabama to provide safer workplaces and reduce injuries has produced dividends for 42 county commissions, which have received cash awards from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s insurance funds. 

ACCA’s Safety Incentive Discount Program, administered by its self-funded insurance programs, rewards counties for ongoing efforts to enhance training for employees in safety-sensitive positions, improve driver safety and produce a work environment focused on accident prevention.

The safety awards for members of the ACCA Liability Self-Insurance Fund Inc. totaled $194,000 statewide this year. Amounts for individual counties are based on that county’s annual premium contribution and the level of participation in safety activities.

The Etowah County Commission received $6,000, which was the highest amount granted. Twenty of the 42 counties received this amount, while 22 other counties received less than $6,000.

The incentive program contains nine basic elements, all aimed at making county employees more aware of safety issues, taking active steps to reduce risk and providing educational opportunities for county employees and officials.

“We are extremely pleased that so many counties have embraced the philosophy of actively reducing those factors that lead to injuries and property loss,” said ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield. “Although all accidents cannot be avoided, the research is clear – entities that establish and operate a proactive safety program are more likely to avoid accidents, reduce the amount of lost work time and, ultimately, save money for the taxpayers.”

Brasfield explained that these counties’ willingness to emphasize loss-prevention can only lead to an avoidance of those events that are preventable. He pointed to the use of seat belts, eliminating texting while driving, active review of work areas for safety risks and proactive training opportunities as some of the key factors in reducing losses.

A self-insurance fund is owned by its members. This year, the governing board also decided to distribute $1 million of investment earnings. Each member received a portion of earnings, regardless of participation in safety activities.

“For nearly 30 years, county officials have been working together to provide insurance coverage that is custom-tailored to the needs of county government, and it is a testament to that hard work that we are able to return earnings to members and expand coverage to better serve counties,” said Dallas County Probate Judge and Commission Chairman Kimbrough Ballard, who is president of the fund’s board.

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is a statewide organization speaking for all 67 counties with ONE voice. It promotes improved county government services in Alabama, offers educational programs for county officials and their staff members, administers insurance programs for county governments and employees, offers legal advice, and represents the interests of county government before state and federal organizations and agencies.

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