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We're Nuts About Safety!

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Trip and falls, law enforcement chases, employment related decisions, playgrounds, and pools… all of these things have something in common; they create risks that may be unique challenges for our Members. The South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance offers several opportunities for loss control options to help our Members navigate through these and many other risk management challenges daily. 

The South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance partners with the SDML Workers Compensation Fund to sponsor safety awards which are presented to our Members each year.  

                                                                 2017 Jim Fjerestad Memorial Safety Leadership Award

Prior to July 7, 2015 the award was titled the South Dakota Safety and Loss Control Award. In 2014 Jim Fjerestad was the recipient of this award. Jim was an employee of the City of Brandon, whose passion for safety and loss control spread well beyond the City. Jim recognized that smaller communities would benefit from the information and advice that he was providing the employees in Brandon, and invited employees from those surrounding communities to the City’s safety and loss control meetings. This initiative taken by Jim was selfless and inspiring. Jim passed away July 7, 2015. The award was renamed “The Jim Fjerestad Memorial Safety Leadership Award” to honor the dedication shown by Mr. Fjerestad. 

Those interested in nominating someone who exhibits a strong passion for safety and loss control can do so via nominating forms which are found on the Safety Benefits, Inc. website. The time for nominations generally closes in the late summer, as the awards are given to the recipients during the annual conventions which, this year started in September 2017. There are two award winners selected each year. 

One of this year’s recipients, Merl Hanson, Beadle County Highway Superintendent, was noted as going “the extra mile to assure the safety of all employees…” “Merl makes safety training of new employees a priority and is always available to listen to any and all safety concerns of the employees. He welcomes ideas and encourages employees to come up with ideas to help keep their work place safe.” Merl’s talents don’t stop at being a leader in safety and loss control, he’s also known to have a potato salad recipe that is to be envied by the best.
 

Merl

(L to R) Brad Wilson, Insurance Benefits, Inc.; Jeff Lanning, Safety Benefits, Inc.; Merl Hanson – 2017 Fjerestad Award Winner, Jerry Krambeck, SDPAA Member Services Representative

The second recipient of the 2017 Fjerestad Memorial Safety Leadership Award is Ben Guis, Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer from the City of Dell Rapids. Ben is responsible for developing an “official safety program that extends from training of both public works and office employees to identifying safety issues, to ensuring our workers are safe.” Due to Ben’s passion for safety, the City went from receiving no loss control awards to achieving platinum status within three years and to receiving substantial cost savings due to credits and reimbursements offered through the SDPAA and SDML WC Fund safety programs.  
 

Ben

    
(L to R) Brad Wilson, Insurance Benefits, Inc.; Ben Guis – 2017 Fjerestad Award Winner; Lynn Bren, SDPAA Director of Member Services; Doug Kirkus, Safety Benefits, Inc.
 
                                                              2017 Safety and Loss Control Recognition Awards

In addition to individual recognition, all Pool Members have the opportunity to achieve recognition via Safety and Loss Control Recognition Awards. There are four levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.  Bronze level recognition requires Members to put into place ten safety or loss control practices such as having safety and personnel manuals and providing and attending training exercises.

Silver level recognition is achieved by completing the ten Bronze level requirements, and then nine additional requirements. The additional requirements include items such as appropriate contracts in place with vendors, and adopting the twelve critical law enforcement policies recommended by the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance. 

Members can reach the Gold level by attaining the Bronze and Silver level requirements, and then six additional loss control and safety measures. The additional requirements include appointing a formal Safety Committee or appointing a Safety Coordinator, and documenting complaints from citizens and the Member’s response to the same.

Platinum level recognition is given to those Members who have achieved gold level recognition and a combined three-year loss ratio of less than 60% for the pools to which they belong. The 2017 Safety and Loss Control recognition awards at each level are as follows: 


Bronze Level 
City of Baltic 
City of Box Elder            
Brule County
City of Elk Point
Grant-Roberts Ambulance District
Gregory County
Hand County Highway Department    
Jerald County Highway Department    
City of Lennox
Lincoln Conservation District      
Moody County HighwayDepartment
City of Philip
Roberts Conservation District
City of Sturgis
City of Wall
Walworth County Courthouse
Walworth County Highway Department
City of Webster
City of Winner                    

Silver Level 
Fall River County                
Lincoln County Courthouse

Gold Level
City of Aberdeen          
Aurora County Highway Department 
Beadle County Highway Department
City of Britton
City of Brookings
Brookings County
Brown County
Clark County Highway Department
Clay County
Codington County Highway Department
Codington County Maintenance Department
City of Custer
Custer County
Dakota Dunes Community Improvement District
Davison County  
City of Deadwood                             
City of Dell Rapids            
City of DeSmet                
Edmunds County            
City of Fort Pierre            
City of Garretson
City of Hot Springs            
City of Huron                
Hutchinson County        
Hyde County Highway Department    
Lake County              
Lawrence County        
City of Lead                
Lead-Deadwood Sanitary District    
City of Madison              
Marshall County            
McCook County Highway Department
Meade County Highway Department
Miner Conservation District   
Minnehaha County            
City of Mitchell                
Pennington County Buildings and Grounds 
Pennington County Highway Department
City of Pierre                      
Sanborn County Highway Department
City of Sioux Falls            
City of Spearfish               
Spearfish Emergency Ambulance District
City of Valley Springs
City of Vermillion                
City of Volga                
City of Watertown            
Watertown Municipal Utilities
City of Yankton

Platinum Level
City of Aberdeen
Beadle County                
City of Brookings
Brookings County
Clay County
Codington County
City of Custer                
Custer County                
City of Deadwood            
City of Dell Rapids              
Edmunds County            
City of Fort Pierre            
City of Huron
Hyde County                
City of Lead                
Lead-Deadwood Sanitary District
McCook County              
Miner Conservation District          
Minnehaha County            
City of Mitchell                
Sanborn County
City of Vermillion            
City of Volga                
City of Watertown
Watertown Municipal Utilities

As Doug Kirkus pointed out during the Safety Awards presentation at the SDML Annual Conference, “being proactive pays”. The South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance offers Loss Control Surveys to all of their Members. Additionally, Members have access to sample policies and manuals, as well as online and in-person training opportunities for law enforcement and administrative employees. If you would like more information about the Loss Control and Safety information or training opportunities available please go to our website at www.sdpaaonline.org or call our office at 800-658-3633 Option 2. 

Hyde County has been a Member of the SDPAA since 2003. We are very happy with the services provided to our County. Member Services and the Underwriting Department have been quick to respond whether it was a claim or questions. They are very easy to work with and have always followed up on any issues we have had.  Marilyn Ring, Hyde County Auditor