Tuesday, February 22, 2011

EAPs & Liability Prevention: Someone Please Rebut This...

If you think I am nuts for talking about this, please say so, or I just might continue. Seriously. I think there is a room here for a breakthrough on EAPs getting more attention from stakeholders in the risk management arena. But listen, if you disagree, please tell me to stop kicking this horse and give me a good reason. I might be too close to my own brain to see the opposite argument. So, here it goes.

Although virtually unheard of in the EAP literature (including recent writings on behavioral risk), EAPs may prove their highest value in EPL intervention and loss prevention far exceeding health insurance cost containment. Indeed the average jury award for wrongful termination is over $500,000. Out of court settlements average $100,000. I believe this is a powerful EAP role and one EAPA can use to claim the high ground in the EPL loss prevention frenzy currently being spearheaded by big P-C underwriters.

Here's what I recommend the profession consider:

1. Establish and fund a committee on Employment Practices Liability and Loss Control to study the EAP role in preventing lawsuits related to employment practices. Survey EA professionals and the like. Survey literature to spot unaddressed opportunities and evidence that potentially new constituencies for EAPs are not aware EAPs as a solution to their loss prevention goals.

2. Contact major underwriters to learn of their knowledge current state of knowledge and the deficiencies in that knowledge associated with EAPs.

3. Create a multi-part strategy to educate these underwriters using their economic self-interest to consider effective, core tech-driven, and high-touch EAPs as solutions to problems they face.
3. Seek to establish a national dialogue with P-C insurers and insurance agencies selling EPL products. A labor-management-insurer sponsored joint benchmarking project to demonstrate interface and impact would be ideal.
4. Promote and encourage conferences, papers, and partnering opportunities along with aggressive press coverage for this linkage and by so doing, penetrate the P-C literature base.

5. Encourage the establishment of CT-EAP products offered by property casualty insurance companies as part of their programmatic approach to EPL risk reduction.

Okay, am I crazy?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OSHA Safety and Health Checklist (and No EAP)

You would have to be from another planet to not know that EAPs are cost-beneficial and that when fully implemented have a positive impact on helping reduce accident rates and injury related costs. The research has already been done 30 years ago. And EAPs reduce other behavioral losses in the workplace as well. Somehow however the recommendation to have an EAP is still not listed on OSHA's Safety and Health Management Systems Checklist. This list is no small thing. This is the front line handout OSHA distributes nationwide. It covers many recommended steps that companies should take to reduce accidents and injuries. I think "Establish a Employee Assistance Program" should be on this list. I know probably agree. Think about the lives saved, reduced accidents, and reduced injuries associated with helping troubled employees, particularly alcoholic employees, not to mention reduced property damage and lost time results having an EAP in place. How much pull to you have with OSHA? Do you know anyone there? Are you reading this post from  your desk at OSHA because you work there? (Hi!) The above PDF was last printed in March 2008! The clock is ticking. QUICK! Before this gets re-written without an EAP mention, let's get OSHA to include EAPs as an important part of a Workplace Safety and Health Management System. Right now, I see this as an overlooked and critical component that needs to be on this list. Do you agree? Phone right now while you are thinking about it. This is the office of communications phone number:  202-693-1999. If enough people phone, they will consider adding EAPs. It's the little things folks that promote this profession. Look for more of these gems--things EA professionals can do to promote their craft. Email me and I will post suggestions on this blog. Health and wellness in the workplace is dramatically enhanced when EAPs are in place.