RIMS Conference Veterans Offer Advice to First Time Attendees

Last week a member of the RIMS Opis online community asked an important question: “What advice can RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition veterans give to someone attending the show for the first time?” Luckily, the risk management community rushed in with some sage advice.

First and foremost, several people pointed out how helpful the First Time Attendee Orientation (4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 23) is. Aside from getting the conference layout, attending the orientation is a great opportunity to meet and get to know people, as “networking is a huge benefit—perhaps the biggest benefit—of attending the conference.”

Here are some other tips from previous attendees to get the most out of the conference:

  • Download the RIMS app. The app will help to keep you on schedule. “I love this app because you can add your own events, see who is attending and plan your schedule. It even has a map!”
  • Leave the uncomfortable shoes at home. The Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia is massive, and attendees will be doing a lot of walking. That said, don’t opt for flip-flops either, as most attendees are in business formal or business casual attire. One commenter shared this helpful system, “I can’t emphasize comfortable shoes enough! I log 25,000+ steps each day of RIMS and it is non-stop from morning to night. I bring a backpack and carry dressier shoes if I need to put them on for a specific meeting during the day.”
  • Take advantage of free food. “If you work this out right, you won’t buy any meals (except the occasional),” one commenter said. “There are many opportunities to eat for free at a RIMS Annual Conference, and that’s just on the tradeshow floor!” There are also several evening events hosted by underwriters and brokers, some of which splurge on impressive entertainment.
  • Get organized, but stay flexible. There are more than 150 education sessions, tradeshow floor activities and general sessions to attend. Before you get to Philadelphia, make note of the sessions you would like to attend, and put holds on your calendar along with location information. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed and flustered when you’re on site. There will inevitably be things that pop up when you’re at RIMS 2017—your plans will change, and that’s OK.
  • Find a show veteran to tag along with. Doing this can help with maneuvering the Exhibition Hall and to learn how to “work” the tradeshow floor.
  • Talk to the people around you. This can’t be emphasized enough. During down time before or after education sessions, during meals and at parties, be sure to meet new people and collect their business cards. Many business deals and careers have received big boosts from new connections made at the annual conference.
  • Bring a very tall stack of business cards!

Finally, a RIMS member advised attendees who don’t want to leave their healthy habits at home amidst all of the activity and parties, to “embrace wellness” with these tips:

  • Take part in the 5K Fun Run. This event will take place on Tuesday morning, before the start of educational sessions. It’s a great way to network, raise money for Spencer Educational Foundation (which supports the next generation of rising risk professionals), and experience the host city with an early morning perspective.
  • Visit the Wellness ZENter. The ZENter will be located centrally in the RIMS Marketplace Exhibit Hall.
  • Drink plenty of water. In addition to the health-conscious choices available at RIMS meals, look for other options, such as infusers and water bottles, in vendor handouts and giveaways.

Fed Program Initiates Life-Saving Training for Shootings, Terror Attacks

The length of time victims wounded in school shootings and terror attacks must wait for help from an EMT could be minutes or hours—during which time they could bleed to death. This has happened in a number of cases, including a shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June, when a woman bled to death while waiting for help to arrive.

These incidents have prompted the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop the Bleed campaign, a nationwide initiative to empower individuals to act quickly and save lives in emergency situations. Bystanders are asked to take simple steps to keep an injured person alive until medical care is available. Security guards, custodians, teachers and administrators are being trained at schools and other places to administer first aid until help arrives.

stop-the-bleed

Stony Brook University Hospital’s trauma center is spearheading training for school districts and colleges across the country. According to the Associated Press:

At a recent training session, paramedics and doctors brought in fake body parts—blood spurting from the wounds—to show staffers of a Long Island school district how to tie tourniquets and pack open wounds with whatever they have.

“Seconds matter. It really can be minutes when you can lose your life,” said Dr. James Vosswinkel, the chief of trauma and emergency surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital, who led the training.

Doctors emphasized that in the critical seconds after an attack it’s important for teachers and other school staff to stay calm and begin assessing injuries. Teachers learned to apply tourniquets in case a student is shot in the arms or legs—using T-shirts or belts, if necessary—and to stick anything they can to pack wounds in the torso.

Stony Brook doctors have reached out to local schools to offer the training, but are looking to expand the program as part of a federal Department of Homeland Security initiative to other schools, colleges and police departments across the country.

“Nobody should die from preventable hemorrhage,” Vosswinkel said.

5 Analytics Tips for Your Chief Safety Officer

Safety data
Industries on average experience 3.2 non-fatal occupational injuries per 100 full-time workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some industries have nearly four-times this rate. Similar statistics exist for workplace illnesses and, unfortunately, fatalities. Could analytics be a solution for lowering these statistics?

Companies today gather huge volumes of operational and enterprise data, plus they have access to myriad sources of external data such as weather, traffic and social media. Unfortunately, this data is normally stored and analyzed in siloed data systems that are scattered across the enterprise. There are, however, steps a chief safety officer (CSO) can take to apply analytics to all available data to reduce incidents and, therefore, safety-related costs.

Here are five steps CSOs and other safety leaders can take to be smarter about data and safety.

1. Know your network

To reduce incidents and therefore safety-related costs for your organization, you need to know the what, where, when, why and how of accidents. After all, accidents happen at a specific time and place, and involve specific people and pieces of equipment. Knowing your network of time, place and equipment speeds up response time when accidents happen, and can even prevent them.

Analytics systems are now able to correlate, analyze and visualize operational, enterprise and external data from across your company. The resulting information can identify the situations, patterns and trends that indicate hazardous but preventable conditions. You can more clearly see the job roles, work sites and times of the day or week that pose the greatest risk. This information lets you invest your time, money and effort where it has the greatest impact.

2. Collaborate across departments

When you have analytics illuminating the times, places and activities of greatest risk, share that with everyone who can help reduce that risk. Workers and their supervisors need to know what the data indicate about risk, so that they can make appropriate changes. Your facilities department needs to know that some aspects of a work site—lighting, ventilation, access and drainage—contribute to unsafe conditions. Human Resources needs to know what training and certification is required, or should be offered, to increase staff potential.

But collaboration isn’t simply feeding analytics to various job roles. It is important that all those roles—operations, facilities, HR and more—share the same view of analytics in order to work together to address dangerous conditions before something happens.

3. Learn to trust your own data and analytics

There is now too much data arriving too quickly for us humans to manually gather and analyze. It’s still common for business and risk analysts to spend 80% of their time gathering data and only 20% applying it to solving problems. Analytics systems that correlate and analyze multiple data sources flip that equation, enabling analysts to spend 80% of their time acting on insights from data to solve problems.

While you might be willing to trust the math of analytics, you are probably like a lot of leaders who don’t trust their data. Many leaders believe their data is too incomplete, inaccurate, outdated or irrelevant to support an analytics program. When people say this, I usually ask them how they know their data is bad. Until you work with your data, you don’t really know its condition. When you start working with your data to solve a use case, you can address any data quality issues related just to that use case, without needing to somehow fix all of the data.

4. Look for analytics-leveraging skills when hiring

There is a witticism in the business world that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” While sayings like this can be cliché, in the case of analytics, this one is true. If your human and work culture doesn’t embrace data-driven decision making, any analytics strategy faces uncertain odds of success.

To establish an analytics culture within your organization, hire people who are comfortable exploring and applying data. You don’t necessarily need to hire data scientists, as that skillset is available from consultants and vendors if and when it is needed. You do, however, need people who are curious and capable of working with each other, and with data scientists, to formulate inquiries, pursue those inquiries, and apply the insights they discover.

5. Start small, but start now

Existing company safety programs that are not data-driven struggle to show their impact. That makes funding harder to justify, which can mean safety programs grow stale over time. If you’d like your organization to be better at safety and analytics, but struggle to measure the effectiveness of your investment in safety programs, it is possible to start small.

Any CSO can immediately identify their most dangerous job role or location. Start with one of those dangerous situations, use data to drive tangible changes in facilities, tools, process or training, and measure the results.

It is really that simple. You can start small, but at least start—now—and make safety a priority.

Prioritizing Risk Management Strategies in Schools

safety
No matter what precautionary measures schools take, there are many risks and “fires” that need to be put out on a daily basis. To keep staff and students safe and to protect school assets, a proactive approach to mitigating risk in schools is a necessity. The keys to a successful risk management program include careful, strategic planning while taking all relevant and potential factors into consideration, but how can administrators get started?

By identifying potential risks and applying a process to assess them, schools can focus on their objectives more clearly, including top priorities like student and employee wellbeing. Effective risk management reduces the disruption of a student’s education, damage to a school’s reputation, lost time, stress from managing incidents, and the potential risk of legal intervention in an increasingly litigious world. School administrators can explore these strategies as they strive to enhance their risk management initiatives:

Focus on greatest risks and exposures
The concern about lawsuits is ever present, but schools cannot operate under the pretense that litigation is going to happen. They instead must conduct their business for the safety of students and staff. If schools operate under fear, their risk management efforts will simply not be as effective as planned.

Administrators must also consider relevancy. In the private sector, risk management has a large seat at the table, whereas in the public sector that is not always the case. Depending on priorities, some issues that play a vital role within the public sector may not be relevant in the private sector. Identifying the relevance of issues often determines where and how money is spent in a school district, however. District-wide funding can be one of the biggest issues administrators face. Districts encounter daily challenges to come up with the right resources available to train staff—especially when it comes to implementing technology. Administrators must make tough decisions when considering funding realities and the need for as much risk management coverage as possible. They need to maintain a balance when money is at stake, as they are only able to make decisions based on the amount of funds available to them.

Focus on what effective training can offer a school faculty
Safety training for school and district staff should play a huge part in every risk management strategy, as well as ensuring the district is in compliance on a state and federal level. Safety training has a trickle-down effect, and if provided at the appropriate level of training, administrators will see a significant effect in reduction of accidents, damage to buildings and costs overall.

There is always work to be done when it comes to improving school safety and collaboration is a big part of a program’s success. Some of the issues schools now face are different than the concerns of decades past, so providing training and resources to staff can make a difference in helping them understand how to handle a number of situations that could arise.

Technology resources can help with this. Online databases, such as SafeSchools Online Staff Training System, for example, allow school districts to distribute quality training to all employees. This is an effective and way to track and share information on safety and compliance issues that could arise in the classroom or school. The digital database also serves as a proactive approach to training. Having an online database enables staff to train in school or at home, and ensures that everyone has the necessary training to handle a situation before it occurs. In the end, by deploying an online safety training system, the district is saving money and time and will be more proactive in handling issues.

Focus on training early on—and take it seriously
First and foremost is tackling the issue of rallying everyone to take safety and compliance issues seriously. Risk management is not a job for one person. It starts with everyone in the school district, from administrators and the school board to principals, teachers, grounds staff and even students. Everyone needs to think of safety and practice mutual accountability within the school community.

Final Thoughts
Risk management may take a back seat when funding is low, giving the impression that it isn’t important. For the sake of their staff and students, however, district-level administrators need to be on board with risk management and make it a priority. In schools, educating students is the main concern, and risk management is secondary. But just like in a factory where posted signs read “safety first” or “safety is number one,” our goal is to get schools to think of safety and its importance to the school in the same way they think of education.