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Efforts to upgrade safety in workplace earn recognition from county's insurer

Friday, March 28, 2008

BENTON -- Scott County officials' efforts to improve safety around the workplace have impressed the organization that put the county on a watch list due to its high average of audited claims experience over three years.

During Thursday's regular meeting, commissioners went over a letter received by Bob Holthaus, loss prevention coordinator for the Missouri Association of Counties Self-Insured Workers' Compensation Fund.

"I am very impressed with the diligence, effort, monetary commitment and successful results you have achieved by improving the situation in your county," Holthaus wrote. "You have done a good job of documenting your improvements and have given all departments the opportunity to participate in the improvement process."

Commissioners sent a letter to Holthaus earlier this month outlining areas where progress has been made since meeting with him in October. Right now, the county is doing 17 of the 26 recommendations.

"We're really pleased that we're making some headway," said Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn. He added that he and other commissioners hope these improvements will drop workers' compensation claims and lower premiums, as well as drop the county from the MAC's watch list.

Commissioner Ron McCormick added that while 17 areas were addressed, there has also been progress in the other nine.

"We maybe haven't completed them, but we have begun the process," he said. "It's just a matter of time."

Ziegenhorn also pointed out that safety is a goal the county will always work toward, regardless of the number of claims. "We try to make this a safe place to work," he said. Suggestions from other departments and employees are always welcome, he added, which is why safety meetings are routinely scheduled with elected officials and department heads.

In other business at Thursday's meeting, commissioners announced Cathy Walters of Miner has turned in her resignation from the Riverside Regional Library Board as of March 31. To replace Walters, McCormick nominated Myrna Cheek of Chaffee, who was appointed to the position.