Partners in Prevention


BY STU WATSON

SAIF saves members of AOI time and money.

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BY STU WATSON

SAIF saves members of AOI time and money

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Safety training is a vital part of the weekly routine for employees at Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative.

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative — putting a premium on prevention

Scattered across some of Oregon’s most remote terrain, the customers of the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) depend on reliable electric service to survive some of the state’s harshest weather.

OTEC serves about 58,000 people in Grant, Union, Baker and Harney counties — an area of 19,765 square miles, larger than the entire Willamette Valley plus Douglas County, with the same population as Corvallis.

That’s a tall order. Toss in the dangers of electricity, and you can imagine the heightened risk that faces OTEC service crews. Accidents leave injured workers a long way from help. The closest Level 2 trauma center is in Bend — hundreds of miles away.

Fourteen years after leveraging the buyout of assets previously owned by CP National Corp., management at OTEC realized they needed a top-tier partner in driving down claims.

That’s why in 2001 OTEC turned to the SAIF AOI CompSAFE program and enlisted the experience and skill of SAIF, the state’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance.

Debby Ray, human resources director for OTEC, says SAIF’s network of skilled safety management consultants helps OTEC field crews identify and eliminate higher-risk behaviors. Less risk equals fewer injuries. Fewer injuries equal lower premiums.

When accidents occur, policyholders have quick access to a network of clinical care professionals who ensure fast recovery and limited downtime.

“SAIF really helps in that regard,” Ray says. “Like every business, we’re always under pressure to do more with less. It’s nice to be able to do that without sacrificing safety and performance.”

It’s working. Last year, OTEC reduced its losses by roughly one-third.

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Staff at Town Center Village enjoy some team-building time away from work. Creating innovative ways to strengthen staff relationships is just one way Town Center Village continues to be an award-winning senior care facility.

Town Center Village — defying the tug of time

Some people are just born to the work that brings meaning to their lives. Wendell White is proof positive.

Living in the skilled nursing facility that his grandparents owned, White learned at an early age the values of empathy and compassion for an aging population.

Today, as chairman of Generations LLC, he and his family labor mightily to impart those values to the 263 workers who staff five facilities in the West, including Town Center Village.

Steven Esser, executive director at Town Center Village in the Happy Valley area ,southeast of Portland, shares the mission.

That’s why Esser and his team turn for best practice guidance to the experts behind the SAIF AOI CompSAFE workers’ compensation insurance plan.

“Care and comfort for our residents is the primary focus,” Esser says. “To accomplish that, our staff has to be equipped with a broad range of unique skills and support services.”

His facility gets that from SAIF Corporation.

“Our residents have varying levels of independence and mobility,” Esser says. “Our staff has to be properly aware of those challenges.”

Esser says SAIF safety management consultants have “helped us with things like workspace evaluations and safety classes.”

Naturally, Esser likes the “consistently competitive rates” that come with SAIF’s AOI CompSAFE discounts.

The benefits of partnership with SAIF have earned Generations LLC recognition as the Outstanding Large Family Business from the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University, and honors from the Oregon Health Care Association for leadership, service and achievement.

White applauds the efforts of SAIF consultants to help his staff avoid and reduce injury — to themselves and the residents.

For White and his family, sharing their values with the families that depend on Generations LLC is a time-tested formula for delivering the best possible care, no matter the level of need.

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With a fleet of more than 100 asset-based trucks and access to more than 7,500 national carriers, Tradewinds Transportation is a leader in Oregon’s trucking industry.

Tradewinds Transportation — in for the long haul, the SAIF way

Trucking may seem romantic, but it’s a long, hard and dangerous haul.

Nearly one in four workplace deaths in 2013 came from transportation accidents.

Even so, Tradewinds Transportation in Millersburg consistently ranks among the safest in Oregon.

Company controller Cyndi Newman gives an oversize load of credit for that safety record to its partner in prevention – SAIF, and the way it helps employers through the SAIF AOI CompSAFE workers’ compensation insurance plan.

“Tradewinds and SAIF share a commitment to safety,” Newman says. “It’s a high priority for both of us.”

With more than 100 trucks on the road, linking to 7,500 other carriers, Tradewinds and its drivers face considerable risk. Yet the record speaks to the benefit from SAIF’s help.

Tradewinds was rated first statewide for fleet safety in 2012 and 2013 by the Oregon Trucking Association, adding Fleet Safety Grand Champion honors in 2013. For five years running, Tradewinds incurred no lost- worktime accidents.

Keeping its existing drivers on the road is one job. Finding talented truckers to join the team is another. Trucking will be the 14th fastest-growing job sector through 2022.

Tony McLain, safety manager, tells how SAIF helped Tradewinds hire a talented driver who had been hurt on a previous job. The driver couldn’t lift anything heavier than 50 pounds.

Working with the driver through Oregon’s Preferred Worker Program, which helps motivated workers return to work, Tradewinds added equipment to help the driver lift the truck’s hood, and also fitted his rig with automatic chain installers.

“A relatively small investment,” McLain says, “helped avoid thousands of dollars in disability payments.”

“That’s just one example of the many ways SAIF has supported us in our ongoing safety efforts,” says Newman. “It’s a real win-win partnership all around.” n

For more information, visit CompSafe.org.