Safety & Health
At Travelers, our success relies on the safety, health and well-being of our employees. Our workers compensation customers also trust us to take care of their most precious resource – their employees. This combined responsibility makes safety and health both a key driver of our sustained value creation and an opportunity to positively impact the public welfare more broadly.
Protecting the Safety and Health of Our Employees
At Travelers, our employees are our most valuable asset, and we are committed to helping them be safe, healthy and productive in their lives and at work. To nurture a culture of safety, we outline our expectations in safety policies, regularly evaluate health risks, conduct incident root cause analyses and develop programs to mitigate safety risks for our employees. We provide onboarding training, which includes general office safety and driver safety. We also provide targeted training for our employees who drive regularly for work or visit potentially hazardous environments, such as construction sites or disaster areas.
We regularly survey our owned and leased facilities to check for and mitigate potential hazards. In addition, our company fleet vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features, including forward-collision warning systems and autonomous braking, to help keep our employees safe on the road. Our investments in drones also help keep our employees safe by reducing the need for them to engage in potentially hazardous activities, such as climbing onto ladders and roofs. We also offer our employees office workstation ergonomics consultation services and self-help ergonomic tools and training.
As discussed in further detail under Business Resiliency, upon initial reports of the emerging coronavirus in January 2020, we activated our Business Continuity, Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery teams to track the outbreak and begin executing our robust business resiliency plans and our corporate pandemic plan – all with the goal of keeping our employees safe while continuing to provide the quality service our customers have come to expect. Within 10 days, we mobilized a remote strategy with limited interruption, enabling the overwhelming majority of our employees to work from home. Our strategy included the creation of an employee microsite with critical information, including travel restrictions, work-from-home guidance, safety protocols and other employee policies. For those employees whose roles required that they work from an office or in the field, we enacted protocols to keep worksite-essential employees safe – including mandated health checks, facial coverings and social distancing, regularly disinfecting our offices and tracking all COVID-19 cases or suspected cases. We also reimbursed commuting costs associated with private transportation for worksite-essential employees who would normally take public transportation to get to work.
Beyond working to ensure the work-related health and safety of our employees, we offer comprehensive benefit programs to help our employees be healthy and productive in all aspects of their lives. We continued to take care of each other as we all adjusted to the difficult circumstances of the pandemic. In 2021, in keeping with our culture of wellness, we promoted our extensive mental, physical and financial wellness resources, including those focused on reducing stress, remaining active and planning for financial security. To learn more about the comprehensive benefit programs we offer to our employees, including those launched or enhanced as part of our efforts to support our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, see Total Rewards on the Human Capital Management section of this site.
Protecting the Safety and Health of Our Customers’ Employees and Our Communities
As a leading workers compensation carrier, we share our risk control expertise, as well as our claim and medical data and analytic insights, with our customers and agent and broker partners. Our goal is to help our customers maximize employee wellness, ensure workplace safety and, when work-related injuries do occur, enable injured employees to return to work as soon as medically appropriate. Our Underwriting and Risk Control departments provide information to customers to help promote a safe workplace and identify and mitigate hazards. When claims do happen, we leverage our network of Claim and medical professionals to quickly deliver appropriate resources to help the injured employee achieve optimal claim and medical outcomes. These resources include, among others, our interactive workers compensation claim portal, MyTravelers® for Injured Employees.
Our team of more than 500 Risk Control professionals help our commercial customers understand exposures to loss and prevent accidents through our services relating to employee safety, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, driving safety and property preservation, among others. We conduct more than 120,000 customer engagements per year through on-site surveys, on-demand risk evaluations, virtual risk assessments, jurisdictional inspections, trainings and online/self-help resources. With one of the largest Risk Control departments in the industry, we have the expertise and scale to provide our customers with the right resource at the right time. For over 110 years, our professionals with risk control expertise have assisted agents, brokers and customers across the country and around the world.
During the pandemic, we continued to offer our customers the safety and risk mitigation expertise of our industry-leading Risk Control team. Throughout the year, we’ve continued to provide risk control services to our business customers through virtual risk assessments and webinars. We have also been sharing with our customers specific guidance on protecting workers and assets during shelter-in-place orders, as well as counsel on how to manage the eventual return to worksites, when safe and appropriate to do so.
We believe the insurance industry must also play an active role in promoting safety in our communities. That’s why we provide extensive safety resources to customers and the public through the Prepare & Prevent section of our website, which we amplify with outreach through traditional and social media strategies. In 2020, we released a robust suite of industry-leading risk management resources to help businesses safely reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Travelers Institute, our public policy division, promotes safe behaviors. For example, the Travelers Institute® helps combat distracted driving through its Every Second Matters® education campaign, and in 2020 and 2021, it hosted webinars focused on employee health and safety through the Wednesdays with Woodward® series. These webinars included:
- The Pandemic-Era Opioid Crisis: Where Are We Now? How Can We Break the Cycle?
- High Risk? Marijuana Legalization and Roadway Safety
- A Hopeful Spring: Vaccine Successes and Outlook
- A Bright Future: Tackling a Global Pandemic
- Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset: Employee Safety During COVID-19
- Emotional and Social Reintegration in the Age of COVID-19
- Resilience in Times of Uncertainty
Safety Awareness & Culture
Travelers Workforce Advantage®
Travelers Workforce Advantage is our comprehensive approach to helping our commercial customers manage employee safety. Given our broad and deep expertise in understanding risk, we are well positioned to help our customers understand and identify their key exposures and assist them in developing risk mitigation strategies so they can better protect their employees and their businesses. Travelers Workforce Advantage contains three main components:
- Attracting and hiring. Having a process for attracting and hiring qualified job candidates is an important step in building a culture of safety and engaging employees in workplace safety.
- Onboarding and training. An effective onboarding program helps orient employees not only to the functional details of employment, such as appropriate safety procedures, but also to the safety culture of the organization.
- Supporting and engaging employees. Promoting safety and encouraging a healthy lifestyle, both inside and outside of the workplace, are important to fostering an engaged workforce.
Here are some examples of how we assist our customers through Travelers Workforce Advantage:
- Injury and illness prevention programs. Our Risk Control consultants help our customers identify common occupational injuries and illnesses and recommend preventive measures to help reduce the risk of employee injuries and illnesses. In particular, our consultants assist our customers through services such as industrial hygiene monitoring; ergonomic evaluations; and slip, trip and fall assessments.
- Safety culture and leadership training. It is important for an organization’s leadership to lead by example, demonstrating the importance of a culture of safety across all of its operations. Our training consultants help our customers’ leaders understand the fundamentals and best practices with regard to employee safety so that they can lead by example.
- General safety training. Our Risk Control consultants provide a broad range of safety training, covering topics such as construction fall protection, ergonomics, industrial hygiene exposure monitoring, best practices in auto safety, key factors in post-injury management, and fire protection and life safety systems.
- Travelers Corridor of Care®. This is a post-injury management process designed to assist employers in supporting injured employees from the moment they are injured through their return to work. This process can help employees receive prompt, quality medical care; facilitate collaboration among the employee, the employee’s medical provider, the employer and the insurance professional; and with an effective transitional-duty program, help build employee morale, keep injured workers connected to the workforce and help them transition back to work as soon as medically appropriate.
- Workforce Pressure Test. This tool helps employers understand how engaged, safe and resilient their workforce is through a brief online questionnaire.
- Functional Job Analysis (FJA) and Job Safety Analysis (JSA). An FJA is a structured process that helps identify and quantify the physical components and environmental conditions of job-related functions. A JSA is a process that breaks down each step in a job, describes the hazards associated with each step and defines the work method that helps to minimize or eliminate each hazard. Conducting a JSA can help our customers understand the hazards and the procedures necessary to address the exposure. By training our customers on how to complete both an FJA and a JSA, our Risk Control consultants can help customers develop safer work methods.
Industrial Hygiene Laboratory
Our Industrial Hygiene Laboratory provides specialized services to our commercial customers to assess their employees’ exposures and help prevent occupational illnesses. Our laboratory has been nationally accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association since 1976. With state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation, sampling equipment and methods for analyzing more than 500 chemicals and a dedicated staff of certified industrial hygienists, chemists and technicians, we offer our customers a wide array of sampling and analysis protocols based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health methodologies.
The Industrial Hygiene Laboratory provides critical data to our customers, underwriters and Workers Compensation specialists to help them make informed decisions that keep employees safe and produce long-term value. On average, the Industrial Hygiene Laboratory performs more than 50,000 analyses on approximately 30,000 samples annually for chemical exposures, helping customers better protect their employees. The experienced staff develops innovative analytical methods and recommends products and services to monitor workplace environments to help customers improve the health and safety of their employees. Our ability to adapt and leverage virtual consulting tools enables us to provide our customers with timely support and guidance when on-site visits are unavailable.
Ergonomics Consulting Services
Our ergonomics specialists focus on helping customers identify and reduce ergonomic risk factors in the workplace. Ergonomic risk factors are prevalent in many industries and can result in musculoskeletal disorders that affect employee health and well-being. Our staff of dedicated certified ergonomists have specialized knowledge and experience working with businesses in the manufacturing, logistics, financial services, health care and service industries. Our core consulting services include:
- Ergonomic assessments, which leverage AI-enhanced video capabilities, to help identify the “vital few” tasks with the highest potential for reducing employee injuries.
- The Ergonomic Job Improvement Process, our four-phase process to help customers self-identify and address key ergonomic issues using a team approach.
- Ergonomic task force development assistance to empower teams to make workplace ergonomic improvements through employee engagement.
In addition to our on-site services, our ergonomics specialists provide on-demand virtual consulting to customers to help them assess their risks and offer effective solutions.
Recognizing the need for drivers to operate in an environment that prioritizes and fosters safety, Travelers Risk Control transportation specialists provide effective fleet risk management solutions to businesses with commercial auto fleets – from passenger vehicles to tractor-trailers. Our specialists conduct on-site and virtual visits and meet with managers responsible for vehicle safety to help our customers minimize risk exposures.
Our specialists have experience in “for-hire” trucking fleets, as well as private auto fleets. They can evaluate fleet operation and exposure to help customers determine which controls to implement. After conducting a fleet assessment, our specialists can compare the customer’s controls with industry best practices. With this information, our specialists propose recommendations to help customers build or modify a vehicle safety program designed to prevent transportation-related accidents and reduce costs.
Our consultants work to develop what we refer to as a “total fleet safety approach,” which helps our customers effectively mitigate loss exposures in their fleet operations. Our comprehensive approach addresses the key components of a successful fleet safety program, including hiring qualified drivers, managing driver performance, providing effective training and operating well-maintained equipment.
Since driver safety is important not only to our customers but also to the general public, we offer driver safety information to the public through our online content and community activities. For example, the Travelers Institute leverages the expertise of Travelers Risk Control specialists through its Every Second Matters® initiative to combat distracted driving. This public-facing campaign brings together advocates from the medical, technology and insurance communities, as well as members of the public sector, to explore innovative approaches to prevent distracted driving and make our roadways safer for everyone.
Fire & Life Safety
Travelers Risk Control fire protection specialists have broad experience in many industries, including manufacturing involving metal, wood, plastic, paper and textiles; wholesale and retail business; educational organizations; and various service organizations. Working closely with our customers, our fire protection specialists and consultants identify and evaluate fire hazards and assess facilities and operations relative to property protection and business continuity. We conduct more than 20,000 on-site and virtual property surveys each year. In addition to property surveys, we offer our customers a range of services, including customized consulting, employee training programs, evaluation of fire protection equipment and fire protection specifications, and plan reviews for new construction. Our Fire Protection System Impairment Management tool available on our secure MyTravelers® for Business website and mobile platform, is designed to help customers record and communicate with Travelers when a sprinkler system, fire pump, special extinguishing system or other fire protection system component is out of service. The tool allows customers to track impairments at multiple properties and sends automatic reminder emails to help them ensure their systems are restored and back in service in a timely manner, protecting their business and employees.
Our specialists have deep expertise in the fire and life safety standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). They maintain memberships with various NFPA standards committees, the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Fire Council, various UL committees and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. They are also active in the nonprofit Property Insurance Research Group, which is part of the Fire Protection Research Foundation.
Preventing Chronic Pain & Potential Opioid Use
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 136 people die in the United States every day from an opioid overdose. In addition to opioids’ devastating effects on society, the costs associated with opioid addiction are taking an increasing financial toll on businesses and the U.S. economy. It is estimated that between 2015 and 2018, the total economic burden of the opioid crisis in the United States was at least $631 billion; of that amount, nearly one-third – or $205 billion – is said to be attributable to increased health care spending, and an estimated 15% – or $96 billion – is related to lost productivity costs.1
Using Our Data and Analytics to Help Reduce Addiction
By analyzing workers compensation claim data, Travelers created the Early Severity Predictor® model, which can help identify an injured employee’s likelihood of experiencing chronic pain using weighted predictors at key points during the life of a claim. By adjusting medical care and resources, the Early Severity Predictor model can help address potential drivers of chronic pain – a condition that is largely treated with opioids or other painkillers – and reduce the risk of opioid addiction.
This program has benefited more than 90,000 injured employees since its inception in 2015. In addition to improving the recovery experience for tens of thousands of injured employees, the program has resulted in loss-cost savings of more than $150 million by helping reduce surgeries performed and opioids prescribed. We apply this model to all of the lost-time workers compensation claims we receive.
Opioid Addiction and the Construction Industry
Construction sites present health and safety risks that can lead to worker injuries, such as strains, sprains, broken bones and head traumas, which can result in chronic pain and, therefore, opioid treatment. Many workers compensation claims submitted to Travelers from the construction industry involve opioid prescriptions. To help curb prescription opioid abuse, we use our Early Severity Predictor alongside our comprehensive pharmacy management program, which monitors drug interactions, excessive dosing and abuse patterns to reduce the risk of opioid dependency. With these two efforts combined, we have seen a nearly 50% reduction in the use of opioids among the injured construction workers we have helped since 2015.
Furthermore, our nurses and Claim professionals review claims and create specific action plans for injuries that often include physical therapy and other interventions to prevent acute pain from becoming chronic. This approach is particularly significant for the construction industry, where Travelers claim data show that injured workers who suffer from chronic pain can be out of work for significantly longer periods of time than those in other industries.
Engaging Injured Employees in Recovery
Employers can also help injured employees avoid opioid dependency and other barriers to a successful return to work by implementing a post-injury management strategy. This is a key part of the Travelers Corridor of Care® process, which takes a systematic and positive approach to handling employee injuries. Responding promptly to injuries and providing attentive medical case management can help prevent an injured employee from developing chronic pain for which opioids may be prescribed. This type of active management can help an injured employee return to work as soon as medically appropriate. Helping employees recover from their injuries can also have a positive ripple effect within an organization, helping to prevent disruptions in production, quality and morale. In addition, Travelers continues to support research initiatives and make investments in new solutions to help injured employees through the claim process and enhance engagement through CustomCareSM.
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These programs deliver on the Travelers Promise and illustrate the shared value we create for our customers, their employees, our communities and our shareholders.
To read more about how we help prevent chronic pain and potential opioid use for our customers and their employees, please visit the Employee Wellness page of our corporate website.
1Society of Actuaries, Economic Impact of Non-Medical Opioid Use in the United States (October 2019).