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Your Summer Risk Management Checklist

May 24, 2021 David Wylie

Risk management checklist with felt tip pen making red check marks in circles

Soaring temperatures and stifling humidity are not the only risks your schools should consider this summer. Forecasters predict another above-average hurricane season. Fraud continues to plague the unemployment compensation system. Tire blowouts are more likely, and those long-forgotten chemical storage closets won’t clean themselves.

Use this risk management checklist as the starting point for a comprehensive action plan that protects your productivity, your budget, and most importantly, your staff and students this summer.*

People

Property

Vehicles

Safety and security

Unemployment compensation

Cybersecurity

People

Action item 1. Remember these three words

Employee wearing hard hat, safety glasses, and protective gloves while drinking waterMuch of the hard work that goes into preparing schools for fall happens during the hottest months. Maintenance staff, custodians, food service employees, and grounds crews are at risk of heat illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration boiled its summer safety message down to three words: Water. Rest. Shade.

Action item 2. Understand summer project risks

Can you ask employees and volunteers to sign “hold harmless” agreements if they are injured while  helping with landscaping projects, onsite voting, or other summer initiatives? Is your school liable if someone injures themself? Will the Fund defend you if you’re sued?

Before you welcome employees, students, parents, or community members on site to work or volunteer this summer, identify the risks and learn how your coverage addresses those risks.

Action item 3. Take control of your chemical inventory

A new science teacher walks into a chemical storage closet so cluttered it looks like a tornado struck. Tucked away in corners are dusty boxes filled with even dustier bottles of acid, alcohol, and sulfides.

It all makes for a hazardous, and expensive, formula.

It’s usually more expensive to compliantly dispose of chemicals than it is to purchase new chemicals. Remember, however, that expired chemicals can pose serious safety risks. With students gone, add "take control of our chemical inventory" to your summer risk management checklist.

No-cost resources

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Property

Action item 1. Prepare schools for an active hurricane season

Satellite view of hurricaneTeaching kids and serving communities during a pandemic was challenging enough. Some schools also weathered last year’s record-breaking hurricane season.

Forecasters expect more of the same this season.

Tornadoes, floods, and power outages often extend hundreds of miles from a hurricane’s center.

Visit our hurricane season toolkit for the resources you need to protect your people, property, and vehicles.

Action item 2. Protect unoccupied facilities

Unoccupied and sparsely occupied classrooms and administrative offices could catch thieves’ and vandals’ eyes this summer. You can discourage them by simply maintaining a presence.

Assign staff to walk property at different times of day. You could also ask the community to help. Make sure neighbors know who to contact if they see suspicious activity.

Action item 3. Verify the Fund has an accurate inventory of your property

Reporting your property inventory is an important duty of Fund membership. You can also use inventory data to launch a preventative maintenance program that extends the life of your property and saves money for your organization.

No-cost resources

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Vehicles

Action item 1. Prevent tire blowouts

No summer risk management checklist would be complete without tire blowout prevention best practices.

Asphalt roads soak up summer sun during the day. All that heat can cause your tires’ internal pressure to expand beyond capacity. 

Proper inflation is key to preventing blowouts. Check the owner’s manual or the Tire and Loading Information Label on the driver’s side door for the proper pounds per square inch.

Reference your white and yellow fleet owners’ manuals, as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for more tire maintenance guidance.

Besides reducing the risk of blowouts, properly inflated tires save as much as 11 cents per gallon on fuel and last an additional 4,700 miles on average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Action item 2. Verify the Fund has an accurate inventory of your vehicles

Reporting an accurate vehicle inventory is an important duty of Fund membership. You can also use inventory data to implement a fleet preventative maintenance plan that extends your vehicles' lives and saves money for your schools.

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Safety and security

Action item 1. Make sure everyone understands their role

Five children in a bounce houseWith COVID-19 cases falling, your schools might welcome more volunteers and community members on site this summer.

Camps, sporting events, and elections are some of the activities that will soon play out on campuses across Texas.

Administrators and employees should work together to make safety a priority.

Action item 2. Community colleges: Work on your state-mandated security audit

Texas law requires community colleges to complete a safety and security self-assessment by September 15, 2021. The assessment considers security factors such as emergency operations plans, facility security, and business continuity.

No-cost resources

Get expert advice on completing your community college safety and security audit in our on-demand webinar. You’ll also learn how to make safety and security year-round priorities.

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Unemployment compensation

Desktop sign that reads benefit fraudAction item 1. Protect your organization from fraud

The federal government increased unemployment benefits because of the pandemic. As a result, suspicious claims jumped from 1,142 in 2019 to 234,268 in 2020, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

TASB Unemployment Compensation Attorney James Ezell reminds members to review their quarterly statements for suspicious activity that could indicate benefit fraud.

Follow these steps if you suspect a claim is fraudulent:

  • Call the claimant and ask if they filed a claim.
  • If they did not file a claim, email James Ezell the name as it appears on the claim form, the last four digits of the Social Security number, and their phone number. The TWC can call the victim, and James will have the claim canceled. Please include all information in one email for everyone, and do not send unemployment applications or other TWC forms. Please do not include full Social Security numbers.
  • Direct the victim to file an identity theft report and notify their credit reporting bureaus.

Action item 2. Issue letters of reasonable assurance

District administrators should make sure letters of reasonable assurance (LRA) have been issued to employees who will have a scheduled break of one week or more over the summer or in the coming school term. The LRA could protect your district against current claims that extend into summer break.

No-cost resources

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about protecting your organization from unemployment compensation fraud.

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Cybersecurity

Action item 1. Comply with the annual cybersecurity training requirement

Computer hacker wearing black jacket with hood, talking on cellphoneTexas law requires school district board members and employees to complete cybersecurity training by June 14 of every year. Fund members with Privacy & Information Security coverage benefit from a State-approved, on-demand training course at no additional cost.

Get more risk management checklists

For more guidance, visit our checklists for managing risks common during spring and winter

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*This InsideRM summer risk management checklist provides an overview, not a comprehensive list, of best practices. For more guidance, use the related resources and work with your TASB risk solutions consultant.

Tagged: Auto, chemicals, claims, compliance, coverage, "cyber security", "disaster preparedness", "emergency management", "first report of injury", flood, "severe weather"