It is hard to believe that three years and six months ago I left my keys on the desk and walked out of my office door for the last time. Who would have thought that after that much time I have been asked to write for the MTMIC Newsletter?

Normally I start my dialogue with a weather report from the Arizona desert but, after my recent trip to Michigan on a joint business and personal trip I will confirm that 90 degrees with 90% humidity is roughly equal to 108 degrees with 15% humidity. For the first time since 2013 my wife accompanied me to visit the kids and grandkids. It was great for her to see them but the 5th grade graduation ceremony in a packed non-air-conditioned gym was a reminder to both of us how warm it can get in Michigan.

Some of you may know that I have not completely disappeared from the roster at MTMIC. I continue as an employee of MTMIC as an underwriting consultant to the President. The company has continued to flourish in my absence and the staffing has remained at the same level, except for the addition of me in a part-time capacity.

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By Chris Demeter, Senior Loss Control Consultant

The term “robot” readily evokes a mental image to most people. Depending on your age, it could be R2D2 from the Star Wars movies, the Mars Land Rover, or you may have iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner. In 1954, George Devol developed the first programmable Robot. It weighed two tons and was controlled by a program on a magnetic drum. Nowadays, the number and type of robots are changing rapidly.

Industrial robots are designed to move materials, as well as perform a variety of programmed tasks in manufacturing and production settings. They are often used to perform duties that are dangerous or unsuitable for human workers, such as repetitious work that causes boredom and could lead to injuries because of the inattentiveness of the worker.

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SHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time. According to their website, they are extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to electronically submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A. Updates will be posted to the following OSHA webpage when they are available.

https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/index.html

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Once again MTMIC will be sending out a customer survey to gather your input on how we are doing. If you receive an email from sales@mtmic.com for a Survey Monkey survery, please complete it so that we can continue to improve our service. Should you have any questions, please contact Patty Allen at (248) 725-0013.

 

Our Annual Meeting will be taking place on October 19th, 2017 at The Inn at St. Johns in Plymouth, Michigan.


We are excited to announce that Dr. James E. Blessman will be one of our featured speakers at the Annual Meeting

As a graduate of Cass Tech High School, University of Michigan, and Michigan State University, Dr. Blessman is board certifed in both Internal Medicine and Occupational Medicine. He is also an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine Public Health Sciences, where he has practiced preventive medicine for over 25 years. He has served in many roles to include Medical Director for Risk Management at the City of Detroit for 18 years with overlapping roles as the Medical Officer of the Detroit Health Department for 8 years. He has also served on several boards of directors and national committees where his knowledge of occupational and environmental medicine has been highly sought. He currently serves as the CURES COEC co-director, which helps to connect WSU environmental health research with the community, as well as the medical director of occupational health services for Michigan Urgent Care. His passions surround optimizing health through both hazard reduction, and health promotion, emphasizing social tness through a tool known as the Citizen Report Card. His vision is a “City of A’s”, which is why he can often be seen with “the hat”.

Normally, each month, I give you a technical critique on some Workers’ Comp issue or provide an update on company financials. Often, our members ask me about an update on the Members’ Dividend Program. Since the Member’s dividends were delivered in March and we’re still early in the year to give any financial predictions of 2017, I thought I might use this time to tell you about my upcoming four-year anniversary as President of MTM.

At the annual meeting, I often start out by telling you about the amazing MTM staff. Our employees at MTM, on average, have been with the company for over 20 years. In fact, a statement I often use at the annual meeting is, in 2017, we had no new hires, 2016, no new hires, 2015, no new hires, 2014, no new hires, and I was the last new hire when Gary Wood retired in 2013. Pretty amazing to say that we have had no staff turnover in four years. And the last staff turnovers we have had have all been because of retirements. This staff stability means that you have been dealing with Glenda for over 35 years, you’ve been dealing with Chris for 25 years, you’ve been working with Donna for 25 years. And I could go on. You know the managers and staff members of MTM very well.

The same stability applies to the MTM Board. Eight of our 10 Board members have 1been with the company for 15 years or more. A few of them have over 25 years of experience with MTM. The Board has been committed to member needs and yet gives the insurance professionals latitude to do what we do best. I am appreciative at every meeting for the guidance they provide the MTM management team.

There’s no surprise that with the vision of the Board and the insurance expertise of staff that the results have been remarkable. In my four years, we’ve seen the member count increase by 24%. We’ve seen the financial stability, as measured by surplus, increase 149%. At the same time we increased the member surplus of the company, we have returned $9.5 million in owner dividends. These outstanding results are possible because of the three-legged stool: loyal membership, a good Board, and a technically-competent staff.

On the personal side, one of the reasons I have been able to focus on company issues is that family issues have been minor and rare. My wife Patty has been tolerant of me for 42 years. What most people do not know is that not only did Patty and I date through college, but she also chased me in the kindergarten playground. Of course, she was much bigger than I was and, therefore, could out run me. But I have pictures of this event and can say in a small town of Boring, Oregon, she did not select me, because of any wonderful attributes, but because in a tiny town – I was probably a high rating “pick”. The Karlen family includes my son who is very tall, very blonde, and very smart. Therefore, I have no genetic ties to him whatsoever. He is an electrical engineer/patent attorney in Seattle and London. Ten years behind Little John is my daughter, Laura. She just graduated from Western Michigan in Integrated Supply Management and will soon be off the family payroll as she starts her job with Rolls-Royce.

So, you have a little bit of an update on the company results over the last four years and a little more of a picture of my family. I have to say it has been a fun and quick-paced four years for me at MTM. I expect much like the recent past, for the next few years the pace will stay the same (or even speed up) and that the challenges will likely be similar.

I am looking forward to a couple long summer weekends and, in the meantime, will greatly enjoy visiting and touring your shops.

Thursday, October 19th

The Inn at St. Johns
Plymouth Michigan

By Donna Motley, Vice President of Claims

What is entailed in processing a Workers’ Compensation injury claim? Once the claim form is submitted and set up in our system, it is more than just processing and paying the medical bills. In most cases the injured worker is treating with the employer’s Occupational Clinic. It is the Claims Adjusters’ responsibility to assure the employee is receiving proper treatment, with the appropriate medical personnel; and if necessary, have treatment of the injured worker transferred to a physician specializing in said injury. Orthopedic physicians specialize – back, shoulder, knee, foot, elbow, hands, etc. A mucular condition would be referred to a Physiatrist.
We monitor each and every doctor appointment the employee attends. If an appointment is missed or rescheduled, we want to know why. We follow up for the necessary disability slip the injured is required to submit to their employer.

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With spring weather finally arriving, many companies are now hiring summer interns or have youth employment. There are some tricky pieces to young employment that are worth sharing with you. First be advised or warned that youth employment rules are strictly enforced. Regulators take great care of providing an extra layer of protection for employees under 18 years old. Let me cover some of the restrictions that apply to employees under 18. The law is clear about occupational duties that are restricted based on age. Employees under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in ANY hazardous or injurious occupation. The regulations then specify some of the items included in their hazardous or injurious tasks: driving, working power equipment, exposure to hazardous substances or chemicals, driving hoisting apparatus such as lift trucks or Bobcats, running any power driven metal forming, punching, or shearing machines, running circular saws or band saws or involvement in any building maintenance such as roofing or painting.

There is a narrow exception of some of the above tasks. The exceptions are permitted in order for students to be enrolled in state approved career or technical education training or apprentice programs. They must be specifically approved and documented.

The Michigan child labor laws also require adult supervision for any employee under 18 years of age. These rules become even more strict if the employee is under the age of 16. The good news for the summer is that the many rules dealing with limited hours during the school year are not a factor. But just a red flag for the rest of the year, the child labor laws are very specific to make sure that the hours are limited and do not infringe upon youth school activities.

At the beginning of this topic I mentioned regulator enforcement is aggressive and punishment for violations is significant and severe. A first violation is imprisonment for one year, and a fine of $2,000. A second violation is a $10,000 fine and 10 years of imprisonment. The Department of Labor takes seriously their role in requiring safe environment for employees under the age of 18.

Even with these restrictions, student interns are a helpful resource and a benefit for both the company and the youth employee. At MTM we use interns to help us with mass mailings, filing, and other office duties. The youth gets to build some experience for their first resume and the company gets some tasks taken care of that are difficult to accomplish during the regular business day. I expect that our member shops have seen the same rewards for both their company and for their kids that are involved.

If you run across a question on this, please do not hesitate to contact us and we can go over it in more detail with you. The law is four pages, single-spaced, we are happy to share that with you for those that are interested. Until next month, I hope you enjoy the spring weather and we will get ready for the warm days just around the corner.

By Donna Motley, Vice President of Claims

Have you ever watched people as they walk down a street, or walk through the mall, or sit in a waiting room? Almost everyone has their cell phone in their hand. Notice the position of their head while they stare at the phone screen. Their head is bent forward! This position causes a strain to the muscles and tendons in the neck and shoulders; and possibly the low back. This position changes the natural curvature of your neck. Your neck moves forward, your shoulders round forward or lift up toward your ears and your neck and shoulder muscles spasm (contract). Neck muscles are designed to support the weight of your head, about 10 – 12 pounds. According to the Cleveland Clinic, research shows that for every inch you drop your head forward, you double the load on those muscles. Looking down with your chin to your chest can put approximately 60 pounds of force on your neck. Dr. Dean Fishman, a Chiropractor in Plantation, Florida has coined this condition, this repeated stress injury, as: Text Neck.

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