Controlling your risk by Bob Carruth

As Risk Control Manager for the NCACC, Bob Carruth manages the operation of the Risk Control Team for the Risk Management Pools. The team assists members with development of safety policies and programs and identification of liability exposures and controls. Carruth is a Certified Safety Professional and is certified as an Associate – Risk Management.  For archives of this column click here

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Aug 04

Are you trained?

Posted on August 4, 2015 at 4:57 PM by Todd McGee

Every year in June, I get the honor on behalf of our pool members to attend the Annual Conference of Risk Management and Safety Professionals from throughout the United States. As I write this column, I am reminded of the vast and complex environment in which our profession operates. I have had the opportunity to meet many individuals, who on a daily basis, keep their eyes and ears alert for dangers that could spell disaster in the lives of our employees and our citizens. In addition, the work they do saves millions of tax dollars each year for public entities, resulting in better and more cost effective use of the public’s money.

For our pool members, we are fortunate to have several of these full-time risk managers and safety coordinators who work hard to help our individual counties achieve greatness in protecting human lives. For most of our members, however, it not possible or feasible to have a dedicated, fulltime position to handle this sacred duty. For them, the duties of risk management fall as an additional duty on another staff member in departments such as human resources, finance, general services, or the county manager’s office.

It is important for whoever is responsible for your risk management efforts to receive the training necessary to establish and administer your risk management program. At the pools, we offer several training opportunities at no cost to our members. These resources include access to a varied video and resource library, on-site consultation to your staff by one of our field staff, and two regional meetings each year in the spring and fall to allow for networking and sharing of ideas. 

All of these are included as a part of your pool membership. Although these provide some of the tools needed, there are other resources for pool members. These include other conferences, workshops, and seminars as provided by the N.C. Safety & Health Council, the American Society of Safety Engineers, and the Public Risk Management Association. Each of these organizations provides many opportunities throughout the year for those in risk management to gain additional expertise. 

For many of our entities, however, attending this training is cost prohibitive. For this reason the Risk Management Pools established an annual scholarship in memory of Frank Bonner, who was a pioneer and guiding force in the formation of our pools more than 30 years ago. It was through his leadership that we have now become the dominant force in providing risk management services for North Carolina counties through our insurance, claims management and loss risk control programs.

Once again, it is time to solicit for applicants for this year’s scholarship. This scholarship pays the conference fees and related travel expenses to attend targeted safety and risk management professional training. In the past, we have focused solely on attendance at the Public Risk Management Institute. It will be held this year in Albuquerque, N.M., in November. This is a time for attendees to network and learn valuable skills from risk management professionals from around the world. 

In addition to the PRIMA Institute, we are expanding the options this year for the first time. There are several opportunities that can also be valuable to our members – these include the Public Sector MESH program offered by the Safety & Health Council of North Carolina, which is also offering a public sector safety management course in both Charlotte and Raleigh, and the American Society of Safety Engineers, which offers several safety seminars, including the Region VI Professional Development Conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in September. Each of these provides valuable topics to help with the professional development of your risk & safety staffs.

The criteria for applying for the Frank Bonner Scholarship are very easy. The applicant must be either in a full-time risk/safety position, or a significant portion of their daily duties involve risk & safety responsibilities. In addition, the person chosen must available to travel and participate in the selected training event. The time for application is now open, and the final selection will be made by the end of July. If you are interested in applying for the scholarship, please fill out the form on the NCACC website ( If you need additional information, contact Kathy DeMay at (919) 719-1117 or

The professional development of our risk and safety professionals is very important for our continued success as an organization. As we work to improve the professional skills of our risk professionals, please take advantage of the many training opportunities available, including the Frank Bonner Scholarship. If you have any additional questions about any of our training opportunities and resources, feel free to contact me.