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Pinnacol safety leader: Custom solutions keep workers safe

March 23, 2023
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Pinnacol’s Director of Safety Innovation and Strategy Josh Kreger has built the state’s largest team of certified safety professionals in Colorado. They work tirelessly to identify hazards and propose solutions for potential danger zones that might injure workers for Pinnacol’s more than 50,000 employers in every corner of the state. While Pinnacol has maintained a proactive safety services team for more than 30 years, Kreger has created an even more strategic and innovative team since he joined Colorado’s state-chartered workers’ compensation carrier three years ago. Kreger’s philosophy prioritizes specific workers’ needs based on the specific demands of their jobs, a modernized approach that Pinnacol Assurance has taken over historical “compliance and control” efforts at the macro level of a business, some of which are still prevalent in other areas of the industry today.  

“Our approach is fundamentally about the worker and keeping them safer, because we care deeply about the impact of workplace injuries on families, work cultures and communities,” said Kreger.  

Kreger’s team deploys a combination of data tools, industrial and organizational training, and one-on-one tailored consulting. Occupational and process safety consultants address the unique risk profiles of employers and the tasks their workers perform, from breweries to dog kennels to nonprofits to large construction contractors; they partner with employers to protect our most important asset: Colorado’s workers. 

Pinnacol’s data shows that workers’ claims fell by more than 60% in the following year inside businesses that took advantage of Pinnacol’s safety offerings, and that success is due in large part to Kreger’s unique leadership perspective: When it comes to safety in the workplace, Colorado workers are a solution to harness, not an inherent problem that needs to be controlled.  

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Small businesses have unique needs 

Small employers comprise more than 99% of Colorado’s businesses and employ more than 1.2 million workers. While many carriers evaluate worker safety support based on their employers’ overall premium value, Pinnacol offers safety support services to every business regardless of the size of its premium amount. 

“Colorado employers and their workers know that safety matters, but if they have to go learn it all alone — it’s too much to ask of an artisan baker and  first-time entrepreneur that they turn their focus away from launching their business to become an OSHA expert or safety culture leader overnight," said Kreger. “The state of Colorado has entrusted my team and me to walk with employers of all sizes and their workers throughout their specific safety journeys, and we take that responsibility very seriously.” 

A state-of-the-art safety philosophy 

From his time at RTD-Denver, Denver Water, and the midstream oil and gas sectors, which are customarily safety sensitive, Kreger knows that creating safer workplaces is a complex, multifactorial endeavor that requires a partnership with the individual workers who make an employer successful, whether they work in a 10-foot-deep construction trench on Colfax Avenue or on the top of a wind turbine at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills. 

As mentioned earlier, Pinnacol meets every employer where it is in its unique safety journey without judgment or a predetermined agenda laid out by underwriting teams. Pinnacol’s Safety Services team delivers tailored support that helps workers and employers do their best work. Also, Pinnacol’s team of safety professionals are uniquely and intentionally separated operationally from its underwriting and claims leadership for a specific reason — Pinnacol’s safety team reports to the Colorado worker.

Kreger continued, “We are forging partnerships with industry-leading customers, service providers and academic institutions to build science-backed and workplace-proven tools that innovate past the ways that safety has always been done.
“There was a time when insurance companies were a leading force in safety. We’re going to do it again.”

Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.

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