Risk Management Award Winners Showcase Safety, Dedication to Public Service


Clockwise: Dorchester County, Lancaster County, Greenwood County and Georgetown County are honored at the 2023 SC Counties Insurance Trusts Risk Management Awards.

Successfully putting out a two-day landfill fire with no injuries reported from the multiple county, state, volunteer and other agencies involved in extinguishing the blaze.

Implementing QR codes so the public can quickly report issues at county parks.

A safety awareness detective program prompting county employees to find clues in key areas with important protective equipment.

These were just some of the risk management and safety initiatives recognized at the recent the SC Counties Insurance Trusts awards ceremony.

 “The awards are one way we say thank you to those hard-working problem solvers who are dedicated to keeping county residents and employees safe around the clock,” said Robert Benfield, SCAC Director of Insurance Services. “Risk management often means working behind the scenes to mitigate potential losses and minimize the impact of unforeseen events, and we want to spotlight these outstanding public servants for their leadership and dedication.” 

Each year the awards are given to recognize counties who have made significant achievements in their risk management and safety programs. See below for more details about the 2023 winners and brief descriptions of their efforts.

Barnwell County: Most Improved County Award; Outstanding Safety Achievement Award

The Barnwell County Landfill caught fire on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Six local fire departments responded and began spreading water on the fire until 10 p.m. At 7 a.m.  Monday the fire returned, fully involved, and crews soon started working to cover hot spots. At noon, responders from the Barnwell County Emergency Management, Buildings and Grounds, County Administration, State Emergency Management, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Contol, Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority and Public Works Departments, Medshore EMS, Aiken County, Beaufort County, Dorchester County, Hampton County, and the SC Forestry Commission were heavily involved in working to cover hot spots.  By 4 p.m., the fire was almost completely cured. 

That evening, the Aiken County Civil Air Patrol provided assistance with drones to show hotspots that needed to be covered.  Fire departments from the City of Barnwell, Barnwell Rural, Blackville, Elko, Long Branch, Red Oak, and Williston were all on site. There were two local contractors called in to help move dirt along with the Public Works and Solid Waste employees.  Bulldozers and manpower were provided by the State Forestry Commission and other counties.  A tent was set up for heat/sun exposure and water was available.  Everyone was kept hydrated, and  there was no heat exhaustion or burns reported. Thanks to collaboration and teamwork, no injuries of any type occurred. 

Berkeley County: Sustained Excellence Award; Outstanding Safety Achievement Award

Berkeley County Government purchased wheel dollies for fleet garages to reduce the chance of strains and sprains when changing out large tires and wheel assemblies. The dollies are made of heavy-duty tubular steel and can tote up to 300 pounds. The bent arm handle design improves leverage making loads easier to lift while minimizing back strain. The dolly features onboard rollers that make stud-to-hole alignment a snap, and a spring-loaded kickstand that stabilizes the dolly for parking when not in use. The wheel dolly is designed to handle 24” to 48” tire and wheel assemblies with ease. The wheel dolly gives technicians the leverage they need to easily remove or install large car, truck, and SUV tire-and-wheel assemblies all while reducing the chances of injury.

Dorchester County: Sustained Excellence Award; Outstanding Achievement Award

Parks and Recreation posted QR codes at the four County parks so the public can scan with mobile devices and quickly report issues.

Georgetown County: Outstanding Safety Achievement Award

The Central Safety Committee developed a Safety Awareness Detective Program to increase safety awareness throughout the county. A total of 30 paper magnifying glasses were hidden throughout county departments with safety questions written on them. When an employee found the hidden magnifying glass, they would have to bring it to the risk manager and answer the safety question. If they answered it correctly, they won a gift card. Clues were hidden in strategic places so employees could be more aware of where fire extinguishers were located or areas where housekeeping issues would arise. Clues were also hidden on county vehicles to encourage vehicle walk around inspections. If a job required personal protective equipment, a clue would be hidden near the PPE to determine if employees were using the proper equipment for the task.

When an employee answered the safety question correctly, their picture was posted so other employees could learn from the answer. This project increased safety awareness throughout the county by allowing all departments to participate.

Greenwood County: Outstanding Safety Achievement Award

The Greenwood Fire Services division partnered with the County Public Works department to clear roads of debris during inclement weather such as severe thunderstorms, snow and ice storms or following tornadoes. The crews include two-to-four person teams that respond in a four-wheel drive vehicle and operate chain saws to clear roads of downed trees. The Public Works department responds with two crews equipped with a loader/backhoe and dump truck or trailer to load the debris and remove it from the roadside. The county equipped all personnel with full protective gear including chainsaw chaps during the past year.

Horry County: Sustained Excellence Award; Outstanding Safety Achievement Award

 Horry County Public Works led a collaboration with Horry County Fire Rescue and Horry County Storm Water to build a new multi-department Permit Required Confined Space training program.

Kershaw County: Outstanding Safety Achievement Award

 The KC Works Well Committee was established as a creative approach to workforce development and promoting the importance of health and wellbeing among all employees. The goal was to emphasize that members of a health workforce have improved quality of life; benefit from a lower risk of disease, illness, and injury; and are more productive at work with a greater likelihood of contributing to their communities.

Lancaster County: Sustained Excellence Award; Outstanding Safety Achievement Award

Lancaster County EMS hosted an active shooter class for police, fire, EMS, and Emergency Management. This allowed all agencies to come together, coordinate response plans, treatment, and transport of people involved in a potential active shooter event. Participants responded to a “hoax call” at a middle school. The cost of the class was offset by partnering with the State Law Enforcement Division and offering more than one class in the state.

Laurens County:  Outstanding Safety Achievement Award  

 The Laurens County Judicial Complex Physical Security Plan was implemented including  ID badges for all county employees, assigning required employees scan badges for secured areas/doors, installing 10 new first aid cabinets with contract servicing and four new AEDs in cabinets with signs, adding a large monitor for viewing cameras at the metal detector, installing 35 panic buttons throughout complex and in courtrooms that are monitored 24/7 and goes through E 9-1-1 if pulled. In addition, the county offered CPR/AED training to all employees, removed two trees blocking camera visibility in the parking lot, and replaced/installed lighting around exterior doors and on the building.

Colleton County also received a Sustained Excellence Award.

SC Counties Property & Liability Trust Lag Time Awards

            Sumter County            .69 Days

            Saluda County             .73 Days

            McCormick County    1.07 Days

SC Counties Workers Compensation Trust Lag Time Awards

             Fairfield County                      .08 Days

             Colleton County                     .12 Days

             Spartanburg County                .12 Days

             Lancaster County                    .26 Days

SC Counties Workers Compensation Trust Experience Modifier Awards

             Spartanburg County                .55

             Abbeville County                      .62

             Calhoun County                       .64

             Saluda County                         .64

See more about the Risk Management Awards categories and criteria.