FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Working for the betterment of employees is something Forsyth County’s Risk and Safety Manager Charity Clark enjoys.
It’s almost as if her job was made for her when it was created by the county in 2008. Her position combines her background in human resources and finance through analysis and financial impact to the county.
“It was a perfect fit for me that it balances the two,” Clark said.
The two main components Clark and her team look into are safety and insurance, such as claims, workers compensation and protecting the county’s assets. Sometimes her department has to serve as the middle man between the county attorney and the insurance company.
She enjoys analyzing losses to try and come up with ways to improve, often looking at it from a numbers standpoint.
“That can be through safety improvements for employees, such as if we notice a lot of injuries in a certain area we can figure out ways to improve that,” Clark said. “This will provide a safe place for employees to work. I look at those numbers and know they have a far more reaching impact which is the quality of life for employees.”
One of her biggest accomplishments was getting the county self-insured on its workers compensation coverage. While it was transparent to the employees, Clark said it allowed the department to readjust resources to be able to bring in and enhance some of the projects provided to employees. This status allows Clark and her staff to have more input into the claims process to be able to have more decisions when it comes to treatment of employees, handling legal matters or services provided.
Now, funding will be allowed for an employee safety incentive program and they will be able to bring in a specialist to look at jobs to determine if there are safer ways to complete the jobs.
“Our employees are our biggest asset in government, especially with public safety providing life-saving services and others providing critical services like water and sewer,” Clark said. “To be able to keep them safe and return them home the same way or better than they came to work is in the forefront of our goals and objectives.”
She often enjoys taking a trip down memory lane and comparing where the county was eight years ago before the creation of this department.
“Our programs are more robust. We’ve saved the county lots of money. Our employees have better equipment. We can sometimes provide a voice for them either through the insurance companies or county administration for better conditions or equipment,” Clark said. “Overall we try to enhance and provide a service to the departments so they don’t have to worry about a lot of those issues.”
The risk and safety department is a win-win for all involved, Clark said.
“We provide a critical service to our departments that provide critical services to the citizens,” she said. “We are a backbone of the departments to make sure we are protecting the assets, such as employees, through safety. We always have our customers, who are the departments and citizens, in mind. Without them we wouldn’t have a purpose. We want to be able to resolve any type of claim or issue that anyone has fairly, efficiently and effectively.”