Eric Wick

Eric Wick

About the Founder

My name is Eric Wick and I founded Safety Team Technologies in 2023. For over fifteen years I’ve worked alongside small business owners to help minimize their risk of doing business. One of the things I find most rewarding in my career as a risk manager is giving business owners peace of mind while protecting their hard-earned assets.

As a business insurance specialist, I have had much success in the insurance industry by being a fierce advocate for my clients. While most insurance brokers spend their time competing for new clients based solely on price, I take a bigger picture approach.

Of course, minimizing insurance premium for our business clients is important; however, there are many additional risk-reducing resources that brokers can bring to the table. Add-on risk and safety services will not only reduce insurance costs for my clients, but also improve the overall long-term health and productivity of their businesses.

I decided early in my insurance career to become an expert on OSHA compliance and safety regulations for small to mid-size businesses. To learn the ropes, I set a goal to observe as many OSHA audit inspections as possible. Whenever a client of mine became the subject of an OSHA audit, I would request to be present during the inspection. I would make it a point to befriend the OSHA inspectors. I would act as a dry sponge that was ready to soak up as much safety compliance knowledge as I could. This way, I could help other clients proactively prepare for these unpleasant experiences.

After sitting in on more than a dozen OSHA audits, I noticed a recurring issue. Most small businesses in higher risk industries (about 85%) were not hosting and documenting recurring safety meetings for their employees.

The OSHA inspectors would start each audit meeting by requesting to see the IIPP (Injury, Illness, Prevention Program). The IIPP is a living document that needs to be both implemented and maintained by all businesses operating in higher risk industries.

It was readily apparent that business people could do last minute preparations for their OSHA meeting by printing an IIPP template off the internet, then customizing it with their logo and business name.

Many elements of the IIPP can be printed off the internet and quickly customized. However, when the inspector would ask to see 12-24 months of safety meeting attendance records, this is when a major problem became clear.

It was surprising to me just how few businesses comply with their responsibility to regularly train employees on the safe way to do their jobs.  Especially with contractors who should be documenting safety meetings every 10 working days.

Additionally, OSHA isn’t the only trending threat to businesses when it comes to safety. Attorneys who represent injured workers often include safety training documentation as part of their discovery process when investigating an injury claim. If a disgruntled or injured employee alleges their employer makes no or very little effort to provide safety training, it opens the business up to new legal exposures such as add-on lawsuits that are not covered by insurance.

Ever hear of a Serious & Willful Misconduct Violation?
You can learn more about ithere

A macro-trend in many states is lawyers adding Willful Misconduct lawsuits against companies when they represent an injured worker. They can prove willful misconduct if an employer violates any OSHA safety regulation such as not hosting recurring safety meetings.

Now that I was equipped with knowledge that many small businesses were struggling to implement adequate safety training for their employees, I began to offer to organize safety meetings for new clients. This was a very effective tool to sell more insurance. As expected, the service was highly effective at bringing on new clients. Unfortunately, my time was limited, and I was beginning to stretch myself too thin.

For clients that had primarily Spanish speaking employees, I would resort to presenting Spanish language safety videos to workers. Most Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies offer free libraries of safety videos in English and Spanish to their policyholders. My activity included choosing an appropriate, industry relevant safety video for a particular client and downloading the video to my laptop. Then, I’d drive out to a jobsite, lug a large projector screen, projector, extension cord, Bluetooth speaker, and laptop. I’d put my hard hat on, enter the jobsite and awkwardly begin setting up my presentation. After having a foreman gather the guys around for the safety video, we’d pass around a clipboard with an attendance form so each employee could sign their name.

When I got back to my office, I’d scan the attendance form and email it over to my client. My commitment was to perform these safety meetings for select clients once per month.

My clients ranged from licensed contractors to manufacturing companies, wholesalers, transportation companies and janitorial companies. All benefited from my willingness to host their safety meetings for them.

One day, there was a bad accident that changed everything. One of my clients, a licensed framing contractor with 70-80 employees, had an employee fall twenty feet from a ladder.

The employee was badly injured and hospitalized. A day later, two OSHA inspectors were at the jobsite and, per protocol, requested to see an IIPP along with safety training attendance records among other hazard assessment records.

While the OSHA reps commended my client for having over twelve months of safety meeting attendance records, their safety training program was still deemed unsatisfactory and a penalty was issued.

So, what was the issue? Per Cal OSHA guidelines (many states have similar guidelines as California) for licensed contractors, safety meetings are supposed to be held every 10 working days, AND they are supposed to be held at every jobsite!

My client immediately contacted me and asked how much they’d have to pay me to start conducting meetings every 10 working days and at all their jobsites. My immediate response was “there is no way I can logistically do that”.

This specific incident is what helped form the idea to create a fully automated, mobile technology solution for safety meeting compliance. It is clear to see there exists an urgent issue affecting a high number of blue-collar business owners that do not have the time or resources to comply with legal safety training requirements.

Safety Team’s mission is to solve this problem by offering a software platform that will automate the scheduling, hosting and documentation of your legally required safety meetings. Safety Training should be affordable and accessible to every business that lacks the time and resources to host the meetings on their own.