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Improved safety programs offered by the Workers Compensation Fund of Utah are the main reason companies insured by the fund had an 11 percent decline in accidents in 1995, according to Lane Summerhays, president.

Since 1992, the companies insured by the fund (27,000, or 55 percent of Utah businesses) had 25 percent fewer accidents, the result of aggressive safety and loss-prevention inspection and consultation and training programs offered by the company's 20-member safety and loss-prevention team.Summerhays said one of the benefits of the accident reduction is declining premium rates. In 1994 the rates declined 10 percent and in 1995 they dropped another 8 percent.

Also, the fund distributed $31 million in dividends to 24,000 of its policyholders in May.

"By helping our customers identify and eliminate workplace hazards, we are able to reduce the number of claims filed every year. Strong safety programs along with other improved services allow us to pass on savings to our policyholders," said Summerhays.

The fund doubled the size of its Safety and Loss Prevention Department in each of the past two years and now has 20 safety specialists who tour work sites, examine existing safety programs, evaluate hazard areas and recommend improvements.

Also, fund safety specialists conduct monthly seminars to teach policyholders how to better safeguard their job sites. The seminars focus on controlling workplace injuries, safety programs for small business, supervisors' safety, conducting accident investigations, identifying hazards, fleet and driver safety and construction safety.

The free seminars are available to any fund policyholder. The next one will be held on Thursday, June 13, in Price. Reservations can be made by calling 288-8105 or 1-800-446-2667, extension 8105.

Employers also can obtain safety and loss-prevention information from the fund's resource library, consisting of books, manuals, brochures and computer CD-ROMs.

Other seminars are scheduled for Aug. 29 in the fund offices, 392 E. 6400 South; Sept. 12 in Ogden; Sept. 19 in the fund offices; Sept. 26 in Vernal; Oct. 3 in the fund offices; Oct. 10 in Provo; Oct 17 in the fund offices; Oct. 24 in St. George; and Nov. 7 in the fund offices.