March 2014 Newsletter

What is Loss Prevention? 
By: The LSPA Loss Prevention Committee

Why should LSPs care about Loss Prevention?  For LSPs, a "loss" is any adverse practice outcome. A loss can often be avoided through proactive management strategies.  So "Loss Prevention," as used by the LSPA, is essentially proactive risk management. 

Everything undertaken and said by an LSP in the conduct of business comes with some level of risk. An LSP's goal should be to provide an appropriate level of professional services with minimal risk.  For the LSPA Loss Prevention Committee, an unacceptable risk is a risk that likely will lead to loss of income, loss of license, or loss of professional reputation. 

An LSP provides Waste Site Cleanup Activity Opinions under the LSP Board's Rules of Professional Conduct and the applicable provisions of the MCP (especially the section on RAPS).  An LSP needs to act with reasonable care and diligence, and apply the knowledge and skill ordinarily exercised by LSPs in good standing practicing in the Commonwealth at the time the services are performed.  The rendering of Waste Site Cleanup Activity Opinions and services associated with the rendering of such Opinions are referred to as Professional Services by the Board of Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals.  In providing Professional Services, an LSP interacts with many parties, including the client (generally the PRP); other professionals and related service providers; regulators and authorities; and sometimes the public.  Each of these interactions has the potential for adverse outcomes. 

The LSP has a substantial arsenal of tools available to manage these risks.  The LSPA, through its Loss Prevention Committee (LPC), is committed to assisting its members by providing the information needed to put these tools in place.  In general, these professional risk management tools fall into four categories.  Each category is identified below with some examples of risk-reduction steps an LSP can take: 

A. Professional Practice:

  • Achieve the level of knowledge and skill of LSPs in good standing
  • Know the limitations of your knowledge and skill
  • Identify and use necessary technical and complementary professionals and services
  • Know practice issues
  • Know developing technologies
  • Know current regulatory requirements, interpretations and expectations
  • Be involved with regulation development and changes
  • Know practice standards expected for your license
  • Establish and follow standard operating procedures
  • Clearly and precisely present your assumptions and support your conclusions
  • Qualify findings based on data available and don't overstate work outcomes
  • Know what you don't know   

B. Business:

  • Learn what is needed to run a profitable business
  • Manage work scope and financial commitments using contracts with clients         
  • Manage promises to clients; don't over-commit and under-budget
  • Track and communicate to your client regulatory submittal deadlines
  • Establish standard contracts that are firm and share risks in accordance with rewards
  • Establish standard contracts with subcontract professionals and service providers
  • Communicate both good and bad news to clients in a timely manner
  • Communicate regularly with your client regarding work progress, budget, tasks and outcomes.
  • Take proactive measures to try to avoid unanticipated problems
  • Take prompt measures to address problems when they arise
  • Take active role in professional organizations  

C. Legal Strategies:

  • Know the benefits and obligations of various legal structures for your business; use those that are appropriate
  • Understand and use available asset protection strategies, as appropriate
  • Understand and use contract terms that limit liability
  • Consider contract terms that limit litigation to alternative dispute resolution or arbitration
  • Use third party reliance restrictions in your contracts and deliverables  


  • Understand the protections provided by various forms of insurance and your obligations
  • Have appropriate amounts of insurance in place for potential exposures, or self-insure   

The LPC has worked since the founding of the LSPA to communicate information on risks and to provide LSPA members with guidance, tips, and resources to help manage risks.  Management techniques for these various risks have been the subject of numerous articles and presentations by the LPC.  The LPC works hard to have a column in each newsletter. Each year lessons learned from the review of MassDEP Notices of Audit Findings are communicated in the newsletter and presented at a membership meeting.  These presentations often include case histories demonstrating areas that could benefit from improvements in professional practices.Top-ten lists of practice issues are periodically created to provide lessons learned from the MassDEP work product reviews.  In addition, tips on how to better manage your business practices are often provided.The compendium of articles and presentations produced in the past five years found here provide examples of the depth of resources available. We hope you use these terrific resources!