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Workers' Compensation for Supers

8 Critical Steps to Construction Contractor Safety

8 Critical Steps to Construction Contractor Safety

Safety should be the top priority for all contractors in the construction industry. We all know that hardhats, safety glasses, and steel-toed boots are part of the norm, however what reduces accidents and deaths, and leads to lower premiums, is an efficient and effective safety plan.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 150,000 construction site injuries occur every year, and almost 19% of all workplace fatalities happen in the construction industry. In construction, detailed precautions can prevent big problems, and creating a safety plan is a great place to start.

1.      Create a Safety Plan

The contractor's first responsibility to it's workers is to maintain a safe work environment. This plan should be comprehensive, memorialized, and issued to every worker at the job site. Your plan should highlight emergency procedures and policies, identify hazards, provide for safety training, and record incidents as they occur. At least one manager should be identified as a “Safety Manager” and have the responsibility of training workers according to the program.

2.      Fall Prevention

The most notorious accident on job sites results from falls, particularly when it comes to the use of ladders. Ladders should be inspected regularly for broken steps, missing bolts, and any damaged parts, and always, without fail, placed on a level area. Workers should be aware of the one-to-four rule, which means the bottom of the ladder should extend about one foot for every four feet the ladder will be extended.

3.      Lift and Carry - Manual labor on construction sites typically involves more precautions when lifting or carrying heavy equipment. Statistics reveal that one in five workers will suffer from a lower back injury during their working lifetime. To help reduce back injuries, have employees bend from the knees while their feet are about shoulder-width apart, and be sure to shift their feet to change direction when carrying objects close to their waist level.

4.      Ergonomic Equipment - To help workers reduce fatigue, avoid injuries and strains, and to increase productivity, construction contractors should consider investing in ergonomic equipment. This would include safety items such as ladder caddies, rubber handled power tools, and seat cushions, which work with the worker's natural movements and reduce the risk of musculus-skeletal disorders than result in back pain.

5.      Heat Stress - Workers should be made aware of the three stages of heat stress, cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Workers should be trained to hydrate properly before and during work by drinking 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes. Workers outside in extreme heat should have work tents or umbrellas to reduce the heat from the sun.

6.      Electrical Safety - After falls, electrocutions are the leading cause of construction fatalities. Workers should be instructed to inspect electrical equipment regularly and above all, stay clear of the water when working with electrical equipment. Damaged electrical cords should always be replaced rather than spliced or taped.

7.      Worker Visibility - Workers involved with side of the highway work or directing traffic around a construction site should always be provided with bright orange or yellow clothing or vests. This philosophy is even more important for highway work taking place during nigh time hours.

8.      Natural Hazards - Most workers don't consider an insect bite as a natural hazard until it results in an injury that prevents them from going to work. Insect bites and stings are very common in construction areas and can lead to serious injury if a worker has an allergy to the bite and attempts to continue working.

With many construction jobs, new workers are brought on board that may or may not have much construction experience. These new workers should be thoroughly trained on job-site safety to maintain a safe working environment, and reduce injuries while on the job.

Safety in the workplace will always be the employer's first line of defense when it comes to the cost of workers' compensation insurance. If you have questions about construction contractor safety contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600 to discuss your concerns. 

5 Ways to Reduce Workers' Compensation Claims

5 Ways to Reduce Workers' Compensation Claims

Any business that has witnessed their Workers' Compensation rates creeping up over the years, certainly understands that claims are the culprit behind policy increases.

The average claim amount continues to rise along with the cost of health care, and diagnostic testing. As employers sustain these continued increases it becomes more difficult for an organization to realize a profit. In some areas of the balance sheet, there may be little that can be done to reduce costs and increase profits. As a result, the employer must pass the additional costs on to the consumer and hopefully remain competitive.

In this circumstance, the best way to turn a larger profit is to strategically manage your Workers' Compensation policy.

Claim Reduction = Lower Rates

As we know, most states control workers' compensation rates, which are set according to the class of business. When a business knows their costs of workers' compensation in advance, they can set their prices for services and products accordingly. But when they experience claims during the year they are subject to rate increases resulting from claims that are filed. Knowing this, the employer's best defense will always be a great offense, and that can be accomplished by implementing Physical Abilities Testing (PAT).

1.      Pre-Employment Tests - It makes sense that a worker who may not be physically capable of performing basic job responsibilities is more likely to experience “on-the-job injuries” than a worker who is physically capable. Implementing a pre-hire physical abilities test can help the employer make certain that the prospective employee is physically capable of completing the physical tasks associated with the position. The test should be based on the specific tasks related to the job and be administered after a conditional employment offer has been made. If the employee fails this portion of the PAT, the employment offer can be rescinded.

2.      Pre-Transfer Testing - Just because an employee can easily lift 50 pounds doesn't necessarily mean that they can also regularly walk 300 yards from one end of a warehouse to another. Employees that are being considered for transfer to another job with different physical demands should also be tested for physical abilities specific to the new tasks required following the transfer.

3.      Re-Testing - Physical abilities can change over time, especially for employees that have aged or put on weight during their employment. In order to make certain that current employees remain physically able to complete employment-related tasks, re-testing over time will ensure that your employees will remain fit for the tasks they're expected to perform.

4.      Tests due to Reasonable Suspicion - Employees returning from leave due to health reasons may not be as physically fit as they claim. A reasonable suspicion should lead to physical testing to make certain they are still physically able to complete work-related physical tasks. An employer owes it to the employee to make certain they are physically able to safely perform their duties. PAT testing will allow both parties to confirm this and can also protect other workers in the workplace.

5.      Post Injury Testing - Post injury testing of employees returning from work after an injury will help promote safety in the workplace. The testing will take the guessing out of the return to work decisions and enable the employer to devise a return to work plan if needed.

A well-designed and implemented physical abilities testing program that is used consistently in the workplace can reduce workers' compensation claims resulting in stable rates year after year. Physical Abilities Testing (PAT) is a proven and cost-effective strategy for improving a company’s ROI. If you have questions about workers compensation contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600 to discuss your concerns. 

Key Facts About Commercial Property Insurance

Key Facts About Commercial Property Insurance

The Commercial Property Insurance policy was designed as a monoline (stand alone) policy to accommodate commercial property owners that need to insure their building and contents. The policy will pay to repair damages to the building and its contents or completely replace them if adjusted as a total loss. The policy does offer additional coverage that is typically required by the property owner. 

Building Coverage

Building coverage is provided on a replacement cost or actual cash value basis. When the insured selects replacement cost coverage they are assured of receiving the funds needed to replace the building in a new condition less any selected deductible. Selecting the actual cash value insures the building for the depreciated cost of repairing or replacing it. 

Business Personal Property (contents) 

This coverage provides protection if any of the contents, which includes furniture, office equipment, equipment, and inventory is damaged or destroyed due to a covered peril. The business personal property can also be insured on a replacement cost or actual cash value basis. 

Business Interruption Coverage

Typically, most policies will include or allow the endorsement of this valuable coverage to your policy. This coverage will pay to reimburse the property owner that must relocate temporarily while the property is under repair as a result of damage caused by a covered peril. The insurer will typically pay the reimbursement on a monthly basis until the building is suitable to be occupied and the business can assume normal operations. 

Additional Coverage

Like many other insurance policies, the commercial property insurance policy can be endorsed to allow for additional exposures. 

  • Data Protection – Many insurers will allow Data Protection to be added to the policy. This coverage will pay for damages in the event of a data loss resulting from a computer breach or virus. 
  • Computer Protection – This provides an additional layer of protection specific to computers and viruses that may cause damage. 
  • Intangible Coverage – Reimburses the business owner in the event of a financial loss due to copyright and trademark infringement. 
  • Off Premise Coverage – This additional coverage can be added to provide protection for business assets that are located at off premise locations such as trade shows or exhibits. 

Coverage Needed but Not Found in Real Estate/Commercial Property Policies

  • Ordinance or Law - Surprising to most, even when building upgrades are required as a result of code changes, they're normally not covered.
  • Hired and Non-Owned Auto - You and your employees may be liable for property damage and bodily injury if involved in an at-fault accident while traveling for work related purposes.
  • Worker's Compensation - If you employ a building superintendent, janitor, or any other employee either full-time or part-time, you will be responsible for work-related injuries or illnesses unless they are covered by a workers' compensation policy.

These gaps in your normal insurance coverage are precisely why we personalize and customize your policy to meet your needs. By partnering with you and understanding every aspect of your property, we are able to determine the appropriate types of coverage to help you manage your everyday risks. Our intention is to make certain you are properly covered and often save you money in the process.