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3 Tips to Keep Drivers Safe and Save on Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 13, 2021

3 Tips to Keep Drivers Safe and Save on Truck Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and in PA and beyond.As you know, good drivers aren’t easy to come by, so keeping them as safe as possible on the road should be a top priority. Keeping your drivers safe has the added benefit of lowering Truck Insurance costs and other costs associated with accidents. 

According to CNBC, people who drive for a living – driver/sales workers and truck drivers – are in the sixth most dangerous job in the U.S., with 96 fatal injuries and 78,520 non-fatal injuries in 2018. If you can lower the number of your drivers involved in accidents, you can reduce employee turnover, increase employee morale, and decrease costs, such as insurance premiums, claim payouts, lost workdays, etc. 

Here are three tips to help keep your drivers safe, lower the number of accidents, and improve your company’s bottom line. 

Encourage Defensive Driving

Dictionary.com defines defensive driving as “the practice of using driving strategies that minimize risk and help avoid accidents, as by predicting hazards on the road.” Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Looking Ahead – It takes longer for a truck carrying a heavy load to stop than it does a car, so truck drivers need to look ahead to see and anticipate potential hazards, such as stopped traffic. 
  • Keeping Eyes Moving – Drivers who are on the road a long time often become complacent to their surroundings. Truck drivers should always be scanning their environment – looking at what is ahead and around them and using side and rearview mirrors to see what is behind them.
  • Maintaining a Buffer Zone – It’s impossible to predict what other drivers will do, and trucks have very limited maneuverability, so truck drivers should always establish and maintain a buffer zone around their vehicle. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “If you are driving below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length. For a typical tractor-trailer, this results in 4 seconds between you and the leading vehicle. For speeds over 40 mph, you should leave one additional second.”
  • Having an Escape Route – Maintaining a buffer zone should minimize the need to swerve; however, sometimes stopping in time just isn’t possible. Drivers should always consider escape routes available to them if they need them.
  • Keeping Cool – Driving can be stressful, and there are plenty of inconsiderate drivers on the road. Becoming angry or aggressive while driving doesn’t help. Aggressive driving can include passing where prohibited, following improperly, erratic lane changing, etc. Between 2003 and 2007, aggressive driving played a role in 56 percent of fatal crashes. Truck drivers need to keep their cool at all times and slow down to allow aggressive drivers to get well ahead of them. 

Properly Maintain Vehicles

A poorly maintained tractor-trailer is not only a danger to your drivers; it’s a danger to everyone around the vehicle – other drivers, pedestrians, bikers, etc. A blown tire or a faulty brake can be deadly. Plus, a well-maintained vehicle will last longer. 

Therefore, it is in your best interest to maintain your fleet with a regular maintenance schedule. That schedule should include a plan to prevent brake wear and failure, testing to avoid engine problems, frequent oil changes, replacing parts subject to wear and tear, inflating tires to the right levels (which will also help you save on fuel bills), and more. Here are 14 maintenance tips for trucks. 

Another component of vehicle maintenance is the pre-and post-trip inspections. Federal law requires drivers to submit a Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) for each power unit they operate. These inspections include checking the brakes, turn signals, lights, fuel system, and much more. 

Pre- and post-trip inspections help save time, money, and lives. A pre-trip inspection helps ensure drivers are operating a safe vehicle before they hit the road, and post-trip inspections allow time to fix issues before they need to go back on the road.  

Consider the Use of Technology

Consider using technology to help keep your drivers and your fleet safe. Do your research to determine what will work best for your drivers and your fleet. Some technology to consider:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – According to the NHTSA, ESCs are designed to “reduce untripped rollovers and mitigate severe understeer or oversteer conditions that lead to loss of control by using automatic computer-controlled braking and reducing engine torque output.” The NHTSA states, “We believe that ESC systems could prevent 40 to 56 percent of untripped rollover crashes and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes. By requiring that ESC systems be installed on truck tractors and large buses, this proposal would prevent 1,807 to 2,329 crashes, 649 to 858 injuries, and 49 to 60 fatalities at less than $3 million per equivalent life saved while generating positive net benefits.”
  • Eyelid Monitoring – This type of system uses a cabin-mounted camera to monitor drivers’ eyelids and alert the driver if their eyelids droop.
  • Automatic Brakes – This type of system uses radars to apply automatic brakes if an imminent crash is detected.
  • Continuous Remote Data Feed – Computers can warn drivers if disturbing driving habits, such as swerving, are detected. Safety managers can also use videos.

Doing what you can to keep your drivers safe just makes good business sense. 

Ready to Save on Truck Insurance?

Another thing that makes good business sense is having the right insurance coverage at the lowest price. Because American Insuring Group specializes in Truck Insurance, we can help you determine the right insurance coverage for your business, whether you're in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, or elsewhere in PA and the tri-state area. Because we’re independent agents, we research multiple carriers to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for that great coverage.

So, give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: truck insurance, Business Insurance, Trucking Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance

Could an Installation Floater Help You Save on Contractors Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 23, 2021

Save on Contractor's Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Pittsburgh, State College, and throughout Pennsylvania - Call us today.Contractors face many perils in the course of a job, and Contractors Insurance is crucial to protecting their equipment, materials, supplies, etc., against those perils. Commercial Property Insurance is one type of coverage most contractors purchase, but it is typically limited to losses that occur on the job site. 

Commercial Property Insurance usually provides little or no coverage for materials, equipment, machinery, or supplies in transit or storage. Builders Risk Policies – such as Installation Floater coverage – can fill that gap. 

What is Installation Floater Insurance?

The International Risk Management Institute defines Installation Floater coverage as “inland marine coverage on property (usually equipment) being installed by a contractor. Essentially a specialized type of builders risk coverage that is often written on the same form used to provide builders risk coverage.” 

It is designed to cover property that is being installed or awaiting installation. Every floater is different and is based on the needs of the contractor. Typically, an Installation Floater covers materials, equipment, machinery, supplies, and personal property while it is…

  • Stored off-site
  • In transit
  • Being staged
  • Being installed 

Installation Floaters typically cover new construction and remodeling projects and can be written as a single project policy or a blanket policy. Anyone with an insurable interest in a project can purchase this type of insurance. 

Installation Floaters typically cover most risks – fire, theft, traffic accidents, vandalism, etc. – but may exclude perils, such as earthquakes, floods, sewer backups, employee theft, etc. 

What Makes Installation Floaters Different?

Installation Floaters offer tailored protection that can cost less than typical Builders Risk Insurance, making it ideal for some contractors. 

For example, sometimes, standard Builders Risk Insurance does not extend to subcontractors; therefore, Installation Floaters can be beneficial to contractors or subcontractors with a limited scope of work on a project. 

Installation Floaters may also be beneficial to contractors that perform work that is typically excluded from Builders Risk Insurance. The installation of high-value equipment or materials, such as HVAC units, solar panels, windows, doors, roofing, and electrical systems is often excluded from Builders Risk Insurance. If it is included, the contractor is still responsible for deductibles. 

Like most Builders Risk Insurance policies, Installation Floaters typically exclude certain things:

  • Trees, shrubs, and plants
  • Property while it is in the air or on the water
  • Losses during testing
  • Some types of temporary structures, such as scaffolding or temporary fencing 

Having Installation Floater Insurance can provide an added layer of protection that fills any gaps in your Commercial Property and/or Builders Risk Insurance. Choosing which coverage – installation floater or builders’ risk – is right for you can be challenging. 

What is Best for Your Needs?

When determining which type of policy or policies are best for your needs, you need to consider the type of project and the coverage you need. Installation Floater Insurance is usually less expensive and offers narrower coverage, which can make it a good choice for smaller projects. 

The best way to determine the right insurance coverage for your business is to work with an experienced agent. American Insuring Group specializes in Contractors Insurance, and as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you get the lowest cost. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance

8 Restaurant Safety Tips to Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 05, 2020

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs and Workers’ Comp and Liability costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout Pennsylvania.The best way to lower Restaurant Insurance Costs – particularly Workers’ Comp and Commercial Liability – is to create a safer restaurant for everyone –employees, customers, vendors, etc.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in the U.S. in 2018. The total cost of those injuries was $170.8 billion, which included wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, etc. However, it did not include the lower employee morale and productivity workplace injuries cause.

Here are eight restaurant safety tips to help lower costs.

1. Have your kitchen exhaust hood system degreased by a professional every six months.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 7,410 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments reported to U.S. fire departments every year between 2010 and 2014. Cooking equipment was the cause of 61% of those fires. Grease build-up can cause fires that often spread into duct-work, exhaust systems, vents, and fans.

2. Have your fire suppression system checked by a professional every six months.

A properly working fire suppression system can extinguish flames in just a few seconds; thereby, preventing extensive and costly damage.

3. Ensure employees wear proper PPE.

This includes appropriate gloves (dishwashing, cut-resistant, and freezer), oven mitts, aprons, and anti-slip shoes.

4. Invest in anti-fatigue mats.

Anti-fatigue mats provide a cushion between feet and floors and relieve the strain caused by standing for long periods and help prevent slip-related injuries. In addition to minimizing strain and injuries, anti-fatigue mats can help boost employee morale and improve productivity.

5. Provide ongoing safety training for all employees.

OSHA states, “Regular training helps employees learn how to avoid hazards, keeps lines of communication open between you and your employees about hazards you may not be aware of, and lets employees know that you are serious about promoting sound safety policies and work practices in your restaurant.”

Training should include identifying hazards; preventing burns, cuts, slips and falls, ergonomic hazards, and injuries from robberies and assaults: and dealing with emergencies and injuries.

6. Have your employees take alcohol awareness training classes.

If your restaurant serves alcohol, you should have all servers take alcohol awareness training classes. In Pennsylvania, your restaurant can be held liable for damage caused by a customer served or sold alcohol while visibly intoxicated. The right training can teach servers about responsible alcohol consumption and how to protect customers, employers, and themselves.

7. Train your employees on safe food handling.

Every year, foodborne disease causes 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the U.S., and the restaurant industry is responsible for a significant number of those illnesses and deaths.

An NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) report found the cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak ranged from

  • $3,968 to $1.9 million for a fast-food restaurant,
  • $6,330 to $2.1 million for a fast-casual restaurant,
  • $8,030 to $2.2 million for a casual-dining restaurant, and
  • $8,273 to $2.6 million for a fine-dining restaurant

Those outbreaks ranged from a 5-person outbreak with no lost revenue, lawsuits, legal fees, or fines, to a 250-person outbreak, with significant lost revenue, lawsuits, legal fees, and fines.

The NCBI’s conclusion is, “The cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak to a restaurant can be substantial and outweigh the typical costs of prevention and control measures.”

8. Give American Insuring Group a Call Today!

As independent agents and specialists in restaurant insurance, the agents at the American Insuring Group will compare prices and coverage among multiple reputable insurance companies to ensure that you get the right insurance at the best price!

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Business Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Commercial Property Insurance vs. Commercial Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 23, 2020

Commercial  Property Insurance vs Commercial Liability Insurance - do you know the difference?Do you think that Commercial Property Insurance has you covered? Let’s go back to June 2019 for a moment.

Do you remember the fire and series of explosions at Philadelphia Energy Solutions? It released 5,239 pounds of deadly chemicals into the air and took more than 24 hours to extinguish. CNBC reported that it sent shock waves for miles and rained debris on nearby neighborhoods, and that “the blast was so powerful that a 38,000-pound barrel was launched 2,100 feet across the Schuylkill River, where it landed on the opposite bank.”

It was determined that the likely cause of the fire was a faulty pipe. Surprisingly, there were no serious injuries or fatalities. Five workers reported minor injuries, and experts do not believe there will be any health impact from the release of chemicals.

This is a prime example of why businesses need both Commercial Property Insurance and Business Liability Insurance. One covers your property, and one covers lawsuits.

In the Philadelphia Energy Solution incident, Commercial Property Insurance would help Philadelphia Energy repair or replace its refining complex. If the explosion was determined to be Philadelphia Energy’s fault, Business Liability Insurance would help cover any damage the explosion caused nearby neighbors or if the deadly chemicals were to have any negative effects on anyone.

According to the Insurance Journal, four out of ten businesses are likely to experience a property or general liability claim in the next ten years, and the average cost of a customer slip and fall claim is $20,000. Reputational harm claims cost an average of $50,000, and if a lawsuit is involved can average more than $75,000 for legal fees, settlements, and judgments. About 35% of all general liability claims result in a lawsuit.

What is Commercial Property Insurance?

Commercial Property Insurance helps repair or replace your physical assets, such as the building, furniture, computers, inventory, etc. if they are damaged by fire, hail, lightning, windstorms, vandalism, and explosions.  Typically, earthquakes and floods are not covered unless they are added to your policy.

The cost of Commercial Property Insurance is determined by the value of your assets, your location, the construction of your building, your industry, and how close the nearest fire hydrant and fire station are.

What is Business Liability Insurance?

There are many types of Business (Commercial) Liability Insurance that cover different liability risks. Business Liability Insurance protects your business from liability claims against your business by a third party, such as customers, suppliers, vendors, and employees.

Types of Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance helps cover third-party lawsuits, like customers, suppliers, and vendors, but not your employees. It typically helps cover third-party personal injuries, property damage, and advertising injury. For example, if a customer were to be injured after slipping and falling at your business, they could file a lawsuit against you. General Liability Insurance would help cover the costs of that lawsuit.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required for most employers in Pennsylvania. It helps pay for medical costs and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job. It also reduces the risk of an employer being sued by an injured employee.

Professional Liability Insurance (A.k.a. Errors and Omissions Insurance) helps protect businesses against negligence and other claims made against them.

Product Liability Insurance helps cover lawsuits filed due to damages caused by a business’s products.

An experienced insurance agent can help you determine the types of business liability insurance that is right for your business.

Here's How to Save on Commercial Property Insurance and Business Liability Insurance

Here are two ways to save on the cost of Commercial Property and Business Liability Insurance:

  • Bundle the two policies into a Business Owners Policy.
  • Work with an independent agent, like the agents at American Insuring Company, who can compare the cost of your coverage with several different companies.

Want to learn more about lowering your Commercial Insurance Costs? Give one of our independent agents a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Professional Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance, Product Liability Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance

Comply with OSHA and Save on Workers Comp Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Dec 21, 2018
Following OSHA's rules and guidelines can help you save on workers comp insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, PA and far beyondThe Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has a lot of rules and regulations for business owners, and sometimes, those rules and regulations seem like nothing but a nuisance. However, not complying with them, can result in hefty fines.

The good news is that OSHA’s intention is to protect employees from workplace injuries; therefore, following OSHA’s rules can help create a safer work environment for your employees and, in turn, lower your workers compensation insurance premiums.

We’re here to help you better understand OSHA, its rules and regulations, and to help your business comply with them.

About OSHA


OSHA, established in 1971, is a government agency that is part of the US Department of Labor. Its primary purpose is “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” OSHA’s rules and regulations cover most private sector employers and their workers along with some public sector workers.

Since OSHA was established, workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths have decreased significantly. “Although accurate statistics were not kept at the time, it is estimated that in 1970 around 14,000 workers were killed on the job. That number fell to approximately 4,340 in 2009,” according to OSHA. “At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled and now includes over 130 million workers at more than 7.2 million worksites. Since the passage of the OSH Act, the rate of reported serious workplace injuries and illnesses has declined from 11 per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.6 per 100 workers in 2009.”

Fewer workplace injuries and illnesses not only lower insurance premiums, but they also create healthier workplaces and happier employees.

 

OSHA Employer Responsibilities

As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a safe workplace that is free from OSHA-recognized hazards. Here are three ways to do that:

  • Use color codes, posters, labels or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
  • Establish and update operating procedures and safety training and make sure your employees understand them.
  • Ensure that employees have safe tools and equipment that is properly maintained.

It is also your responsibility to follow OSHA requirements, which include the following:

  • Post the OSHA poster that informs employees of their rights and responsibilities in a prominent location.
  • Report all work-related injuries to the nearest OSHA office within eight hours.
  • Keep records of all work-related injuries and illnesses and ensure that employees and their representatives can easily obtain employee medical records.
  • Post and correct cited OSHA violations.

OSHA also encourages all employers to adopt an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Click here to learn more about your OSHA responsibilities.

 

Employee Complaints

There are two main types of complaints employees can file with OSHA against your company as his or her employer:

Safety and health complaint
If an employee believes their work environment is unsafe or detrimental to their health, they can file a confidential report with OSHA requesting an inspection of their workplace.

Protection from retaliation complaint
If an employee who submits a complaint to OSHA feels they have been retaliated against, they can file this type of complaint with OSHA.

Your best defense against both of these complaints is to do your best to create a safe work environment, follow OSHA’s rules and regulations, and keep an open line of communication with your employees.


OSHA Inspections

OSHA can inspect your worksite for any number of reasons including a complaint from an employee; after a severe injury or illness; a referral of a hazard from another federal, state, or local agency, or individual; or if you’re in a high-hazard industry or have experienced a high rate of injuries.

Typically, employers are not notified of an inspection in advance; however, understanding the process can take some of the stress out of the experience.

Preparation
Before conducting an inspection, OSHA compliance officers research the inspection history of the worksite.

Opening Conference
The compliance officer will explain why OSHA selected the workplace for inspection and describe the scope of the inspection, walkaround procedures, employee representation and employee interviews. Both the employer and employee can have a representative accompany the officer during the inspection.

Walkaround
The compliance officer and the representatives will then walk through the portions of the workplace covered by the inspection, inspecting for OSHA violations and hazards that could lead to employee injury or illness.

Closing Conference
After the walkaround, the compliance officer holds a closing conference with the employer and the employee representatives to discuss their findings.


Start Saving on Workers Compensation Insurance Today


Understanding OSHA’s rules and regulations can help keep your employees safer, reduce the chance of an inspection and potential fines, and reduce workers comp insurance costs.

Your Trusted Choice Independent workers compensation insurance agents in PennsylvaniaTo learn how your business can save on workers compensation and all other commercial insurance costs, call our experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Our independence allows us to compare coverage from competing insurance carriers, so you can be confident of receiving the best deal on the right protection for your business in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown and far beyond!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance

The Right Way to Insure Food Trucks

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 09, 2018

Insurance tips for your food truck businessIn 2015, the food truck industry was valued at $856.7 million, and it is expected to grow to $996.2 million by 2020. There are many reasons for this growth including the seemingly easy entry into the restaurant business that it provides.

Low Start Up Costs

You can purchase a food truck for as little as a few thousand dollars, but like any business, it’s imperative that you protect your assets and your business. One way to protect both is with the right insurance.

Insuring a food truck can be a little tricky because it has many of the risks associated with commercial vehicles as well as those associated with restaurant insurance, not to mention all the risks that all businesses face, plus a few that are unique to the food truck industry.

4 Unique Risks

For example, it is more difficult to regulate temperatures on a food truck, which can increase the risk of food contamination and food poisoning. Plus, the small food prep area in food trucks create a greater chance of accidentally exposing customerswith food allergies to allergens. Slip and fall injuries can occur both inside and outside of a food truck, and trucks can be easier to break into than brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Another consideration is Workers Compensation Insurance. In Pennsylvania, It is required for most – but not all - businesses with employeesto have WC insurance. If you fall into the “not all” category, you may be tempted to forego WC coverage to “save money.” But kitchens can be dangerous places where injuries can happen, and medical bills can quickly add up to significantly more than the money you saved.

Don’t Skimp on Insurance

It may be tempting to try to save money by only purchasing the minimum insurance required by law or by the venue where you park your truck, but that minimum may not be enough to protect your business.

For example, many festivals require a minimum $1 million in general liability coverage. You can purchase liability insurance to cover just that event, but then you leave your business open to risks when it’s not at the event. Plus, buying insurance on an event-by-event basis can be significantly more expensive than purchasing it on a yearly basis.

If you keep the big picture in mind when purchasing insurance for your food truck, you allow your business the flexibility and freedom it may need to grow along with the protection you need to stay in business.

To ensure that you have the proper protection, it is best to consult with an independent insurance agent who specializes in food truck and restaurant insurance. We can help determine any mandated minimum insurance requirements along with any additional risks your business may face.

  

Here are some of the types of insurance to consider for your food truck business:

 

1 - General Liability Insurance

This insurance protects your business from lawsuits or claims made by third parties including physical injury, property damage, and legal fees.

2 - Commercial Auto Insurance

This insurance helps cover risks while you are driving your food truck. If you are in an auto accident, it helps cover the cost of medical, repair, and legal expenses.

3 - Business Owner’s Insurance

This insurance combines business content coverage and general liability insurance to cover both lawsuits and damage to your property, and it usually costs less than buying property and general liability coverage separately.  

4 - Worker’s Compensation Insurance

This insurance pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and lawsuits if one of your employees is hurt on the job. 

5 - Additional Insurance

Other types of commercial insurance you may want to consider include…

  • Umbrella Insurance, which goes above the normal limits covered by your liability and auto policies
  • Food Spoilage Insurance, which covers you if your food spoils due to equipment breakdown, mechanical failure, or power outage
  • Loss of Income Insurance, which covers some of your income if your food truck is damaged, and you’re unable to continue operations.

  

Do it Right! Contact Us for Help in Making a Smart Decision

Contact us about food truck insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, PA and more.If you aren’t absolutely sure what you need to properly protect your food truck business, give the independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group a call.

We specialize in restaurant and food truck insurance and can help you sift through all your risks and options in order to properly protect your business. Simply contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to contact us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Small Business Insurance, Business Insurance, Food Truck Insurance

Contractor Insurance & Electrical Safety on Construction Sites

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 02, 2018

Use these safety tips to reduce the risk of electrocution on construction sites!A few weeks ago we introduced you to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Fatal Four – four safety hazards that account for the majority of all construction worker deaths (click here for our post).

Understanding how to recognize and prevent these hazards can save lives, improve employee morale, and help reduce contractor insurance costs.

The Fatal Four include the following hazards (statistics are from 2016).

  • Falls accounted for 38.7% of deaths
  • Being struck by an object accounted for 9.4%
  • Electrocutions accounted for 8.3%
  • Caught-in/between accounted for 7.3%

We covered caught-in/between hazards in our prior post, and will now turn our attention to electrocution hazards. 

 

Electrocution – Death by Electrical Shock

Exposure to lethal amounts of electrical energy causes electrocution, which is death by electric shock. The human body acts as a conductor when it comes in contact with an electrical current and electricity flows through conductors to create complete a circuit.

Exposure to as little as 50-100 mill amperes of current can cause death by electrocution. Most 120 Volt circuits carry 15-20 amperes of current, which is 300 times what is needed to kill someone by electrocution.

Electrical hazards can cause electric shock, electrocution, burns, arc flash or blast, fires, and explosions, which can lead to severe injuries or death. Common causes for electric-related injuries include getting too close to overhead and underground power wires, damaged equipment, faulty wiring, improper cord use, lack of GCFIs, and wet or cramped conditions.

According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health, the major causes of electrocutions in electrical workers and other construction workers in the U.S. between 1992 and 2003 included the following:

  • Electrical wiring and equipment (accounted for the majority of deaths among electrical workers)
  • Overhead power lines (accounted for the majority of the deaths among non-electrical construction workers)
  • Machinery, appliances

Unaware of the Risks

Many construction workers are not aware of potential electrical hazards, which makes them more vulnerable, and it is your responsibility to make your employees aware. OSHAstates, "The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury."

According to OSHA, these the most frequently cited electrical standards involving electrical hazards in construction: 

  • General requirements for electrical conductors and equipment
  • Wiring design and protection
  • Wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use
  • General requirements for protection of employees

 

Electrical Safety Measures That Can Lead to Lower Contractor Insurance Costs 

1 - Overhead Power Lines

Both overhead and underground power lines carry a high voltage. Injuries with power lines are often caused by contact with heavy equipment, ladders, lifts, etc.

The best way to avoid this hazard is to be aware of the location of power lines and maintain a safe distance. OSHA’s minimum clearance distance from overhead power lines is 2 feet for less than 300 volts, 10 feet for 300-50,000 volts, and 10 feet plus 4 inches for every 10,000 volts over 5,000 volts. This area should be cordoned off. If you have no choice but to work around power lines, contact the utility company to have the lines de-energized.

Other precautions include using nonconductive tools and equipment and avoiding the storage material directly underneath power lines. 

2 - Ground-Fault Protection 

According to OSHA, all 120-volt single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets that are not part of the permanent wiring of the structure that employees use must have ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). A GFCI is a fast-acting circuit breaker that shuts of electricity when it senses small imbalances in the circuit. GFCIs only protect against the ground fault, but that is the most common form of electric shock hazard. It also protects against fires, overheating, and destruction of insulation on wiring.

3 - Lockout/Tagout Procedures

This procedure requires that a designated individual be assigned to make sure that all machinery and equipment are turned off and disconnected before performing service or maintenance. That individual will also lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively.

Following this procedure helps safeguard employees from the unexpected energization of hazardous energy during service or maintenance. A qualified person should also be on hand when the locks and tags are removed, and the equipment is re-energized. 

4 - Maintain Cords

There are a lot of portable tools that make life much easier at a construction site, and most of these tools come with flexible cords. These cords can be damaged by staples, rubbing against other objects, or by age. If the electrical conductors become exposed, those cords can become a hazard causing shocks, burns, or even fire. It’s important to regularly inspect all equipment and extension cords for cuts, frays, or exposed bare wires.  

5 – Other Safety Measures

Other safety measures to reduce injuries associated with electrical work include the use of insulation, guarding, electrical protective devices, and compliance with OSHA’s regulations on electrical safety. OSHAoffers many resources to help ensure the safety of your workers.

The safer your employees, the lower your insurance costs. It’s a win-win!

 

Don't Miss This Easy Way to Save on Contractor / Construction Insurance!

Save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, Lebanon, Harrisburg, and more.A great way to lower your contractor insurance costs is to simply contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Our independent agents will compare the cost of your construction insurance options among several reliable insurance companies to make sure that you’re getting the right coverage at the best price!

Call today to get started.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance

Quicker Workers Comp Insurance Claim Reporting

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 25, 2018

Faster reporting of workers comp insurance claims is good for businesses in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, Reading, and beyond!Any good Workers Compensation Insurance (WC) program includes a strategy to ensure quick reporting of injuries and WC claims. 

Claims that are reported quickly are easier to evaluate and determine primary liability. The longer you wait, the more difficult that becomes. 

Therefore, learning how to shorten the reporting time should be a major goal when it comes to your Workers Comp program. 

Here are six tips you can take to help ensure that claims are reported quickly:

1 - Educate Management

Too often, the reason an injury isn’t reported promptly is that management and staff are unsure how to report the injury. Make sure that management knows the specific process for reporting injuries including a contact person to make sure the injury is filed quickly. Your WC insurance carrier and third-party administrators should be able to assist you with that information.

2 - Educate New Employees

All new employees should be made aware of your company’s WC process including written documentation of your WC insurer and other contact information along with written documentation regarding how work injuries should be reported and the information an injured employee will need to report that injury.

It should also be made clear to all new employees that your company places an emphasis on safety and reporting injuries promptly and that injured employees will not be penalized in any way.

3 - Keep Employees Informed

Good communication is the key to any good WC program, so it’s important that you keep your employees informed about your company’s WC process both before and after an injury occurs. This might include posters, safety meetings, etc.

You should also issue and post quarterly safety reports. State industrial commissions usually require this; however, you would do well to go beyond the minimum requirements. Those reports should highlight safety improvements within the workplace, so employees understand the critical role they play in keeping their workplace safe. 

4 - Create a Company-Wide Culture of Safety

A good WC program focuses on creating a culture of compliance and consistency where the emphasis is on creating a safe workplace and when an injury does occur that it is reported quickly, honestly, and ethically. For workers to buy into this type of culture, it needs to include senior-level leaders. Without the full support of upper management, the culture will break down. 

5 - Eliminate Accident-Free Incentives

Accident-Free incentives – where employees receive a cash incentive for a certain number of accident-free days - are well-intentioned and often look like a good idea on the surface. The idea is that employees will be incentivized to work safely to receive the reward.

However, studies have shown that this type of incentive ends up making employees feel as if they can’t report their workplace injury. If you want to provide employees with an incentive, a metric that encourages timely reporting of workplace injuries is a better idea.

6 - Make it Easy for Employees to Report Injuries

Technology offers many opportunities for employers to make it easier for employees to report injuries, which means WC claims are reported more quickly. Technology can also allow employees to provide more detail about their accident along with relevant documentation.

Because most employees today have smartphones, a good option is an app. These apps are affordable and easy to implement. Features that are included with most of these apps include the ability to upload the first report of injury to the employer, insurer, and other stakeholders; easy communication between the claims management staff and the injured worker; and payment status and direct deposit of indemnity benefits. 

 

Ready to Save on Great Workers Comp Insurance?

Contact us to save on PA Workers Compensation Insurance!The agents at American Insuring Group can help you set up a Workers Compensation plan that promotes quick reporting of injuries, which can lead to more successful resolution of WC claims. PLUS, we can help you save a bundle on great insurance!

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Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Business Insurance

4 Seat Belt Safety Myths for Truck Drivers

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 18, 2018

Seatbelt use can help lower the cost of truck insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, PA and beyond. Contact us to learn more.One of the best ways to reduce truck insurance and other costs is to reduce injuries, and one of the best ways a trucking company can do that is to ensure that ALL drivers wear seatbelts when they are operating a vehicle. Plus, it’s the law, and failure to use a seat belt can result in fines.

Pretty simple, right?

Seat Belts Save Truckers!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved over 12,000 lives in 2001. One recent study reported that 23 percent of combination truck, single-vehicle crashes involved the driver not wearing a safety belt. There is also data that suggests that not wearing a seat belt can be indicative of other risky driving behaviors.

The good news is that the majority of people in vehicles are wearing seatbelts.  According to the NHTSA, 90% of people riding in vehicles were wearing seat belts in 2016. The one in ten who aren’t buckling up leave themselves more vulnerable to injuries and death if they’re in an accident. Younger males and commercial truck drivers are among the most likely NOT to wear a seat belt.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 84% of medium and heavy-duty truck and bus drivers were wearing seat belts in 2013. The rate for passengers in these commercial vehicles was even lower – 73%.

5x as Likely to Die Without Seatbelts – Need a Better Reason?

Here’s what the Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis by the University of Wisconsin found during an analysis of 13,854 crash victims found:

  • Persons not wearing seat belts were 5.4 times as likely to die as those wearing belts.
  • Persons not wearing seat belts were 91% more likely to be hospitalized than those wearing belts.
  • Persons not wearing seat belts were 14% more likely to have EMS transport

So, you can see how not wearing a seat belt can affect your trucking insurance costs and your company’s bottom line.

 

Here are 4 myths about wearing a seat belt to share with your drivers: 

 

#1 - I don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt if Driving a Short Distance

An accident can happen anytime. If you have to make a sudden stop, or if you’re involved in an accident, your seat belt will keep you in your seat and help to prevent injury or death that can occur from being thrown from your seat into the steering wheel, dash, or windshield or even out of the car.

#2 - Passengers don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt

According to a 2001 NHTSA report, 60% of all passengers killed in traffic accidents were not wearing a seat belt. 

#3 - I’m Safer Without a Seat Belt

Many people think that it’s better to be thrown clear of the vehicle in the event of a crash. Statistics show otherwise. A person is four times more likely to be fatally injured when thrown from a vehicle.

In 2016, more than 200 truck occupants and drivers died when they were ejected from their cabs during an accident. Wearing a seatbelt can keep you from being dragged along the ground, being crushed under a vehicle, and being thrown through a windshield.

#4 - If I’m a Good Driver, I Don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt

You may be an excellent driver, but unfortunately, not all drivers on the road are. Plus, there are sometimes factors beyond your control – bad weather, mechanical failure, or a tire blowout – that can cause you to have an accident.

If you want to keep your employees safer and reduce your insurance costs, make it clear to your employees that wearing a seat belt is a requirement, not an option!

 

Here’s an Easy Way to Lower Your Truck Insurance Cost!

Your Trusted Choice Independent Trucking Insurance Agent in PennsylvaniaAnother way to reduce the cost of commercial vehicle insurance, including both trucks and cars, is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group.

We specialize in truck insurance and will compare the costs and features of competing insurance company policies to make sure that you’re getting the best price on reliable coverage.

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Business Insurance, Trucking Insurance

How to Get Injured Employees Back to Work ASAP

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 11, 2018

Strategies to lower your WC costs by getting employees back to work fasterThe majority of injured workers are back on the job within four days.

The longer an injured employee is off the job, the more it costs your company and the less likely the employee will return to work, so one crucial goal of any Workers Compensation Insurance program is to keep injured workers on the job or to get them back to work as quickly as possible.

Here are two time-tested strategies you can use to get your injured workers back to work ASAP: 

1 - Communicate

You should begin discussing your Workers’ Compensation program when an employee is hired. Most employees don’t understand how a WC program works or what is expected of them if they file a claim. Letting them know there is a process in place and that there are certain expectations from the start, can help save a lot of headaches down the road.

All new employees should be given a brochure about your Workers Compensation program including the following information:

  • How medical treatment is provided
  • How and who will pay the bills
  • Your company’s return-to-work (RTW) process

The brochure should clearly state that there will always be an investigation following an accident, that the employer wants the injured employee to return to work as soon as possible, and that they will not be punished for getting hurt.

That same brochure or an abbreviated version should be given to the employee when they are injured, so they have a step-by-step guide for the process. These brochures can help injured workers understand the process and allow them to become engaged in their recovery.

However, it isn’t enough to simply hand an injured employee a brochure. One of the most effective ways to get an injured employee back to work is through direct communication. There’s a good chance that employee is confused or overwhelmed and may feel alone in the process. You need to let them know that they are not alone and that you have their best interests at heart. 

A supervisor or manager that the injured employee knows and trusts should call the worker the day the injury occurs or the following day at the latest. Let them know that you’re sorry they were hurt and ask them how they’re doing. Let them know that they are a valued employee, and you want to get them back to work as soon as they are able. Let them know what to expect and what they need to do and answer any questions they may have.

Then there should be weekly conversations to monitor the employee’s progress. A get-well card can help too.

2 - Create a Designated List of Health Care Providers

The WC laws in each state are a little different, but in Pennsylvania, employers have the right to establish a list of designated health care providers that injured employees can use for 90 days from the date of the first visit. If an employer does not have a list of selected providers, provide written notice of the injured employee’s rights and responsibilities, and properly post the list, injured employees can go to the physician of his or her choice.

The advantage of having injured employees stay within your designated network of medical providers is that you can choose physicians who are well versed in occupational health issues. These physicians will understand that getting an injured employee back to work is not only in the best interest of the employer but also the employee. Research has shown that most people recover and heal faster if they are participating in productive activities rather than becoming a couch potato.

Here are some requirements for a designated list of health care providers from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry:

  • The list must contain at least six providers
  • Three of the six providers must be physicians
  • No more than four providers may be coordinated care organizations
  • Each provider’s name, address, telephone number and area of medical specialty must be included on the list
  • Listed providers must be geographically accessible and their specialties appropriate for the anticipated work-related medical problems of the employees

It's a Win-Win

A speedy transition from injury to return-to-work is a win-win situation and doesn’t need to be complicated. If you clearly communicate your WC and RTW processes and expectations with all employees from the start, regularly communicate with an injured employee, and show concern for the well-being of your injured worker, you’ll be able to get him or her back to work more quickly.

 

Save Big on WC Insurance - Contact Us Today! 

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Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Business Insurance