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Heavy Equipment Safety and Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 17, 2018

Tips for safely dealing with heavy equipment in the construction industry, resulting in lower contractor and commercial insurance rates in PA, including Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, Erie and beyond. Whenever the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its list of the deadliest jobs in America, some type of construction work is on that list.

According to the BLS, there were 991 fatal work injuries in construction in 2016. They listed first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers as the ninth deadliest job with 134 fatal injuries and a fatal injury rate of 18 per 100,000 workers.

Roofers were number four (behind only aircraft pilots, fishers, and logging workers) with 101 fatal injuries and a fatal injury rate of 48.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers.

It's Wise to be Properly Insured 

No one would argue that construction is a dangerous job, and one of the elements that make it dangerous is the use of heavy equipment. According to the Center for Construction and Research Training (CPWR), vehicles and heavy mobile equipment caused 7,681 deaths from 1992 to 2010 with about 404 deaths annually.

Plus, even when vehicles and equipment are involved in an accident, they are often not listed as the cause of death. Given these facts, it's clear that having the proper contractor insurance is key for those in the construction industry. 

Types of Dangerous Heavy Equipment

Cranes have been the most dangerous heavy equipment machinery used in the construction industry for the past two decades. CPWR found that from 1992 through 2006, 632 of all the construction fatalities reported were caused by cranes. In 2008, crane collapses caused 25 deaths and 59 injuries, contact with overhead power lines resulted in ten fatalities and eight injuries. Contact with crane load caused six deaths and ten injuries.

But cranes aren’t the only dangerous type of heavy equipment. Here is a list of the top five most dangerous construction equipment:

  1. Cranes
  2. Bulldozers
  3. Dump trucks
  4. Backhoes
  5. Excavators

Heavy Equipment Safety

Yes, experience does go a long way to ensure the safety of heavy equipment operators and those working around them. The danger comes when someone who has been working on the job for a long time is lured into a false sense of security and lets their guard down.

Distractions Can Cause Accidents

Today, one of the most common dangers may be simple distractions – both external and internal - that can affect veteran and novice heavy equipment operators alike, and many of these distractions can be avoided.

Before cell phones became so ubiquitous, many heavy equipment operators listened to radios. This was distracting enough (and could keep the operator from hearing if something is wrong with the machinery or someone is shouting at them), but cell phones have taken that distraction to a whole new level. 

Today’s cell phones allow operators to listen to music, text, watch videos, play games, check social media, search for information online and make phone calls. Some operators use earbuds to block out external noises. All of this can lead to distraction and danger.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has addressed the use of cell phones in cranes. OSHA states; “The [crane or derrick] operator must not engage in any practice or activity that diverts his/her attention while actually engaged in operating the equipment, such as the use of cellular phones (other than when used for signal communications).”

While OSHA doesn’t address this with other types of heavy equipment, it’s a smart safety measure to employ across the board to both operators and those working around heavy equipment.

Do You Have a Safety Policy? 

The best way to avoid distractions of any kind and keep your workers safe is to have a safety policy in place that forbids the use of cell phones while operating or working around heavy equipment, educate workers on that policy, and address any issues as soon as they arise.

Protect Your Business with the Right Type of Insurance

Get the right insurance for the construction industryUnfortunately, accidents still happen, but the right insurance can help protect you and your employees if an injury does occur. Workers Compensation Insurance, which is often a state mandate, can provide wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job.

Commercial Liability Insurance can help protect your business from lawsuits. Various types of insurance can be combined to create a custom Contractor Insurance policy as well. 

To learn more about these and other types of commercial insurance, call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

 

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance, Heavy Equipment Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Construction Insurance 101: Protecting Construction Equipment from Theft

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 25, 2018

Lower Your PA Construction Equipment Insurance Costs With These Important TipsHave you ever arrived at one of your construction sites eager to start the day only to find that a piece of heavy equipment is missing, and a $250,000 lump is forming in your throat?

Theft of building materials, tools, or heavy equipment can set a project back and cost you thousands of dollars, not to mention raising your commercial vehicle insurance rates.

But it isn’t just about the cost of replacing the stolen equipment; it’s also the associated costs of theft such as lost productivity, rental fees, project overrun penalties, and higher insurance premiums.

Construction Equipment Theft Trends 

Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) reports indicate that theft accounts for more than fifty percent of heavy equipment loss and is increasing up to 20 percent each year. Experts estimate that losses (including associated costs) from construction site theft is $1 billion or more each year.

How To Protect Your Construction Site From Theft 

While those statistics are frightening, there are steps you can take to make your site less attractive to would-be thieves, to make it more difficult for them, and to help reduce theft on your job sites:

Develop and enforce a theft prevention policy
First, you need to assess the job site. Some safety measures apply to any job site, while others are more site-specific. For example, some job sites – such highway projects that move every day - are more difficult to secure than others. All of your managers, employees, and subcontractors should be aware of the consequences of theft and specifically your prevention policy.

Secure your job site 
For some job sites, fencing is your first line of defense. Ideally, fences should be made of a see-through material (so thieves are visible from the outside), at least eight feet high, with barbed wire or razor tape at the top. Since gates tend to be the most vulnerable part of fencing, have only one entrance whenever possible and use high-security padlock that uses a key rather than a combination, which is easily shared with thieves. Keep track of who is assigned a key and where those keys are at all times. Post “Warning: No Trespassing” signs along the perimeter of your worksite. Lighting – which is low-cost, flexible, and can be used with other security devices – around the perimeter directed at the job site is also a key deterrent.

Secure your equipment
Lock up all tools and building materials in storage boxes and cargo trailers with tamper-resistant locks and chains. Securing heavy equipment can be as simple as removing batteries or lowering blades and buckets. You can also add additional security measures such as locks that immobilize controls or keep the wheels from moving, alarms, and fuel and ignition cut-off switches.

Unlikely to Recover Stolen Equipment 

Even with all these measures, determined thieves sometimes find a way especially when you have no choice but to store your equipment in an unprotected and remote location. According to the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), as little as 10 to 15 percent of equipment stolen from work sites is ever recovered. Again, that statistic is frightening, but there are steps you can take to improve the chances of recovering your property.

How to Improve Your Chances of Recovering Stolen Equipment

Keep detailed records of your equipment
Starting in 2000, equipment manufacturers began using a standard worldwide 17-digit product identification number (PIN) system. Engrave this number on all of your equipment so that police can easily identify it if it is recovered. Keep track of all equipment on the worksite including photos, make, model, and PINs.

Register your construction equipment
Register your equipment with a company like the National Equipment Register or the Heavy Equipment Registration to help law enforcement identify and recover your equipment.

Get Protected - Get the Right Insurance
The final theft protection available to you is the right insurance. Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance usually only covers your equipment in the event of damage, not theft. Builders risk insurance is designed to protect your equipment in the event of losses caused by theft and other perils that can occur, and inland marine insurance, also known as tools and equipment insurance, is designed to protect property in transit.

Contact Us for the Best Insurance to Protect Your Construction Equipment

American Insuring Group specializes in all types of commercial insurance and can help determine the best insurance to protect your equipment. Give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610)775-3848 or contact us online.  Our independent agents are free to shop the insurance market of competing providers, matching up your needs with their policies to find the best fit at the right price. Don't delay, call today to get protected and start saving!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance

Do You Need Builder’s Risk Construction Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Nov 04, 2014

What is Builder's Risk Insurance?


Builder's Risk Insurance - We offer construction insurance coverage in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, York, Lebanon, Hershey and surrounding areas. Call us for a free quote.Builder’s Risk Insurance (a.k.a. Course of Construction Coverage) is property insurance that covers damage to a building during construction.  It may cover just the structure itself, or it can include materials, fixtures, and/or equipment being used in the construction or renovation of the building.  

Why Builders and General Contractors Need It

Builder’s Risk Insurance is often required by lending and municipal authorities. It can be required as a condition of many contracts, and it can apply to both new project construction and remodeling projects.  It protects the custom builder or general contractor from financial loss due to damage.  Builder’s Risk Insurance is sometimes purchased by the ultimate owner of the property, the lending institution, or others.

What Does it Cover and How Much Insurance is Needed?

Most Builder’s Risk Insurance policies cover damage caused by fire, explosions, lightning, hail, theft, vandalism, and damages by aircraft and vehicles. The amount of coverage should represent the total value of the structure, including labor costs and the cost of raw materials; however, the cost of the land value should not be included.  The construction budget is a good way to determine the amount of coverage needed.

It is normally taken for a period of three, six, or twelve months, but can be extended if the duration of the construction exceeds the duration of the policy, but only one extension at a time is possible.  Builder’s Risk insurance is intended to cover unforeseen damage during the construction period only.  Coverage should be effective prior to when the materials are delivered to the job site.

Once the work has been completed and the property is ready for use or occupancy, the policy terminates.  Once the Builder’s Risk coverage has expired, the new owner should take out permanent property insurance, such as a home owner’s insurance policy or a commercial property insurance policy.

What Doesn’t it Cover?

Generally, Builder’s Risk Insurance does not cover damages caused by earthquakes, employee theft, water damage, contract penalty, flood, wind, war, government intervention, damage to property left in the open, or machinery breakdown.  It also doesn’t cover damages that occur as the result of inferior quality materials, inefficient design or planning, or faulty workmanship. 

Tools and equipment are not covered.  Builder’s Risk Insurance doesn’t cover for liability or accidents that occur at the site.  It’s also important to note that Builder’s Risk insurance doesn’t cover property belonging to other people, such as sub-contractors. 

Coverage Extensions for Builder's Risk Construction Insurance

Sometimes coverage extensions are needed or recommended, such as… 

  • Property in transit to worksite
  • Scaffolding while located at the insured location and pertaining to the insured company
  • Property in temporary storage that will be used or installed in the insured location and pertaining to the insured company
  • Debris removal that’s a result of damage caused by a covered incident
  • Valuable papers, such as site plans or blue prints.

Get the Right Construction Insurance

Contact us for Builder's Risk Construction InsuranceWhether you need general contracting insurance, contractor workers’ comp, builder’s risk insurance, or any other type of insurance, we have you covered.  We’ll take a close look at your business; recommend the right insurance for you, then (after shopping many competing insurance brands) offer you the best insurance protection at the best price.

To get started with the right contractor insurance for your business please contact us at (610) 775-3848 or (800) 947-1270

Tags: Builders Insurance, Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Business Insurance for Heavy Equipment: What You Should Know

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Feb 27, 2014

Get commercial insurance protection for your heavy construction equipment like tractors, forklifts, and backhoes. We insure construction firms in Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond. Call today for a free construction insurance consultation.If your business requires the use of heavy equipment - such as tractors, backhoes, and forklifts – chances are a large percentage of your business assets are tied up in that equipment, making the protection of that equipment from damage or loss a high priority for you and your business. 

According to the 2012 Equipment Theft Report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), the total value of stolen equipment in 2012 was close to $300 million.  Those numbers don’t include losses from business interruption, project-delay penalties, and wasted workforce time. 

Here are some eye-opening statistics from the NCIB report:

 

  • In 2012, a total of 10,925 heavy equipment thefts were reported to law enforcement in the U.S.
     
  • Texas ranked number one in 2012 with 1,401 reported thefts. In second place was North Carolina with 1,037 thefts, followed by Florida in third with 890 thefts. 
     
  • The three most stolen heavy equipment items in 2012 were mowers (riding or garden tractor: 5,363), Loaders (skid steer, wheeled: 1,943), and Tractors (wheeled or tracked: 1,459).
     
  • Heavy equipment manufactured by John Deere was the number one theft target in 2012 followed in order by Kubota Tractor Corp., Bobcat, Caterpillar and Toro.
     
  • Most often, equipment was stolen from a work site where there is usually less physical security.

A Poor Recovery Rate Means Construction Company Insurance for Heavy Equipment is Critical

Perhaps the most alarming statistic in the report was the recovery rate - “Of the 10,925 reported equipment thefts in 2012, [the National Crime Information Center] NCIC reported 2,204 recoveries.”    With a 20 percent recovery rate, the loss of stolen equipment is costly to insurance companies and equipment owners alike.  In fact, theft is the most frequent cause of heavy equipment loss. 

Theft Prevention Strategies

The good news is that in addition to protecting your equipment with the appropriate insurance, there are also measures you can take to significantly decrease the chance of a theft in the first place.  Here are some theft prevention strategies from the NCIB. 

  • Install hidden fuel shut-off systems.
     
  • Remove fuses and circuit breakers when equipment is unattended.
     
  • Render equipment immobile or difficult to move after hours or on weekends by clustering it in a “wagon circle.” Place more easily transported items, such as generators and compressors, in the middle of the circle surrounded by larger pieces of equipment.
     
  • Maintain a photo archive and a specific list of the PIN and component part serial numbers of each piece of heavy equipment in a central location. Stamp or engrave equipment parts with identifying marks, numbers, or corporate logos.
     
  • Use hydro locks to fix articulated equipment in a curved position, preventing it from traveling in a straight line.
     
  • Use sleeve locks to fix backhoe pads in an extended position, keeping wheels off the ground.

Play it Smart: Insure Your Heavy Equipment

Call us today to get insurance for your heavy equipmentSince no amount of prevention will stop every thief, it’s important that you contact an American Insuring Group agent at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to make sure that you have the right insurance for your expensive heavy equipment in the event of a theft.

Tags: Construction Equipment Insurance, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Heavy Equipment Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County