To lower Contractors' Insurance costs, you need to reduce the number of accidents and subsequent claims. In other words, you need to create safer worksites. Unfortunately, construction sites are filled with hazards - power tools, heavy equipment, etc. – and potentially unsafe conditions.
Toolbox Talks, defined by Harvard as "an informal group discussion among employees of an individual department that focuses on a particular safety issue," is one way to create a safer worksite and lower Workers' Compensation (and other) costs. You can choose many safety topics for your Toolbox Talk, but one crucial topic is "How to Recognize and Report Unsafe Conditions."
First, you must create a workplace where employees feel comfortable reporting potentially unsafe conditions. Here's why.
Studies have found that nearly 50% of employees did not report a safety issue to their supervisor. The reason? Some employees didn't feel comfortable reporting a potential issue – some even felt it was unsafe. In addition, some employees didn't feel it was their responsibility or that nothing was done when safety hazards were reported in the past.
It is your responsibility to develop a culture of safety, to encourage your employees to report potential issues, and to make them feel safe doing so. It is in your best interest and theirs because it can minimize accidents and injuries, create happier, more engaged employees, and help prevent litigation and lawsuits against your company.
Furthermore, ensure you have a straightforward process for reporting potentially unsafe conditions that you communicate to your workers.
Most Common Hazards on a Construction Site
The following list includes the four most common workplace hazards according to Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 500 deaths could be prevented each year if the hazardous conditions leading to the Fatal Four were improved, making it a great place to start a Toolbox Talk about Recognizing unsafe conditions.
- Falls – Fall-related accidents are the most common cause of construction-related fatalities. This includes slipping or tripping, leading to falls and falling off ladders, roofs, scaffolding, etc.
- Caught-In or -Between – Examples of this type of hazard include cave-ins, being crushed between shifting objects or being pulled into or caught in machinery equipment.
- Struck-By – According to OSHA, this type of injury "is produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment."
- Electrocution – OSHA states, "Electrocution results when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy." It can occur when workers are exposed to burns, electrocution, arc flash, fire, or explosions.
OSHA offers an in-depth training program regarding these four Hazards.
Recognizing Unsafe Conditions
Many accidents related to these and other hazards are preventable by increasing awareness and showing workers how to recognize unsafe conditions. Here are a few unsafe conditions workers should be aware of:
- Spills that aren't cleaned up
- Over-stacked loads
- Glare or shadows
- Unprotected edges
- Lack of signs cautioning workers about unsafe conditions, such as slippery surfaces
- Insufficient fall protection
- Unstable or unavailable scaffolding
- Faulty or unsupportive ladders or ladder misuse
- Failure to routinely inspect the equipment
- Poorly maintained equipment
- Frayed or damaged wires
- Unprotected power lines
- Power supplies that are not grounded
- Someone inspecting or repairing equipment that is not de-energized
- Using too many extension cords
- Lack of proper lockout/tag-out procedures
- Insufficient communication regarding safety
- Lack of appropriate PPE
- Lack of adequate safety training
- Lack of the right equipment to move heavy materials
Call Us to Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs!
The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors' Insurance, so we can ensure that you have the right insurance coverage to protect your business. In addition, as independent agents, we can ensure you pay the lowest premium for that coverage. Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving on Contractors' Insurance today.