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5 Toolbox Talk Topic Ideas for Spring

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 26, 2022

Use these toolbox talks to save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania

Want to save on Contractors Insurance and other operating costs? Create a safer work environment. Want to have higher employee morale and lower employee turnover? Create a safer work environment. Want to develop a healthier business and bottom line? You guessed it - create a safer work environment!

But how do you create a safer work environment? One crucial step is providing effective toolbox Talks (Aka safety meetings).

What Are Toolbox Talks?

are short safety meetings that “help workers recognize and avoid unsafe working conditions.” Typically, these meetings are short (10-30 minutes), informal, onsite meetings held at the beginning or end of a shift or workday that focus on a different safety topic each time.

Often, these meetings are held monthly. However, an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) report found that companies that hold daily toolbox talks reduced total recordable incident rates (TRIR) by 85% compared to those that held monthly meetings.

Successful toolbox talks are not monologues but interactive meetings that provide useful information and allow workers to ask questions, provide feedback, and participate in the discussion. After all, they’re the ones actually doing the work.

And don’t forget to document every meeting – the topic, date, trainer, employees present – and keep it on file. “One of the most frequently cited OSHA standards maintains that it’s the employer’s responsibility to train employees regarding all workplace hazards and their appropriate safeguards,” the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states. “Documentation is the only way to prove to OSHA that this training has been completed…”

Toolbox Talk Topic Ideas for Spring

There are many topics you can address at Toolbox talks, but they should of course be timely and relevant to your workers. Here are five topic ideas for spring: 

  1. Hail Safety – If you live or work here in Berks County, PA, you probably remember the hailstorm of 2014. As the local TV station said, “It all started May 22, 2014. Storm clouds appeared out of nowhere and then chunks of ice rained down over Berks County.” Thousands of cars and homes were damaged by the storm, which reminded us all just how dangerous Mother Nature can be. Any storm can be dangerous to someone working outside, and hailstorms come with unique hazards that employees working outside should be aware of.

  2. Heat Exhaustion - As the temperature continues to rise, so do heat-related illnesses among construction workers. Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness and can occur when a person is exposed to high temperatures for several days without adequate fluids. According to the CDC, “From 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported in the United States” and “Almost all heat-related deaths occurred during May–September (7,621; 94%) …”

  3. Heatstroke – Left untreated, heat exhaustion can become heatstroke, which is the most severe heat-related illness. It is a serious and life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Therefore, workers should be trained on the risks of heat-related illnesses and how to avoid those risks. They should also be able to recognize the signs and know how to treat them.

  4. Protective Outerwear – Wearing the right protective outerwear for different seasons and for different tasks helps keep workers safe. Workers should understand what type of protective outerwear is needed to keep them safe.

  5. Protecting the public – If construction occurs in an area that is frequented by the public, extra precautions – such as barriers or safe walkways - need to be taken to avoid accidents that can cause injury to people passing by.

Lower Contractor Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

In addition to creating safer worksites, working with the right independent insurance agent can also help lower Contractors Insurance costs. The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and work with many insurance companies to find you the lowest premiums.

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

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs

Keep Truck Insurance Costs Down With Risk Management Strategies

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 12, 2022

Get the best price on truck insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and in the surrounding states. Contact us today.To keep Truck Insurance costs down, trucking companies and fleet managers need to understand how to manage risk. Unfortunately, the trucking industry is filled with risks – driver shortages, vehicle breakdowns, bad weather, deteriorating infrastructure, greater regulatory oversight, injuries, and more. One major collision, lost load, or driver injury can cost your company thousands or even millions of dollars. 

Understanding how to minimize those risks helps keep your drivers, trucks, and cargo safe. In addition, it allows your operation to run more efficiently and helps protect your company from financial losses (such as higher insurance premiums). 

3 Risk Management Strategies

  1. Hire the Most Qualified Drivers

Yes, we know there is a driver shortage, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon. According to a 2019 American Trucking Association report, if the current trend continues, we could be looking at a shortage of 160,000 drivers in the U.S. by 2028. However, taking the time to recruit, vet, and hire the most qualified drivers will save a great deal of time, money, and headaches down the road. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to hiring top-quality CDL drivers. It offers tips such as…

  • Create an appealing CDL driver job post that shows what sets your company apart from others and clearly states their responsibilities, requirements, and qualifications.
  • Advertise for the position by posting on general sites and boards dedicated to CDL drivers, along with social media. Make sure your job is picked up by Google, ask your employees for referrals, and start a blog or vlog about trucking.
  • Thoroughly vet your candidates by Interviewing potential candidates and asking in-depth questions to help you determine how trustworthy they are, how they work under pressure, etc. Have them take a drug test and a road test. Get a Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) report and do a DOT background check.  
  1. Provide Safety Training

When drivers are involved in motor vehicle accidents, it exposes your company to liability risks, legal expenses, lost time, decreased productivity, and higher insurance costs. Therefore, it is essential to teach your drivers how to deal with the challenges they will face on the road with safety-oriented driver training for new hires and ongoing training. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), implementing a driver safety program will help keep drivers safer and potentially:

  • Decrease risk of motor vehicle collisions and traffic violations
  • Minimize exposure to liability risks and legal costs
  • Reduce insurance premiums and workers’ compensation claims
  • Lower vehicle repair bills and replacement expenses
  • Protect business operations and brand identity

 3. Develop a Positive Culture of Safety

A company with a positive safety culture will often experience increased productivity and engagement and lower employee turnover and injuries. Briotix Health states that a culture of safety “looks beyond specific safety policies and programs [and] captures the mindsets and behaviors towards safety of all company stakeholders–employees, managers, and owners.” Your company needs to make safety a top priority and get buy-in from all levels of the organization. 

To determine if your company has a positive culture of safety, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does management genuinely value employee safety?
  • Do employees feel empowered and take ownership over their own (and co-workers’) safety?
  • Is your business investing in safety programs and equipment?

 Keep Truckin, Inc offers six tips for managers to create a culture of safety for their drivers:

  1. Set the right example
  2. Communicate clearly and often
  3. Prioritize training and coaching
  4. Follow up and follow-through
  5. Recognize safe drivers
  6. Implement a fatigue management policy

Lower Your Truck Insurance Costs Today!

Another way to lower your truck insurance costs is to work with the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. They will shop and compare truck insurance coverage among lots of competing carriers to make sure you receive the right coverage at the lowest cost.

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

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Safety Programs

Safety Training Guidelines to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 29, 2022

Lower your workers compensation costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA - call us today.Finding and retaining good employees is often cited as one of the biggest challenges employers face, and the current labor shortage isn't making it any easier. Hiring new employees can be time-consuming, frustrating, and costly. According to Gallup, "The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary -- and that's a conservative estimate."

Businesses can help minimize those costs by remembering that keeping their employees safe on the job is financially in their best interest – not to mention one of their primary responsibilities as an employer. OSHA states, "Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. No person should ever have to be injured, become ill, or die for a paycheck."

Providing a safe and healthy workplace benefits employers with lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and better employee morale. The bottom line: workplace safety is good for business, especially in those industries that are particularly dangerous, such as construction, restaurant, and trucking.

The first step to creating a safer work environment is a comprehensive workplace safety program. OSHA reports that businesses receive an average return of $4 to $6 for every dollar invested in workplace safety programs.

One of the essential elements of a workplace safety program is Training. OSHA states, "Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums and more."

Here are four safety training guidelines:

1. Identify Hazards

One of the first steps in any workplace safety program is to identify potential hazards and initiate controls. Hazard controls can help minimize employee exposure to workplace hazards before work begins. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests implementing a hierarchy of controls that includes the following:

  1. Elimination – physically removing the hazard

  2. Substitution – replacing the hazard

  3. Engineering Controls – isolating people from the hazard

  4. Administrative Controls – changing the way people work

  5. PPE – protecting employees with personal protective equipment

Once you understand potential hazards in your workplace and initiated appropriate controls, your next step is to train employees on those hazards and how to avoid them.

2. Understand Safety Standards/Regulations

OSHA's Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 includes many regulations/standards that employers are required to follow, including training requirements. OSHA states, "Many OSHA standards, which have prevented countless workplace tragedies, include explicit safety and health training requirements to ensure that workers have the required skills and knowledge to do their work safely. These requirements reflect OSHA's belief that training is an essential part of every employer's safety and health program for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses. Researchers conclude that those who are new on the job have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than more experienced workers."

Following these regulations help keep your employees safe and protects your business from OSHA penalties, which can be as high as $136,532 per violation.

3. Provide Effective Training

Not everyone is a good trainer, so choose your trainers wisely. A good trainer is organized, understands the importance of listening, knows how to engage employees, etc. If you want the safety training to be effective, choose someone adept at teaching people, not someone who will simply read from a book.

You may want to consider using some of the training resources offered by OSHA, such as training material and training courses.

4. Document Training

OSHA standards require training documentation for certain types of safety training but not all. However, it's in your best interest to document all safety training. Documentation should include the name of the employee attending (and possibly their signature), the name and signature of the person training, the date and subject of the Training, and proof of competency.

Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

Give American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover more ways to save on all of your insurance needs. We're independent agents, so we shop among competing insurance carriers to get you the best deal on the right insurance. Contact us today!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Safety Programs

How Technology Helps Save on Contractor Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 06, 2021

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown and throughout PA.Construction sites are filled with hazards/risks that cause injuries and fatalities, increasing both direct and indirect costs, such as lost workdays, lower employee morale, and higher Contractor Insurance premiums.

"Construction is a disproportionately costly industry, accounting for only 5.2% of all private industry employment in 2002 (BLS 2006) but 15% of all private industry injury costs," according to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). "Construction injuries cost $11.5 billion, with $4 billion in fatalities (40%) and $7 billion in nonfatal injuries, primarily driven by cases with days away from work."

So, wouldn't it be wise for contractors to use every available tool to reduce risk and lower the number of onsite injuries and fatalities? Technology is one of those tools. Here are four ways that technology can simplify risk management and keep construction workers safer.

Streamline Safety Processes

Digitalizing safety procedures eliminates paper-based documents, forms, reports, etc.; saves time and money; improves productivity; shows your employees and OSHA your organization's commitment to safety; and helps your organization remain compliant with state and federal safety regulations.

For example, mobile apps can collect data, improve communication, and help reduce risk. Cloud-based technologies allow users to make changes that all users can immediately access. You can also integrate automation to help improve workflow and minimize the risk of human error.

Improve Training

Safety training is crucial to creating a safer worksite (and lower insurance rates), and technology can help increase awareness, quickly share information, and make it easier to track safety training. In addition, digital solutions allow you to customize training and track compliance.

Technology can improve toolbox meetings by allowing you to hold meetings virtually, record sessions, track attendance, and generate PDFs. In addition, Digital tools can engage workers and celebrate safety achievements to improve worker morale and shine a spotlight on the importance of safety.

Protect Workers

According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, 83% of contractors believe that wearable technology would be useful to improve onsite safety. Wearable technology comes in many forms:

  • Smartwatches that monitor health and activity, detect falls and send alerts, and enable hands-free communication.
  • Smart boots that detect pressure from shocks and falls and sense location.
  • Smart hats that monitor fatigue, prevent microsleeps, detect collisions.
  • AR glasses that can detect leading edges, identify hazardous material, and display safety protocols.
  • Smart monitors can track core body temperature, detect harmful gases, and improve contact tracing.
  • Exoskeletons provide lift support, posture correction, weight dispersion, and more to minimize strain and injuries.

Drones can be used to inspect structures, identify potential hazards, ensure that employees are working safely, and quickly identify changing work conditions. Drones allow workers to perform inspections, often performed at great heights, remotely while staying safely on the ground. Drones may even be used to alert workers to gas leaks and to transport tools and equipment.

Predict the Future

There's no denying that new technology can generate tons of data that can be analyzed and provide valuable insight. The data can be used to determine trends, identify potential problems, and prevent future injuries.

How to Save Even More on Contractors Insurance!

American Insuring Group has agents who specialize in contractors' insurance and understand the industry's unique challenges. Plus, as independent contractors, our agents compare the cost of your insurance with several companies to ensure you pay the lowest price on all of your insurance needs.

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

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs

3 Tips to Minimize the Risk of a Big Trucking Insurance Claim

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 02, 2021

3 Tips to Minimize the Risk of a Big Trucking Insurance ClaimAsk any good insurance agent how to lower Truck Insurance costs, and they’ll tell you to reduce the number and size of your insurance claims. But that isn’t always easy.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2019, 118,000 large trucks were involved in accidents that caused injuries. And often, due to their size and weight, accidents involving trucks tend to be more serious. For example, in 2019, 5,005 trucks were involved in fatal accidents.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “A total of 4,119 people died in large truck crashes in 2019. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31 percent higher in 2019 than in 2009, when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. The number of truck occupants who died was 51 percent higher than in 2009.”

Accidents cost your company more than higher insurance rates: lost sales, lost clients, higher administrative costs, time spent managing the aftermath of a truck accident, higher employee turnover, loss of reputation, and the list goes on.

Here are three tips to minimize the risk of a big trucking insurance claim.

Hire Wisely

Spend some time upfront to save yourself time and money down the road, but also be sure you understand the legal requirements for interviewing, pre-employment testing, etc.

    1. Review an applicant’s motor vehicle record
    2. Conduct a thorough interview
    3. Include a practical skills interview
    4. Run the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability profile
    5. Conduct pre-employment drug testing
    6. Establish hiring guidelines:
            • Ensure that applicants have a valid driver’s license for the vehicle type and load they will be driving
            • Set a time limit on the last chargeable accident, DUI or DWI convictions, serious moving violations, etc.
            • Set minimum years of driving experience

Develop a Driver Safety Program

All new employees should receive safety training, and ongoing safety training should be required for all drivers. NETTTS offers these tips to create a company driver safety program:

    1.  Review Your Company Fleet
            • How many drivers do you have?
            • Where do they travel?
            • What types of vehicles do they drive?
        2. Training

You should include different kinds of learning, such as printed materials, meetings, presentations, and online training that focuses on the following:

            • Safety policies
            • Driving policies
            • Hours of service
            • Vehicle inspections
            • Accident procedures
            • Security procedures
            • Personal safety policies
            • Driver responsibilities
            • Performance evaluations

3. Documentation

Everything related to safety should be well documented, from company safety programs to new hire safety training and ongoing safety training of every employee. In addition, employees should be required to sign paperwork stating they understand your company’s safety processes and what will happen if they fail to follow those processes.

Review Your Insurance Loss Run Report

Your current insurance provider can issue a loss run report, which shows the claims you’ve filed under your business insurance policies – your insurance claims history. You can request this type of report for most types of business insurance.

These reports list the date of each loss and claim, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. You can think of it as a credit report or report card for insurance companies. They use the information in the report to determine how risky your business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay for insurance or even if an insurance company will issue a policy or renew a policy for your business.

You can look at common injuries and claimants and use the information to improve safety. You can also look at other things – such as lost time, open claims, litigation, etc. – to improve other areas of your business and to save on insurance and additional operating costs.

How to Save on Insurance Premiums

An insurance agent specializing in trucking insurance can help ensure you purchase the right coverage. In addition, an independent agent will compare the cost of that coverage with several companies to ensure you pay the lowest amount for that coverage. The independent agents at American Insuring Group have years of experience in Trucking Insurance, so give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Safety Programs

Safe Cleaning Tips to Protect Your Restaurant Customers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 28, 2021

Safe Cleaning Tips to Protect Your Restaurant Customers and help you save on restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, PA and points in between.The COVID-19 pandemic reminded restaurant owners and managers of the importance of proper sanitation - whether they’re running a food truck or a fine dining restaurant. So perhaps it’s a good idea to continue some of those additional precautions even as the mandates are lifted.

The fact is - COVID or no COVID – every restaurant should be kept clean for the safety of the business and its customers and employees. Dirty restaurants can lead to food-borne illnesses, making customers sick, which can lead to lawsuits, damaged reputations, and higher Restaurant Insurance costs.

Here is information to help ensure that your restaurant is adequately cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected to help prevent cross-contamination of food and the spread of germs and viruses.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

Cleaning is removing visible debris and deposits – such as dirt and spills - on the surface using a vacuum, duster, degreaser, soap, or detergent. Cleaning does not eliminate germs.

After a surface is cleaned, sanitizing helps eliminate many microorganisms and reduce the growth of bacteria. Any surface that comes in contact with food – such as cutting boards, countertops, serving utensils, pots, pans, etc. - should be regularly sanitized. They should be sanitized whenever you’re switching to a different type of food or ingredient, when you’re done with one food prep task, or every four hours. Sanitizing kills 99.9% of bacteria.

Surfaces that are frequently touched – such as light switches, door handles, phones, cash registers, bathrooms, etc.– should be regularly disinfected using bleach or other disinfectant. You should disinfect at least once a day, but more frequently during cold and flu season or a virus outbreak. A disinfectant kills 99.999% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

How to Sanitize Food Prep Surfaces

WebstaurantStore suggests the following process:

  • Wipe the surface of any visible debris.
  • Rinse the surface with soap and clean water.
  • Sanitize the surface with a food-safe sanitizer, following the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Allow the surface to air dry for at least 30 seconds.

How to Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces

WebstaurantStore suggests the following process:

  • Wipe the surface of any visible debris.
  • Rinse the surface with soap and clean water.
  • Follow the directions on the disinfecting product you’re using, including how long to keep it on the surface and whether or not to rinse it off.

Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

A restaurant cleaning checklist can help ensure that all employees know what is expected and that cleaning tasks aren’t overlooked. The checklist should include both the kitchen and dining areas and have daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

Prevent food poisoning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these four steps to avoid cross-contamination and food poisoning:

  • Clean (your hands, surfaces, fruits and vegetables, etc.)
  • Separate (cutting boards, food, etc.)
  • Cook to the right temperature
  • Chill – refrigerate promptly

CDC COVID-19 Guidelines Worth Continuing:

  • Urge employees to stay home if they don’t feel well.
  • Require employees to wash their hands frequently - particularly before, during, and after preparing food or after touching garbage. Employees should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Have enough supplies – soap, towels, no-touch trash cans, etc. – to support healthy hygiene.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, phones, cash registers, bathrooms, tables, chairs, etc.
  • Use touchless payment options.
  • Post signs and posters to promote healthy hygiene habits among the staff.

Save Even More on Restaurant Insurance!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group will compare competing restaurant insurance carriers to get you the right insurance coverage at the lowest price. So, give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Pittsburgh PA, Safety Programs, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Lower Workers Compensation Costs With Proper PPE

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 12, 2021

Lower Workers Compensation Insurance Costs With Proper PPE in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, York and throughout PennsylvaniaMinimizing injuries in the workplace benefits everyone – from a better quality of life for employees to higher productivity and lower Workers Compensation Insurance costs for employers. Therefore, keeping employees safe should be a top priority for any employer. One way to keep employees safe is with proper personal protective equipment (PPE). 

What is Personal Protective Equipment?

PPE is equipment employees wear to minimize exposure to hazards that can cause injuries and illnesses in the workplace. PPE is designed to protect employees from chemical, electrical, physical, and other workplace hazards. Examples of PPE include gloves, hard hats, safety glasses, earplugs, facemasks, etc. 

To be effective, PPE must be safely designed and constructed, and properly maintained. PPE must fit workers properly, or it can create a hazard. And employees must be trained on how to use PPE correctly, including the following:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What type of PPE is needed
  • How to wear PPE correctly
  • How to properly maintain PPE
  • The limitations of PPE 

OSHA Employer Obligations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states, “…when engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to you and ensure its use.” 

Employers cannot require employees to provide their own PPE, and – with very few exceptions - employers must pay for PPE that is needed to comply with OSHA standards. 

Types of PPE Protection

Determining the type of hazard is the first step in choosing what types of PPE are required to keep employees safe. OSHA recognizes six types of hazards that may require PPE: 

Eye and Face

OSHA requires eye and face protection when employees are exposed to hazards such as flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, potentially infected material, or potentially harmful light radiation. The following are common types of eye and face protection:

  • Protective eyeglasses
  • Goggles
  • Welding Shields
  • Laser Safety Goggles
  • Face Shields

Head

A head injury can be fatal or affect an employee for life. Employees must wear head protection – such as hard hats or helmets - if any of the following apply:

  • Objects could fall from above and strike an employee on the head
  • An employee could bump their head on fixed objects, such as exposed beams or pipes
  • There is any chance the employee could accidentally have head contact with any electrical hazards. 

OSHA identifies three industrial classes of hard hats:

  • Class A hard hats provide impact and penetration resistance along with limited voltage protection (up to 2,200 volts).
  • Class B hard hats provide the highest level of protection against electrical hazards, with high-voltage shock and burn protection (up to 20,000 volts). They also offer protection from impact and penetration hazards by flying/falling objects.
  • Class C hard hats provide lightweight comfort and impact protection but offer no protection from electrical hazards. 

Foot and Leg

Employees may require foot and leg protection if a hazard assessment reveals possible exposure to the following:

  • hot, corrosive, or poisonous materials
  • Falling or rolling objects
  • Electrical hazards 

Examples of foot and leg PPE include the following:

  • Leggings
  • Metatarsal Guards
  • Toe Guards
  • Combination Foot and Shin Guards
  • Safety Shoes can include electrically conductive shoes, safety-toe shoes, non-slip shoes, etc. 

Hand and Arm

If there is any possibility that an employee could experience injury to their hands and arms that cannot be eliminated through engineering and work practice controls, PPE – in the form of the correct type of gloves – should be worn. 

To be effective, suitable gloves must be used based on the hazard. Types of gloves may include the following:

  • Leather
  • Aluminized
  • Aramid Fiber
  • Synthetic
  • Fabric
  • Coated Fabric
  • Butyl
  • Natural Rubber
  • Neoprene
  • Nitrile 

Body

Hazards that can cause bodily injury should first be eliminated by engineering and work practice whenever possible. When those hazards - such as extreme temperatures, impact from tools, machinery, and materials, hazardous chemicals, or hot splashes from molten metals and other hot liquids – are present, appropriate protective clothing must be worn. Depending on the hazard, body protection may include lab coats, vests, aprons, coveralls, vests, full body suits, etc. 

Hearing

Employees exposed to excessive noise that can affect their hearing should be issued hearing protection, such as single-use earplugs, pre-formed or molded earplugs, or earmuffs. When assessing hearing hazards, OSHA recommends considering the following factors:

  • The loudness of the noise as measured in decibels (dB).
  • The duration of each employee’s exposure to the noise.
  • Whether employees move between work areas with different noise levels.
  • Whether noise is generated from one or multiple sources. 

How to Save More on Workers Compensation Insurance

Creating a safe work environment is your first line of defense against high WC costs. Working with an experienced agent who understands the complexities of WC insurance – such as the independent agents at American Insuring Group - should be your second line of defense. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Safety Programs

Safety Hazards Can Be Found in Any Workplace

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 12, 2020

Improving workplace safety can help lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Erie, Lancaster, and in counties throughout Pennsylvania.We often discuss how improving workplace safety can help lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs, and we typically focus on very hazardous industries, such as construction. But every workplace has its share of hazards that can cause employee injuries.

The National Safety Council reports that a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. What may surprise you is the three most common types of injuries that keep workers away from work are sprains, strains, or tears; soreness or pain; and cuts, lacerations, or punctures. The three most common workplace injuries resulting in lost workdays include overexertion, contact with objects or equipment, and slips, trips, and falls.

While these types of injuries may be more prevalent at construction sites and other obviously dangerous workplaces, they can happen at just about any worksite – even a seemingly safe office setting. For example, an employee can lift a heavy box of office supplies improperly and experience overexertion. Or someone can fail to clean up spilled coffee in the breakroom, causing someone else to slip and fall.

Minimizing accidents can help lower your WC Insurance costs because there is a specific formula for determining the cost of your WC insurance:

Premium = (Payroll/$100) x Class Code Rate x Experience Rate Modification

Your experience rate modifier, often called MOD, is a numeric representation of your claim experience. The number is based on how your claims compare with other companies with a similar classification of employees. Employers with fewer than average and less severe accidents than average will have a lower MOD, which will help lower the cost of WC Insurance.

Whether you are looking at employees in a highly hazardous occupation like construction or a less hazardous occupation like an office setting, minimizing workplace injuries can help lower WC and other costs. The first step to lowering injuries is to identify and assess potential hazards.

Here are the types of hazards you should look for:

Safety Hazards are unsafe working conditions that can potentially cause illness, injury, or death, such as spills that aren’t cleaned up, frayed cords, and confined spaces.

Physical Hazards include exposure to extreme temperatures, the sun, radiation, or loud noise.

Chemical Hazards include dangerous chemicals in any form (solid, liquid, or gas) and can occur during the use, transfer, or storage of those chemicals. Potentially dangerous chemicals include cleaning products, pesticides, gasoline, paints, etc.

Microbiological Hazards can include exposure to mold, sewage, airborne illnesses, insects that bite or sting, poisonous plants, animal feces, etc. This is one of the most commonly overlooked hazards.

Electrical Hazards include damaged equipment, overhead powerlines, improper grounding, overloaded circuits, etc. Even improperly used extension cords can become a safety hazard to employees.

Ergonomic Hazards can be found in uncomfortable workstations, repetitive movements, poor body positioning, or anything that puts a strain on an employee’s body. These can be the most difficult to spot because the strain isn’t always noticed immediately. Discover more about minimizing ergonomic hazards here.

Organizational Hazards is a broad category that includes workplace violence, high stress, excessive workplace demands, lack of respect, or sexual harassment. It can also include housekeeping hazards, such as blocked fire exits, cluttered desks, and over-stacking loads.

Here's How to Save a Bundle on Workers’ Compensation Insurance!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. We'll make sure that you get the right coverage at the best price. That's because we're free to shop the market for you, unlike those single-brand agencies.

So call us today to start saving at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Safety Programs

Choosing Appropriate PPE for Construction Workers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 21, 2020

Use proper PPE to minimize injuries, and lower your Contractors Insurance costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout PA and the US.Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help protect your greatest asset – your employees, minimize injuries, and lower your Contractors Insurance costs.

The idea of wearing PPE is not new. It dates as far back as ancient times when soldiers wore protective head and face gear and body armor during battle. However, it wasn’t until the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the mid-1930s that PPE was required on a large-scale construction project.

The industry norm at the time was that one worker was expected to die for every million dollars spent on a construction project. At a cost of $35 million, that meant 35 workers were expected to die while constructing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer on the project, refused to accept that and made safety a priority, spending $130,000 on an innovative safety net and requiring the use of PPE such as fall protection safety belts, glare-free goggles, and hard hats. A total of eleven – not 35 - workers lost their lives on that project and ten of those fatalities occurred during a single accident when a 5-ton work platform broke off and fell through the safety net.

The use of PPE continued to be optional on most construction sites for several decades until the creation of OSHA in 1971. Today, OSHA requires employers to protect workers from workplace hazards that can cause injury or illness, including providing and requiring the use of appropriate PPE.

Determining Appropriate PPE

The first step to determining what PPE is needed is to perform a hazard assessment of the worksite. A few common hazards include the following:

  • Sharp edges
  • Falling objects
  • Flying sparks
  • Fluctuating temperatures
  • Chemicals
  • Noise

The next step is to determine the appropriate types of PPE needed to protect workers from those hazards. OSHA recommends exceeding minimum standards. PPE should fit properly and be well-maintained.

Employees must also be trained in the proper use of PPE, including the following:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly put on, take off, adjust and wear the PPE
  • The limitations of the PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE

Training must be documented, and if a previously trained employee is not “demonstrating the proper understanding and skill level in the use of PPE,” they should receive additional training.

Types of Protection

The following are types of protection typically needed at construction sites:

  • Head Protection – Construction workers should wear hard hats when there is a potential for objects falling from above, bumps to the head from fixed objects, or accidental head contact with electrical hazards. Those hats should be inspected regularly and replaced as needed.

  • Eye and Face Protection – Construction workers should wear safety glasses or face shields when exposed to any electrical hazards and when they are in danger of having flying particles get in their eyes. For example, during welding, cutting, grinding, and nailing.

  • Hearing Protection – Construction workers should wear earplugs or earmuffs when exposed to loud noises, such as around the use of chainsaws or heavy equipment.

  • Foot Protection – Construction workers should wear safety-toed footwear that has slip-resistant and puncture-resistant soles.

  • Hand protection – Construction workers should wear gloves that fit snuggly and wear the right gloves for the job. For example, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, welding gloves for welding, and insulated gloves and sleeves when exposed to electrical hazards.

Use Insurance as Your Safety Net!

Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents

Just like the safety nets used during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the right insurance can act as a safety net when - despite all of your efforts - an accident does occur.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance. We work hard to get you the right insurance protection at the best possible price because we compare rates and coverage among many competing providers.

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

 

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, workers comp insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs

3 Hidden Construction Worksite Hazards

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 26, 2020

Lower your workers comp insurance costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown and beyond by avoiding these hidden worksite hazards.We often discuss improving worksite safety to lower Contractors Insurance costs. A safer worksite means fewer injuries, which means fewer claims and lower insurance premiums. If there is only one thing contractors do to reduce the cost of insurance (along with many other costs), it's to focus on safety.

OSHA reported that 21.1% of all worker fatalities in the private industry in 2018 were in construction – that's one in five worker deaths. We often focus on safety measures to avoid OSHA's Fatal Four - Falls, Struck-By, Caught-In/Between, and Electrocutions. Many hidden worksite hazards are less visible and often get ignored.

Here are three of those "less visible" hazards:

Complacency

Most workers are aware of the obvious in-your-face hazards on work sites – like working around heavy construction equipment or working at great heights – and will be on high alert when working around those hazards. Unfortunately, it's common for workers to let down their guard when they are not working around the obvious hazards.

Also, when a worker performs a task repeatedly over a long period of time, they can become desensitized to the hazards involved in that task. Think back to the first time you drove a car.

You probably paid attention to your every move. What about now – five, ten, twenty years later? Do you even think about putting your turn signal on or stopping at a stop sign? After many years, it becomes easy to operate on auto-pilot. The same can be true when driving a backhoe or bulldozer or any piece of heavy equipment after a few years.

It's also important to remember that supervisors and employees do not live in a vacuum; they have personal lives that can distract them from their job. They may rush to try to get home in time for their daughter's hockey game. They may be distracted by concerns about a sick parent or financial problems. They may be exhausted after staying up all night with a teething baby.

This is why on-going safety training is vital to your employees' safety. They need to be reminded of hazards and how to avoid them, the importance of staying alert at all times, and the potential consequences of not paying attention and following safety procedures.

An Ever-Changing Workforce

As you move from one project to another, your need for employees probably changes, and you end up with high employee turnover. This high turnover, along with tight deadlines, often leads to little time for safety training.

This results in many employers providing the minimum mandatory safety training. The truth is that to protect your employees properly and keep them safe, you need to go beyond the bare minimum OSHA requirements.

Lack of Communication

Communication is the most effective tool when it comes to workplace safety. Managers must regularly remind employees about potential hazards and the importance of workplace safety. Toolbox talks are an easy way for forepersons and supervisors to supplement regular safety training and to keep safety at the forefront of their workers' minds. These talks should be a supplement to regular training, not a replacement.

 

Lower Your Contractors Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

A safe and healthy workplace helps reduce costs in many ways, including lower turnover, production losses, damage to equipment, and, of course, Contractors Insurance costs. Another way to lower insurance costs is to work with one of the independent agents at the American Insuring Group.

Our experienced agents specialize in Contractors Insurance and will compare the cost and coverage of your insurance among many insurance companies to ensure that you get the best price on solid insurance protection. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs