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Toolbox Talk: Safe Lifting to Reduce Contractor Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 28, 2023

Follow these safe lifting tips to save on Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, PA and beyondWorkplace accidents are a significant cause of higher Contractor Insurance costs, so it stands to reason that reducing the number of workplace accidents (and subsequent injuries) will help lower your Contractor Insurance costs. One way to reduce the number of injuries is with Toolbox Talks – informal group discussions that focus on a specific safety topic. 

Since back injuries are a significant concern in the construction industry, a toolbox talk that focuses on safe lifting can be helpful. "Back injuries account for almost 20% of all nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work in construction," according to the Center for Construction Research and Training. "Work-related back injuries and illnesses are caused mainly by repeated lifting of materials, sudden movements, whole body vibration, lifting and twisting at the same time, or bending over for long periods of time." 

And these injuries are costly. The Center reports, "Among all reported injuries in the construction industry, low-back claims are the most frequent and make up the largest proportion of claims costs and days away from work. The prevalence of back injuries among construction workers is probably even higher than the BLS numbers indicate since many injuries are underreported in the construction industry." While you can't eliminate back injuries, you can substantially reduce them with a Toolbox Talk that focuses on safe lifting. 

Two Types of Controls to Prevent Lifting Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified two types of controls for preventing lifting injuries – administrative and engineering. Engineering controls involve designing workstations to minimize lifting hazards. Examples of this type of control include positioning a work table to avoid long or awkward reaches, using a device to move heavy objects, and redesigning tools. 

Administrative controls include properly training workers, which is what a Toolbox Talk should focus on. 

Proper Lifting Technique

Grainger offers the following steps for safe lifting:

  1. Stand close to the load with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. One foot should be slightly in front of the other for balance.
  2. Squat down, bending at the knees (not your waist). Tuck your chin while keeping your back as vertical as possible.
  3. Get a firm grasp of the object before beginning the lift.
  4. Slowly begin straightening your legs, lifting slowly. Never twist your body during this step.
  5. Once the lift is complete, keep the object as close to the body as possible. If the load's center of gravity moves away from your body, there is a dramatic increase in stress to the back's lumbar region. 

If you need to set the object below waist level, use the same procedures in reverse order. 

Additional Lifting Tips

  • Take your time
  • Lift smoothly, avoiding jerky movements
  • Stretch before lifting heavy objects
  • Store heavy materials at waist height when possible
  • Have heavy materials delivered as close to the final destination as possible
  • Before lifting, determine the best place to grip the material
  • Ensure your intended path is free of clutter and slipping hazards
  • Use carts, forklifts, or dollies when appropriate
  • Ask for help from another worker 

NOTE: "Back belts are not recognized by OSHA as effective engineering controls to prevent back injury. While they may be accepted by individual workers because they feel as if they provide additional support, the effectiveness of back belts in the prevention of low back injuries has not been proven in the work environment." 

Save More on Contractor Insurance!

Another way to save on Contractor Insurance is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group, who specializes in Contractor Insurance. We can ensure you have the best coverage for your specific needs. And as independent agents, we will compare the cost of that coverage with several insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for solid coverage.

So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to start saving on Contractor Insurance costs today!

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

Avoid Collisions With Deer to Lower Truck Insurance Costs: Here's How!

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 14, 2023

Deer-Accidents-and-Truck-Insurance-1000More accidents mean higher Truck Insurance, so it's crucial that all truck drivers understand potential hazards and how to avoid them. One hazard common to all drivers is deer and other animals. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there was an upward trend in deaths from collisions with animals from 1975 to the mid-2000s, which has leveled off in the past few years.

In 2020 there were 202 deaths from collisions with animals, reaching costs as high as $1 billion annually in damages nationwide. While smaller vehicles often experience more damage when colliding with large animals, commercial trucks are not immune. Collisions with animals can result in injuries or death, damage to trucks and cargo, lost time, and loss of revenue.

Sometimes collisions with deer and other animals are unavoidable, but there are steps truck drivers can take to minimize the risk and the damage caused by these collisions.

Know where there is higher risk.

Deer sightings can occur just about anywhere, but there are certain areas and times that have a higher risk.

  • According to the Insurance Information Institute, the top five states in 2021-2022 for the likelihood of animal-involved claims from a collision are West Virginia (1 in 35), Montana (1 in 44), South Dakota (1 in 51), Michigan (1 in 51, Wisconsin (1 in 54), and Pennsylvania (1 in 57). Therefore, drivers in these states should be more vigilant.
  • Watch for the yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer, which indicates an area of high-level deer activity. When you see one of these signs, you should be extra alert.
  • According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, deer are most active during the dusk to dawn hours.
  • Autumn (November – the peak, October, and December) are a deer's breeding season, and they may be less aware of their surroundings.
  • In May and June, one-year-old deer begin to disperse to new areas.
  • Less populated states and regions tend to have higher animal populations.
  • Long stretches of isolated highways tend to have a higher risk of an animal darting in front of a truck.
  • Rural highways built along creeks, rivers, and lakes attract deer.
  • Heavily forested areas have higher animal populations.
  • Areas where farmers are harvesting crops, can cause deer to run onto a road.
  • During hunting season, deer are more likely to bolt in front of an oncoming vehicle.
  • If you travel a route regularly, watch for a pattern of areas with higher activity of deer and other animals.
  • Deer tend to travel in packs, so if you see one deer, chances are there are more nearby, and you need to remain on high alert.

Drive Safely

  • Stay alert.
  • Continually scan the road for signs of animals and activities.
  • Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. Light can reflect off an animal's eyes, revealing its location.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Drive the posted speed limit.
  • Never drive impaired.
  • If driving on a multi-lane road, stay in the center lane to give you more time to respond if a deer runs onto the road.
  • Don't tailgate. Allowing space between you and the vehicle in front of you provides a broader field of vision and more reaction time, enabling you to break rather than swerve if a deer runs in front of you or the vehicle in front of you.

Know what to do if a deer does come into your path.

If a deer or other animal crosses your path, try to stay in your lane and avoid the urge to swerve. Swerving can cause you to lose control and increase the chance of colliding with another vehicle or ending up in a ditch. Plus, deer can be unpredictable, and swerving may put the deer right in your path. It's better to hit the deer than risk veering off the road, overturning your truck, or hitting another vehicle.

Sometimes, using your horn can frighten the animal and keep them off the road.

If a collision is imminent, remove your foot from the brake because braking hard may cause the front end of your vehicle to go down, causing the animal to fly over your hood and towards your windshield.

How to Save on Truck Insurance

At American Insuring Group, we go beyond providing you with affordable truck insurance. First, we carefully analyze the needs and risks associated with your business. Then, we match you up with the best trucking insurance policy based on a careful analysis of many competing insurance companies. The result? You get the high-quality commercial insurance coverage you need at a very affordable price.

Get a free quote today by calling (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

9 Tips to Reduce Slip and Fall Injuries in Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 22, 2022

Keep Restaurant Insurance Affordable by Avoiding Slip and Fall Accidents in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading and throughout PAInjuries within your restaurant can significantly increase the cost of Restaurant Insurance and other costs, damage your restaurant’s reputation, lower productivity, and more. Therefore, understanding and minimizing the risk of injuries is crucial to business success. One of the most significant risks restaurants encounter is falls. 

According to ISSA, “More than 3 million food service employees and over 1 million guests are injured annually as a result of restaurant slips and falls.” They also report that “slips and falls are the greatest source of general liability insurance claims within the restaurant industry.” 

You may not be able to avoid all slips and falls in your restaurant, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. 

  1. Install high-traction, slip-resistant flooring. You can confirm slip resistance with a coefficient of friction (COF) audit.
  2. Immediately clean up spills, pick items off the floor, and keep walkways clear of clutter.
  3. Use maintenance and floor cleaning products with slip-resistant characteristics compatible with your flooring surfaces. Check out the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).
  4. Pay special attention to permanently installed features, such as carpets and mats. They need to be properly maintained and cleaned to avoid trip hazards. NFSI-certified mats are an excellent investment.
  5. Conduct and document regular hazard inspections. Regularly walk around your restaurant looking for hazards, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, and blocked or dimly lit areas. Document the hazard, when it appeared, and what you did to eliminate it. Documenting this information helps provide proof that you are serious about maintaining your property and keeping it safe for employees and customers.
  6. If you discover a hazard that can’t be fixed immediately, alert employees and visitors to the danger with warning signs.
  7. Install a surveillance system to monitor for situations that may pose a risk. Cameras can also record accidents to help expedite the resolution of any claims and minimize the risk of false claims.
  8. Train employees on established safety procedures, cleaning operations, and inspection procedures. Train workers to apply floor cleaning and maintenance products following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep records of all employee training, including individuals trained, subject matter covered, training materials, and the date of the training.
  9. Require slip-resistant shoes. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) study concluded, “The findings from this study provide evidence of the effectiveness of slip-resistant footwear and may assist employers, managers, and workers in their decision on whether to invest time and resources in a slip-resistant footwear program.” 

IIf – despite all your best efforts – an injury does occur, immediately ensure that the injured person receives appropriate medical attention, complete an incident report, and notify your insurance company as soon as possible. 

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs!

The American Insuring Group is committed to providing information about Restaurant Insurance and tips to improve safety with our weekly blog. From protecting your restaurant from cyber threats to minimizing the risk of an allergic reaction in your restaurant and from protecting your restaurant against lawsuits to creating a safe outdoor dining space your customers will love (and everything in between), we’re here to help your restaurant succeed! 

In addition, when you work with one of our Restaurant Insurance specialists, we help ensure you have the right coverage for your needs. And as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage.

✔︎ So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover how we can help lower your Restaurant Insurance costs.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Safety Programs, Restaurant Safety

30 Truck Driver Safety Tips for Lower Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jul 20, 2022

Truck-Driver-Safety-Insurance-Savings-30-Tips.jpgThe key to lowering Commercial Truck Insurance costs is to incur fewer claims, and the key to fewer claims is safer drivers. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents last year (a 33% increase since 2011), and 107,000 large trucks were involved in accidents resulting in an injury. 

We understand that sometimes accidents are unavoidable. However, in crashes where a large truck was the leading cause of an accident, 87% were caused by the driver, while 10% were due to the vehicle and 3% to the environment, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) "Large Truck Crash Causation Study."

If you are a driver, it is your responsibility to understand how you can minimize the risk of an accident for your own well-being and the well-being of other people on the road. If you are a fleet manager, it is your responsibility to provide proper training, create and enforce a driver safety policy, and make fleet maintenance a priority for the well-being of your drivers and your business.

 Here are 30 safety tips for truck drivers:

  1. Take care of your health by eating, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
  2. Avoid drugs and alcohol
  3. Wear comfortable clothing
  4. Plan your route based on weather, road conditions, traffic patterns, construction, etc.
  5. Monitor the weather and adjust as needed
  6. Perform a thorough pre-trip inspection
  7. Perform a thorough post-trip inspection and record or report any issues
  8. Adjust the steering wheel, seat, mirrors, etc. to maximize comfort
  9. Know where everything is in your truck's interior
  10. Take regular breaks and move around
  11. Wear your seatbelt – According to the CDC, "Buckling up is both effective and required by federal regulations. But 1 in 6 drivers of large trucks don't use their seat belts (2013). More than 1 in 3 truck drivers who died in crashes in 2012 were not wearing seat belts. Buckling up could have prevented up to 40% of these deaths."
  12. Don't use your cell phone while driving
  13. Stay alert at all times and especially in school and work zones
  14. Be aware of speed limits and stay within those limits (they're there for a reason)
  15. Maintain proper stopping distance
  16. Know when you're tired
  17. Check your mirrors every 8-10 seconds to know when vehicles are entering your blind spot.
  18. Scan ahead to identify traffic issues, work zones, etc.
  19. Make wide turns carefully
  20. Use your turn signals to give other drivers notice of your intent
  21. Stay focused and avoid distractions
  22. Maintain your vehicle
  23. When in work zones, slow down, maintain extra following space, obey signs, scan for changing traffic patterns, and be prepared to stop
  24. Practice defensive driving
  25. Slow down for curves and turns
  26. Don't be afraid to ask for help
  27. Park safely
  28. Stay centered in your lane
  29. Be careful when getting in and out of your truck – never jump from the cab to the ground and use three points of contact
  30. Be careful when handling cargo by ensuring the load is stable, don't handle cargo in poor visibility, use lifting equipment properly, etc.

Save More on Truck Insurance Today!

One of the easiest ways to save on truck insurance is to work with an independent insurance agent who specializes in truck insurance and understands your unique needs, like the agents at American Insuring Group. As independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage among many insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premiums for quality insurance protection.

Call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online!

 

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

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