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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

Slip-Resistant Shoes Help Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 04, 2020

slip-resistant shoes can lower restaurant insurance costsIf you want to lower Restaurant Insurance costs, a comprehensive safety plan is essential. A well-designed and enforced safety program helps minimize the number of injuries. This results in fewer insurance claims, which lowers your insurance costs and provides numerous other benefits, such as improved employee morale and productivity.

But where should you begin with a safety program?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips, and falls are the third most common type of work-related injury in the US and the second most common fatal work-related injury. While falling from a higher level resulted in more work-related fatalities, injuries caused by falls on the same level occur more often in restaurants and can cause injury. In fact, the BLS reports that half of all falls from the same level ended in more than ten days away from work.

The most common injuries in same-level falls include sprains, strains, dislocations, and tears to the lower extremities, which are the most expensive category of injuries, costing almost $13 million in Workers’ Compensation costs every year.

So, there’s your answer as to where to begin! Start your safety program by minimizing the risk of falls. Here’s information about one simple step – providing slip-resistant shoes - that can help significantly decrease slip, trip, and fall injuries in your restaurant.

The Study

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Laboratory studies of slip-resistant footwear to reduce slips, trips, and falls have shown promise in reducing slips, but limited field research made it difficult to demonstrate if slip-resistant footwear actually reduced injuries.”

So, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated 17,000 food-service workers in 226 school districts across the US to determine the effectiveness of a program that provided highly-rated slip-resistant shoes at no cost to the workers. The researchers wanted to see if this type of program would reduce WC injury claims related to slipping on greasy or wet floors.

Workers in some of the school districts in the study wore 5-star rated slip-resistant shoes that were given to them at no cost, and workers in other districts wore their own slip-resistant shoes. The shoes provided were designed specifically to prevent slips on greasy or wet floors.

The Results

The districts where workers were provided slip-resistant shoes experienced a 67% reduction in claims for slip injuries. The baseline measure was 3.54 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked, which was reduced to 1.18 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked during the time when workers wore slip-resistant shoes that were provided at no cost.

The other districts where workers were not given slip-resistant shoes did not experience any decline in slip injuries.

The study also found that – prior to the study - workers over the age of 55 had a higher probability of a slip-related WC claim (4.2 injuries per 10,000 worker months) than workers under the age of 55 (2.3 injuries per 10,000 worker months). Therefore, as the number of workers over the age of 55 remain active in the US workforce, preventing slipping injuries becomes even more vital if businesses want to keep Workers’ Compensation costs down.

The CDC 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.”

Additional Tips to Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

American Insuring Group specializes in Restaurant Insurance and is focused on providing the best insurance coverage at the best price. Discover more safety tips on our blog and give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to discover how we can help you save even more on your Restaurant Insurance costs!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Safety Programs, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Workplace Ergonomics Minimizes Injury and Lowers WC Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 27, 2020

Workplace ergonomics can impact Workers Compensation Insurance costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, PA and throughout the US. We often focus on minimizing Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs in potentially dangerous workplaces such as restaurants and construction sites: however, office spaces are not immune to workplace injuries.

One of the most significant work-related injuries in an office are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). According to OSHA, “Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are the most widespread occupational health hazard facing our Nation today.” Every year, almost two million workers suffer from work-related MSDs, and approximately 600,000 of those workers lose time from work due to the MSD.

OSHA estimates the direct cost of MSDs to be between $15 and $20 billion every year, with total yearly costs in the $45 to $54 billion range. Plus, $1 out of every $3 spent on WC is a result of insufficient ergonomic protection, which can help avoid MSDs.

What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the Department of Labor describes MSDs as “musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases and disorders when the event or exposure leading to the case is bodily reaction (e.g., bending, climbing, crawling, reaching, twisting), overexertion, or repetitive motion.” MSDs affect joints, bones, muscles, the spine, etc. Examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, degenerative disc disease, and tension neck syndrome.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes work-related MSDs as conditions in which “the work environment and performance of work contribute significantly to the condition; and/or the condition is made worse or persists longer due to work conditions.”

What is Workplace Ergonomics?

Workplace ergonomics - the science of fitting a job to a person so that they can work safely, without injury or pain - can help prevent MSDs, thereby reducing workplace injury and reducing Workers’ Comp and other expenses. A bonus is that it can actually improve a worker’s productivity.

Often, a few simple adjustments can make a huge difference, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Ergonomics in the Office

Occupational Health & Safety reports that workers spend an average of 1,700 hours per year in front of a computer screen. That’s more than 70 days every year sitting at a desk. Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cause pain and injury and lead to MSDs. Many office workers don’t even realize that they are sitting in awkward postures that can affect their health and safety.

Here are some of the most common ergonomic problems in an office:

  • Monitors are too low, which forces flexion of the cervical spine.
  • Armrests are not used properly or not at all, which can cause tensions in the neck, shoulders, and trapezius muscles.
  • The mouse is not aligned with the shoulder, which can cause pain in the neck, wrist, and upper limbs.
  • Workers use phones without a headset, which can cause pain in the shoulder and spine.

Here are some tips to improve office ergonomics:

  • An office chair should allow for height adjustment so that the worker can sit with his or her knees at a 90-degree angle. It should also have adequate lumbar support and armrests, so elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • The desk and chair should allow enough space for the user to cross their legs. Users should be able to rest their feet flat on the floor, so use a footrest if needed.
  • Pad the edges of the desk if there are hard edges.
  • A monitor should be placed, so the top is at or just below eye level and is an arm’s length away. The brightest light source should be to the side to avoid glare.
  • The mouse should be directly in line with the shoulder, so the wrist remains straight.
  • The height of the keyboard should allow the user to keep their wrists straight while typing.
  • A phone should be held in one hand, or the user should use a headset.

MyAbilities offers a tool called Rapid Office Strain Assessment (ROSA), which is a self-guided self-assessment that shows workers how to adjust their workstation to prevent discomfort and injury.

Want to Save Even More on Workers’ Compensation?

Creating safe workplaces to avoid injuries is the best way to reduce WC costs. Another way to save on all commercial insurance costs is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to see how we can help you save on your Workers’ Compensation and other insurance costs.

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

Marijuana and Contractors Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 20, 2020

Marijuana and the impact on contractors insuranceMore than four years after Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act into law, the implications of the law on construction site safety and Contractors Insurance is still unclear. Pennsylvania was the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, and today, nearly thirty states have similar laws.

The challenge for construction companies is balancing safety with compliance with a variety of conflicting state and federal laws regarding the use of both recreational and medical marijuana.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “While medical marijuana-using employees have mounted legal challenges, state statutes usually side with employers who reject potential employees or reprimand workers that test positive for cannabis, even if they have a medical marijuana card. Some states protect employee rights and safeguard against disciplinary action for medical marijuana use, however. Marijuana is still illegal according to federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Federal law supersedes state law.”

NSC also states that the Americans with Disabilities Acts sides with employers, most states will not pay worker compensation benefits to an employee who is under the influence at the time of the accident, and most state health insurance programs won’t pay for medical marijuana.

Putting legal and ethical issues aside, the bottom line is that marijuana use can impact job safety, and in an industry already fraught with its share of hazards, safety should be a priority for any construction site. Workplace injuries not only increase Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs they also decrease employee productivity and morale.

Marijuana and Job-Site Safety

Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound, which has shown to have adverse effects. It can change a person’s sensory perception, create short-term memory problems, and impair thinking. Physically, marijuana use has been shown to impair motor skills, cause a loss of balance and coordination, and impair depth perception. These effects can prove deadly to someone driving a forklift or working on a roof.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “employees who tested positive for marijuana on a pre-employment urine drug test had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and 75% greater absenteeism compared with those who tested negative for marijuana use.”

What Can Construction Companies Do?

While much of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act is unclear – or even conflicting - some sections support employers and workplace safety. For example, if an employee has more than ten nanograms of THC in their blood, they cannot operate or be in physical control of strong chemicals or high voltage electricity and that an employee who is “under the influence of medical marijuana” cannot perform duties in confined spaces or at heights.” It also states that an employer can prohibit an employee from “performing any task which the employer deems life-threatening, to either the employee or any of the employees of the employer.”

If you are working on a federal project, you have no choice but to maintain a drug-free job site, and the use of marijuana on the job should always be prohibited on any job site.

The NSC recommends that construction companies have a drug-testing program and a solid drug policy in place that include the following:

  • A definition of the terms “marijuana,” “cannabis,” or any other derivation
  • Proper management and supervisor training
  • Access to support for employees with drug addictions
  • Clearly defined use and possession parameters
  • Drug testing policies and procedures – Tests should be conducted uniformly for all employees to avoid liability for discrimination claims.
  • Education for employees on clinical issues relating to marijuana, such as how long it remains in the system, the effects it can have, including the potential impact on workplace safety.
  • Established rules for post-accident testing
  • Rules on how to handle employee convictions or arrests
  • A reminder that on-the-job impairment will not be tolerated, including medical marijuana

Include your drug policy in all recruiting and new-hire on-boarding materials. Review your drug policy with a lawyer and update it as laws change.

Here's How to Save on Contractors Insurance!

Creating a safe worksite is just one way to lower Contractors Insurance rates. Working with one of the American Insuring Group independent agents who specialize in Contractors Insurance will ensure that you get the right coverage at the best price. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

3 Safety Tips to Lower Contractors Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 25, 2020

Save_contractors_insurance-1If you want to lower Contractors Insurance costs – from Commercial General Liability to Workers’ Comp Insurance – create a safer worksite. Safety should be your number one priority simply because it’s the right thing to do.

But if you need more incentive or ammunition to pitch a safety program to management, know that safety will also improve your bottom line. A safer work environment improves morale, keeps projects on schedule and under budget, and helps lower insurance costs.

Here are three tips for creating a safer worksite.

Assess the Job Site

Before you begin any new job, take time to assess the job site, identify potential hazards, and determine preventative measures to minimize injury.  Start with OSHA’s Fatal Four – dangers that are responsible for more than half of the construction worker’s deaths.  The fatal four are falls, object strikes, electrocutions, and caught-in/between. Look at a job site and determine how you can minimize those hazards.

Determine areas that should be blocked off while specific tasks are being performed. Install guardrails, catch platforms, nets, and other safety measures to avoid falls. Ensure that scaffolding is constructed correctly, and make sure you have appropriate PPE available for workers, such as safety harnesses, lifelines, and lanyards.

Consider Scheduling

Did you know that a study by the Associated General Contractors of America found that most construction site fatalities occur from 10 am to 3 pm, peaking at noon and that nearly 75% of deaths happened Monday through Thursday? Use that information and schedule safety meetings around noon early in the week. Also, ensure that you have strong safety measures in place for lunch breaks. 

Another safety issue common to the construction industry is over-scheduling workers to meet deadlines. If workers are too physically or mentally exhausted, the best safety practices in the world won’t eliminate injuries. According to OSHA, working 12 hours per day is associated with a 37% increased risk of injury.

A 2005 study of medical residents found that every extended shift scheduled in a month increased the risk of a motor vehicle crash on their commute home by 16.2 %. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S.

Fatigue was cited as a contributing factor in several major workplace disasters, including the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil refinery explosion.

Don’t risk your workers’ health and safety or the health of your company by over-working your employees.  Ensure that all your employees and subcontractors take regular breaks and don’t work too many hours.

Develop a Culture of Safety

If you want your workers to follow your company’s safety procedures, you need to develop a culture of safety from top management on down. Your company should have a safety program that includes regular safety training, meetings, and updates (at least once a week).

Those meetings can include brief onsite recaps to formal OSHA training to fun team-building activities.  And your safety program should be practiced and enforced by everyone. Make safety a priority at your company. Don’t just give it lip service or focus on complying with the minimum OSHA standards.

Follow these three tips to let your employees know that their safety is your number one priority, and your business will experience better employee morale, lower employee turnover, lower insurance rates, and so much more.

Want to Save More on Contractor Insurance?

The American Insuring Group has experienced agents who specialize in Contractors Insurance. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of your insurance with several companies to ensure that you get the best rate on the right coverage.

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