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The Real Cost of Employee Injuries in Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Apr 23, 2021

Reduce your restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown and throughout PA with these tipsWorkplace injuries do more than increase your Restaurant Insurance costs. They cost your business in many other ways, such as lost productivity, lower morale, and more. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates the “total economic costs of work-related deaths and injuries” in 2019 at $171 billion, $1,100 per worker, and $1.2 million per death. Those figures include “income not received or expenses incurred because of fatal and nonfatal PREVENTABLE injuries.”

The good news – as the NSC points out – is that many of these injuries are preventable. Here are seven ways to minimize the risk of injuries – and the ensuing costs – in your kitchen. 

Suitable Attire

Ensuring your employees are appropriately dressed can go a long way to preventing accidents and protecting the quality of the food you serve. 

Providing or requiring closed-toed, non-slip shoes is essential to keeping workers safe in the kitchen. Closed-toed shoes help prevent cuts from falling knives and burns from hot oil. Non-slip shoes help prevent slips and falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 27% of the nonfatal work injuries in 2018 that resulted in days away from work were related to slips, trips, and falls. 

Personal Protective Equipment – such as gloves, oven mitts, and aprons – help prevent injuries such as burns. Properly-fitting uniforms - such as chef coats, cook shirts, and aprons – can help protect employees and minimize injuries. 

Professionally laundered uniforms have been shown to provide superior cleanliness as opposed to home washing machines. Hats and hairnets keep hair out of the way and prevent food from falling into the food. 

Non-Slip Mats

Again, 27% of work injuries result from slips, trips, and falls, and restaurant kitchens tend to be high-paced, busy places with employees constantly on the move. Therefore, anything you can do to keep your employees from slipping, tripping, or falling is essential to kitchen safety, making non-slip mats crucial for any restaurant kitchen. 

Proper Ventilation

“Having proper ventilation for your restaurant is imperative for employee and customer health as well as food sanitation,” FSR magazine states. “Improper ventilation can result in safety violations, higher utility bills, decreased employee productivity, and even flaring tempers from customers as well as employees. It can also result in loss of traffic due to unpleasant odors or uncomfortable conditions.” 

Fire Suppression System

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Restaurant fires accounted for about 6 percent of all nonresidential building fires reported to fire departments each year. These fires resulted in an average of less than one fatality per 1,000 fires, 11 injuries per 1,000 fires, and $23,000 in loss per fire.” 

Deep fryers are involved in one out of ten kitchen fires. Pouring water on a grease fire is not a good idea as it can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire, and the vaporizing water may carry grease particles, which can spread the fire further. 

Proper maintenance and cleaning of deep fryers help minimize the risk of fires, and installing a fire suppression system helps ensure that if a fire does occur, it is put out quickly and safely. 

Equipment Guards

Kitchen Equipment, such as mixers, grinders, and slicers, are an essential part of most commercial kitchens, but they also present a safety risk. In a fast-paced environment or without proper training, accidents can happen. An easy way to avoid cuts or amputations is installing appropriate guards that keep fingers and hands out of harm’s way. 

Appropriate Signage

Signage can draw attention to potential hazards – such as a wet floor – and prevent injuries. 

Proper Cleaning

Good sanitation should be a top priority in any kitchen. One uncleaned filter can cause a fire. A spill that isn’t immediately cleaned can cause an employee to slip and fall. 

Employees need to be trained on how to clean surfaces, equipment, and floors properly. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly cleaning checklists and schedules should be strictly adhered to. 

When Injuries Can’t be Prevented

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an employee is injured. Or a customer gets sick from a foodborne illness. Or a fire damages your kitchen. The right insurance helps protect you, your business, your customers, and your employees. 

Give one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. Not only will we ensure you have the right insurance, but we’ll also ensure you get it at the lowest cost.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp insurance, Restaurant Insurance Reading PA, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

5 Tips to Improve Your Workers' Compensation Plan

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Apr 11, 2021

Workers Compensation Insurance protection in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and everywhere in PA.No Workers' Compensation Insurance program is perfect; however, if you want to improve your company's bottom line, it's imperative that you continually look for ways to improve your WC program.

Here are five tips to help any business improve its Workers' Compensation Plan. 

 

1. Get Started

This may sound like common sense, but sometimes the most challenging thing with any project is just getting started. Here are five areas that you should focus on to see the most significant impact. Pick one and get started!

  1. Improve safety
  2. Reduce costs
  3. Reduce litigation
  4. Build relationships with medical providers
  5. Get injured employees back to work 

2. Create a Culture of Safety

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2019 there were 5,333 fatal work injuries recorded and 2,814,000 non-fatal work injuries that resulted in 888,200 cases with days away from work. The median number of days away from work was eight. These work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses are costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars every year, which is why workplace safety should be a top priority at any company. 

Creating a business culture that focuses on safety will have one of the most significant impacts on reducing your organization's number of injuries. That culture must be embraced by all employees at every level of the organizational chart. 

Here are three tips to help create a culture of safety:

  1. Create a safety program with a set of controls designed to help protect employees from potential harm within the workplace.
  2. Ongoing training should be a big part of any safety program. According to the National Safety Council, "Investing in workplace training is money well spent. Employers with effective safety and health training programs benefit from fewer workplace injuries and claims, better employee morale, and lower insurance premiums."
  3. Employees should be recognized and/or rewarded for committing to workplace safety practices. 

3. Set Program Goals

Bill Copeland said, "The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score." Research shows that setting measurable and attainable goals boosts performance because it motivates and challenges employees to increase their effort, allows them to focus better, and helps them prioritize. 

Goals you may want to consider are reducing the number of injuries, reducing the time it takes to get an injured employee back to work or reducing the number of litigation claims. 

Once you have specific goals in place, create a plan of action and consider recognizing or rewarding employees for helping accomplish those goals. 

4. Avoid Common Mistakes

There are certain mistakes that many employers make. Knowing those mistakes is the first step to correcting them. Here are seven common Workers' Compensation mistakes to watch for:

  1. Not having a safety plan in place or not enforcing it
  2. Not having a return-to-work program
  3. Underestimating the projected annual payroll
  4. Not assigning the correct classification codes or not changing those classifications when business operations change
  5. Listing an employee as a subcontractor – on purpose or by mistake.
  6. Poor claims management
  7. Working with inexperienced insurance agents 

5. Work With an Experienced Independent Workers' Compensation Insurance Agent

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers' Compensation Insurance. We have a clear understanding of the WC process and a proven track record of providing exceptional service to businesses – both big and small. 

The American Insuring Group's independent agents can help ensure that you get the best coverage at the lowest cost on all of your business insurance needs because, as independent agents, they are free to shop and compare among competing insurance carriers. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online today!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance

Reduce Workers’ Comp Costs With Exoskeleton Technology

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 06, 2021

Lower Your Workers’ Comp Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown, PA and Elsewhere With Exoskeleton Technology .Would you be surprised to discover that technology used in sci-fi movies, such as Iron Man, could actually help reduce your Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs? In the film, Tony Stark builds an armored suit that allows him to save the world – more than once. The armored suit is a souped-up version of exoskeleton technology, which some businesses are now using to avoid workplace injuries and help injured employees return to work faster.

What is Exoskeleton Technology?

Exoskeleton technology is not a new concept. It has been in development since the late 1800s. Exoskeletons are “wearable devices that work in tandem with the user.” They are placed on a person and “act as amplifiers that augment, reinforce or restore human performance.” 

Using pneumatics, levers, hydraulics, and electric motors, exoskeletons can help employees move heavier objects and work longer hours, reduce injuries, avoid repetitive trauma injuries, and get employees back to work more quickly after an injury. While exoskeleton technology is most commonly employed in military applications, businesses are quickly discovering many benefits of the technology. 

How Can Exoskeleton Technology Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs?

Lower workplace injuries and the number of claims, and you lower your WC costs. Get injured employees back to work as quickly and safely possible, and you lower WC costs. Exoskeleton Technology has shown to do both. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one of the most common and costly types of workplace injuries is repetitive strain injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that nearly two-thirds of all occupational illnesses reported were caused by exposure to repeated trauma to workers’ upper body. 

According to Ford Motor Company, its assembly line workers lift their arms during overhead work tasks approximately 4,600 times per day or about one million times a year and concludes, “At this rate, the possibility of fatigue or injury on the body increases significantly.” 

In 2005, Ford began using an EksoVest on many of its production lines to help lessen worker fatigue and injuries. The EksoVest is wearable technology that “elevates and supports a worker’s arms while performing overhead tasks. It can be fitted to support workers ranging from 5 feet tall to 6 feet 4 inches tall and provides adjustable lift assistance of five pounds to 15 pounds per arm. It’s comfortable to wear because it’s lightweight, it isn’t bulky, and it allows workers to move their arms freely.” 

Ford reports, “Between 2005 and 2016, the most recent full year of data, the company saw an 83 percent decrease in the number of incidents that resulted in days away, work restrictions or job transfers – to an all-time low of 1.55 incidents per 100 full-time North American employees.” 

While there is an upfront cost to exoskeleton technology, more companies are finding it’s worth the price. The technology helps reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries; thereby, minimizing the costs associated with workplace injuries, such as lost production, lower employee morale, etc. Plus, they’re getting injured employees back to work more quickly. All of this is leading to lower Workers’ Compensation costs. 

Exoskeleton technology is no longer limited to science fiction movies but has practical applications in today’s workplace that can help lower Workers’ Compensation costs. 

Learn More on How to Save on Workers’ Compensation Insurance!

As Workers’ Comp Insurance experts, the American Insuring Group agents can help you save big on  Workers’ Compensation and other business insurance needs. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free workers comp insurance quote today!

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

The Cost of Failing to Provide Adequate Workers’ Comp

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 30, 2021

Avoid the cost of failing to provide Adequate WC Insurance. Get the right workers comp insurance from American Insuring Group. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, and all of Pennsylvania.Most employers in Pennsylvania are required to have Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. Failure to carry adequate WC can result in civil and criminal penalties. Therefore, employers must understand their WC obligations. Here's what you need to know... 

What is Workers’ Compensation?

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry defines Workers’ Compensation as “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance which ensures that employees disabled due to a work-related injury or disease will be compensated for lost wages and provides necessary medical treatment to return them to the workforce.”

The goals of WC are simple:

  • safer workplaces
  • prompt treatment and compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses
  • reduced litigation costs

With only a few exceptions, Worker’s Compensation insurance is mandatory for any employer in Pennsylvania who employs at least one employee. If ALL workers employed by that employer fall into one or more of the following categories, they may be excluded from mandatory WC. This is a general list, minus the fine print.

  • Federal workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Railroad workers
  • Casual workers
  • Persons who work out of their own homes or other premises not under the control or management of the enterprise AND make up, clean, wash, alter, ornament, finish, repair, or adapt articles or materials for sale that are given to them.
  • Agricultural laborers making less than $1200 per year
  • Domestic workers who have not elected to come under the provisions of the WC Act (they must notify the Department of Labor & Industry)
  • Sole proprietor or general partners with no other employees
  • People granted exceptions due to religious beliefs
  • LLC’s in which only the employees are members of the LLC
  • Executive officers who have been given an exclusion
  • Licensed real estate salespersons or associate real estate brokers

Workmen’s Compensation rules for independent contractors can be complicated. Merely referring to someone as an independent contractor doesn’t mean the Department of Labor & Industry will agree. Here are a few factors that may indicate an individual is not an independent contractor but an employee.

The individual…

  • Performs duties assigned by the employer
  • Works hours set by the employer
  • Uses tools, equipment, or materials that the employer provides

The bottom-line is… before you assume your employees are exempt from Workers’ Compensation Insurance, check with your insurance agent or the Department of Labor & Industry or risk facing civil or criminal penalties.

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, the estimated cost of WC Insurance in Pennsylvania is $1.34 per $100 covered in payroll.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Employers are required to report all injuries to their insurer or program - in the case of a self-insured employer - the person responsible for managing their WC. 

Employers are also required to submit a First Report of Injury to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation within seven days if the injury results in the loss of one or more day, shift, or turn of work. If the injury results in death, the employer must file a First Report with the Bureau within 48 hours. The injured workers and the employer’s insurer should also receive copies of the First Report. 

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Refusing to file a Workers’ Compensation claim on behalf of an employee is against the law.

 If an employee is injured, and the employer does not have WC insurance, the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund will pay the employee’s benefits. The employer will be required to reimburse the fund, including costs, interest, penalties, and other fees. 

Injured employees covered under WC insurance have very limited ability to sue their employers. However, that is not the case when the employer fails to carry WC insurance. Employers without WC are open to litigation for workplace injuries and illnesses. And often, the damages awarded are higher than what the employer would have paid for WC insurance. 

Employers who fail to maintain WC coverage could be found guilty of a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. If the courts decide the failure to comply was intentional, the employer could be facing a felony charge that carries a fine of up to $15,000 and up to seven years in jail. 

Getting the Right Workers’ Compensation Insurance

American Insuring Group specializes in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. We can help you determine 1) whether or not your business is required to carry WC and 2) how you can get the best price on quality insurance protection if it is needed. Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, workers comp costs

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

Workers Compensation Basics: What Employers Need to Know

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 26, 2020

The basics on reducing the cost of workers comp insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, and throughout Pennsylvania.One of the most important types of insurance that almost every business needs is Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC). It helps protect both employees and employers when there is a work-related injury or illness. In Pennsylvania, most employers are required by law to carry WC for their employees.

For many employers, WC is one of the most expensive types of insurance they need to carry, which is why working with an insurance agent who has experience with WC – like those at American Insuring Group - is essential to keeping those costs as low as possible.

They say knowledge is power, so here are the basics every employer should understand about Workers' Compensation Insurance.

What is Workers' Compensation?

If a worker is injured in the workplace or becomes ill because of his or her work environment, Workers' Compensation helps cover medical costs and lost wages if the employee is not able to work. It doesn't matter who or what caused the injury – a faulty machine, the employee, a co-worker, etc. - WC will pay those expenses.

In Pennsylvania, WC covers health care expenses (doctor's visits, surgery, etc.), ongoing care (such as physical therapy), illnesses, repetitive injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), partial or total disability payments, permanent injury payments, and death benefits.

WC also benefits the employer by limiting an injured employee's right to sue an employer directly for damages that injury or illness causes.

Who is Required to Carry Workers' Compensation?

The Department of Labor & Industry states, "If you employ workers in Pennsylvania, you must have workers' compensation insurance -- it's the law." This includes both full and part-time employees, even if they are family members.

The only exceptions are If ALL employees fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Federal workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Railroad workers
  • Casual workers
  • Persons working out of their own homes or other premises not under the control of management
  • Agricultural laborers making less than $1200 per calendar year
  • Domestic workers who have not elected to come under the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act
  • Sole proprietors or general partners
  • Those who have been given an exemption by the Department of Labor and Industry due to religious beliefs
  • Executive officers who have been granted exclusion by the Department of Labor and Industry
  • Licensed real estate salespersons or associate real estate brokers affiliated with a licensed real estate broker or a licensed insurance agent affiliated with a licensed insurance agency, under a written agreement, remunerated on a commission-only basis and qualifying as independent contractors for State tax purposes or for Federal tax purposes under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

If a business does not qualify for one of these exceptions, it must carry Workers' Compensation Insurance for its employees. Failure to do so can result in the employer being required to pay back any costs paid by the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund or a work-related injury or illness, including interest, penalties, and fees. An uninsured employer may also face civil and criminal risks that can result in fines and imprisonment.

How Much Does Workers' Compensation Insurance Cost?

How much you pay for WC is based on a formula:

RATE x (PAYROLL/100) x EXPERIENCE MODIFIER = PREMIUM

An employee's classification code determines the RATE. Those codes are based on the likelihood of that employee being injured on the job. Employees doing more dangerous jobs, such as construction workers, will have a higher rating than someone in a less dangerous job, such as office workers.

A projection of your payroll determines PAYROLL.

Your business's loss history determines the EXPERIENCE MODIFIER compared with the average loss history in your industry. An experience modifier of one is average. A lower number will reflect a better than average loss history, and a higher number will reflect a loss history that is worse than the average. The lower your experience modifier number, the lower your WC rates. 

 

How Can You Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs?

An independent insurance agent who specializes in WC - like those at American Insuring Group – can help ensure you pay the lowest premium possible. By searching among many competing insurance carriers, we obtain the right insurance at the lowest price possible. So give us a call 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

7 Tips to Improve Roofer Safety and Lower Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 08, 2020

Save on Roofer Contractor Insurance by Improving Roofer SafetyWant to know how to lower your Contractor Insurance costs? It’s simple: reduce the number of claims. You already know the construction industry is filled with its share of potential hazards, and this is particularly true for roofers.

Roofing work was rated the fourth most dangerous job - behind logging workers, fishing workers, and pilots – in 2019. The roofing profession has a 48.6 fatality rate – the number of deaths per 100,000 full-time workers calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with more than 100 fatalities per year (most a result of a fall).

Here are seven tips to ensure the safety of your roofers and reduce insurance costs:

Plan, Provide, and Train

OSHA recommends that employers plan, provide, and train to help ensure the safety of employees. Plan ahead to get the job done safely. Provide appropriate equipment so that employees can work safely. Train workers to recognize hazards and the proper use of equipment, ladders, scaffolds, and fall protection systems.  

Consider Weather Conditions

Moisture, ice, and wet leaves can make a roof extremely slippery, and a strong gust of wind can cause a worker to lose his or her balance. Avoid working on roofs in bad weather, especially on surfaces such as slate, tile, metal, and some single-ply membranes, which can be particularly slippery when wet.

Use Ladders Properly

Ladders are an essential tool for any roofer. Ladders should be inspected for visible defects regularly and after any occurrence that could have caused damage. Ladders should only be used on stable and level surfaces. If that isn’t possible, secure the ladder to keep it from moving. Areas at the top and bottom of the ladder should be kept clear.

Roofers should be trained to maintain three points of contact (two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand) at all times when going up or down a ladder. Workers should also not carry anything that could cause them to lose their balance.

Check to make sure that ladders are fully open before using them. If using non-self-supporting ladders, such as extension ladders, OSHA recommends setting the ladder “at an angle so the horizontal distance between the top support and the foot of the ladder is approximately one-quarter the working length of the ladder (a 1:4 ratio).”

Provide Fall Protection

It comes as no surprise that falls are the leading cause of work-related injuries and fatalities among roofers. Employees should attend regular training on fall safety.

OSHA requires that employees who are exposed to a fall of six feet or more to a lower level be provided with fall protection. Fall protection can come in many forms, including personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), fall restraint systems, guide-rail systems, warning line systems, safety net systems, safety monitoring systems, and covers.

Provide Safe Scaffolding

Ensure that any scaffolds used are designed and constructed by a qualified person. Employees are most likely to fall when climbing on or off a scaffold, so it’s important to provide safe access. It’s also important that scaffolds are fully planked or decked between the front uprights and guardrail supports.

Consider Electrical Safety

The biggest electrocution risk for roofers is contact with overhead powerlines, but contact with electrical conduit buried in old roofing can also cause electrocution. Workers should be protected from electrocution by de-energizing the circuits, grounding, or guarding it with insulation.

Train Employees on Hazardous Materials

Employees must be trained on how to read and understand safety data sheets, container labeling, and other forms of warning and how to protect themselves from hazards, such as asbestos, lead, silica, and hazardous chemicals.

 

Compare Insurance - Here's How We Can Help You Save!

A Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent in Berks County, and serving Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Another way to save on Contractor Insurance is to work with an independent agent – like those at American Insuring Group – who will compare the cost and quality of insurance coverage among several different competing insurance companies.

If you want to be confident that you’re getting the best price and coverage on Contractor Insurance, give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online!

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

How Long Should an Injured Employee be Out of Work?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 15, 2020

Reduce Workers Compensation Costs with a strong Return to Work program.Return-to-work (RTW) programs help employers by helping retain experienced workers, reduce turnover, and control Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs. RTW programs help injured employees by promoting physical and mental healing, retaining social connections, providing financial security, and helping them retain skills. RTW programs even help improve productivity and morale among co-workers. 

Studies show that injured employees who are out of work for more than six months have less than a 50% chance of returning to work and 80-90% of injured workers would rather get back to work than collect disability.

What is a Return-to-Work Program?

The goal of RTW programs is to get an injured employee working again as quickly as possible while they are still recuperating. That may mean providing the injured employee with temporary, modified, or transitional duties to get them back to work more quickly.

Unless you are a doctor, you probably don’t know how long it typically takes an injured employee to heal from an injury – whether it’s a simple sprain or a more serious injury. To develop an effective RTW, it is important to have some expectations as to recovery times. The good news is that someone has already figured that out for you.

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Injury Guideline

An EBM injury guideline tool can help reduce uncertainty by providing recovery timeframe estimates, including the average and median amount of time it takes an injury to heal. It is based on the type of work an employee does – sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy work.

The two most well-known tools are the ODG guidelines from the Work Loss Data Institute (WLDI) and the MDGuidelines from the Reed Group.

The ODG (official disability guidelines) was released in 1995 as an “evidence-based disability duration (return-to-work) guideline,” by the WLDI. In 2017, WLDI became part of MCG Health.

MDGuidelines are researched and evaluated by an academic-based research team. According to the Reed Group, “MDGuidelines empower employers, insurers and providers to successfully improve health and financial outcomes.” It links several data sources – OSHA, CDC, the National Hospital Discharge Survey, and the worldwide ICD-9 coding system.

An Example

If an employee suffers from a partial rotator cuff tear, and they have a sedentary or light job, it should take a minimum of zero days and a maximum of four days for that person’s body to physically heal enough for them to go back to their full duties at work. However, if that same employee has a heavy or very heavy job, it should take a minimum of 21 days and a maximum of 85 days to recover and be ready to go back to their full work duties.

If you utilize an RTW program, that means that even an employee in a heavy or very heavy job with this type of injury should be back to work within four days – not doing their original work duties but doing sedentary or light duty.

What might surprise you is that more than 50% of people aren’t back to work within the maximum amount of time (85 days) required for physical healing of a partial rotator cuff tear. Understanding recovery time and instituting an RTW program will lead to benefits for your injured employee, his or her coworkers, and your bottom line.

Want to Save Even More on Workers’ Compensation Costs?

Give the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. Our independence means we're free to shop competing providers to get you the best deal. We’ll show you how to save on all of your worker's comp insurance needs in Philadelphia, PA and far beyond.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, WC Insurance

4 Steps to a Speedy Workers’ Comp Insurance Claim

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 13, 2019

workplace_safety_lower_insurance_300Despite all of your best efforts to create a safe work environment, accidents do happen on worksites – whether it’s a restaurant or a construction site or even an office, and you should be prepared.

Knowing what to do when someone injures themselves in the workplace can help ensure that the injured employee gets immediate medical attention and that any Workers’ Comp insurance claims are processed quickly and accurately. You should have a process in place, and all managers and supervisors should be trained in that process.

Here Are Four Steps That Should Be Included in the Process:

Take Care of the Injured Employee

Your employee’s welfare should be your first priority. As soon as an injury occurs, determine the appropriate medical treatment. If it’s a serious injury, call 911 immediately. If it isn’t a serious injury, take the injured employee to a medical care facility.

Some insurance carriers offer a 24/7 injured employee hotline that has registered nurses who can provide medical guidance. If your Workers’ Comp insurance carrier has a hotline, all managers and supervisors should be aware of that number.

Survey the Scene of the Accident

Once the injured employee has received appropriate medical care, survey the scene. If it’s a severe injury, any equipment involved in the incident should be secured, and the area where the incident occurred should be cordoned off with cones or tape until the local police and/or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are finished with their formal investigation.

Even with minor injuries, surveying the scene could reveal what caused the injury. For example, if an employee falls because of a wet floor, that area can be cleaned up to avoid further accidents.

The purpose of an investigation isn’t to lay blame but to determine the root cause of the accident, so it doesn’t happen again. In that same example, if a faulty refrigerator caused that wet floor, the appliance can be fixed to avoid any additional injuries.

Collect Information

A manager or supervisor should then gather details about the incident. Write down the details of the accident – where it happened, how it happened, etc. – and any medical treatment the injured employee received. Also, talk to anyone who witnessed the incident and document what they share and their contact information. 

Complete the Incident Report

Before the details of the injury fade from memory, the incident report should be completed. OSHA requires employers to maintain records of all work-related injuries using its Injury & Illness Record-keeping Forms and to notify OSHA if the injured employee needs to be hospitalized.

Any Workers’ Compensation claims should be filed within 24 hours of the incident. 

If the injury is fairly minor but still prohibits the injured employee from performing his or her regular tasks, you may also need to consider if a transitional or modified job may be appropriate. The longer an employee is out of work, the harder it is to go back and the more it costs you. A return-to-work program can help keep injured employees off of long-term disability and save you money.

You may also want to take a look at your safety program. Did an employee not receive proper training? Was a safety procedure ignored? What can you do to help ensure this type of accident doesn’t happen again?

Want to Save on All Kinds of Commercial Insurance?

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in commercial insurance, including Workers’ Compensation. We can help ensure that you have the right coverage and – as independent agents who can compare costs with several companies – that you get it at the best price!  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

Do Safety Incentive Programs Lower Workers Comp Insurance Costs?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 28, 2019

Incentive-programs-save-WC-costs-300In an attempt to lower workers’ compensation insurance costs, some companies implement safety incentive programs. For example, everyone receives a $25 gift card if there are no injuries reported for thirty days. This type of incentive program is called a “results-based” program, and at least on paper, makes perfect sense.


According to one study, between 1991 and 2001, companies with a safety incentive program saw a 44.16% reduction in the mean lost-time workday injury rate.

Again, this makes perfect sense; a safer workplace means fewer injuries and lower WC costs, so a company with no reported injuries for thirty days is a safer workplace, right? Maybe. The biggest flaw found in a results-based incentive program is that it can encourage underreporting.

A 2010 survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office, found that approximately 75% of manufacturers in the US had safety incentive programs that could potentially affect workers’ reporting of injuries and illnesses.

Let’s say on day twenty Joe Smith incurs an injury, but he doesn’t want to blow the $25 gift card for all of his coworkers, so he decides (or is pressured by coworkers) to wait to report the incident. When he does finally report that injury ten days later, there could be complications resulting in a more severe injury and higher medical costs.

Plus, if the injury is caused by an unsafe situation, another employee could be injured before the initial injury is reported and the hazardous situation remedied. Either way, you’re looking at higher medical costs and higher workers’ compensation costs.

That doesn’t mean that safety incentive programs don’t work. They can motivate employees to pay attention to safety and to work more safely, but they have to be done correctly. If the incentive program focuses on the incentive and not actual safety, it can interfere with creating a safer work environment.

Here are six tips to help you create an effective safety incentive program to help lower your workers’ compensation costs:


An Incentive Program Has to Be Part of a Comprehensive Safety Program

Some companies try to create an incentive program without having a comprehensive safety program – including safety training, accident investigations, a return-to-work program, etc. - in place. An incentive program is a way to encourage employees to engage in a company’s safety program and safe actions that it creates. 

Consider “Process-Based” Incentives

As discussed earlier, a results-based incentive program can result in unreported injuries, which is not reducing accidents or injuries. Instead of rewarding employees for the number of days without an incident, try rewarding positive, proactive behavior such as attending safety meetings, wearing PPE, scoring well on a safety training quiz, or suggesting ways to create a safer workplace. 

Provide Genuine and Meaningful Incentives

You need to find out what motivates your employees, and you need to offer a meaningful incentive that is worth achieving. Not everyone is motivated by money. Some would rather be recognized for doing a good job.

Incentives can include a pizza party or exclusive T-shirts with the company logo or an annual recognition dinner where employees on every level mingle, and top management presents awards to employees who have practiced safe work practices.

Award Incentives Often and to Many Employees

Workplace safety is a year-round activity. If you only award employees once a year, it’s easy to forget about safety three or four months into a program. Instead, offer frequent rewards – quarterly, monthly, or even weekly.

Everybody wins when you offer a safe work environment, so your incentive programs should take that same approach and award everyone – from top management to individual employees and from employees who already work safely to those who need encouragement to work more safely.

Get Buy-In From Upper Management

Upper management is footing the bill, so they need to understand the goals of the program and how it will progress. It takes a while to see a decrease in injuries and the resulting lower WC costs. 

Plus, there is usually an upfront investment required for things like signs, results boards, and even time. As the program progresses and employees become more familiar with the program, those costs typically decrease.

But if upper management doesn’t see immediate results, they could withdraw their support if they don’t understand the process.

And in order to create a culture of safety, upper management needs to buy into your company’s safety program, including incentives.

KISS

Keep it Simple Stupid! Don’t make an incentive program so complicated that your employees don’t understand what they need to do in order to receive the award. If it’s too complicated, a safety incentive program could backfire by lowering employee morale.

Providing a safe working environment is every employer’s responsibility. The good news is that efforts to create a safer workplace – such as safety incentive programs – can also help improve your bottom-line.

Get the Best Price on Workers’ Comp insurance

The experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group are committed to getting you the very best price on quality workers’ compensation insurance protection. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

Tags: workers comp insurance, workers comp costs, WC Insurance, Safety Programs