Workplace Injuries Spike In Spring

Especially Following the Spring Switch to Daylight Saving Time

Spring Dandelion Bloom

Severe Spring Weather

There are risks associated with the weather during all months of the year, but extreme weather is especially problematic in the Spring months. Depending upon where your business is located, there can be snow, rain, sleet, hail, thunderstorms, or even tornadoes. If you have employees who work out in the elements, you need to have crystal clear procedures for how they should proceed during certain weather related scenarios.

Insects and Vegetation

There are many types of insects and vegetation that are just springing to life during the Spring Months. Many of the critters coming to life carry a number of diseases. In addition to insects and rodents, there are also plants like poison ivy that can cause a number of rashes. Because of these issues, it is important to have all employees wear proper clothes to prevent exposure to these dangerous insects, rodents, and plants.

Sun Exposure

Sun exposure becomes more of an issue as the warm weather appears more often. If you have employees who work out in the elements, it is important to prepare them for heat stress and sunburns. It can be easy to forget about the dangers of the sun when the temperatures are more mild. Sunburns in April are just as dangerous as sunburns in July. Help your staff deal with these exposures by providing proper breaks, shade and plenty of access to water.

Dust and Allergies

Seasonal Allergies can be a debilitating problem for many people. In some instances the problem is so severe it can cause some suffers to have problems with asthma. These problems intensify in the Spring Months because of the high levels of pollen. If you have employees who work primarily indoors, improving the indoor air quality with proper ventilation, maintaining the HVAC System, and using non-toxic cleaning supplies. If you have employees working out  in the elements, it is wise to have morning toolbox talks about what elements your staff are dealing with this time of year and how they can prepare to deal with those elements.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

In many parts of the country, Spring is a time when enormous amounts of snow melt. This creates a very muddy environment for your employees. If the area of the country your business operates in deals with snow melt, it is important to prepare your staff for slippery conditions. This preparation is paramount to creating a safe work environment during the Spring Months. If your business is open to the public, there is extra liability if customers are hurt on your property. Dealing with these issues in advance should reduce the frequency and severity of insurance claims.

 

My Insurance Question: 10 Summer Safety Tips

10 Summer Safety Tips for your Business.  

Summer Safety begins and ends with dealing with the Summer Heat. Depending upon where your business is located and the industry you operate in, how you deal with the Summer Heat may be drastically different. Here are ten tips to help you protect your employees while dealing with the Summer Heat.

Construction Worker dealing with Summer Heat.

Have your A/C Unit checked

Most people think that heat related injuries only concern businesses that have employees who work out side, but when an A/C Unit goes out during the month of July it can have an extremely negative impact on your office and your employees. Having your A/C Unit checked in the Spring can prevent a bad situation from happening. The earlier in the year you get this done, the better.

Communicate with employees

Employees listen to their managers and key employees within your organization. If you communicate through those key employees what is important to the organization, the employees are much more likely to follow through with actions you want them to follow. Communication should be direct and ongoing. The more your employees hear something, the more likely they are to follow through.

Hydration

Drinking adequate amounts of water is important for all employees at all levels of your organization. That is true if they work primarily out in the elements or if they are an office employee. In the Summer this is especially true for employees who work out in the elements. Periodically providing cool drinks for your employees is always a good idea. Talking about hydration with your staff is also important to get them to take hydration seriously.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is necessary during the Summer Months. It is important for you to provide sunscreen for your employees and to talk about using it. Encourage your managers and key employees to model the types of activities you want the rest of your staff to copy.

Proper Clothing

Depending upon the industry your business operates in and the climate of the area, adequate clothing may defer depending upon the weather your employees face. Preventing sunburn and other types of heat exposure is crucial to keeping your employees healthy and happy.

Adjust your operating hours

It is important for your acclimate your employees to the weather as the Summer heat begins.  Gradually increasing exposure to the environment is the best way to help your employees deal with heat exposure throughout the entire Summer. Depending upon how hot the weather actually is and the type of activities your employees partake in, it may be necessary for your business to adjust the operating hours during the Summer months.

Take Extra Breaks

Taking additional breaks is a great way to deal with an increase in the temperatures during the Summer. When the temperatures rise, it is not a time for your employees to attempt to show how tough they are. More often than not this will result in someone dealing with a heat related illness. Protect your employees by taking additional breaks.

Notice the signs of Heat Related Illness

According to the Center for Disease Control, ‘From 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported in the United States’. That is more than 800 people each year who die from heat related illnesses.  Familiarizing yourself and your managers with the early signs of heat exhaustion can go a long way towards preventing your employees from becoming a victim of a heat related illness.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes and other insects come out in great numbers during the Summer Months. Helping your employees deal with them will keep those employees happy and healthy. If your employees stay at your facility, there are steps you can take throughout the property to limit exposure to insects. When employees are working at third party locations, it is important to periodically talk to the employees about how to prevent insect bites.

Prepare Your Vehicles

If you have employees who operate automobiles as part of their job, it is important to help those employees maintain the vehicle so that they will be able to withstand the extreme temperatures all Summer long. It may be necessary for your business to buy car windshield sunshade and to require all employees to use them if they are going to be away from the vehicle for a certain amount of time. Making sure the AC Unit in the car is in tip top shape is important to keep your employees cool and the cars operating throughout the year.

5 ways a Safety Program can help your Business.

Insurance is one of the biggest expenses for a small business. If there is a way to save, the extra cash flow can help a business immensely.  A well-documented safety program are a solid way to lower what a business pays for insurance coverage. An effective safety program does not have to take an enormous amount of time away from your business.  If implemented properly the program can cause your business to have less injured workers, lower your insurance premium, lower the amount and severity of claims, prevent your businesses insurance rates from increasing when a claim does occur and it can prevent your business from being dropped from coverage altogether.  If a well-documented safety program is implemented properly it will be a win-win situation for both your employees and the bottom-line of your company.

How can a safety program help with your commercial insurance premium?

Here are five ways a well-documented safety program can benefit your business.

Less Inured Workers

 Safety and preventing injuries is simply the right thing to do.  Safety is the right thing for your employees because they will experience less injuries on the job. Safety is the right thing for your business because you will experience less injured workers having to take time away from the job.  This will decrease the stress on the rest of your workforce and it will lower or eliminate costly insurance claims that can be a financial disaster for your business.  Doing the right thing may seem simple and obvious to most business owners, but many businesses do not take the time to implement a thorough safety program and in the long run it costs them immensely.    

 Your business can get a better rate on insurance premium

Insurance carriers are more likely to offer your business better credits and discounts if your organization has a well-documented safety program in place. The program shows that your business operates more like a well-oiled machine and less like a rusty old farm tractor.  Documentation is especially important to this program.  If you do not have documentation of this program, you might as well not have one for insurance purposes.  The documentation will help your agent to negotiate better coverage and for the underwriter at your carrier to offer deeper discounts on premium and more credits toward your policy.

Less Severe Claims

When a thorough safety program is in place, the business will experience less accidents.  The severity of those accidents will be less. Additionally, if you incorporate a return to work program as a part of the program; injured workers will return to work more quickly. This is extremely important for your insurance policy because the quicker a worker returns to work, even in a limited capacity, the more likely they are to return to work permanently. This can impact the amount of a claim.  How much your insurance carrier has to pay out for claims in a given term impacts your businesses experience modification rating.  This is one of the few factors that carriers use to determine what they will charge your business for insurance premium.  When injured workers do not return to work and stay on workers’ compensation for extended times, it can negatively impact your experience modification rating. This rating along with the industry your business operates in are the two most important factors that determine your rate for insurance premium.

When incidents occur, your business is less likely to have insurance premium rates go up.

When accidents occur; more than likely, your rates for commercial insurance are going to increase.  They are less likely to be increased because of just one accident or a string of minor claims, but in the landscaping business eventually a large claim will occur.  This is simply the nature of the business.  If you have a strong safety program in place, your insurance agent can use the program to explain how the claim is more of an outlier and not a signal of how your organization does business.  When a large claim does occur; if a safety program is in place and it is well documented, your insurance agent can use the program to show the underwriter that this incident is not a sign that your business will have more claims in the future.

 Safety Program

Safety programs can prevent your business from being dropped altogether. 

If you have several claims or one large claim during one insurance term, the insurance carrier may consider refusing to offer coverage moving forward.  If this happens and your business cannot find a carrier on the open market to offer coverage for your business you may be forced to buy some coverages from the state provider.  For instance, if your business is looking for workers compensation insurance in California you are already operating in the most expensive state in the country to purchase coverage.  The assigned risk provider is sometimes referred to as the provider of last resort, the state fund or the state pool.  This provider of last resort is typically significantly more expensive than the open market.  In most states once you are forced to purchase coverage from the state provider you must continue purchasing from that provider for a period of usually two or three years.  This is designed to deter businesses form having excessive claims.  A safety program can help prevent this from happening to your business.  Just like how your insurance agent can use a well-documented safety program to prevent an increase in premium they can also use it to find some coverage on the open market.