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EPA Revises Worker Protection Standard

Pesticide WorkerStarting in 2017, the health of greenhouse, plant nursery, urban farm, and other workers will be better protected.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) with elements designed to reduce the risk of illness or injury from unsafe pesticide exposure.  Employers must comply with most of the new requirements starting January 2, 2017 and certain other requirements starting January 2, 2018.

Exposure to pesticides is associated with a number of illnesses and injuries such as nausea, vomiting, neurological disorders, and cancer, just to name a few.  This is not only bad for a worker’s health and wallet, but it’s bad for your horticulture business, too.  These health risks can increase worker absenteeism, reduce productivity, and add to your costs.  The revised WPS aims to reduce preventable illnesses relating to pesticides through stricter regulations.

Who Needs to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard?

Employers can be subject to significant civil and criminal penalties if WPS requirements are not met.  This affects establishments that grow and harvest commercial plants in greenhouses and nurseries, fruits and vegetables on farms, or timber and trees in forests and nurseries.

Employers of researchers who help grow and harvest plants and employers of commercial pesticide handling establishments are also required to meet WPS regulations.

Learn more from EPA on which employers are affected by WPS and exceptions here.

Which Employees are Protected by the Worker Protection Standard?

The WPS protects pesticide handlers and agricultural workers. EPA defines pesticide handlers as compensated workers who:

• mix, load, or apply agricultural pesticides;
• clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or
• assist with the application of pesticides

EPA defines agricultural workers as “those who perform tasks related to growing and harvesting plants on farms or in greenhouses, nurseries or forests.”  This includes compensated workers that perform activities directly related to agricultural plant production, including repotting and watering plants.

What Changes Were Made to the Worker Protection Standard?

EPA made a number of changes in 2015 to the existing Worker Protection Standard.  These revisions improve safety measures, training, and access to information.  Some of the major changes include:

• Individuals under the age of 18 can no longer handle pesticides or perform early-entry work during a restricted-entry interval  (REI) (effective January 2, 2017)

• Pesticide handlers must complete medical evaluations, annual fit testings, and annual training prior to using a respirator; a record of these completed activities must be saved for two years (effective January 2, 2017)

• Eye flush water must be accessible at mixing/loading sites for pesticide handlers required to use eye protection (effective January 2, 2017)

• Warning signs must be posted for outdoor production areas if the REI is greater than 48 hours (effective January 2, 2017)

• Mandatory training on required protections must be provided to workers and handlers annually (effective January 2, 2017)

• “Enclosed space production” replaced the term “greenhouse” to include greenhouses, mushroom houses, grow houses, hoop houses, and high tunnels in its definition

• And more

How to Protect Your Horticulture Business from Financial Loss

To protect your horticulture business from paying penalties, it’s important to follow requirements specified in the Worker Protection Standard.  Standardize procedures for your employees and provide additional training if needed.   Each worker should be trained in recognizing hazards, using equipment and chemicals properly, and following the required safety procedures.  Enforcing safety not only prevents violations and worker injuries, it could help lower your insurance premium, too.

If an injury or illness does occur from pesticide exposure or other cause, make sure you have comprehensive workers’ compensation insurance coverage.  This covers medical costs, foregone wages, and other related costs that can be financially devastating for your business.  With this, your employees can focus on restoring their health and you can continue growing your business.

Find insurance coverage for your horticulture business.  NIP Group’s GrowPro insurance program includes workers’ compensation and other important coverages that can be custom-tailored to your operational and financial needs. For information on insurance coverage specific to your needs, visit nipgroup.com/programs/growpro or contact your broker.

 

NIP Programs develops and manages business insurance programs for industries with specialized insurance and risk management needs.

 

Source: epa.gov

How to Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More Efficiently

 

Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More EfficientlyAccording to a recent study by The Hartford, four out of ten small businesses will experience a property or general liability claim within the next ten years.  Knowing which steps to take when an unexpected situation happens, including theft, property damage, and injuries, can save you a lot of headache and time.  To get fair resolution of a claim through a more efficient process, prompt response and preparation are required.

Below we’ve detailed the steps that will help you move along the claims process more smoothly.

Before an Incident

Following a risk management plan, including safety procedures, can help prevent a claim from occurring. However, even the most careful businesses can face loss or damages.  For this, preparation is important to ensure you’ll be covered financially.

  • Review your insurance policies so you know exactly what is covered and if these terms fit your business needs
  • In case of a claim, store your insurance policy, including policy number and expiration date, and the contact information of your insurance provider in a safe place

Reporting a Claim

Failure to report theft, property damage, injuries, or other incidents right away drags out the claims process and, if evidence is lost, could compromise how much you’re covered financially.

  • Contact law enforcement to file a police report and request a copy of the report
  • Contact your insurance company to have a claim filed immediately
  • Have a surveillance camera or digital camera readily available for documenting evidence to support your claim
  • Make a list of any stolen or damaged items for your insurance company
  • For any damages, get multiple estimates for repair costs and confirm with your insurance provider when repairs can be made

After a Claim is Filed

Save all copies of the evidence, police reports, and claim information.  When you can, communicate in writing for documentation.  After the claim is filed, there are more steps that may need to be taken to get fair resolution.

  • If you have a business interruption insurance policy, document the length of time your operations are shut down (e.g., from building fire damage) and income lost during that time period for later compensation
  • Ask your insurance provider for a cash advancement if money is needed to get your operations running again before the claim is settled
  • Follow up routinely with your insurance provider to keep track of progress

At NIP Group, our dedicated claims expert reviews each claim routinely to ensure they are being handled properly and promptly.  Through a customer-focused network, we’ll update you about the status of a claim, assist you with loss control, and work directly with the carrier to get you fair and fast resolution.

To get comprehensive coverage specific to your business risks and responsive claims handling support, check out NIP Group’s commercial insurance programs by visiting http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/.

Related Articles:

Will Your Insurance Carrier Be Able to Pay Your Claim?  Here’s One Way to Tell

Resources:

http://newsroom.thehartford.com/releases/the-hartford-reports:-more-than-40-percent-of-small-businesses-will-experience-a-claim-in-the-next-10-years

http://www.business.com/business-insurance/tips-for-filing-a-business-insurance-claim/

TMPAA Announces 2013 "Program Marketing Campaign" Award Winners

Three Member Agencies Score Highest in Competition Co-Sponsored by the IMCA

Wilmington, DE — The Target Markets Program Administrators Association (TMPAA) announced at their Mid Year Meeting in Baltimore that 20 entries were received for the third annual marketing campaign competition. TMPAA’s co-sponsor, the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA) has sponsored its own marketing and communications “Showcase Awards” for 55 years. IMCA provided a panel of independent judges that reviewed all TMPAA member entries for both creative design and marketplace impact.

The winning member agencies were Venture Insurance Programs from West Chester, PA, K&B Underwriters from Reston, VA and MiniCo Insurance Agency from Phoenix, AZ. Venture’s entry was for its “Suite Life” campaign in support of its hospitality program. K&B Underwriters’ entry featured its multi-media campaign in support of its “DigniCARE” senior living facilities program. And MiniCo’s entry was the launch of its new “Family of Products” campaign featuring a branded icon supporting four of its specialty insurance programs. All three Award of Excellence winners supported their entries with impressive marketplace metrics that achieved desired upfront marketing objectives.

David Springer, TMPAA President, presented the winning award plaques at the recent Mid Year Meeting. The semi-annual association meeting attracted 600 agency, carrier and vendor members. Springer commented, “The TMPAA was thrilled to continue the creative competition in partnership with IMCA. We hope to have even more entries in 2014.”

Additionally, Springer announced that two other member agencies were named runners up in this year’s competition – GMI Insurance from Valley Forge, PA and Willis Programs of Portsmouth, NH.

The Association’s recent Mid Year Meeting was held in Baltimore, MD, May 6-9. Complete details of this event are now on the TMPAA website. The 13th Annual TMPAA Summit is scheduled for October 21-23 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Program Administrators / MGA’s interested in learning more about the TMPAA and the Program Marketing Awards can visit the Association website at www.targetmarkets.com, or contact Ray Scotto, Executive Director, at (877) 347-5700 or ray.scotto@targetmkts.com.

How To Keep Workers' Comp Rates Down

For contractors across many classes of business, workers’ comp tends to be the most expensive line of business in their insurance coverage. This being the case, keeping the premiums low is something that every business owner wants to achieve.

What Affects A Workers’ Comp Premium?

  • The type of work that the business is involved with
  • Payroll and Number of Employees
  • The State that the business is in
  • Number of claims

Of the four determining factors above that affect workers’ comp cost, two of them are out of the business’s control. However, keeping control of the two that we can get involved with can lead to lower comp rates:

  1. Keep a detailed and organized log of projects and payroll records
  2. Have documented safety procedures in place and safety training / meetings for employees.

Keeping detailed track of projects can help to lower the cost of workers’ comp coverage. A lot of contractors just put their business down as 100% construction. The problem here is that construction carries one of the highest premiums for workers’ comp coverage. If the business owner also takes jobs in other areas like plumbing or HVAC maintenance, the premiums could be lower depending on the state than if they just throw down 100% construction.

Staying as safe as possible at a job site is a no-brainer. Also, the fewer claims there are for accidents and injuries, the lower a workers’ comp premium is going to be. Taking preventative measures like drug testing, employee training, having documented safety guidelines, and employee safety and health meetings are efficient ways to mitigate danger at the job sites.

There are many factors business owners cannot change on a whim, like the type of work the business does and the state that it operates in. However, by taking control and effectively managing the aspects that are controllable, like keeping detailed books on projects and payroll and taking extra strides in training and job site safety, workers’ comp costs can be kept in a reasonable range and be prevented from rising drastically.

For more information on workers’ compensation insurance, visit NIP Programs.

Our Appetite for Risk Just Got Much Bigger

Workers’ Compensation

NIP’s Workers’ Comp solution is designed to be applied across many classes of business. It offers an extra layer of protection that can be combined with the operations below to create a package that maximizes coverage for our insureds. With premiums as low as $1000, NIP Programs provides insureds the coverage they need at a price they can appreciate!

Program Highlights

  • A team of highly qualified and dedicated underwriters available for help when you need it
  • A suite of “A-” and better rated carriers available to help our brokers find the best fit for their clients’ needs
  • Available in All States (based on operation)
  • PAYO (Pay As You Go) / MSA (Monthly Self Audits) available

Eligible Package Operations

Minimum Premium

  • As low as $1000 (based on individual program and risk)

Submission Requirements

For more information on Workers’ Comp, visit http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/workers-compensation/.