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Safety Tips that Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Stress and Illness

Safety Tips that Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Stress and IllnessThe physical demands of outdoor work and extreme heat is a dangerous combination.  Landscape, tree service, construction, and other  outdoor workers spend hours under the hot sun, making them more vulnerable to heat stroke, exhaustion, dehydration, and other serious health problems.  This is not only bad for their health, but bad for your business too.

Heat stress and related illnesses have been one of the many occupational hazards OSHA aims to prevent.  In May 2015, for example, the State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) changed employer requirements to better protect agricultural and other outdoor workers from illnesses related to heat exposure.  This includes stricter regulations.

To avoid violating OSHA regulations and control hazards, enforcing safety procedures is your best bet.  Below we list some tips for protecting your workers from these heat-related health problems.

Safety Tips for Working in Hot Temperatures

  • Dress cool.  Wear light-colored, breathable clothing and a hat.
  • Stay hydrated. Thirsty or not, drink water every 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Take breaks. Rest in the shade when possible.  Eat during lunch or other breaks to re-fuel.
  • Watch your workers’ backs. Keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion and other heat illnesses.
  • Have a response plan. Know which steps to take if a worker shows symptoms of heat illness.

Each employee should be trained in safety procedures, including recognizing and controlling hazards, and steps to take in an emergency.  By creating a safe working environment, your workers are better protected from harm and the risk of a costly claim is significantly reduced.  If a health problem does occur even after following safety procedures, an insurance plan with workers’ comp will cover medical costs, foregone wages, and other related costs to take the heat off of your business financially.

NIP Group’s insurance programs include comprehensive workers’ comp to back you up financially so your employees can focus on restoring their health and you can continue growing your business.  Click the links below for more information or contact your broker.

LandPro Insurance >

For landscape and lawn care professionals

TreePro Insurance >

For arborists and tree service professionals

GrowPro Insurance >

For greenhouse and plant grower professionals

Resources

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/documents/Heat-Illness-Prevention-Regulation-Amendments.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2013-143/pdfs/2013-143.pdf

http://landscapeonline.com/research/article/17720

4 Fundamental Insurance Policies that Protect Cleaning and Maintenance Service Businesses

Basic Insurance that Protects Cleaning and Maintenance Service BusinessesFor a cleaning or maintenance service company, it only takes one messy situation to leave a mark on your balance sheet.  Damages to a client’s property, damages to your own commercial property, and injuries are, at times, unavoidable risks that can wipe your business out financially. When a claim is made against your business, having even the most basic insurance can help you avoid financial loss.

Below are four fundamental insurance policies – general liability, property, commercial vehicle, and workers’ comp – that help protect cleaning or maintenance service businesses.

1. General Liability (GL) Insurance

This coverage protects your business from property damage, bodily injury, and personal or advertising injury claims. If your employee is cleaning a floor and a client slips on it, for example, you’re covered. GL insurance by itself, however, is not enough to keep your business out of financial harm.

2. Property Insurance

If you own commercial cleaning equipment or operate your business in a commercial space, property insurance may benefit you. This coverage is there to back you up financially when a fire, vandalism, theft, or certain other unexpected situations cause commercial property loss or damage (e.g., your expensive cleaning equipment is stolen).

3. Commercial Vehicle Insurance

You could be liable if an employee causes an auto accident while driving to the next job. The cost of damages from a crash or fender bender makes commercial vehicle insurance important for businesses with traveling employees.

4. Workers’ Comp Insurance

This insurance is the protector of your most important asset – your employees.  Even with safety procedures in place, frequent exposure to cleaning chemicals, wet floors, cleaning equipment, heavy lifting, and other daily tasks can still result in an employee injury. When this happens, workers’ comp is there to pay the resulting medical costs, legal fees, and other related costs.

Although there are other insurance policies your business may need, these four are important to consider.  Maintaining a clean claims history can help lower insurance costs, so it’s recommended to standardize and follow safety procedures specific to the risks of your business. With insurance and effective risk management, your business is set up to avoid a financial mess.

Looking to clean up your balance sheet?  Check out NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program that includes general liability, property, auto liability, workers’ comp, and other insurance policies custom-tailored to your cleaning or maintenance service business need.

Please note: All coverages are subject to conditions, coverage limits, limits of liability, limitations, and exclusions as contained in the policy.

Safety Guidelines for Reducing Hazards in the Electrical Trade

Safety Guidelines for Reducing Hazards in the Electrical Trade

Fatality reports for electricians are devastating, often listing slips and falls or electrocution as the cause of death. However, if the following safety precautions were in place and abided by, many of these deaths could have been prevented. Therefore the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to follow certain safety standards or pay a penalty. To protect your workers from devastating injuries and avoid significant financial loss, we’ve put together general safety measures that reduce hazards in the electrical trade.

1. Recognize Hazards

Before starting a job, it’s important to first recognize hazards within your work environment. This helps determine any areas that could result in injury or death. Hazards to look for include but are not limited to:

  • Inadequate wiring and insulation of wiring
  • Exposed or energized electrical parts, including overhead power lines
  • Improper grounding of equipment and circuitry
  • Overloaded electrical systems
  • Improper or defective equipment and ladders
  • Wet conditions

2. Evaluate Hazards

Once recognized, it’s important that each hazard is evaluated to identify how they can be controlled. Never ignore a sign of risk. An assessment of each hazard includes:

  • The seriousness of the hazard
  • Action needed to be taken to eliminate risk

3. Control Hazards

After hazards have been recognized and evaluated, you can employ safety procedures that minimize these risks and prevent injury or death. These should be followed and enforced at all times. Safety procedures should include but are not limited to:

  • Keeping a first aid kit at each jobsite
  • Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Isolating and insulating live wires and electrical parts correctly
  • De-energizing electrical devices before repair or service
  • Using “lockout / tagout” procedures
  • Grounding electrical devices and using GFCIs
  • Using overcurrent protection devices
  • Maintaining working condition and proper use of equipment

To create a safer environment, each worker needs to be trained in recognizing hazards, using equipment properly, and following the required safety procedures. If an injury or death does occur even with the proper safety procedures in place, having the right insurance can protect your business from serious financial loss. Workers’ comp insurance coverage, in particular, adds an extra layer of protection in case of an accident.

Looking to better protect your workers and your electrical trade business from significant financial loss? Check out NIP Group’s PowerPro insurance program that includes comprehensive workers’ compensation.

Info from:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2009-113/pdfs/2009-113.pdf
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/Electrical_Safety.pdf
http://www.ehso.com/css/oshaviolations.php

Top 5 Work-Related Injuries

3D business white people. Handicapped businessman
No matter where you may work, there are certain injuries that seem to be ubiquitous in the workplace. These seemingly small injuries can affect many things- families, businesses, and of course, the workers themselves. Below are the five most common injuries and a few tips to prevent them from happening to you or a loved one.

Musculoskeletal Injuries: Injuries from overexertion, fatigue, prolonged static structure, frequent/repetitive stretching, or heavy lifting are very common, no matter what your profession. The best ways to avoid this are to stretch and change positions frequently, as well as sitting properly at work. Most of all, it is very important to learn the correct way to do physical work. On top of that, be sure to maintain fitness and flexibility.

Slips, Trips, & Falls: When lighting is inadequate, or the floor is cluttered with objects, it is very easy to stumble over something and potentially get hurt. Even something inconspicuous, such as a wet floor or loose carpeting, can pose as a threat. Stay alert while walking, and be sure to observe any signs to indicate slippery conditions. Watch for uneven sidewalks. Additionally, be sure to keep all workplaces clean and uncluttered.

Repetitive Motion Injuries: Mostly, this type of injury is caused by fixed-position activities, such as keyboard use. The best ways to prevent this are by taking occasional breaks, and provide employees with proper ergonomic equipment. Ergonomic workstations have the potential to cut back $20 million per year on worker’s compensation.

Machinery & Equipment: Dangerous equipment and machinery can be especially risky to use if not handled properly. Loose clothing, shoes, jewelry, or hair all pose as hazards to safety. To avoid an accident, be sure to follow all safety precautions, and wear any protective equipment that is necessary.

Motor Vehicle Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents affect workers of all industries and can involve those who transport people or freight, employees who drive company vehicles, and even pedestrian workers who are hit by motorists. By providing employees with extensive safety training and enforcing safe driving policies, you can help prevent these types of accidents.

Click the link to check out the awesome infographic: http://www.oahuspineandrehab.com/5-common-work-related-injuries/

Workplace Injuries Costs and Causes

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Workplace injuries are an unfortunate part of running a business. Obviously, no one wants an injury to happen, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be prepared in case a worker becomes injured on the job. Direct workers’ compensation costs about $1 billion per week to US businesses. In 2009, there were 124,856,000 covered workers with $5.68 billion in covered wages. The number one disabling workplace injury was overexertion, which cost over $12 billion in 2009. Overexertion accounts for 1 out of every 4 workplace injuries, and for 25.4% of disabling injuries.

The direct costs to businesses are workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses, and costs for legal services. But what you may not think of is the many indirect costs, such as training replacement workers, accident investigation, damaged equipment repairs, and low employee morale. Indirect costs of injuries can cost up to 20 times more than the direct costs. Workers’ compensation insurance is required by most US states, however laws may vary by state. Only workers’ compensation will pay medical costs and lost wages, making it a solid investment.

Click here to take a look at the infographic: https://www.boltinsurance.com/news/miscellaneous/workplace-injuries-costs-causes-infographic/

Slips, Trips and Falls: The Painful Truth

Slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries, according to the National Safety Council. Common areas for falls to occur are in doorways, ramps, cluttered hallways, unstable work surfaces, ladders and stairs. But how does this impact insurance? From National Underwriter P&C’s January issue, take a stats-eye view of these slippery expenditures:
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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/.