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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

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/

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/.