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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

The Dangers of Job Site Cellphone Use

According to a recent study, the average person checks their cellphone 100 times a day. While there is a time and a place for cellphones, using it at the job site can be extremely dangerous.

If you’re distracted for just a second while operating a power tool, working on a roof or driving a forklift, you can injure yourself or a co-worker. You can also face civil or criminal liability for damages you cause by operating a motorized vehicle while using a cellphone.

It isn’t only operators of machinery who need to be mindful of the dangers of cellphone use on the job site. Simply looking down at your cellphone and not paying attention to your surroundings could put your life in danger.

Cellphone Safety Tips When On-site

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) prohibits cellphone use by operators of cranes and similar equipment. Most organizations prohibit any kind of cellphone use on the job site—not just for crane operators. It is your responsibility to know how your company’s rules apply to you and follow them accordingly.

If you struggle with the temptation to check your phone while working on a job site, consider the following safety tips:

  • Get in the habit of sending and receiving text messages before or after your shift, or during one of your breaks.
  • Remind family and friends that you may not be able to respond to their messages right away. Provide them with your workplace contact information in case of emergencies.
  • Turn off push notifications so you’re not distracted by any apps.
  • Don’t carry your cellphone on you if the temptation to check it is too much. Instead, leave it in a safe place where it won’t distract you from your job.
  • Follow your workplace policy for cellphone use at work and on the job site. Be aware of any cellphone-free zones.

Besides creating enormous safety risks, employees who are texting at work are not doing what they are getting paid to do. For this reason, these workers may be subject to disciplinary action.

If you have questions about ’s workplace cellphone policy, or if you notice inappropriate cellphone use on the job site, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your supervisor or HR.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

3 Tips for Hiring Farm Labor

With some farmers struggling to find reliable farm labor, it is important to invest some thought in the hiring process. Here are some tips for finding the right help:

Examine your needs. You might have a general idea in your head of what work needs to be done, but it’s best to be specific. Narrow down broad processes into specific jobs so you can determine how much help you truly need.

Think about desired traits. Do you need someone to fill a temporary need, or are you hoping that person can go on to fill a managerial role? You’ll have to determine whether people skills are more important than manual labor or machinery skills, and list those traits in your job description.

Consider hiring for a trial period. If you’re hesitant about a candidate but need immediate help, consider hiring them for a short-term trial period. This saves you from high employee turnover while buying you time to recognize your needs. It allows both you and the worker to communicate any frustrations and expectations after the trial period before considering whether the working relationship is worth investing in long term.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Caused 1 Death, 17 Illnesses

On Thursday, Aug. 29, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that salmonella-tainted chicken caused at least 17 illnesses and one death.

Investigation Details

Reported illnesses ranged from Sept. 25, 2017, to June 4, 2018, but the agencies didn’t begin their investigation until June. The investigation was launched after the New York State Department of Health said several of those who have become ill reported eating kosher chicken. When they were asked what specific kosher chicken brand they ate, they reported it was Empire Kosher brand.

At this time, the CDC isn’t advising against eating Empire Kosher brand chicken. There also haven’t been any recalls issued. Instead, they issued a public health alert on Aug. 24 out of an “abundance of caution.”

What You Can Do

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes intestinal illness. If you experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention for possible salmonella infection:

  • Diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps
  • Symptoms beginning 12 to 72 hours after suspected ingestion
  • Symptoms lasting four to seven days

The CDC recommends doing the following to reduce your risk of contracting salmonella:

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry or meat.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of foods. Keep uncooked meats separate from produce, cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, counters, knives and other utensils thoroughly after handling uncooked foods.
  • Always wash hands before handling food and between handling different food items.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Low-wage Labor Workplace Violations

An extensive survey of more than 4,000 low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) reached these conclusions:

  • More than one in four workers surveyed (26%) were paid less than minimum wage.
  • Among these workers, 16% were underpaid by more than one dollar per hour.
  • More than three in four (76%) workers who worked overtime were not paid for their time. The average worker had put in 11 hours that were either underpaid or not paid at all.
  • Women and foreign-born workers were victimized more than anyone else.
  • The average wage theft was 15% of earnings.

Additional violation categories included:

  • Off-the-clock
  • Meal breaks
  • Pay stubs
  • Illegal deductions
  • Tips
  • Illegal employer retaliation
  • Workers Compensation violations

It is hard to balance this economic suffering with the fact some executives are making tens of millions of dollars during a failing economy. You don’t have to be of any political persuasion to realize that something’s out of whack. Not only do these employers deprive good people of a fair day’s pay, they’re also at war with companies who strive to grow their business the right way; perhaps even going above the call and actually empowering their workers rather than oppressing them. If we can fight overseas to assure basic human rights, we should be able to do the same here.

For more information on the survey, click here.

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4 months ago · by · 0 comments

To Bundle, or Not to Bundle

If you’ve ever shopped around for insurance, you’ve likely been asked if you want to bundle your policies—in other words, combine your home or renters, auto and life insurance policies with the same carrier. Although you have the option to shop around individually for each policy, it almost always makes sense to have the same carrier cover as many of your policies as possible.

Benefits of Bundling

  • The discount—Most policyholders bundle their policies because of the promise of a discount. The amount varies by provider but can generally range between 5-25 percent.
  • The option of a single deductible—With bundled policies, your deductible may be cheaper in the event of a claim that affects multiple policies. For example, if your home and auto policies are with two separate carriers, and a hailstorm damages your home and your car, you’re responsible for paying both your home and auto deductibles before receiving payment. But if you bundle your policies, your provider may offer you the option to pay only the higher of the two deductibles.
  • Less chance of being dropped—If you’ve made claims or gotten tickets, having your policies bundled with one provider can decrease the chance of them dropping you.
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When it Doesn’t Pay to Bundle

It isn’t always better to bundle your policies with one insurance carrier. Here’s when it may be better to split them up:

  • If you have tickets or past claims that make your auto insurance expensive—In this case, it may be cheaper overall to buy each policy from separate providers.
  • When premiums increase—Bundling discourages people from price shopping, which makes it easier for providers to increase their rates. Most assume that you won’t go through the effort of shopping around when your policies renew.
  • If policies aren’t technically bundled—Some carriers may insure you with an affiliated company. Although you may get a discount with that company, you’ll lose the convenience of paying your premium with one familiar provider.

A Few Tips to Consider

Although discounts are the main reason people bundle their insurance policies, never assume that bundling is the cheapest option. Your needs and circumstances will dictate whether you should combine your policies with one carrier. Consider the following tips:

  • Shop for new coverage when your policies renew, and ask for the price of the individual premiums as well as the price of the bundled premium so you can decide whether it is worth it. Just make sure you compare the same coverage when shopping for quotes from each carrier.
  • Ask if the provider uses a third-party insurance company. Remember that you may save money but lose the convenience of dealing with one provider and a combined bill.
  • Ask an independent insurance agent to get prices from multiple companies so you don’t have to do the legwork. An agent that is loyal to a particular carrier may be able to offer discounts that you can’t get alone.

With multiple factors contributing to the price of your insurance premiums, it is important to shop around in order to get the best rate for your insurance needs. Feel free to contact Scurich Insurance to determine if bundling is right for you and help you take advantage of all available discounts.

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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

Review Your Business Insurance Annually

Every business goes through different cycles of profit and loss. This means that your risks and potential exposures are being affected similarly. At the same time, Commercial insurance coverage is also evolving and changing. Nothing in either your business or the insurance industry remains static. This is why you should re-evaluate your insurance coverage at least once a year. A regular insurance audit will help you plug any coverage holes that might impact your bottom-line severely should an unexpected loss occur.
Ask yourself: How much risk are we prepared to accept for our business? Essentially, anything that you are not prepared to take on needs to be covered by suitable insurance coverage. To measure the amount of risk in evaluating the insurance needs of your company, there are a number of key areas you need to examine — in conjunction with one of our knowledgeable insurance agents. The primary areas you should re-evaluate annually are:

General Liability. How much liability protection does your company currently require? The amount of coverage you had purchased previously was probably adequate at the time, but remember: Your business has changed since then and so has your liability exposure. What was suitable for your needs last year might no longer be sufficient if your company has grown and expanded. The larger your growth, the more you become exposed to potential, increased, and significant liability.

Property Insurance. Business property evaluations go up and down as commercial real estate values fluctuate. You could now be paying too little or too much for the necessary coverage. The same applies to your equipment, machinery, and your inventory. Adding or subtracting in these three areas, while factoring in appreciation or depreciation, can affect not only the premiums you pay, but also your overall Property insurance coverage in the event of a significant loss, such as a fire or natural disaster.

Workers Compensation. The premium you pay is largely dependent on the roles of each and every employee — from the shop floor to your managerial staff. If the roles of your personnel have changed relative to how your business has grown, shrunk, or evolved, then you need to re-evaluate these changes relative to the premium rate you pay for each worker. The premium cost changes and/or differences can be substantial.

Business Interruption Insurance. You might have enough insurance to get your business re-built and your equipment replaced in the event of a disaster, but did you also factor in your business operating expenses? Many companies neglect that part of the equation and fail to develop a disaster recovery plan. Even if your company has a plan, what about the vendors that are key to the survival of your business? Your own business might be fine, but in some other part of the state or country, a key manufacturer or supplier could get nailed. Did you know that you could extend your coverage to cover this circumstance, too?

Insurance Protection of Executives. The size of your company doesn’t matter. If you have employees, you can face claims for sexual harassment or wrongful dismissal. You might not have considered the need to purchase Employment Practices Liability insurance before, but if your company has grown, that expansion has increased your risk to potential claims. Similarly, if you sponsor a 401(k) plan for your employees, and its performance has not met expectations or an employee feels the investment was mismanaged, do you have adequate Directors & Officers Liability to handle such claims?

Summary. To safeguard your business from potential risk, an annual insurance audit is a must. You might discover that changes in your business might have exposed you to new risks. Likewise, insurance premiums are a significant expense, and you might find that you are paying too much or covering exposures that are no longer relevant.

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

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783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite7,
Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

Mailing:
PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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