As kids, we learn that there are two ways to get in trouble: doing stuff we shouldn’t (giving the dog a haircut) or not doing things we should (letting Fido go hungry).
As a contractor, you can get into serious trouble for not doing something,– under a legal doctrine called “negligent supervision.” For example, if one of your employees injures another person by driving a car recklessly while on company business, you might face a negligent supervision lawsuit alleging that you failed to uncover or ignored the driver’s bad record behind the wheel.
To minimize this risk, experts recommend that you:
Understand your exposure to potential negligence. Although it’s an exaggeration to say that anything you do (or don’t do) might be seen as negligent, certain situations demand particular care Promoting or certifying unqualified employees, failing to fire or discipline them for potentially dangerous behavior, or terminating them without an effective investigation.
Never make assumptions about employees. Just because workers volunteer for additional responsibilities for which they might be unqualified (out of boredom, a wish to please, or to earn a higher wage) doesn’t mean they can actually do the work. Check the employees petitions before assigning the work.
Don’t ignore or minimize signs that employees pose a potential danger to themselves or others. After the tragic shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, the media was filled with evidence of the shooter’s troubling behavior that the authorities evidently ignored. If you’re concerned about an employee’s actions, investigate, inquire, and consult with experts, including the police. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
We’d be happy to review your exposure to negligent supervision claims and how liability insurance can protect you against these allegations.
You’re traveling at 70 miles per hour on a busy highway when you blow a tire. Your car hits an unexpected slick spot and starts to fishtail. Your brakes or steering suddenly lock up.
In these situations, preparedness can literally make the difference between life and death. That means making sure your employees are trained to deal with common driving emergencies by following these guidelines:
A blown tire:
- Hang on to the steering wheel.
- Don’t brake suddenly.
- Ease off the gas and coast until you have control of the car.
- Turn on your hazard lights to warn the drivers around you.
- Steer smoothly.
Skidding or hydroplaning:
- Don’t make any sudden moves, such as braking hard or jerking the wheel.
- Ease off the gas.
- Steer the car’s nose gently in the direction you’d like to go. Make adjustments gradually, as needed, until the vehicle is moving in a straight line.
- Don’t brake – a sudden change in speed could send the car spinning.
- Ease off the gas.
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- Coast to a stop, using your brakes gently once the car slows on its own.
Your brakes fail:
- Move to the right, remembering to signal as needed.
- Because the failure might be temporary, keep your foot on the brakes. If you have ABS, apply steady pressure; If you don’t have ABS, pump the brakes.
- Shift into neutral and apply your emergency brake.
- If possible, use friction to slow or stop the vehicle by running it along a curb or something alongside the road.
For more information, feel free to get in touch with us.
“Once you start practicing being grateful and thankful for things, people, and events, you may notice that you start to attract more positive things, people, and events in your life.”
As your business grows, the risks you face become more complex, potential losses grow, along with your insurance premiums. At some point, you’ll need to decide whether it makes sense to turn over the responsibility for risk management to a full-time professional.
Before making this decision, experts recommend that you weigh two key factors:
1) the cost of paying a full-time risk manager, and
2) the potential savings that this manager can generate.
The first element is relatively easy to determine, it’s the salary and overhead of the manager, plus whatever clerical support that he or she needs.
The second item requires you to analyze the extent which a full-time risk manager can:
- Centralize and compartmentalize responsibility for risk management in a single department. This improvement in efficiency should more than offset the increase in administrative costs.
- reduce losses by providing analysis of loss control needs, careful scrutiny of reports, and knowledge of whom to contact for specialized help. Careful attention to loss reserves and adjusting practices can help cut costs dramatically. For example, adjusting liability and workers compensation claims requires special expertise. Insurance companies generally provide adjusters, it’s always helpful to have someone on your team who can evaluate their conclusions.
- help lower your premiums by paying closer attention to coverage criteria, negotiating with agents, brokers, and insurance companies, and using familiarity with industry terminology.
If you’d like our input on making this key decision, feel free to get in touch with the risk management professionals at our agency at any time. We’re here to serve you.
Demographic changes in today’s workplace are impacting the way risk managers handle lost Productivity, the cost of wage replacement, and skyrocketing workers comp premiums that are created by the health problems their employees face. Chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, back problems, respiratory disease, and diabetes are far more prevalent among workers aged 55 and above. These workers account for an ever-greater share of the labor force, than among younger employees.
Employers who promote healthy life style choices offer an effective way to reduce health related costs. Experts recommend taking these steps:
- Encourage workers to educate themselves about their health problems.
- Offer health risk appraisals to employees.
- Introduce disease management programs to promote healthy behavior.
- Make healthy food options available.
- Encourage exercise.
- Discourage unhealthy habits. For example, make the workplace tobacco free.
- If you have a fairly large workforce, provide on-site medical facilities.
- Use employee assistance programs (EAPs) to help with family and home issues that often emerge when managing long term chronic conditions.
- Create mobility throughout the day. Being sedentary or standing for long periods can create problems for employee with health conditions.
- Conduct periodic ergonomic assessments.
- Encourage breaks in concentration and focus by dividing tasks into shorter cognitive units.
- Establish a safety committee that recognizes and rewards valuable safety suggestions.
- Build in accountability for the workplace health and safety committee at the supervisory level.
Of course, these guidelines apply equally to all of your employees.
To learn more, feel free to give a call.
With slips, trips and, falls remaining one of the top causes of workers compensation claims, safety experts stress the need for preventive measures and ergonomic workplace design.
Such accidents need particular attention in nonindustrial environments where employers often install terrazzo or marble floors that can be dangerous to walk on.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, same- level slips, trips and falls (in which workers slip and fall on the surface where they’re standing) accounted for 134,580 lost workdays and 111 deaths in 2011. The number of same-level falls increased 42.3% from 1998 to 2010, the highest growth of any accident type during this period. These mishaps are costly, in 2010, Liberty Mutual a a leading workers comp insurance company, paid $8.61 billion in same-level fall comp claims.
Implementing safety measures such as, cleaning spilled liquids promptly and placing floor mats on smooth flooring will help prevent workplace injury. Reviewing injury records to find trends will help determine additional safety measures to implement in the workplace. Many businesses are replacing surfaces that contribute to these mishaps which is a highly cost effective investment that can curb expensive litigation and workers comp liabilities.
Although these precautions have prevented thousands of slip-and-fall accidents, the risk will remain a problem until employers work with design professionals to create ergonomically friendly safe buildings. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is sponsoring a “Prevention Through Design” initiative to address ways that architects and engineers can get involved in designing safer workplaces (for example, by training college engineering and architecture students about safety and ergonomic considerations).
Our workers comp specialists would be happy to check your business for slip and fall hazards and recommend steps to help keep your staff and visitors from slipping.