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.
More Than 132,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Products Recalled
On Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that Cargill Meat Solutions would be recalling over 132,000 pounds of ground beef products.
The recall news comes after an investigation found that these products were made from the chuck portion of carcasses that may be contaminated with E. coli. According to the FSIS, 17 people have been sickened in the outbreak and one person has died.
Details of the Outbreak
The recalled products were packaged on June 21 and have an "EST. 86R" label inside the USDA inspection mark. Because the recalled products were sold at major stores nationwide, it’s important to check your products to make sure they’re not on the recall list.
Specifically, the following products have been recalled:
- 3-lb. chubs* of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a USE OR FREEZE BY JUL/11/18 and case code 00228749057646.
- 3-lb. chubs of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a USE OR FREEZE BY JUL/11/18 and case code 00228749002653.
- 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 00228749089098.
- 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749002751.
- 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749003536.
- 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 00228749003568.
- 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749402773.
- 20-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF COMBO” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749073935.
- 10-lb. chubs of “Sterling Silver CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 00228749702416.
- 10-lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749802405.
- 10-lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 with case code 00228749802413.
- 10-lb. chubs of “Fire River Farms CLASSIC GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a USE/FREEZE BY: 07/11/2018 with case code 90734730297241.
The recall has been classified as a Class I recall, meaning there is a "reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death." This means that if you’ve purchased any of the contaminated products, you should throw them away immediately and not consume them.
What are the symptoms of E.coli?
Symptoms of E.coli can vary, but generally begin three to four days after ingesting contaminated food or drink. Common symptoms include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Most people are able to recover within a week, but severe cases can last longer. The CDC recommends contacting your doctor if you have symptoms of an E.coli infection.
For More Information
For more information on this recall, visit the FSIS’ website.
*”Chub” refers to ground beef packaged in a cylindrical, plastic tube.
Employee theft, fraud and embezzlement can cause serious financial and reputation damage to your company. Implement several safety measures as you prevent employee theft and protect your business.
Review Your Hiring Practices
Start with honest employees, and you could reduce your theft risk. Consider implementing the following pre-employment checks for all employees, particularly those who work with finances, confidential data or inventory.
- Criminal history of theft, fraud or violence.
- Civil history of fraud, collections or restraining orders.
- Driver’s license report of serious or numerous violations.
- Education verification of degrees and certifications from accredited institutions.
- Employment verification of positions, length, performance, reasons for leaving, and eligibility for rehire.
Utilize Internal Controls
Prepare for the possibility of theft with policies and procedures that limit this risk.
- Separate duties – Place different employees in charge of transaction processing and recording.
- Control access – Only authorized employees should have access to accounting systems and physical and financial information and assets.
- Authorize control policies – Develop a secure process for initiating, authorizing, recording, and reviewing financial transactions and inventory.
- Update security – Install security cameras, engrave “do not duplicate” on keys to sensitive information, and change locks and security codes when cleared employees leave.
Perform Impartial Audits
In addition to regular audits, hire impartial parties to conduct random audits. Examine financial, inventory and other records as you encourage employees to resist temptation.
Create a Positive Work Environment
When your work environment supports collaboration, fairness, and recognition and implements clear policies, organizational structure, and communication, your employees will probably remain honest. They will feel goodwill toward the company and may be less likely to commit theft and jeopardize the supportive, friendly and healthy environment.
Educate Your Employees
Partner with your employees to avoid and prevent theft. They should know your company’s internal controls, conduct and ethics policy, and discipline process. Ask new employees to review these documents and sign a form indicating they’ve done so, and review the policies at least annually.
Use an Anonymous Reporting System
Equip employees, clients and vendors with the power to report suspicions or proof of theft, fraud or embezzlement. An anonymous reporting system protects your staff while giving you valuable information that protects your company.
Investigate all Theft Reports
Demonstrate that you take theft seriously when you investigate every theft report you receive. The investigation should be thorough, prompt and transparent.
Purchase Adequate Insurance
Commercial crime insurance protects your business as it covers financial losses and liability. Your insurance agent can help you purchase the right insurance coverage and adequate policy limits.
Protect your company from employee theft when you implement several security measures. They can reduce your theft, fraud and embezzlement risk.
Builder’s Risk insurance, also known as Course of Construction insurance, covers property that’s under construction. As a contractor or construction professional, you must understand this important coverage.
What is Builder’s Risk Insurance?
A homeowner, general contractor or project manager can purchase a Builder’s Risk insurance policy during a home building project. The coverage protects the property from hazards and accidents that could occur.
What Does Builder’s Risk Insurance Cover?
The accidents and hazards a Builder’s Risk insurance policy covers include:
- Burglary and theft.
- Property loss during transport to the job site.
- Scaffolding, temporary structures and construction forms on the job site.
- Structure collapse.
- Sewer or drain backup.
- Site plans, blueprints and other valuable papers.
- Wind, hail or rain storms.
- Impact by aircraft or vehicles.
- Riot, vandalism and malicious acts.
- Debris removal after a covered accident or hazard.
Most Builder’s Risk insurance policies include several exclusions, so read the policy carefully. Your policy probably does not cover:
- Property others own.
- Subcontractor actions or materials.
- Professional liability.
- Water damage.
- Weather damage to property in the open.
- Mechanical breakdown.
- Employee theft.
- Contract penalty.
- Voluntary parting.
- Government action.
What is the Policy Length?
The typical Builder’s Risk insurance policy covers a construction project that lasts from six to 12 months. Coverage ends when the project is finished or the property is occupied.
While the policy may be extended due to construction delays, the insurance company may want proof that you are making progress. Also, only one extension is usually offered.
How Much Does Builder’s Risk Insurance Cost?
Expect to pay between one and four percent of the total construction budget for your Builder’s Risk insurance policy. The type of coverage and materials also factor into the cost. Your insurance agent will work with you to purchase adequate coverage you can afford.
Is Builder’s Risk Insurance a Requirement?
As a contractor, project manager or homeowner, Builder’s Risk insurance gives you peace of mind. However, it’s not usually a requirement. Read your project contract for details.
Purchase Adequate Insurance
As a construction professional, you should purchase the right insurance coverage for your business and projects. Insure the tools and equipment you own in case they’re stolen or vandalized. Also, purchase liability coverage that protects you if you damage the property or cause bodily injury. Be sure the finished project is covered, too, in case something goes wrong with the home you build. Provide copies of your insurance policies to homeowners, too. They need to know that you have the right insurance in case something goes wrong.
Builder’s Risk insurance protects a new home that’s under construction. Understand this coverage as you protect your assets and construction business.
Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science forecasts five hurricanes and 12 named storms for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Natural disasters like hurricanes can wreak havoc on your company. Update your business insurance as you prepare for natural disasters.
Prepare for Wind and Hail Storms
Heavy storms that feature high winds or hail can damage your property or disrupt operations. Verify that your business insurance includes adequate commercial property and business interruption coverage.
You may also wish to check if your policy includes a separate property deductible that applies solely to wind or hail claims. Some insurance companies add a flat rate or percentage deductible to these policies, especially in areas that are susceptible to wind and hail storms.
Rising water can damage your buildings and property and affect business operations. While your mortgage lender or building manager may require you to purchase commercial flood insurance if your business operates in a flood zone, flood insurance is also important if you operate in a location that doesn’t traditionally flood. That’s because you still could experience high water due to heavy rains, storm surges, melting snow, or broken levees.
Talk to your insurance agent about purchasing flood insurance coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Because this valuable coverage includes a 30-day waiting period, be sure to purchase flood insurance before you need it.
Purchase Adequate Coverage
If you purchased your business insurance longer than a year ago, schedule a checkup. Your company’s needs may change over time, and you want to update your business insurance coverage, too. For example, if you added expensive equipment to your operation or moved to a different location, verify that your current policy covers these changes.
Check the property value coverage on your policy also. When you purchased your business insurance policy, you may have chosen the cheaper actual cash value option that pays to replace covered property minus depreciation and wear and tear. However, replacement cost pays current market value rates and offers better protection, so consider this more expensive option now.
Finally, review your policy limits. Ensure you have enough coverage for your property, building contents, inventory, and business interruption needs.
Review your Policy Carefully
Insurance policies often include dry, boring language, but take time to review every word. You must know exactly what natural disasters your commercial policy covers. Also, be sure you understand details about the deductible and how to file a claim. Your insurance agent can answer any questions you have and help you purchase enough coverage for your specific needs.
Your business insurance gives your company valuable protection. Update your coverage today as you prepare for future natural disasters.
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.