Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > Commercial Risk Management

Commercial Lines 8 Elements of a Fleet Safety ProgramFleet vehicle accidents are among the most costly injury claims for businesses. The average cost of a loss related to vehicle accidents is approximately $70,000. This is almost twice the cost of the average workplace injury ($36,592).

Without a formal fleet safety program, you may be putting the welfare of your employees and company at risk. A generic safety program is better than none. But it is far more effective to specifically design a program for your company and your fleet. A fleet safety program establishes the policies and procedures that are needed to help ensure a safe work environment for employees. It can also help protect against liability from vehicle accidents.

For any company with a fleet of vehicles of any size, a formal fleet safety plan can provide a number of
advantages, including improved safety, employee satisfaction, and the potential to improve fleet efficiency.

8 Essential Elements of a Fleet Safety Program

An effective fleet safety program must be comprehensive, up-to-date, and instituted as a part of your company’s safety culture. It should be thorough, reaching each employee who gets behind the wheel. And the commitment has to start at the top.

  1. Identifying all of your drivers. Businesses may not be aware of the full extent of their non-owned vehicle exposure. You should identify everyone who drives on behalf of the business, even those employees that use personal and/or rented vehicles.
  2. Management commitment. Leadership support of the program can help assure that the program is used.
  3. Screening and selecting drivers carefully. This can help create a reliable, safe team. Without safe drivers, no organization is likely to have a good long-term safety record. Establish clear hiring standards and a thorough screening process for anyone who drives on company business.
  4. Training drivers. This can help to ensure that all drivers understand vehicle safety policies and procedures. All drivers should have access to information on safe driving strategies and techniques, including instruction in defensive driving.
  5. Managing drivers on an ongoing basis. This is essential in helping to ensure that drivers are following fleet safety rules and driving safely.
  6. Managing accidents, when they occur. This can help mitigate accident costs. It also helps you to understand your exposures and can reduce the potential for future losses.
  7. Establishing written policies and procedures. This sets clear consistent expectations.
  8. Formalizing a plan for vehicle inspection, repair, and maintenance. This can help reduce costly, unexpected breakdowns, and can assist in avoiding accidents due to faulty equipment.

Dave Wissel is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance who specializes in construction, landscaping, and the oil and petroleum industries. Comments and questions are welcome at dwissel@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

 

Click here to learn more about common workplace injuries in construction

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines Reducing the Risk of Work Related InjuriesFor most employers, the cost of an employee’s work-related injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which pays for medical care and replaces some of the income that the injured employee lost while unable to work. There is no coverage, however, for the hidden costs to your organization of that injury, such as reduced efficiency, the cost of training replacements, and increased overtime expenditures.

On-the-job injuries or vehicle accidents aren’t limited to occupations that are obviously dangerous. In most years the top three causes of injuries in the workplace are overexertion (injuries caused from excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing of an object), falls on level ground, and bodily reaction (injuries from bending, climbing, slipping or tripping without falling). Such injuries can affect workers in most environments. Whatever your industry, attention to such risks can pay dividends.

Employees should be trained to recognize hazards and to report them to the appropriate person so that the hazard can be corrected as soon as possible. Work requirements involving safety should take precedence over any other.

Any near miss, first aid incident, accident, or other workplace injury-related event should be investigated. Where possible, the investigation should be carried out immediately by a team that includes both management and hourly employees, all of whom have been trained in incident investigation. The goal of investigations is to identify the cause of the accident or injury rather than assign blame and to correct any hazards or other problems found, such as poor communication.

Supervisors and managers should also be trained to recognize and correct unsafe behaviors that can lead to injuries, including rushing, frustration, complacency, and fatigue.

Once a year a team should review all incidents from the prior year to see whether there are any patterns in the accidents and, if so, how to address the problems identified.

Each worksite should confer with its fire and police departments and hospital about plans for all potential emergencies, including fire, explosion, accident, severe weather, loss of power, and violence. Emergency drills should be used to ensure that employees know what to do and to assess the effectiveness of emergency plans.

For additional information, visit the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration website.

Tim Spear, is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in the construction, oil/petroleum, and landscape industries. Through his consultative and diagnostic approach, he helps clients develop customized programs to meet their risk management needs. Comments and questions are welcome at tspear@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines The Growing Problem of Contractors Equipment TheftTheft of contractors’ equipment continues to be a serious problem for the construction industry. The National Equipment Register (NER) estimates the total value of equipment stolen from construction sites to be between $300 million and $1 billion annually and rising. And, these estimates don’t include additional costs associated with stolen construction equipment such as renting replacement equipment, lost productivity, schedule delays, and increased insurance premiums. Delays can lead to missed deadlines which can result in hefty penalties.

The risks and liabilities that come with vacant construction sites can be extensive. These risks can quickly turn to very expensive costs. We’ve put together a list of ways to reduce the risks if you have to maintain an idle construction site. These steps can help protect your materials and equipment, while reducing liabilities for injuries or damages to surrounding properties.

Inventory Control

The first step in effective theft prevention is for contractors to know exactly what equipment they own or lease and where it is at all times. Procedures should be established to maintain an inventory control program which, at a minimum, records the following information on each piece of equipment:

  • Equipment manufacturer and model number
  • Serial, VIN or PIN number – if none is available, a unique number should be placed on the equipment and recorded
  • Date of purchase (information needed in the event of a claim, manufacturers’ recall, evaluation of equipment durability and related issues)
  • Location of storage and use
  • Photograph
  • Personnel authorized to operate the equipment

 

Mobility vs. Value

Equipment owners should consider the mobility of equipment as well as value to determine where to focus security efforts. Contractors often concentrate only on their highest value equipment neglecting to consider how easily other equipment can be moved. Cranes, for example, are high value items, but are seldom stolen. They are difficult to transport and easy to identify making them hard to resell. According to the NER Equipment Theft Report, three types of equipment account for 78 percent of the losses: riding mower/garden tractors, loaders, and tractors. Within the loader category, skid steers and backhoes are the predominate target for theft. These types of equipment can be easily transported using a trailer and easily resold since they have few unique characteristics. Other commonly stolen equipment are generators, compressors, welders, pumps, and arrow/ message boards.

No single method or device can eliminate theft. However, there are ways to reduce theft losses:

  • Secure the premise/work site
  • Secure individual equipment
  • Register equipment
  • Track equipment

An effective theft prevention program will include more than one approach and be adapted to reflect variations among construction sites. Supervisors should be held accountable for implementing the theft prevention program and job site inspections should be made to verify its effectiveness.

 

Secure the Premise/Work Site: Securing the entire construction work site is a common theft prevention practice used by general contractors. It can be very effective for smaller, well-defined sites, but cost prohibitive for larger, more spread out work sites. Securing the entire premise usually involves one or more of the following:

  • Perimeter fencing
  • Controlled access points (as few as possible)
  • Police patrol or private guard service, particularly during off-hours
  • “No Trespassing” signs posted along the perimeter
  • Proper illumination throughout the site
  • Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

 

Register Equipment: NER offers a voluntary registry service that consists of entering a machine’s serial number, engine number, transmission number and other selected identification numbers into a database that’s available to law enforcement. All registered vehicles are marked with NER decals, which acts as a theft deterrent and increases the likelihood of detection while a thief is moving, storing or selling the equipment. Additionally, many insurance companies either offer discounts for companies who register their equipment or waive the theft deductible if a registered item is stolen.

Track Equipment: There are different types of tracking systems on the market. Some are designed to recover stolen construction vehicles and equipment after a theft. When the owner discovers the equipment missing and calls law enforcement to report the theft, the systems are automatically activated. Others, such as GPS (global positioning system) fleet management systems have the ability to continuously monitor and track construction equipment. Most GPS systems have a “geofence” capability that generates an alert if a vehicle leaves a permitted area or enters a prohibited area. In addition, many systems can define a secure period (i.e. off-hours) and generate an alert if a vehicle moves or is moved during that period. Another capability of a GPS-based system is the use of software to electronically lockdown or disable vehicles so they cannot be moved. With this system, a contractor can remotely disable or enable equipment ignition, monitor vehicle condition, and generate an alarm if the equipment moves outside of predetermined boundaries.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines The Growing Problem of Contractors Equipment TheftTheft of contractors’ equipment continues to be a serious problem for the construction industry. The National Equipment Register (NER) estimates the total value of equipment stolen from construction sites to be between $300 million and $1 billion annually and rising. And, these estimates don’t include additional costs associated with stolen construction equipment such as renting replacement equipment, lost productivity, schedule delays, and increased insurance premiums. Delays can lead to missed deadlines which can result in hefty penalties.

The risks and liabilities that come with vacant construction sites can be extensive. These risks can quickly turn to very expensive costs. We’ve put together a list of ways to reduce the risks if you have to maintain an idle construction site. These steps can help protect your materials and equipment, while reducing liabilities for injuries or damages to surrounding properties.

Inventory Control

The first step in effective theft prevention is for contractors to know exactly what equipment they own or lease and where it is at all times. Procedures should be established to maintain an inventory control program which, at a minimum, records the following information on each piece of equipment:

  • Equipment manufacturer and model number
  • Serial, VIN or PIN number – if none is available, a unique number should be placed on the equipment and recorded
  • Date of purchase (information needed in the event of a claim, manufacturers’ recall, evaluation of equipment durability and related issues)
  • Location of storage and use
  • Photograph
  • Personnel authorized to operate the equipment

 

Mobility vs. Value

Equipment owners should consider the mobility of equipment as well as value to determine where to focus security efforts. Contractors often concentrate only on their highest value equipment neglecting to consider how easily other equipment can be moved. Cranes, for example, are high value items, but are seldom stolen. They are difficult to transport and easy to identify making them hard to resell. According to the NER Equipment Theft Report, three types of equipment account for 78 percent of the losses: riding mower/garden tractors, loaders, and tractors. Within the loader category, skid steers and backhoes are the predominate target for theft. These types of equipment can be easily transported using a trailer and easily resold since they have few unique characteristics. Other commonly stolen equipment are generators, compressors, welders, pumps, and arrow/ message boards.

No single method or device can eliminate theft. However, there are ways to reduce theft losses:

  • Secure the premise/work site
  • Secure individual equipment
  • Register equipment
  • Track equipment

An effective theft prevention program will include more than one approach and be adapted to reflect variations among construction sites. Supervisors should be held accountable for implementing the theft prevention program and job site inspections should be made to verify its effectiveness.

 

Secure the Premise/Work Site: Securing the entire construction work site is a common theft prevention practice used by general contractors. It can be very effective for smaller, well-defined sites, but cost prohibitive for larger, more spread out work sites. Securing the entire premise usually involves one or more of the following:

  • Perimeter fencing
  • Controlled access points (as few as possible)
  • Police patrol or private guard service, particularly during off-hours
  • “No Trespassing” signs posted along the perimeter
  • Proper illumination throughout the site
  • Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

 

Register Equipment: NER offers a voluntary registry service that consists of entering a machine’s serial number, engine number, transmission number and other selected identification numbers into a database that’s available to law enforcement. All registered vehicles are marked with NER decals, which acts as a theft deterrent and increases the likelihood of detection while a thief is moving, storing or selling the equipment. Additionally, many insurance companies either offer discounts for companies who register their equipment or waive the theft deductible if a registered item is stolen.

Track Equipment: There are different types of tracking systems on the market. Some are designed to recover stolen construction vehicles and equipment after a theft. When the owner discovers the equipment missing and calls law enforcement to report the theft, the systems are automatically activated. Others, such as GPS (global positioning system) fleet management systems have the ability to continuously monitor and track construction equipment. Most GPS systems have a “geofence” capability that generates an alert if a vehicle leaves a permitted area or enters a prohibited area. In addition, many systems can define a secure period (i.e. off-hours) and generate an alert if a vehicle moves or is moved during that period. Another capability of a GPS-based system is the use of software to electronically lockdown or disable vehicles so they cannot be moved. With this system, a contractor can remotely disable or enable equipment ignition, monitor vehicle condition, and generate an alarm if the equipment moves outside of predetermined boundaries.

Kim Ovaitte, CPCU, ARM is the Executive Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Gulfshore Insurance.  Also serving as the Construction Practice Leader, Kim works with clients to develop cost effective risk management and claims strategies that dovetail with their insurance program. Comments and questions are welcome at kovaitte@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.