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Hundreds of construction workers are killed every year from ladders and scaffolds, and many thousand more suffer serious injuries that are permanently disabling. And it is estimated that more than 30% of workers compensation claims costs stemming from construction sites are the result of falls from elevated surfaces.

A recent study indicated that injuries related to falls from elevated surfaces are more severe than other injury claims because these accidents result in more time away from work, damage to multiple body parts, and more short- and long-term disability leave.

Do Not Let These Accidents Happen to You

  • A worker, who was standing on the top of a stepladder, fell when the ladder shifted. He suffered a spinal injury and was out of work for four months.
  • Another worker failed to secure an extension ladder at the top and fell 20 feet when the ladder slipped away from the wall.
  • Two men were working high up in a building atrium when their scaffold collapsed. They plunged four stories to a concrete deck. One man was dead on arrival at the hospital; the other was in critical condition.
  • When a three-story wooden scaffold collapsed, two workers fell to the ground, suffering serious neck and back injuries. A third man working under the scaffolding was also injured.


It’s crucial for construction companies and their workers to implement regular safety training — and put that training to practice. Linked below are several helpful OSHA resources and fact sheets to improve worker safety at your organization:

LADDER SAFETY

SCAFFOLDING SAFETY

FALL PROTECTION

With hurricane season quickly approaching, human resources professionals should prepare their organizations’ emergency plans now to ensure employees stay updated with crucial information and support, and to make sure business stays on track in the event we’re faced with another storm this summer.

Here’s a checklist organizations can use to prepare for Hurricane Season:

Share Disaster Plans & Emergency Resources Early

In anticipation of a natural disaster, HR leaders are often responsible for setting up communication plans and sharing information so that individual employees can prepare. Some recommended resources to share with those who may be impacted include:

  • National Hurricane Center’s Hurricane Preparedness Guidelines
  • Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Kit and Supply Checklist
  • Local Evacuation Shelter Information & Maps (including resources for pets)


Test Your Ability to Contact Employees During/After a Disaster, and Vice Versa

It is critical to encourage employees to update their emergency contact information in the organization’s system to ensure you have up-to-date phone numbers and other pertinent details on hand. At Gulfshore Insurance, we activate a secondary disaster hotline for employees only that allows us to convey critical messages before, during, and after a storm. If employees have cellular service, then they are able to call in to receive timely updates on the agency’s status of operations. A phone tree is another widely used method for communicating with employees, particularly if your organization has more than a handful of employees.

Consider an Alternative When Cell Service Becomes Difficult

While cell phone towers may go down and access to the internet or SMS capabilities may be affected, texting may provide one of the best options for staying in touch. Many organizations utilize an SMS instant-messaging system that allows them to notify employees about operations and other pertinent details. As such, it is important to remind employees about the need for extended batteries and backups in order to effectively use this system.

Extend Deadlines, Alert Vendors, and Pre-Schedule Remote Check-Ins

Business, of course, goes on in the rest of the world and deadlines still loom. If you have any vendors outside the affected areas with employee deadlines you should start working with them to get an extension. Leadership and operations teams may want to pre-schedule call-in times and provide access to a conference line. The calls will allow you to effectively plan for business continuity and report on efforts to check in with your employees.

Consider an Advance Payroll

Many of the activities HR teams will need to address in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster will, in some instances, be things that have been prepared for ahead of time. As employees get back in touch, additional needs will be identified, but access to payroll funds and cash, as well as a sense of job security, are often uppermost in the minds of staff members. The first paycheck after a storm can be is critical for employees. Remember that if extreme power outages occur, not only will banks be closed, but ATMs will probably not work either–cash is king!

Be Flexible with Attendance and Time Off Policies

Employees who have been displaced from their homes or have evacuated entirely may be anxious about job continuity even as they’re struggling with basics like getting access to food, shelter, gas, and clothing. Part of the communication prior to the weather event will ideally have provided employees with clarity around items such as pay continuity, use of PTO, or flexibility in the company’s attendance policies. As employees return to work, whenever that may be, they’ll still be dealing with numerous aftereffects. Providing consideration for additional time-off without penalty will be important to employees who must keep appointments with insurance adjustors, rebuild their homes, or find new living arrangements; this time may be with or without pay as appropriate and in alignment with the Fair Labor Standards Act for employers in the U.S.

Recently, Legionnaires disease hit the headlines when an outbreak occurred at a southwest Florida condominium. Many community associations are now asking whether they have the proper coverage in place to protect themselves if a similar situation were to occur in their neighborhood.

What is Legionnaires Disease:

Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems like showers and faucets, cooling towers (air-conditioning units for large buildings), hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use, decorative fountains and water features, hot water tanks and heaters, and large plumbing systems. The disease doesn’t spread from person to person. Instead, Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by breathing in mist, steam, or vapor that has been contaminated with the bacteria. “One example might be from breathing in droplets sprayed from a hot tub that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected,” reports the CDC.

How to Protect Your Association:

When people are infected with legionella from an establishment, its owners and/or operators can be held liable for victims’ physical and financial suffering. Since just one uninsured lawsuit can be enough to cause financial jeopardy, having Environmental Impairment Liability insurance should be considered a cost of doing business. General Liability (GL) coverage for community associations broadly excludes pollutants and bacteria; therefore a standalone Environmental Liability policy is needed to supplement these exclusions. Environmental Liability coverage is broadly available and generally inexpensive, however forms vary greatly from one carrier to another and not all policies cover this exposure. It is therefore very important that you review the policy terms and conditions with your Client Advisor to ensure that there are no exclusions for this exposure from your policy,

These outbreaks again illustrate why communities need to do their best to prevent illnesses from the legionella bacteria, and be properly insured in the event that they occur.

NAPLES, FL (May 4, 2018) – Gulfshore Insurance client advisor, Leroy Christiansen, was recently named a 2018 Top Producer by Insurance Business America (IBA) Magazine. The publication’s Top Producers list for 2018 is made up of 80 elite leading performers in the insurance industry. To be eligible for inclusion, nominees had to meet certain criteria including a book of business exceeding $750,000 in 2017.

“We are proud of Leroy’s recognition by Insurance Business America. He is a hardworking and passionate individual that knows how to navigate through the complex and ever changing industry.” said John Keller, Vice President of Commercial Sales. Keller noted that this is Christiansen’s second year in a row being named a Top Producer by IBA.

Christiansen joined Gulfshore Insurance in 2013 and services general construction and government contracting clients, delivering commercial property & casualty solutions as well as strategic risk management. He holds an Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation in addition to the Registered Workers Compensation Specialist (RWCS) designation. Christiansen earned two Bachelor’s degrees from Saint John’s University and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Collier Building Industry Association.

To view the full list of 2018 Top Producers, click here.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one for the record books, and as people prepare for what the upcoming hurricane season brings, they may notice changes that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is making. This year, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is making some changes in regards to the upcoming hurricane season:

1. Adjustments to the official hurricane track maps
One of the biggest changes this hurricane season will be adjustments to the NHC’s hurricane track map. When the NHC issues a track for a tropical system, the map includes what is known as the cone of uncertainty. For the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, the cone will be smaller than it has been in past years. This will give the public a better idea of where the center of the storm is headed in the coming days.

2. Experimental wind maps will become official
In 2017, the NHC introduced an experimental map to help convey to the public when strong winds would arrive at a given location. These experimental maps showed the expected arrival time of tropical storm-force winds in 6- to- 12-hour increments extending out five days out. Not only should preparations be complete by the time these strong winds arrive, but anyone that is evacuating should have left the area as traveling in tropical-storm-force winds can be extremely dangerous. After going through a test run in the 2017 season, the NHC has decided to make these maps fully operational for the upcoming season.

3. Advisories will include potential impacts farther in advance
Whenever there is an active tropical system, the NHC issues a public advisory that includes information about all aspects of the storm, such as current winds, expected storm surge and the precise location of the system’s center. In past years, these advisories only discussed the given tropical system for the next two days, limiting the amount of log-range details about the storm. However, starting this year, these advisories will contain information that talks about hazards as far as five days in advance.