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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released guidance to help employers prepare their workplaces for an outbreak of COVID-19 — along with a reminder that any incidents of employees contracting the novel coronavirus at work are recordable illnesses, subject to the same rules and failure-to-record fines as other workplace injuries and illnesses.

While OSHA specifically exempts employers from recording incidents of employees contracting common colds and the flu in the workplace, COVID-19 is not exempt, the agency noted on a newly added website providing OSHA guidance for preventing occupational exposure to the rapidly spreading virus.

The guidance, while not a standard or regulation, outlines safety standards that employers whose workers are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 should implement to remain in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause.

The report also advises employers to develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan, implement basic infection prevention measures and develop policies for the identification and isolation of ill individuals.

OSHA recently unveiled the top 10 violations of 2019. It was no surprise that familiar violations from the past few years crowded the list. Fall protection led the list with more than 6,000 violations, followed by more than 3,500 violations of the hazard communication standard.

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements – 6,010 violations. This is the ninth year in a row this Construction standard has had the most OSHA violations. Among those most cited: roofing contractors, masonry contractors, and commercial and home builders.
  2. Hazard communication – 3,671 violations. Problems that come up the most: no hazcom program, no worker training on hazcom, and lack of safety data sheets (SDSs). Employers most cited: masonry contractors, painting and wall covering contractors, machine shops, and general contractors.
  3. Scaffolding – 2,813 violations. Where companies are going wrong: Using cross-braces as scaffold access, not fully planking, scaffolds not on firm foundations, and no guardrails. Employers most cited: masonry contractors, roofing contractors and commercial builders.
  4. Lockout/tagout – 2,606 violations. Companies cited don’t have LO/TO rules for specific machines, employees aren’t trained, there’s no periodic evaluation of the program, and LO/TO devices aren’t affixed. Among industries most cited: product manufacturing and sawmills.
  5. Respiratory protection – 2,450 violations. Companies aren’t providing employees with a medical evaluation before they use respirators, they don’t have a respiratory protection program, and employees don’t receive a fit test. Most cited: Auto maintenance, masonry contractors, cut stone contractors and painting and wall covering contractors.
  6. Ladders – 2,345 violations. Problems inspectors find most: ladders not extending at least three feet above a landing, using the wrong type of ladder, employees using the top step, and ladder structural defects. Most cited: Roofing, framing, siding and painting contractors.
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks – 2,093 violations. Problems inspectors find most: trucks not operating in a safe manner, operators not re-evaluated every three years, no certificate of training, and trucks in unsafe condition. Most cited: warehouses, framing contractors and machine shops.
  8. Fall protection – Training requirements – 1,773 violations. Inspectors find employees weren’t provided training, there’s no written certification, training is inadequate, and employees don’t retain training. Most cited: roofing, framing, siding, commercial and residential contractors.
  9. Machine guarding – 1,743 violations. Employers aren’t guarding points of operation; equipment isn’t anchored properly and fan blades aren’t guarded. Most cited: machine shops and metal shops.
  10. Personal protective equipment – eye and face protection – 1,411 violations. Workers aren’t protected from flying parts, liquid chemicals and radiant energy (welding), and there’s no side protection for eyes. Most cited: roofing, framing, masonry and siding contractors.

 

We know that workplace injuries are costing your business money in a many ways; increased insurance premiums, cost of hiring and replacement, lost efficiency, additional training, increased paperwork and administrative costs, and more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional truck drivers suffer more injuries than any other industry.

Why are these injuries happening?
A recent 10 year study out of Washington state gives us the statistics behind the leading Truck Driver injuries…

  • 40% are due to Musculoskeletal Injury (strains, sprains, pulls, overexertion, etc.)
  • 19% are due to Falls from Elevation or Same Level (mostly getting in or out of the vehicle)
  • 12% are due to being Struck By or Against an Object (falling object, swinging door, etc.)
  • 9% are due to Vehicle Crashes

 

Most of these injuries are preventable with the proper training, planning and awareness.  Keep your employees safe and your premiums and other injury costs down by taking a proactive approach.

Musculoskeletal
Scenario: Moving containers or equipment (boxes, crates, bins etc.)
Solution: Provide proper lift training and “strategy”.  Employees should first evaluate, then lift.  Use mechanical aids when necessary.

Falls from Elevation or Same Level
Scenario: Falling while entering/exiting the vehicle and trailer/loading area.
Solution:  Use the “3-Point Contact” rule when entering or exiting – no jumping.  Provide proper step conditions (step ladder to cab/trailer).  Provide training and reminders that employees cannot jump from trailer or cab.

Struck by or Against an Object
Scenario: Struck by container or loose cargo.
Solution:  Provide ample equipment to secure/store cargo properly.  Replace binders/straps if they are worn.  Train employees on proper stacking and loading techniques.

Crashes
Scenario: 29% of all crashes are Rear-End Collisions.  Most of these are due to following too closely.
Solution:  Use a “4-second rule” when following another vehicle.  Reduce speed increase following distance in poor/wet conditions.  Constantly discuss and remind drivers of the importance of keeping proper following distance.  Provide trainings and information about proper following techniques.

Investing in safety and training for your employees will pay dividends by keeping insurance premiums and injury related costs down over the long haul.

At Gulfshore Insurance, we specialize in insurance and risk management in the trucking and transportation industry. We work with more than 10,000 clients throughout Florida and we are happy to assist you with training materials, safety programs, and insurance for your business.

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

I spent 10 years in the private club industry before pivoting into the insurance world.  As a manager, two of my top concerns internally were wellbeing of my staff and team, and the budget.

Workplace injuries drive up costs in many ways and often most significantly in your insurance premiums.  By investing in a safe workplace for your employees, you can achieve those two objectives.

Here are the Top 5 Workplace Injuries for Golf and Country Clubs

  1. Lifting & Handling: Strains and pulls (musculoskeletal)make up nearly 25% of all workplace injuries. Back pain, neck pain, leg pain can all result from lifting or handling something awkwardly or too heavy.
    Solution: Encourage employees to evaluate then lift. Get help from another co-worker and use mechanical aids if available.
  2. Slips, Trips and Falls: Many of these happen around the kitchen and when entering the building during wet weather.
    Solution: Kitchen staff must wear non-slip footwear at all times. Don’t just put mats and “slippery/wet” signs where your members enter and exit, but also where your employees do as well.
  3. Burns: Again, stemming from the kitchen, burns are common from hot surfaces and liquids.  Often times they are the result of inexperience or haste (hot plate, hot liquid spill).
    Solution: Make your staff aware of hot items or liquids. Train the new employees on potential hazards, especially if they are inexperienced in food service.
  4. Cuts: The Kitchen is a dangerous place. Cuts from knives and automated slicers are far too common.
    Solution: Staff sharp knives must use a cut resistant glove. Train proper cutting techniques.
  5. Golf Cart Injuries: Golf carts can be very dangerous. Most injuries occur when staff is not using caution, have body parts hanging outside of the golf cart, or using the cart improperly (i.e. riding on the back).
    Solution: Strict guidelines need to be in place and reviewed with the golf staff.  Specify the proper uses of golf carts (they are not utility carts) and identify areas of caution around your facility.  Under no circumstances should any person be allowed to ride on the back of a golf cart.

At Gulfshore Insurance, we specialize in insurance and risk management for golf and country clubs. We work with more than 50 clubs throughout Florida and we are happy to assist you with training materials, safety programs, and insurance for your club.

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Workplace injuries are costing your business money in a many ways; increased insurance premiums, cost of hiring and replacement, lost efficiency, additional training, increased paperwork and administrative costs, and more.

When I speak with business owners and CFO’s they often tell me, “the rates are what they are so there is nothing you can do to change what I pay for work comp.” While the state and the NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance) do set the class code rates in Florida, the employer has much more control over their premiums than they initially think.

What Employers CANNOT Control: 

The state sets the rate. Standard rates for Workers’ Compensation policies in the state of Florida are set by the NCCI. That means, whatever “class code” the job description of your employees fall into, is the rate you pay. Rate x Payroll = Standard Premium. But did you know, there is another factor that affects the rates you pay? And you have control over it!

Here’s What You CAN Control:

The Experience Modification Factor (The MOD). Every business that is subject to Workers’ Compensation develops their own MOD over time. The MOD is essentially a multiplier of your rates. It can (sometimes drastically) cause your Work Comp premium to increase or decrease based on how your most recent 3-year loss history compares with your competitors. The equation NCCI uses to calculate your MOD is complicated, but to simplify, if you have more Work Comp claims than your competitors and the claims dollars are higher, you are going to have a higher multiplier (MOD) than they will.

How You Can Control The MOD:

If your company has average claims frequency and costs, you’ll have a MOD of 1.00.  If your claims frequency and costs are higher than your competitors, you’ll have a MOD greater than 1.00.  If they are lower than your competitors, you’ll have a MOD less than 1.00.

Here is an example: 

  • Company A and B both have a base Work Comp premium of $50,000.  Company A has lots of claims and a MOD of 1.35.  Company B has very few claims and a MOD of 0.65.
  • A’s Premium Calculation:  $50,000 X 1.35 = $67,500 (That’s 35% more than their average competitor.)
  • B’s Premium Calculation: $50,000 X 0.65 = $32,500 (That’s 35% less than their average competitor and less than half of A’s premium!)

Depending on the size and scope of your business, it may be unrealistic to eliminate all workplace injuries.  However, the handling process is extremely important to reducing the dollar value of the claim.  At Gulfshore Insurance, we work with you and provide materials, training, and awareness for your employees.  We also have in-house Claims Specialists who are licensed adjusters, navigating each claim on your behalf.

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com