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Hurricane Irma’s historic size and impact have been felt throughout the state. In addition to its impact on Floridians and their property, Hurricane Irma has the potential to impact your insurance after the fact. It is important to make sure you have the proper coverage in place before accepting projects outside your normal scope of operations; leasing and operating new equipment; or hiring new sub-contractors.

Below are several important post Hurricane Irma considerations to make.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: Employees may be working extensive overtime hours or you may be hiring temporary sub-contractors.

  • Consider increasing payroll exposures now so your work comp audit is not negatively impacted at year end. Be sure to break out overtime pay so that at the time of the premium audit, the auditor will be able to discount it back to straight time. If the auditor cannot readily break out the overtime portion, it will be used in calculating the premium.
  • If hiring temporary workers or sub-contractors, make sure those workers have insurance and obtain proof of coverage. If hiring a subcontractor who does not have workers’ compensation coverage or it gets cancelled and one of the sub’s employees gets hurt, the responsibility for that injury can fall to you. This will ultimately impact your work comp experience mod and insurance premium. It’s the same situation when hiring an exemption holder.­ If that exemption expires and the subcontractor does not renew it in a timely fashion, that sub is no longer exempt.­ If he/she is hurt on the job, a claim can be filed against your company to cover the injury.­ To quickly look up the status of a sub-contractor’s work comp insurance, you can do so here: Search for Proof of Compliance
  • If undertaking or bidding projects outside of your normal scope of operations ensure you are aware of the appropriate class codes and rates for that work.  Workers’ Compensation class codes are specific to the type of work being performed, and the rates can vary greatly.  New or complimentary operations often require additional class codes being added to your WC policy.  Make sure you’re aware if the new class code comes with a higher rate, so there will be no surprises at the year-end audit.

 

EQUIPMENT FLOATERS & INLAND MARINE: Leasing & operating temporary equipment could put you at risk. 

  • If you lease temporary equipment, then you should verify the limits of your insurance coverage and possibly increase your coverage limits.
  • Unusual equipment often requires special coverage. In addition, renting equipment with an operator will require proof of insurance for the operator as well. Some equipment, such as cranes or lift trucks with large booms require special coverage and needs to be discussed with your Account Manager or Client Advisor to ensure it is properly covered for weight of load, tipping, etc.
  • In addition, if you are renting a crane with an operator, the rental company should be providing the coverage – for the equipment, employee (workers’ comp), and any associated general liability for operating the crane. Be sure to review the rental agreement with your Client Advisor or Account Manager to make sure that you are protected and that you obtain proof of coverage from the crane company.

 

MOLD: Do not end up with a mold-related lawsuit; have the proper coverage in place. 

  • With hurricane related water damage, inevitably comes mold. If you become involved in any mold mitigation projects, make sure to have proper pollution and professional coverage in place. Without it, you will not be covered against claims from removal, disposal, or cleanup work.

 

GENERAL LIABILITY: Policy exclusions may impact the scope of work you are taking on.  

  • For companies that have never worked on residential projects and might be taking on that type of work following Hurricane Irma, it is important to note that you may have policy exclusions that restrict your coverage.  Sub-contractors may also have exclusions to their policies for residential, condo, or multi-family work, so it’s critical to verify there are none of these exclusions on your or your sub-contractors’ General Liability policy, prior to performing any of this work.

 

It is important to discuss these considerations with your trusted Client Advisor or Account Manager at Gulfshore Insurance to ensure you have the proper protection. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact us. We are here to assist you and happy to answer any questions you have.

The Office of Insurance Regulation has received the 2018 Florida workers’ compensation rate filing by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which proposes a statewide average premium decrease of 9.6%. This includes a statewide average rate decrease of 9.3% and a reduction of the fixed expense cost applicable to every workers’ compensation policy in Florida from $200 to $160. The new rates would become effective January 1, 2018.

As always, the Office will review the filing to ensure the proposed changes are not excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory and evaluate its potential effects on the insurance marketplace and employers, who are required by law to carry this insurance on their employees. A public rate hearing will be conducted in October.

NCCI is a licensed rating organization authorized to make rate filings on behalf of workers’ compensation insurance companies in Florida. For more information about the filing, read the NCCI press statement.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule to delay the date by which certain employers are required to submit their completed 300A form electronically from July 1 to December 1, 2017.

The Injury Tracking Application or data collection system, which was originally scheduled to launch in February 2017, is expected to launch August 1, allowing employers a 4-month window to electronically submit their 300A forms for 2016 injury and illness data. According to OSHA, the delay will allow affected establishments to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system.

Please see the update on OSHA’s Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements site for additional information.

Update: New Extension Date of 12/1/17

Larger employers and those in certain high-risk industries that were supposed to electronically submit injury records to OSHA by July 1 will get a break from that deadline. On OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements webpage, an update has been added that states:

“OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available.”

The National Law Review reports OSHA sent an email to stakeholders which stated:

“OSHA intends to extend the initial date by which certain employers are required to electronically submit their injury and illness logs. The Recordkeeping Rule currently requires certain employers to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A to OSHA electronically by July 1, 2017. The proposal will extend this to a later date. Currently, we do not have any additional information about the timeline for this. We will let you know as additional information, including a proposed extension date, is available.”

The new rule requires certain employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA injury and illness forms:

  • Employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation were scheduled to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300 and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
  • Employers with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries were scheduled to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
  • OSHA State Plans must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in this rule.

heat-awareness-safetyBefore we know it, the summer months will be in full swing. Remember, those who work outdoors are at a much higher risk for heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn, skin cancer and more. Skin cancer affects more than two million people every year and invasive melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, will kill more than 10,000 Americans this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is one death every 52 minutes. As an employer, are you doing enough for your crew?

Know the warning signs of heat-related illness:

  • Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Weakness, dizziness or fainting
  • Unusually elevated heart rate
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps


Protect your employees with these helpful tips:

  1. Rotate workers on a job site in and out of non-shaded areas, especially during the height of hazardous UV rays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time).
  2. Consider including heat safety and skin cancer education in your regular safety training.
  3. Educate employees on the early signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration and skin cancer.
  4. Encourage employees to look out for each other to detect wooziness, inability to focus, unsteadiness and reddening of the skin.
  5. Use and make sunscreen readily available to your employees as well as other PPE, like UV-resistant sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and re-fillable water containers.
  6. Create mandatory water breaks to re-hydrate the crew and provide them with plenty of water.
  7. Create and enforce policies about heat safety so employees know the company is serious about safety.

To Learn More, visit OSHA.gov