November 16, 2018
“Mother nature waits for no one.” Cooling temperatures are a good reminder of that old adage.
It’s the fall season. You’re watching leaves change and grabbing a coat on your way out, which means it is time to review insurance plans for winter risks. Most employers make contingency plans for emergency preparedness in the “on” (not off) season. If this describes your clients, the harsh reality is that they’re already at risk.
This can be a hard time of year to speak to clients about making changes to their insurance package, but the risks of carrying an inadequate policy far outweigh the financial burden. Consider sharing the following article with your clients.
Snow and ice are potential killers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that slips, trips, and falls accounted for 800 workplace fatalities back in 2015 – a historic period when workplace deaths in the U.S. reached a six-year high.
Fast forward to today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that a whopping 40 to 60 percent of small businesses close permanently following a weather-related disaster. And, up to 90 percent of those businesses who keep their doors closed, for at least five days, never recover. Don’t leave your clients and employees out in the cold. Getting ahead of winter risks can save a business, quite literally. Make life easier on your clients by sharing the following suggestions.
OSHA requires workplaces with 10 or more employees to have a written emergency action plan. These plans not only encourage worker safety, but also mitigate potential costs stemming from workers’ compensation payments, government fines, and facility remediation requirements.
Before the deep chill sets in, create a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) to identify hazards in the workplace before they occur. It’s vital to consider how your workers’ normal, everyday tasks, tools, and environment may need to shift in order to compensate for winter risks. The best time to complete a JHA is when the temperatures start to drop, In other words: NOW!
Winter risks for office employees cannot be covered by a new bottle of hand sanitizer in the break room. The team at iOffice, a digital solutions provider, suggests maintenance records for your office or worksite as part of your JHA. This will help you identify any potential issues before they become a real problem. In time, windows and doors lose insulation and weather-stripping will need replacement. Pipes can easily freeze if exposed to frigid elements for too long spelling disaster for a business and putting your employees at risk.
And, while air ducts are hidden in walls and crawl spaces, you can still spot red flags. Higher utility bills, the prevalence of dust, and stuffy rooms could indicate a looming wintertime problem. Those hot air particles, in close office quarters, are a recipe for employee illness, absenteeism, and legal ramifications should you fail building inspection codes.
Including employees in all aspects of your winter risks safety plan is smart. This will promote trust, elicit open dialogue, and streamline operations during the seasonal freeze.
For winter risks, such as hazardous conditions, prepare a “Plan B” taking power outages, snow and ice removal, evacuation routes, and employee and client mass communications into consideration. Getting employees to work might be on your mind, but don’t forget getting them home again. Consider an agreement with a professional maintenance crew ahead of time to be sure you’re covered when it’s needed.
If you have staff working outside, the cold can wreak havoc on them causing complications such as the common cough and cold, the flu, or even hypothermia and frostbite. To add insult to injury, your insurance can take a beating based on the rise of workers’ compensation cases.
“Safety first” means encouraging health check-ups, providing the proper protective equipment, and ensuring employee break times. Just the same, having an employee accountability system is key. Managers should be monitoring employee energy and dehydration levels to avoid fatigue and burnout, which can cause longer-term medical issues.
Normandy Insurance understands an effective workers’ compensation program must include a strong, proactive focus on safety and loss prevention and an ongoing interest in making the workplace safe and accident-free. With a keen understanding of business challenges, Normandy Insurance is here to help insurance agents provide the very best worker’s compensation insurance solutions to business, big and small. Normandy Insurance pays dedicated attention to providing cost-effective and professional claims management services.
Can we help you with your worker’s compensation offerings? Call us today: 866-688-6442
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