Blog

News Archive for: Safety News


Free Workplace Safety Training

May 24, 18 • Safety News, Traci DavisNo Comments
OSHA

Division offers free workplace safety training for construction industry

At the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), part of our mission is to educate employers and their employees about safety to help prevent on the job injuries. The Division’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour construction outreach trainings are a big part of that effort. This valuable training will be offered free of charge for attendees starting in June 2018.  

“Construction work can be very dangerous, and these employees need to learn how to spot and avoid jobsite hazards. To be able to teach those at no cost will be invaluable to Texas employees and employers.” said Karen Puckett, the Division’s director of workplace safety, “We are happy to be proactive in helping more Texans stay safe on the job.”

 

In 2017, DWC conducted 79 OSHA 10-hour Construction classes, and trained nearly 1,700 employees from 568 employers.

Each course is presented by the Division’s OSHA accredited instructors and designed to train employers and employees in the basics of construction safety, including specific OSHA standards and requirements. The class also teaches safety awareness to help employees recognize and reduce job-site hazards and risks.

These courses are taught in both English and Spanish, and offered in Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso. For more information or to register, visit the Texas Department of Insurance website.

Fire Safety

One of the most serious workplace dangers- fire- can be prevented or its impact minimized with thorough planning and training

It takes only one tragedy to remind us of the critical importance of maintaining a comprehensive fire-prevention program. A good, efficiently managed program that employees understand can make the difference in preventing catastrophe.

Legal Issues

OSHA Regulations: Nine subparts of 29 CFR 1910 contain specific fire-prevention standards. 1910.155 through 1910.165, Subart L is dedicated to Fire Protection, 1910.38,.39 Fire Emergency Action Plan. The other eight are Subparts E,H,M,N,Q,R,S, and Z.

Among the more common fire safety violations are those dealing with:

  • Electrical Grounding
  • Ignition sources
  • Design and construction of storage containers
  • Transfer of flammable liquid
  • Ventilation of storage areas
  • Cleaning of spray areas
  • Smoking Rules

No fire

Management Issues

Specific OSHA requirements vary according to the structure and activity of your workplace, but basically, there are two key managemaent tasks involved in fire prevention and protection.

  1. A system to protect workers from fire. This system must include:
    1. Proper maintenance and testing of smoke detectors, alarms, sprinklers, hoses, and portable & fixed fire extinguishers
    2. Adequate emergency access to, and egress from, the workplace
    3. Training for personnel who maintain fire-safety equipment
    4. Training for all employees in fire-emergency procedures
    5. A written Fire-prevention plan if you have more than 11 employees
  2. First Response Arrangements. If you decide to use a fire-fighting brigade of your own, OSHA provides detailed regulations. Whether you choose that approach or rely solely on local emergency authorities, you need to establish a close relationship with the local force. Invite them to become familiar with your facility and maintain good communication.

Training Issues

Fire Drill

All employees should have training in the following:

  • Alarms- locations, sound
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Exits, routes, meeting places
  • Use and location of fire extinguishers
  • When/how/if to attempt to extinguish a fire
  • Fire prevention, especially housekeeping and electrical safety

A practice evacuation is the best way to assess how effective your training has been.

Source: Business & Legal Resources

Ensure your Contractor is Insured

Contractors 1

Home improvement projects usually take off in the summer, when many homeowner’s gut the kitchen or add a bathroom. But what happens when a contractor’s negligence causes those plans to go up in smoke- literally?

Doug Clark’s 4,800 square foot home was hit by lightning in 2014, igniting a fire that destroyed the top floor of his home. During repairs, another storm came through and ripped off the roof, causing extensive flooding. Then, the contractor failed to properly secure the home, and the new AC Unit was stolen, along with jewelry, lawn equipment, and two generators.

Contractors 2

The result: a $400,000 insurance claim paid by Doug’s insurance company. Luckily, Doug was insured with a company that specializes in high-value luxury and waterfront homes.

We made a mistake- we hired a friend of a friend, who was a contractor. We didn’t give it a lot of thought. I had four children ad two puppies, and we needed to be back in our house as quickly as we could”, says Mr. Clark.

Often, a high-net-worth homeowner will file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance carrier, versus directly with the contractor who caused the damage. Their homeowner’s insurance policy will likely provide a better claims experience and afford better insurance coverage. For example, if a contractor has a $1 million policy but the renovation damage totaled $3 million, the homeowner would file a claim for the full amount with their own insurer. That insurer would like seem reimbursement from the contractor or its insurance company.

Also, high end homes are more likely to incorporate pricey materials or fixtures, not to mention valuable artwork or antiques, and a contractor’s liability policy may not cover these items.

Claims from renovations frequently include water damage from pipe breaks, broken windows, fire, and sometimes theft of building materials.

There are so many things that could go wrong,” says Dan DiClerico, a home expert at HomeAdvisor.

Contractors 3We recommend that you stay in touch with your insurance agent before and after a home improvement project to ensure you have sufficient coverage. After a major renovation, policy limits may need to be increased so that a homeowner has enough insurance to rebuild the home. Some projects, such as replacing a roof or installing impact-resistant windows, may qualify for an insurance discount as well.

For those about to embark upon a home improvement project or other renovations, here are a few things to consider:

  • Verify Everything. Fully vet your contractor. Make sure the firm holds a state license, is bonded, and has required insurance, including general liability and workers’ compensation. We also recommend verifying the insurance coverage of subcontractors.
  • Keep copious records. Retain copies of all paperwork involved with your project- proof of licensing, binding and insurance, contracts, invoices, proof of payment, progress photos and all project related correspondence.
  • Take inventory. Before starting a home improvement project, make a detailed list of all the items in your home. This includes furniture, appliances, personal possessions, and note the date you acquired them and the purchase price. Consider taking photos or making a video. If you do experience a property loss, your inventory will assist in the settlement of a covered loss of claim.

Source: Jumbo Jungle, Robyn A. Friedman

Workers’ Compensation

IMPORTANT WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INFORMATION!

Did you know that if you elect not to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance, you are still required to follow certain non-subscription procedures, even if you purchase an alternative type product?

A non-subscriber is required to file the DWC Form-005 with the Division of Workers Compensation annually between Feb. 1 and April 30 of each calendar year. The law also requires written notices be posted in the personnel office, and in a prominent place where employees can see them regularly, stating that you do not have workers compensation insurance. A written notice must also be given to new employees upon hire. Employers with five or more employees also have ongoing requirements to report monthly any injury that results in more than one day lost from work, including all occupational illnesses and fatalities.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance provides employers and employees with the MOST COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE & PROTECTION AVAILABLE and it is more affordable than ever with further rate reductions coming!

Please contact our office to discuss the benefits and protections afforded by subscribing to the Texas Workers Compensation system. We encourage you to obtain a quote, so you can make an informed decision regarding what is best for you and your business. In the meantime, questions and answers regarding requirements of a non-subscribing employer can be viewed at the Texas Department of Insurance’s website.

 Failure to follow the Division of Workers Compensation non-subscription rules can be very costly.

Further, in the event that Workers Compensation premium is simply not affordable at this time, there are alternative products available that will provide you some protection. Please contact our office for more details.

Are You at Risk for a Cyber Attack?!

CYBER ATTACKS

Are You At Risk?

Cyber Pic 1

Do you process Credit Card Payments?

Do you have a mailing list with an personal client information?

The following business types are affected by cyber attacks. Your business could be next. Are you prepared?

Cyber Pic 2

To get your quote for Cyber Liability Insurance, visit our Business Insurance tab at the top of this website. The quote is free but could save you thousands!

 

Avoid Cyber Crime While Traveling

No one pays closer attention to a travelers’ plans than cybercriminals. At a time when data breaches are on the rise worldwide, thieves are using technology to take advantage of travelers’ unsecured devices, unprotected data and unguarded identities. If you take just a few of the following steps while traveling, you can protect yourself against cybercrime—while still enjoying your time away.

WebPrepare well in advance. Take a few small steps, like updating your devices and double-checking your accommodation’s fine print, can greatly increase your security while traveling.

Before heading to the airport, pack with safety in mind. Always carry copies of imPackportant identity information, aside from your passport or driver’s license, in case those items are stolen. Carry these documents on you at all times so you can use them, or ones readily available at home, to confirm your identity at an embassy or airport.

CrowdedTake caution when visiting very popular destinations as these places are just as likely to attract cybercriminals as they do tourists. Before you connect to a conveniently public Wi-Fi network, know the risks. Close out apps that could hold important personal information and look out for “shoulder surfers” who could be watching.

By taking these simple steps, you could avoid a potentially devastating cyber attack. With everything in this world from communication, to paying bills, to applying for loans all becoming electronically based, the necessity for greater protection is much higher. Many consumers assume that the device distributor or software contain all the protection they need however, protecting your assets starts with you acknowledging the risks ad doing your part to avoid an attack.

To learn more about how you can protect yourself while traveling, visit J.P. Morgan’s Cyber Digest.

November 2013 Safety News

Nov 27, 13 • Safety NewsComments Off on November 2013 Safety News

Our November 2013 Safety Newsletter is ready for viewing!

Click to view in a separate window:  November 2013 Safety News

Contents include:

  • The book on ladder safety
  • HazCom changes
  • GHS label elements
  • and more…

October 2013 Safety Newsletter

Oct 25, 13 • Safety NewsComments Off on October 2013 Safety Newsletter

Our October 2013 Safety Newsletter is ready for viewing!

Click to view in a separate window:  October 2013 Safety News

Contents include:

  • Know how to respond to driving emergencies
  • Healthful lunches aren’t just for kids
  • Know how to stay safe when the wind blows
  • and more…

September 2013 Safety News

Sep 25, 13 • Safety NewsComments Off on September 2013 Safety News

Our September 2013 Safety Newsletter is ready for viewing!

Click to view in a separate window:  September 2013 Safety News

Contents include:

  • Summer weight gain?
  •  Prevent workplace violence
  • Home security
  • and more…

August 2013 Safety News

Aug 26, 13 • Safety NewsComments Off on August 2013 Safety News

Our August 2013 Safety Newsletter is ready for viewing!

Click to view in a separate window:  August 2013 Safety News

Contents include:

  • Disaster preparedness
  • Make safety a full-time habit
  • Drive cautiously through road construction
  • and more…