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Manufacturing Workers: Never Underestimate the Importance of PPE

Safety Matters – Manufacturing

Manufacturing Workers: Never Underestimate the Importance of PPE

Today, the equipment used in manufacturing operations is safer than ever. But in order to ensure maximum protection against occupational injuries and fatalities, you need to make the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) your number one priority.

Oftentimes, workers don’t wear their safety equipment because it’s a nuisance to put on or because it’s bulky and uncomfortable. It can be tempting not to wear PPE at all, but ultimately, it is up to each person on the plant floor to be a professional and recognize the life-saving benefits of PPE.

Hand and arm protection are important pieces of PPE in manufacturing environments because of the presence of amputation hazards and harmful materials. Depending on the work you do, you may need leather, canvas, metal mesh, fabric, coated fabric, chemical-resistant or liquid-resistant gloves. 

Head protection is required in areas with the danger of impact, falling or flying objects and electrical shock or burn. Be sure to select the proper size, and take good care of the equipment so it doesn’t fail in the event of an accident.

Foot protection, also known as steel-toe boots, safety-toe boots, steel-capped boots or safety shoes, is a must for all workers exposed to falling objects and puncture wounds from below. Most shoes will have symbols on the outside to illustrate the type of protection the footwear offers.

When there is a chance of physical, chemical or radiation damage to the eyes or face, you must wear appropriate eye protection. Everyday glasses do not qualify as proper protection—request eye and face PPE that fits over spectacles.

Respiratory protection is one of the most important pieces of PPE in a manufacturing environment because without it, toxins may enter straight into the body. It is important for you to understand how to use this PPE properly and what its limitations are.

Though it is often overlooked, hearing protection can be crucial in a manufacturing environment to prevent permanent damage. Remember that plain cotton is not an acceptable form of ear protection.

In some cases, full-body protection may be necessary to protect against all harmful agents in the workplace. When full-body protection is required, it must be worn whenever you are in designated areas.

Whatever your PPE, make sure it fits properly. If not, see your supervisor immediately to have it adjusted or re-fitted. It may be helpful to think of PPE like a football player thinks of his own equipment: you stand a better chance of continuing successfully with your job and your home life if you are properly protected from serious injury by well-fitting protective wear.

Reach Out to a Workplace Safety Expert

To learn more about workplace safety, talk to your supervisor or contact the manufacturing safety professionals at VTC Insurance Group. You can reach us at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

Hard-Working Tips to Help Workers Avoid Hand Injuries

Construction Safety Matters

Hard-Working Tips to Help Workers Avoid Hand Injuries

Construction workers utilize a wide range of tools that are essential for getting the job done. But there’s no tool more indispensable to the trade than a worker’s hands. For this edition of Construction Safety Matters, we’ve developed a list of precautions you can share with your workers to help safeguard their hands from on-the-job injury—and keep them in peak working condition.

Make Use of Machine Guards

Never operate machinery that does not have a working guard to protect your hands. Always use a lockout device on machinery when you have to reach into it for any reason. Immediately replace guards when you remove them. When safety guards are missing from machinery, hands, fingers and arms can easily be caught.

Wear Gloves

Always wear work gloves when handling rough materials or performing operations where you are using your hands to lift or move objects. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration study revealed that 70% of workers experiencing hand injuries were not wearing gloves. The remaining 30% were making use of damaged, inadequate or inappropriate types of gloves for the job. Choose the right gloves for the task and inspect them thoroughly before use.

Be Cautious of Sharp Objects

Utilize the correct safety procedures when handling knives, box cutters and other sharp objects. Never attempt to pick up broken glass, nails or other sharp objects not meant for handling with bare hands; always use appropriate gloves or a broom.

Remove Rings

No matter how much sentimental value they carry, rings put your hands in grave danger on the job. They can very easily catch on machinery and other objects, resulting in lacerations, amputations or broken bones. Always remove rings before beginning work.

Stay Alert for Pinch Points

When moving an object, either on a hand truck or by carrying it, be sure the path is wide enough for you to move through safely before you start the job. When you set a heavy object down, be aware of the placement of your hands. Always be alert for possible pinch points.

Speak Up

If you have any other issues regarding the protection of your hands on the job, talk to your supervisor. Remember, your safety is the first priority.

We Can Help Keep Workers Safe

To learn more about on-the-job safety, talk to the construction safety experts at VTC Insurance Group. We have resources and guidelines designed to keep construction workers on the job and injury-free. You can reach us at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

 

Theft Protection Tips for Every Homeowner

Home Matters

Theft Protection Tips for Every Homeowner

Americans collectively spend billions of dollars each year on home security. Yet, no home is immune to the risk of theft. Whether you’re looking to protect your home while you’re on vacation or simply away at work for the day, it’s important to take precautions to help deter criminals from targeting your property—and maintain peace of mind throughout your household.

Daily Precautions

  • Install motion sensor lighting around your home and garage that illuminates your property.
  • Consider installing home security cameras on your property. Many affordable home security cameras can connect to your smartphone through an app, making it easy to monitor your property from any location.
  • Place automatic timers on your lights and set them for different times for different rooms. This will make it more difficult for potential thieves to determine when you are away.
  • Install locks on all windows and doors that lead to the outside of your home. Lock everything before you leave—even if it’s only for a couple minutes.
  • Store your keys in a safe and secure location. Never leave your spare key in an easy-to-find spot (e.g., under the doormat). Instead, consider leaving it with a trusted neighbor or in a key lockbox.
  • Do not leave your valuables—such as jewelry, artwork or electronics—sitting out in plain view. Make sure these items are properly hidden in a safe, secure location. 
  • Place “Beware of Dog” and home alarm signs in your yard. Even if you don’t have a dog or an alarm, this may help deter potential thieves from trying to enter your home.

Vacation Precautions

  • Alert friends or neighbors when you will be away for an extended period of time so that they can look out for suspicious behavior.
  • Put a hold on your mail or have a neighbor pick it up for you when you go on vacation. An overflowing mailbox or buildup of packages at your door could make it clear to potential thieves that you aren’t home.
  • Consider asking a neighbor to park their car in your driveway or conduct home maintenance tasks for you while you are away (e.g., shoveling snow or cutting grass) to give the appearance that someone is home.
  • Never leave information about how long you will be gone on your answering machine or on social media platforms, as this will provide potential thieves with a timeline of when your home will be empty.
  • Keep Your Home Secure When You Go to Work

Many burglaries do not occur in the dead of night, contrary to what most people think. Instead, they tend to occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., when people are at work. With this in mind, be sure to always keep your doors and windows locked while you’re away.

We Can Help You Protect Your Home

For additional home security guidance and homeowners insurance solutions, talk to the professionals at VTC Insurance Group. You can reach us at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

 

Errors & Ommisions – Crucial Coverage for Manufacturing Operations

Manufacturers Coverage Insights

Errors & Ommisions – Crucial Coverage for Manufacturing Operations

Suppose a customer asks your company to manufacture a part based on certain specifications, which are outlined in a contract. He needs to add the part to his product and ship it to his customers by a set deadline.

In this scenario, your company creates the part, but due to an error that occurs during the production process, the part isn’t made to the customer’s specifications. He receives the part, realizes he can’t use it in his final product and requests that the part be remade. The delay in production causes him to miss the deadline to ship the final product to his customers, so he files a lawsuit against your company for the financial loss.

The key takeaway is that if you don’t carry the right insurance policy, you could expose your business to significant liability.

General Liability Coverage Has Limitations

You might assume that your Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy would cover claims such as the one in the above example. However, in many cases it will not. Most CGL policies contain “damage to impaired property” and “property not physically injured” exclusions. That means that unless the manufacturing error results in bodily injury or property damage, the CGL policy will not cover the loss. 

The customer’s financial loss in the scenario described above would not fall into either of these two categories, so it would not be covered under a typical CGL or products liability policy. In order to protect your business from a product failure resulting in a third party financial loss without bodily injury or property damage, you will need to add Manufacturers Errors & Omissions (E&O) coverage.

Manufacturers E&O Insurance

Manufacturers E&O is professional liability insurance that covers a manufacturing mistake or negligent service that results in a third party financial loss without bodily injury or property damage. E&O insurance covers damages that result from the following:

  • Poor, incorrect or faulty products that are manufactured, handled, sold or distributed
  • Errors and omissions caused by material defect, including property damage to the product, property damage to the work and property damage to impaired property
  • Negligence or failure to deliver promised services

If customers allege that your product failed or that you were negligent in performing services outlined in a contract, they will likely seek to recoup their financial losses through litigation. You could be saddled with significant legal costs, as well as potential damages if the case is lost. Even if the customer’s lawsuit is found to be frivolous, you could still incur the cost of defending yourself. That’s where Manufacturers E&O insurance can provide significant financial risk mitigation.

Manufacturers E&O insurance will cover both the customer’s financial loss and your legal costs. Most E&O policies are “claims-made policies,” which means that in order for the claim to be covered, both the work in question must be performed and the claim must be made during the policy period.

Trust the Advice of an Insurance Leader

E&O premiums vary based on the type of product or service you need coverage for, your company’s financial stability and the policy’s limits. To learn more about adding this important coverage to your risk management portfolio, talk to the manufacturing insurance professionals at VTC Insurance Group. You can reach us at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

 

Guidance to Help Maximize Construction Crane Safety

Construction Risk Insights

Guidance to Help Maximize Construction Crane Safety

While a crane is an essential asset, there are hazards involving all aspects of crane use on a construction site. The purpose of this blog is to provide construction companies with safety tips and guidance to help facilitate safe crane operation.

Selecting a Crew

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), only certified crane operators are allowed to operate cranes on a construction site. Operators may be certified through a third-party organization or through their employer, provided the employer is qualified to train the operator.

In addition to one or more operators, there are other positions that need to be filled in order to use a crane.

A “competent person” must conduct shift and monthly inspections of all equipment. OSHA defines a competent person as a person “capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”

OSHA defines a “qualified person” as a person “who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.” Qualified persons must conduct annual and comprehensive inspections of all equipment, along with duties associated with assembly and disassembly, fall protection, maintenance and repair, and wire rope safety.

Signalpersons and maintenance and repair employees must be properly certified, as well.

Preparing the Area

Cranes take up a lot of space, so preparing the area where a crane will be used is important to ensure the job gets done safely and efficiently. Consider the following when preparing the area:

  • Is the ground firm and level? Softer ground is ideal for a crawler crane, while a mobile truck crane works best on hard, dry ground. OSHA mandates that ground conditions must be drained and graded before a crane can be assembled and used. In addition, supporting materials (e.g., blocking, mats, cribbing) should be used.
  • Can the crane safely rotate 360 degrees? Tower cranes and telescopic cranes often need to rotate in order to transport materials, so they need to be able to rotate a full 360 degrees. Make sure there are no power lines or buildings in the crane’s path.
  • Is there adequate space for the outriggers? Studies have shown that as many as 50 percent of crane accidents occur because the outriggers are not properly used. Some cranes come equipped with outriggers for added stability and to provide the maximum lifting power. Many of today’s cranes have multiple outrigger positions to adapt to more ground conditions.
  • Are access roads provided? Adequate access roads into and through the site are necessary for the safe delivery and movement of derricks, cranes, trucks, other necessary equipment, and the material to be erected.

Once a suitable site for the crane has been selected, work can begin.

Access and Egress

One of the most overlooked hazards when using a crane is simply getting on and off the equipment for assembly, disassembly and use. For example, lattice boom cranes require employees to walk on the boom sections to install and remove pins for assembly and disassembly, creating a hazard. Equipment made after Nov. 8, 2011, must be manufactured with built-in walkways for this type of crane. For equipment made before Nov. 8, 2011, the employer must provide fall protection for employees who are on a walking or working surface with an unprotected side or edge more than 15 feet above a lower level when assembling or disassembling a crane, and more than six feet when performing non-assembly or disassembly work.

Equipment that is manufactured after this date must be equipped to provide safe access and egress between the ground and the operator work station(s), including the forward and rear positions. Walking and stepping surfaces, except for crawler treads, must have slip-resistant features, such as diamond plate metal, strategically placed grip tape, expanded metal or slip-resistant paint.

It is common for the area around the crane to get muddy, so extra precautions should be taken when walking in and around the equipment. The area in front of ladders and walkways should be free of water and mud to avoid slipping. Only ladders or ramps should be used as a means of access or egress from a cab. Scrap lumber or other miscellaneous materials should not be used.

Rigging

There are special precautions workers must take when rigging a crane. Materials often weigh several tons, enough to crush just about anything it its path. Riggers must be qualified to perform any rigging work. Follow these tips to prevent accidents and injuries while rigging:

  • Plan a rigging schedule to avoid rigging above or near areas where other work is being performed.
  • Never exceed the maximum lifting capacity of a crane.
  • Only use hooks with self-closing latches.
  • Inspect straps and chains daily for defects:
    • Nylon straps tear easily, so examine them for even the slightest fraying.
    • Straps with knots in them can reduce the lifting capacity by up to 50 percent.
    • Chain links can crack, stretch, twist or warp.
    • Rope can get kinked or fray.
  • Never leave materials suspended on a crane for extended periods of time.

Clearly, there are many hazards associated with using cranes on construction sites. However, they are an essential part of many construction projects and can be safe if everyone involved is properly trained.

Learn More About Construction Site Safety

The safety and risk management professionals at VTC Insurance Group are here to help you maintain a safe work environment. To learn more about construction site safety, call 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

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