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Learn the Top 4 Construction Site Hazards – and Play it Safe

Playing it Safe – Construction

Learn the Top 4 Construction Site Hazards – and Play it Safe

The construction industry is one of the most hazardous in the United States. In fact, every time you come to work, you risk suffering an injury. However, you can help improve construction site safety by learning about and avoiding the top four on-the-job hazards, which are: falls, struck-bys, caught-in-between hazards and electrocutions.

With the right knowledge and awareness, it’s easier to prevent accidents caused by these hazards. Here are some basic safety tips to help keep you injury-free:

Preventing Falls

  • Wear and use fall-arrest equipment
  • Install and maintain perimeter protection
  • Cover and secure all floor openings and label floor opening covers
  • Use ladders and scaffolds safely

Preventing Struck-bys

  • Never position yourself between moving and fixed objects.
  • Wear high-visibility clothing near equipment and vehicles so that others can see you clearly

Preventing Caught-in-Between Hazards

  • Never enter an unprotected trench or excavation that is five feet or deeper without an adequate protective system in place. Some trenches that are less than five feet may need a similar system as well
  • Make sure that a trench or excavation is protected either by sloping, shoring, benching or a trench shield system

Preventing Electrocutions

  • Locate and identify utilities before starting work for the day
  • Look for overhead power lines when operating any equipment
  • Maintain a safe distance away from power lines and learn your area’s distance requirements
  • Do not operate portable electric tools unless they are grounded or double insulated
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters for protection
  • Be alert to electrical hazards when working with ladders, scaffolds or other platforms

Expand Your Construction Safety Knowledge

To learn more about construction site safety, talk to the safety and risk management professionals at VTC Insurance Group. Give us a call at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

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

 

A Supervisor’s Role in the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process

WC Insights

A Supervisor’s Role in the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process

When it comes to workplace safety, there are few roles more influential than that of the supervisor. While handling the everyday situations that help ensure a company’s efficiency and success, supervisors are an integral part of workplace safety programs. Such programs utilize risk management techniques to keep employees safe on the job, thus reducing workers’ compensation costs.

Employers who are not incorporating their supervisors within their workers’ compensation programs are missing out on a valuable opportunity. After all, supervisors can help prevent employee injuries by promoting workplace safety programs, as well as supporting claims in action by assisting employees upon their return to work following an injury.

This blog outlines ways that supervisors can help proactively limit the need for workers’ compensation claims and keep the claim process running smoothly when an employee comes back to work after getting injured.

Proactive Claim Prevention Methods

Supervisors spend a significant amount of time with employees and should always have their safety in mind. Supervisors are, in fact, among the most influential people within a company when it comes to promoting a positive safety culture.

Most employees will follow the example set by their supervisors. That is, if a supervisor is showing a disregard for safety in the workplace, then there’s a high likelihood that other employees will start displaying those same behaviors. As such, it’s important that supervisors set a good example, and show their employees how important safety is by incorporating safety initiatives within their everyday routines.

In addition, supervisors should take note of any unsafe behaviors that employees are exhibiting and use these instances as training opportunities. Supervisors can discuss these behaviors with employees right as they occur, or use them as topics for daily toolbox talks.

A positive safety culture in the workplace has been proven to reduce the risk of employee injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, studies have shown that company engagement in safety programs reduces injury and illness rates significantly.

With that said, it’s important for employers to hire supervisors who believe in and promote a safe work environment. In addition, employers should train their supervisors in safety management and make it a part of every employee’s performance evaluation.

Supervisors who participate in and encourage employees to practice safe work habits will help limit instances of injury and illness, leading to a reduction in workers’ compensation claims and related costs.

Supporting Claims in Action

Although employees typically consult their employer or the HR department for a workers’ compensation claim (depending on how large the company is), supervisors can play an important role in the investigation of a claim and in improving an injured employee’s experience when they return to work.

Employers should ask supervisors to help in the investigation of a workers’ compensation claim. That’s because supervisors understand each employee’s job task and are able to break down the sequence of events enough to understand what the employee was doing when the injury occurred. Supervisors can be vital to understanding how an injury occurred, what the cause of the injury was, and how to mitigate any issues moving forward.

Supervisors can also help employers or HR leaders determine adequate light-duty transitional tasks for an employee to get them back to work after an injury. Supervisors understand the ins and outs of which tasks need to be completed and usually have a good gauge of the abilities required for different job roles.

Supervisors can also help with monitoring employees when they return to work. A supervisor should have daily communication with the returning employee in order to identify any issues that may arise (e.g., instances of pain or discomfort while performing job tasks). From there, these issues can be rectified, preventing the returning employee from stepping backward in their recovery process or experiencing new injuries. Having supervisors engage in such monitoring protocols can ensure injured employees properly recover and successfully transition back into their roles, keeping workers’ compensation claims from becoming more severe and—subsequently—expensive.

Let Workers Know You Care

Another benefit of having supervisors work closely with employees who are returning to work post-injury is that doing so provides such employees with a sense of care from their employer. When supervisors are regularly checking in on their recovering employees to confirm that things are going well, these employees know that their employer is genuinely concerned about their recovery. Happy, supported employees tend to enjoy work and resume their original job roles quicker than those who have negative experiences with workers’ compensation claims.

Overall, involving supervisors with company safety programs and with employee support throughout the return-to-work process are cost-effective ways to reduce workers’ compensation claims and related costs. Supervisors are the eyes and ears of a company and involving them in these areas can only benefit the company—promoting efficient operations, a positive work culture, and a successful workers’ compensation program.

Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Leader

To learn more about the impact a supervisor has on the workers’ compensation claim process, talk with the workers’ compensation experts at VTC Insurance Group. We have the resources, policies and guidance you need to help keep your costs in check. Give us a call at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

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

Specialized Risk Management for the Construction Industry

Risk Management

Specialized Risk Management for the Construction Industry

With the rapid and nearly continuous pace of change in the construction sector, the need for specialist insurance agent/broker expertise is clear. This is not a market for generalists; contractors need consultants who can help them anticipate and take advantage of market changes as they develop.

Role of the Construction Agent and Broker

What to Do When a Worker Refuses Workers’ Compensation Treatment

WC Insights

What to Do When a Worker Refuses Workers’ Compensation Treatment

When a worker is injured, there are specific timelines to follow and forms to complete with respect to workers’ compensation insurance. But what about when a worker is injured and refuses to accept treatment or file a claim? What are your responsibilities as the employer? While the exact legal answer depends on your situation and state laws, consider the following to limit your liability.

Discuss the Injury with Your Employee

If you notice that an employee has been injured, even if the employee has not mentioned it, gently bring it up and discuss the circumstances of the injury with the employee to determine whether the injury is job-related. Many state workers’ compensation statutes obligate employers to report injuries as soon as they have knowledge of them. Delay in reporting the injury could result in much more costly claims. Completing the paperwork to report injuries is not an admission of your liability—on the contrary, it could protect you.  

In the Case of Refusal

When you do discuss the injury with the employee, explain that reporting job-related injuries entitles injured workers to certain benefits while recovering from the injury. If the employee does not wish to file a claim for the injury, file the employer’s portion of the report with a statement of refusal to pursue a claim signed by the employee. It is crucial that you document this conversation to protect your organization from being penalized in the future.

Employees that do initially report injuries but then refuse treatment under the physician or facility that your organization furnishes should sign a similar form confirming this refusal. 

Benefits for Employees that Refuse Treatment

State workers’ comp statutes vary, but in most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are suspended for employees that refuse to comply with any reasonable request for examination or refuse to accept medical service or physical rehabilitation which the employer elects to furnish. Benefits may not be payable for this period of refusal of treatment—check with your workers’ comp carrier.

Be Prepared

While these instances tend to be rare, you should prepare for an employee refusal to accept treatment for a workplace injury or assist with a claim. All employers should have a legal representative draft a form for refusal-of-treatment that complies with state requirements, so it is immediately available when needed. Discuss with supervisors the importance of documenting and reporting all injuries, whether or not the worker chooses to report them.

Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Leader

For answers to all your workers’ compensation insurance questions, reach out to the professionals at VTC Insurance Group. Give us a call at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

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

Simple Tips to Stay One Step Ahead of Car Thieves

Auto Insights

Simple Tips to Stay One Step Ahead of Car Thieves

Simple Tips to Stay One Step Ahead of Car Thieves

The vehicles on the road today have become increasingly advanced with each passing model year. Yet, as a whole, they’re relatively easy to steal. With this in mind, we put together the following theft prevention guidelines. Each tip is designed to help you reduce the risk of getting your vehicle stolen.

  • Never leave your vehicle unattended while it’s running.
  • Never leave your keys in the vehicle, even inside a locked garage.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the vehicle, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Always park in a high-traffic, well-lit area, if possible.
  • Consider anti-theft devices—such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
  • If you park in a fee garage, take the pay ticket with you.
  • Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched into each piece of glass on the vehicle as a deterrent.
  • Consider purchasing a vehicle alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle. Display an alarm decal near the door handle.
  • If you use valet parking, leave just the ignition key with the attendant.
  • Copy your license plate and VIN numbers on a card and keep them on you with your driver’s license. If your vehicle is stolen, police will need this information promptly.

The Value of Vehicle Security Devices

Installing a mechanical device that locks to your steering wheel, column or brake pedal to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees can act as a highly visible physical deterrent for potential thieves if installed properly.

If you are considering implementing such a device—or any vehicle security device—on your vehicle, be sure to purchase the product from a quality brand or company and consult a trusted auto mechanic for proper installation.

Learn More From An Auto Insurance Leader

For more information about preventing auto theft, reach out to the vehicle security experts at VTC Insurance Group. Give us a call at 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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