How safety programs can help contractors save on insurance


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Blair Koorsen is Director of Business Development at RBN Insurance Services and Jeff Greenhalgh is an insurance advisor at RBN Insurance Services. Opinions are from the authors. Insurance companies consider many construction companies and construction companies to be very risky. After all, many construction workers and contractors are exposed to hazards, such as falling from rooftops, working with heavy machinery, injury to construction equipment, electrocution, and exposure to silica dust and asbestos. Claims related to contractors can take years to work through due to the complexities of contracts, compensation and the division of liability between the different parties. Although the commercial insurance market is going through a tough cycle right now and premiums are going up for most lines of coverage, one line of coverage that can offset the increased insurance costs for some organizations is workers compensation insurance. Securing favorable rates for workers’ companies can help mitigate the costs of other commercial insurance lines. One step organizations can take to improve their workers’ compensation risk profile is to have a documented safety program that includes proactive processes to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are injured. There are many benefits to having a documented safety program in addition to potential insurance savings. Documented safety programs are an employment advantage when looking for skilled labor in a highly competitive market. Furthermore, proper safety programs can reduce injuries and claims costs. Equally important, safety programs can lead to a more productive and engaged workforce, resulting in fewer project delays and less downtime. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that implementing injury and illness prevention programs will reduce injuries by 15% to 35% for employers who do not currently have safety and health programs. Employers with safety programs should check these programs regularly to ensure that they are adequately protecting workers and are properly documented. By following the basic guidelines and principles below, employers can begin the process of implementing or improving their documented safety programs and potentially lower their insurance costs. Getting Started When implementing a new safety program or reviewing an existing one, employers must refer to applicable OSHA and other state standards for their workforce. In fact, 34 US states have laws or regulations designed to require or encourage injury and disease prevention programs, including 15 states with mandatory regulations for all or some employers. Safety programs can fit into any budget and into any organization’s culture. Employers must thoroughly document all aspects of their safety program so that it can be shared with new employees, their insurance company, and, in some cases, OSHA or other regulatory agencies. In addition to documenting their policies, employers must keep records of all meetings, investigations, and reports. Here are some important elements of a successful safety program: Leadership Engagement: All safety programs must start at the top with leadership commitment to safety and risk management. Leadership must set safety objectives for the organisation. After setting goals, leaders must identify individuals responsible for implementing and maintaining programs. Leadership must support this goal by ensuring that the organization has all the resources and professional support it needs to conduct a robust safety program. Worker participation: Safety programs need commitment from all workers. Leadership should seek feedback from workers and include their valuable insights into the process. Identifying and assessing risks: After leadership sets goals and seeks insights from workers, employers must identify and assess workplace risks. Employers can collect this information by soliciting worker feedback, completing workplace inspections, reviewing available information on hazards, and investigating any reported injuries or illnesses to identify any workplace hazards. Risk Prevention: After identifying and evaluating workplace risks, employers must develop a plan to prioritize and control the identified risks. Employers must put in place temporary controls to protect workers from risks that cannot be immediately addressed. After all risk controls are in place, employers must verify that all control measures have been properly implemented and are operating properly. Education and Training: Educating and training employees is an essential part of risk control. Education and training of employees must be an ongoing process. To ensure understanding, provide education and training in a language or languages ​​that all workers understand. OSHA provides material in many languages, and this material can be easily found on their website. Education and training provided to workers should include: procedures for reporting injuries and concerns, learning about risks, methods for controlling risks, elements of the program or programs, and how workers can participate in the program or programs. Program evaluation and continuous improvement: Leadership should review safety programs regularly to determine effectiveness and improvements required. Adjustments should be made when improvements are needed, new regulations identified, or new risks exist. Documented safety programs can help insurance companies see your organization better. Rely on insurance and risk management consultants to help your organization develop proactive security programs. Your advisors can also help comply with OSHA, DOT, and state and local regulations. Most importantly, be sure to partner with an insurance and risk management professional who understands your business and its unique risks and will advocate for you.


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