GT Insurance Blog

Insurance problems and cures

Archive for the ‘workplace safety’ Category

Responding to Slip and Fall Incidents

leave a comment »

Our thanks to CNA Insurance Risk Control for much of this advice.  You can call us at 1-800-548-2329 for more information or skip to the bottom of this page for CNA’s web site.

BE PREPARED FOR A SLIP-AND-FALL INCIDENT
It might be a visitor.
It might be a customer.
It might be your own employee.
But, chances are, you won’t be there to see it should someone slip and fall in a building you maintain.
Sound Planning Can Help
A well thought out plan ensures that injured persons will be treated promptly and puts you in control of the process. CNA has developed these guidelines to help you efficiently manage slip and fall accidents. When a slip and fall happens…
Immediately
1. Offer medical attention.
• Administer first aid at the scene.
• Call for emergency service if needed.
• Suggest a medical provider for follow-up care.
(For employee injuries, refer or suggest a medical provider if doing so is allowed by your state.)
2. Gather and document information.
• Name, address, phone number of injured person.
• Names, addresses, phone numbers of witnesses.
• Injured person’s description of what happened.
• Pictures of accident (floor, spill, etc.).
3. Report the accident.
• Ask your customers to notify you immediately of any slip and falls on floor surfaces you maintain.
• Notify your insurance company of all losses, even if the information you have is incomplete.
Within 24 Hours
1. Contact the injured person (or parent of minor).
• Communicate your concern and verify whether treatment was received.
• In all cases, avoid discussion of “blame.” Assure the injured person that the accident will be investigated.
• Be alert for claimant’s “expectations.” Communicate them to your insurance company.
• Make sure injured employees understand that a claim will be processed for Workers’ Compensation benefits with regard to medical bills and time off from work (if applicable).
2. For injured employees, work closely with the claim department at your insurance company.
• To provide the physician with the injury report that includes all the information you reported.
• To provide the physician with a detailed description of the injured employee’s current job duties.
• To communicate your support in returning the injured employee to work, and to light duty as necessary.
3. For all accidents, determine facts and circumstances.
• Identify specific materials, equipment, or tools involved in the accident and keep evidence in a safe place.
• Do not discard damaged or broken equipment involved in an accident. Keep it in a secure place where it will not be inadvertently put into use or destroyed. Altering, destroying, or discarding it could lead to an adverse finding.
• Develop a plan of action to prevent similar incidents.
• Notify customers of potentially hazardous conditions, which require action on their part for accident prevention.
After the Accident Occurs
1. Maintain an accident injury management record (Call us at 1-800-548-2329 for more information).
Whatever format you choose – a paper filing system or a computer database – your records should include:
• Injury report – include all information reported to the insurance company.
• Log of all communication related to claim
• Dates
• Contacts
• Documentation of discussion
• For employees, information on return-to-work status
2. Notify your insurance company of any new information you may receive or develop.
• About the accident
• About the injury
• About employee work status
• About legal representation or suit filings
Don’t let claims “slip and fall” between the cracks!
Loss Reporting Tips
• These same slip and fall guidelines apply to your customers – you can help by educating them on reporting slips and falls.
• Ask customers to notify you immediately of any incident involving a fall, no matter how minor.
• Make sure your employees know what to do when a fall occurs or if they themselves are injured.
• When an employee does not report for work due to illness, always inquire to see if the absence may be work related.
• Make sure one person is responsible for reporting all losses to your insurance company. Cross train a back-up for that person.
A Note About Fraud

Slip and fall scams take advantage of existing hazards and it’s been proven that they can be staged to collect benefits. These claims require careful management and scrutiny. It can be difficult to disprove allegations of a fraudulent slip and fall.
You can help your insurance company get a jump on fraudulent claims by consistently following these steps:
• Immediate notice of all accidents will help identify and deny fraudulent claims.
• Gathering and documenting evidence and facts while they are fresh will help to successfully defend fraudulent claims.
• Having a plan for medical care will help in getting an immediate, objective evaluation and serve as documentation of the alleged injury.
• Following consistent slip and fall management guidelines will help to accurately identify claims that have merit and those that do not.

Go to www.cna.com/riskcontrol for more information.

7 Steps to help an injured worker return to work…

leave a comment »

When someone is injured in the workplace, both the worker and the employer will be better off if there is a plan in place to get the worker the best care and rehab, both sides know what the plan is, and they follow it. You are aiming for fewer lost days, less wage loss, better employee morale, and a better quality of life for the employee.

If you have more questions after looking at the list below, please give us a call at 1-800-548-2329.

Our thanks to CNA Insurance for this list. While they’re not the only company in the Workers Compensation business, they’re a good company.

Seven Key Steps
1. Ensure prompt access to treatment. This includes making
sure the appropriate first-aid kits are available to the injured
worker; promptly referring the injured worker to your
preferred medical provider; or, in the event of an emergency,
quickly placing a 911 call to the local emergency dispatch.

2. Report the loss immediately by calling, e-mailing or
reporting the injury online through http://www.cna.com.

3. Establish a return-to-work record, which includes: a copy
of the accident report, a job description, initial treatment
documentation, copies of medical bills, progress reports
from the physician and a log of your conversations with
your employee and the physician. This will assist you in
tracking the current claim, and establishes a model for
handling future claims.

4. Provide information to the treating physician about the
work-related injury, including details about the incident and
the employee’s job description, and briefly discuss your
company’s return-to-work policy.

5. Follow up with your injured employee within 24 hours of
the injury. Assure him or her of your company’s commitment
to their well-being. Assess the worker’s understanding of
the treatment he or she received, and respond quickly and
appropriately to questions about future treatment plans
or other general questions. Always be considerate of the
employee’s rights of privacy and confidentiality.

6. Contact the physician within 24 hours of the initial
treatment to obtain information about the extent of the
injury and recommended treatment plans. Also determine
timing for returning the employee to work as appropriate.
Where necessary, the goal is to provide temporary modified
jobs that will take into account your employee’s physical
abilities, skill and interests.

7. Maintain contact with your employee at least bi-monthly
to ensure his or her recovery is progressing as anticipated.
Collaborate with the treating physician for updates on your
employee’s recovery, and to facilitate a smooth transition to
the appropriate job duties.

Commercial Automobile Insurance – Loss prevention…

leave a comment »

Backing up accidents are a significant cause of loss for businesses with commercial automobile insurance.  A good insurance company will have training and educational materials to help business owners manage their vehicle fleets to avoid accients.   Untrained and unscreened drivers cause accidents.  Call us if you’d like to discuss some of the issues or what insurance companies can do to help you.  1-800-548-2329.  Or get some basic information at the GBW Insurance website by clicking here

A couple of points to consider:  90% of backing accidents are preventable by taking care and using proper techniques.  And the majority of backing accidents with bodily injury involve children under the age of 5.  Not only does proper training lower insurance costs, it saves lives.

The following is a summary sheet from CNA Insurance (one of the “A” rated carriers we work with), discussing some basics for safe parking and backing.

From CNA Insurance: 

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) study determined that over 90% of backing accidents
can be attributed to one of the following causes:
• Driver was unaware of the obstacle
• Driver used improper backing techniques
Yet, these accidents can be prevented by using some of
the following simple accident prevention techniques:
Preplan trips to avoid or to minimize the need for backing.
• When entering an alley that does not permit drive
through or turnaround, back into the alley, if allowed
by local ordinance, since it is usually safer
to back into the area with less traffic. This will enable
you to see the traffic as you exit the alley.
• When backing out of an alley, ask someone to be
your guide, and signal when it is safe to back into
traffic.
• When a guide is used, instruct the guide to use
appropriate hand signals rather than voice commands.
• The majority of backing accidents with bodily injury
involve children under the age of 5. Make a
walk around inspection of your vehicle before
backing, especially in an area where young children
can be anticipated.
• Park defensively to prevent your vehicle from rolling
into another vehicle. If parking on an incline,
turn the front wheels into the curb to prevent the
vehicle from rolling.
• Park in the middle of the parking space. This will
allow you room to exit the parking space without
backing and provide space if backing is required.
• Never take any situation for granted. Even though
you may have parked or backed into a location
many times, evaluate the location to determine if
clearances have changed or if new obstacles are
present.
• Experience is required to develop good backing
techniques. If you have access to a designated
area to practice backing – use it.
• Learn exactly how the rear of the vehicle responds
to every little movement of the steering
wheel. Practice – Practice – Practice!
• Know what’s going on around you at all times and
perform all backing maneuvers SLOWLY.
• Check all your mirrors when backing. Know the
mirror blind spots. Conduct a walk around inspection
of your vehicle to check these blind spots or
get someone to guide you while backing. Know
the clearance to all obstacles and the exact distance
to your stopping point.

The information, examples and suggestions presented in this material have been developed from sources believed to be reliable, but they should not be construed as legal or other professional advice.
CNA accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this material and recommends the consultation with competent legal counsel and/or other professional advisors before applying this
material in any particular factual situations. This material is for illustrative purposes and is not intended to constitute a contract. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the
actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. CNA is a registered
trademark of CNA Financial Corporation. Copyright © 2010 CNA. All rights reserved

 

What’s the state of Workers’ Compensation?

leave a comment »

Here’s a link to a presentation by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) Chief Actuary in May 2012.  In a word, nationally results are bad for the insurance companies and Workers’ Compensation rates will be rising.  https://www.ncci.com/Documents/AIS-2012-SOL-Presentation.pdf 

In summary, losses are rising, expenses are not improving, medical costs keep rising even though lost time claims are not, and even with price increases insurance companies are losing money.

If you have questions about Workers Compensation in New Jersey, see our primary site at http://www.gbwinsurance.com/workers_compensation or call us at 1-800-548-2329

Workers Compensation Insurance and illegal immigrants

leave a comment »

Denial of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage to Illegal Immigrants:

Several states have considered bills that would deny workers compensation benefits to illegal aliens who are injured on the job.  Federal law prohibits knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.  However, once hired, most states do provide workers compensation benefits without regard to immigration status.  Most courts have held that such workers are entitled to benefits once injured.

In general, insurance companies oppose denying benefits to illegal aliens. 1) They generally feel it runs counter to public policy. Workers compensation laws serve a humanitarian purpose. 2) Denial of benefits could encourage unscrupulous employers to seek out illegal aliens.  They might avoid the cost of workers compensation coverage and gain a marketplace advantage over their law-abiding competitors.  3)  The workers compensation’s exclusive remedy provision protects employers from lawsuits charging them with negligence in the workplace. Without this protection, when workers are injured, whether or not they are illegal aliens, employers are exposed to civil litigation.

This is a case of conflicting social policy.  It will be interesting to see the outcome of these laws.  But there will be years of litigation before the issue is resolved.

Workers Compensation and OSHA

leave a comment »

With thanks to the Professional Insurance Agents, PIA.org
Attention contractors: Worker safety and health do affect your insurance premiums
As a contractor, you know that to be insured, you are required to comply with the U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. Insurance carriers know OSHA regulations reduce worker injuries and illnesses, thus reducing their liability and improving their bottom line. Think of OSHA violations as traffic violations; the more you have, the greater risk you present to your insurance company, and the higher your premium will be.
The trick is to avoid costly OSHA violations and fines.

I only have a couple of employees; am I still bound by OSHA regulations?
Regardless of the size of your business; if you have employees, you are required to comply with OSHA regulations.

What are my basic responsibilities as an employer?
One basic OSHA requirement states the following: “The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions … to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.” In short, OSHA wants to see proof that employees have been trained.
Most training is required on a yearly basis.
Furthermore, OSHA requires a competent person on every job site. A competent person, according to OSHA, is one who “is 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 continues to state that “It shall be the responsibility of the employer to initiate and maintain [a written health and safety] program … which provides for frequent and regular inspections of the job sites, materials and equipment to be made by competent persons designated by the employers.”

Do I have to keep records to show my compliance?
Yes. One aspect of the OSHA recordkeeping requirements is the 300 form (replaces the OSHA 200 form). Recordable injuries and illnesses must be recorded on the OSHA 300 form or equivalent. In addition, this form must be posted from Feb. 1 to April 1 for the previous year.
The only exception to this rule is employers with 10 or fewer employees. In addition, any death or workplace incident sending three or more employees to the hospital overnight must be reported to your local OSHA office within eight hours, regardless of the number of people you employ.

How do I handle inspections?
How are violations handled?
There are several basic facts important to contractors:

OSHA prioritizes inspections based on the following:
work sites on which OSHA believes an imminent danger to employees exists;
work sites where reportable death or catastrophe has occurred; and
work sites that are the subject of complaints.
Employers have the right to refuse access to an OSHA inspector, however, this does not limit OSHA’s ability to observe the site from a remote location. In addition, OSHA can return with a compulsory process to mandate an inspection. If you force OSHA to use this legal process, it may not be as lenient on minor violations.
Allowing OSHA on-site does not mean that an employer waives all rights of defending himself in either an informal conference or a formal hearing.
Upon being issued a notice of violation, contractors always should respond in writing within 15 working days and request an informal conference with the area director. This is your best chance to reduce citations and fines.
Citations must be posted where all employees can see them for a period of three working days, or until the violation is corrected, whichever is longer.
Employers should correct violations. A common misconception is that once you’re caught, there’s nothing you can do. When attending the informal conference, being able to prove violations were corrected as soon as they were discovered can help you tremendously in reducing citations and fines.
What if my employees are conducting business off-site?
Employers are responsible for their employees whenever they’re on company time. If you send your employees to a job site, you are responsible for anticipating any hazards that employee may encounter, as well as preparing that employee for such hazards. In other words, a plumbing contractor is responsible for electrical hazards his or her employees may encounter when working next to an electrician.

Who can I turn to for help?
For further information on how to comply with OSHA regulations, contact either your local OSHA office or Alpine Environmental Services Inc.

Information in this posting was provided by Craig Petreikis, PE, CIH, president, Alpine Environmental Services Inc., Albany, N.Y. He can be reached at (518) 453-0146.
Your Professional Insurance Agent … We want you to know about the insurance you’re buying.

Workers Compensation – claims trends –

leave a comment »

Our thanks to the Insurance Information Institute for much of this information.

A National Council on Compensation Insurance study on the cost of claims filed by workers who are obese had findings similar to those to a 2007 Duke University study. From the Duke study:

* Workers who were morbidly obese filed 45 percent more claims and their medical costs were more than five times higher than those of nonobese workers.

* Workers who were overweight filed 9 percent more claims. Their costs were 1.5 times as high as people with “normal weights”. (I’m in trouble.)

Workplace injuries and death were down in 2009 vs 2008.  The drops are significant enough that many experts attribute them to economic change rather than entirely to safety improvement.

For much more detail, follow this link to the III.   Insurance Information Institute