Employee Safety on Your Premises

It’s been reported that slip and fall injuries are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims. They are also the primary cause for lost days of work. The takeaway from these statistics is the need for businesses to make their workplaces safer for employees.

Causes to note

Slip-and-fall injuries on your premises can result from a variety of factors:

  •          Insufficient light.
  •          Improper use of ladders.
  •          Loose handrails.
  •          Loose or irregular surfaces and walkways, such as rocks.
  •          Obstructions (such as wiring).
  •          Open flooring (such as uncovered or unguarded pits).
  •          Wet, slippery, or oily floors or stairs.

Prevention

You can minimize or avoid slip-and-fall injuries to employees by taking certain actions: 

Identify problems or hazards so you can fix them. Of course, it isn’t always easy to notice potential problems or to fix them simply or without substantial cost, but you can certainly make a start.

  •          Tour your premises. Look around to find obvious problems, such as unlit stairs, loose railings, or torn carpeting. A fix to a potential hazard may be as easy as removing clutter, installing non-slip treads to stair edges, and adding more light. Make sure electrical cords do not cross walkways.
  •          Ask employees for input. What do they think can be done to make them safer? Encourage them to report any situations they think are hazardous.

Use caution tape or signs to denote any hazards until you can correct them.

Make it your practice to repeat your examinations and corrections on a regular basis (say quarterly). While you may have fixed one hazard, another may occur later on.

Review employee practices. For example, it’s up to the company to require that employees wear proper footwear. For example, injuries in restaurants can be cut dramatically by requiring staff to wear rubber-soled shoes. Keeping shoe laces tied is a simple fix.

Also make sure that employees are trained in ladder usage (e.g., using proper fall protection when working above four feet for most industries). Failing to require two employees to handle a job requiring a ladder (one to climb and one to secure the ladder) can result in injury that might otherwise have been avoided.

Institute procedures to maintain safe floors. For example, be sure that wet floors are promptly mopped and that spills are immediately removed. Signs to alert people to wet floors should be displayed immediately and not removed until cleanup can be made. Procedures for maintaining safe floors should be included in employee manuals. Instruct your staff to pick up objects that have fallen, such as paperclips. Employees should be trained on proper safety procedures.

Help with correcting problems

You may not notice or understand potential problems and may need help is identifying them. Here are some resources to help:

  •          Check with your trade association. Usually they have material available to help with this issue.
  •         Work with OSHA. Read this fact sheet. Also consider participating in OSHA’s ADD.
  •         Work with your Sentry representative.

Conclusion

The old adage of an ounce of prevention is apt for slip-and-fall injuries. By making changes to your premises and your staff’s actions, many of which are minor, you can keep your workforce safe as well as reduce your injury-related costs. Talk with a Sentry representative to learn more.

 

Article provided by Sentry Insurance, courtesy of Barbara Weltman, publisher of Big Ideas for Small Business, a monthly newsletter. Barbara has been a tax and business attorney since 1977 and, through the years, has developed a reputation as an insightful source of knowledge for small businesses.

For more information, visit: http://www.barbaraweltman.com.

Easy Energy Fixes for Big Savings

With the cost of energy rising, what can you do now to lower your energy bills? Some quick yet inexpensive fixes can pay off handsomely.

Lighting
Lighting your premises may account for 20% to 50% (http://www.sba.gov/content/lighting) of your monthly electric bill. There are many steps you can take that will provide significant savings.

• Install energy-efficient fluorescent overhead lighting; replace old fluorescent bulbs with new, more energy-efficient bulbs.
• Install compact fluorescent bulbs in task lights and high-performance T8 lamps and ballasts and/or pulse-start metal halide systems in larger applications. A compact fluorescent light uses 75% less electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb.
• Install lighting control systems, including daylighting controls, occupancy sensors, and timers, to turn lights down or off when they are not needed.
• Convert exit lights to LEDs (light-emitting diodes); these use only two to three watts and can last up to 20 years.
• Clean bulbs, fixtures, and lenses to increase lighting output.

Check with your local utility company about programs it may offer to help you with lighting questions. For example, in the New York City area, ConEdison has a Small Business Direct Installation Program (www.coned.com/energyefficiency/businessdirect.asp) for customers with an average peak monthly electric demand under 100kW. ConEd-approved vendors will conduct a free energy survey of your facility to show you how you can spend less on lighting. They will also install compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) (there’s no cost for the installation).

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Basics (www.eere.energy.gov/basics/) can also help you make smart decisions about lighting and other items.

Vehicle maintenance
Your business may use a car, truck, van, or multiple vehicles, and gasoline can be a significant cost for your business. The better your vehicle is maintained, the less gas you’ll use. Here are some simple, inexpensive ways to improve your gas mileage:

• Keep tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% when the pressure in all four tires drops by just 1 pound per square inch (psi).
• Get regular tune-ups. You’ll save an average of 4% on gas usage over the cost of vehicles that are out of tune or have failed emissions tests. (See even greater savings through tune-ups when a car has are more serious problems or by fixing small issues before they become costly repairs).
• Change the oil regularly. Use the oil recommended by the manufacturer to improve gas mileage by 1-2%.
• Replace clogged air filters for vehicles with carbureted engines (for fuel-injected vehicles, this won’t improve mileage but will help with acceleration).

Find more tips from the U.S. Department of Energy (www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.shtml).

Article provided by Sentry Insurance, courtesy of Barbara Weltman, publisher of Big Ideas for Small Business, a monthly newsletter. Barbara has been a tax and business attorney since 1977 and, through the years, has developed a reputation as an insightful source of knowledge for small businesses.
For more information, visit: http://www.barbaraweltman.com.

Cybersecurity for Your Business

Cybersecurity Sentry InsuranceYour data is vital for the continuation of your business whatever industry you’re in. One study found that seven out of ten small companies that experienced a serious data loss were out of business within a year. What’s more, under various federal and state laws, companies can be held liable for data breaches in customer or employee information (such as customers’ credit card numbers and employees’ medical records). In this era of growing reliance on the Internet, broadband, and mobile devices, it’s essential that you address the matter of cybersecurity.

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3 Steps to Take When Your Reputation Is Attacked Online

Reputation ManagementSocial media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are the Wild West when it comes to expressing opinions about customer service and other business experiences. But freedom of expression on social media outlets and other public forums does not extend to defamation (an injury to your reputation). Can or should you sue? These 3 steps will help you decide what type of action, if any, to take.

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Sentry Insurance launches Sentry Insight Mobile, an on-the-go risk management solution

At the annual RIMS conference, Sentry Insurance unveiled a mobile version of Sentry Insight, an innovative and industry-leading risk management solution, to help companies and brokers manage, track and analyze claims anywhere and anytime.

Sentry Insight Mobile, an on-the-go risk management solution.

Sentry Insight Mobile, an on-the-go risk management solution.

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Congratulations 2012 Award of Excellence Winners!

CJP_WinnersThe Captain John Parker Award of Excellence is Sentry’s most prestigious honor and recognizes the top sales producers in Standard Business Products and Dealer Operations.

Earning the Captain John Parker Award of Excellence requires more than being a top performer in a single area – winners must sell all lines of business, maintain a quality book of business and have previously qualified for Leader’s Trip.

This year’s winners exemplify all the qualities, skills and achievements of this top honor.

Congratulations, David and Will.

We’re at RIMS! Are you?

SentryInsight_tableartSentry will be attending the annual RIMS conference & exhibition in Los Angeles, April 21 -24.  Stop by booth # 1055 to see us for a demo of Sentry Insight, Sentry’s powerful, complete and easy-to-use risk management system that provides you with access to all of your claims activity.

Sentry is also launching a new product for risk management professionals at RIMS. If you’re a member of the press, the official unveiling will occur at a press event on Monday, April 22nd at 2pm. The Press Conference Room is located in the Los Angeles Convention Center Room 306A.

About RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition
Launched in 1963, RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition attracts some 10,000 risk and insurance professionals at all experience levels, business executives with risk management interests, brokers, insurers and service providers for the ultimate educational and networking experience. The four-day event in Los Angeles offers more than 120 educational sessions, keynote presentations, special events and an expansive Exhibit Hall with more than 400 exhibitors. For more information, visit www.RIMS.org/RIMS13.

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