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R&R Insurance Blog

Top 3 Non-OSHA Trainings for Manufacturers

Posted by John Brengosz


Many people say they have a safe work environment - but how safe is it really?  Or often we hear "yes, we have a safety plan in place so we're fine." 

We challenge you:

  • How often do supervisors get together to review protocols? 
  • Can you show us your post-accident forms?  And who reviews post-accident reports? 
  • Who is responsible for formal inspections?  And how often are they performed?

Vendors are increasingly looking for formal, documented processes to prove steps towards a safe culture.  And, ultimately, this can have an impact on insurance premiums. 

R&R's Professional Services staff have created trainings to address the three most critical points for manufacturers:

  1. Work Comp 101
    • The most effective 1st training, intended for Supervisors, this eye opening session takes a high level approach to explaining the financial impact safety plays in a risk management program
    • EX: a trip to the Emergency Room is generally 2x-3x more expensive than a walk-in clinic - do you have a relationship with a clinic that understands Workers Compensation and your Return-to-Work program?
  2. Accident Investigation
    • About as real as it gets in safety!  This session emphasizes the importance of a documented process: the POTENTIAL, learn from the ACTUAL, and lose the THEORETICAL
  3. Performing your own Safety Audits
    • More than the daily walk-through on the floor, this shows the value of a team of auditors ("the more eyes, the better!") and provides assistance with creating custom checklists specific to your organization

As with any successful safety program, it is important to have management involved in the process and to review protocols annually.

Our Professional Services team make these a regular part of our client's risk management program.  Looking to attend a general session? Check out our full seminar & webinar schedule.

Topics: Manufacturing, Workers Compensation

OSHA Injury Tracking Application - New Initiative

Posted by Maureen Joy

oshaOSHA started a new initiative this year: if the OSHA 300A data an employer submits to the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) shows the rates are above their industry averages, then that employer will receive an email. The email is informational only and obligates an employer to do nothing. As with every employer, regardless of their rates, OSHA encourages frequent review of safety and health efforts.

As always, we are here to answer any of your OSHA questions - please reach out to your KnowledgeBroker or view one of our OSHA webinars.

For your information, below is an excerpt of the email: 

Dear Employer:

OSHA recognizes that the DART rate does not necessarily indicate a lack of interest in workplace safety and health. If you are one of the many employers who would welcome help from experts in workplace safety and health, OSHA has many compliance assistance resources, several of which are at no cost and confidential.

If you are a small employer with fewer than 250 workers on-site and no more than 500 workers corporate-wide, OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program is available to you. This program is administered by state governments completely separate from OSHA’s enforcement program. The program assists employers to identify and eliminate or control hazards effectively and economically. More information on this program, including contact information for the local office in your state is available at https://www.osha.gov/consultation.

OSHA has resources to assist a company to develop and implement a safety and health program. Such a program to find and fix workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness can proactively reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Not only do employers experience dramatic decreases in workplace injuries, but they also often report a transformed workplace that can lead to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs, and greater employee satisfaction. If you use the On-Site Consultation Program, the state consultant can help you develop an injury and illness prevention program. More information can be found on the OSHA webpage at www.osha.gov.

Other avenues to address this issue include hiring an outside safety and health consultant, working with your insurance carrier, or contacting your state’s workers’ compensation agency for advice to address a high DART rate. In addition, engaging your workers to identify hazards and find solutions is a proactive method to resolving safety and health hazards.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


Topics: Workers Compensation

OSHA Electronic Reporting FAQ

Posted by John Brengosz

OSHARemember, March 2, 2020, is the deadline for electronically reporting your OSHA Form 300A data for calendar year 2019. Collection will begin January 2, 2020.

OSHA has a new and improved webpage aimed at answering common questions about electronic reporting: https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/index.html  

In case you cannot find an answer to your question on this page, a Help Request Form has been created and is available at this link: https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/ita/help-request-form.

If you are unsure whether you are keeping the records correctly, meaning what is or is not recordable, Wisconsin has two terrific resources for you:

  1. Wisconsin’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) Program
  2. WisCon’s free and confidential employer training program regularly schedules training across the state to help employers determine whether a case needs to be recorded on the OSHA 300 log

R&R will be hosting our annual webinar on tips for completing a proper OSHA 300 log on December 17, 2019.  Register here.

As always, if you have a specific question regarding your OSHA log, please do not hesitate to contact your Knowledge Broker.

Topics: OSHA

ACA Affordability Percentages Will Decrease For 2020

Posted by the knowledge brokers

affordability percentages decreaseOn July 23, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2019-29 to index the contribution percentages in 2020 for purposes of determining affordability of an employer’s plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA’s employer shared responsibility or play or pay rules require ALEs (Applicable Large Employers) to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees (and dependents) or pay a penalty. ALEs are those employers with an average of 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees during the preceding calendar year.

For plan years beginning in 2020, employer-sponsored coverage will be considered affordable if the employee’s required contribution for self-only coverage does not exceed 9.78% of the employee’s household income for the year, for purposes of both the pay or play rules and premium tax credit eligibility.

For more details, read more here. If you have any questions, please contact a KnowledgeBroker today!

Topics: Employee Benefits

Most Common, and Preventable, Home Claim | Tree Damage

Posted by Dan Wolfgram

Tree damage claim


One of the most common, and usually preventable claims, we see year round is tree damage to homes and cars.  Occasionally, poorly maintained trees can cause injury to people or pets. And lets not forget when a poorly maintained tree on your property falls onto your neighbors house ... it makes those neighborhood block parties a little “interesting”! 

These claims can be not only dangerous, but also costly.  Preventative tree care should be part of your overall home maintenance program. 

  1. Landscape care in the Fall
    • Prune unruly branches (leave the larger ones to the professionals!)
    • Inspect trees for dying limbs, insect damage, or signs of disease
    • Nourish trees with water and mulch
    • Plant new trees in the Fall
  2. Do not build new structures near or around a tree - it can damage tree roots and growth space
  3. Monitor and observe trees over time
    • Get a guide for identifying types of trees and potential disease 
    • Have an ISA-Certified arborist visit your property for an assessment on the health of your trees
  4. Choose the right trees for your property
    • How tall and wide will the tree become?
    • How fast will the tree grow?
    • Does it lose leaves in the winter?

In Fall, it is also important watch for leaves that fall on your driveway or street - wet leaves become a slip and/or driving hazard.

Enjoy the beauty that nature offers with a well landscaped yard.  It also keeps you, and your neighbors, safe!

Topics: Personal Insurance

IRS Expands List of Preventive Care for HSA Participants

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Preventive CareOn Wednesday, July 17th, the Internal Revenue Service added care for a range of chronic conditions to the list of preventive care benefits that may be provided by a high deductible health plan (HDHP). The new list is optional for a plan sponsor of HSA qualified HDHP plan to offer without impacting the member’s opportunity to fund their HSA account.

Individuals covered by an HDHP generally may establish and deduct contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) as long as they have no disqualifying health coverage. To qualify as a high deductible health plan, an HDHP generally may not provide benefits for any year until the minimum deductible for that year is satisfied. However, an HDHP is not required to have a deductible for preventive care (as defined for purposes of the HDHP/HSA rules).

The IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services have determined that certain medical care services received and items purchased, including prescription drugs, for certain chronic conditions should be classified as preventive care for someone with that chronic condition as specified in Notice 2019-45. Any medical care previously recognized as preventive care for these rules is still treated as preventive care.

For more details, learn more here. If you have any questions, please contact a KnowledgeBroker today!

Topics: Employee Benefits

Cyber Security in the Public Sector

Posted by Jason Navarro

City Hall in Athens, GeorgiaYou most likely heard the news story recently where a Wisconsin School District was breached and scammed out of $660,000. Yet another example of a local cyber breach making national news.

Unfortunately, Public Sectors have become an easy and frequent target for cyber hackers. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Employees continue to be the easiest breach point. Cyber criminals only need one employee to slip up, fall for the scam, and unintentionally hand over the keys to an entire network of personal information. 
  2. Less staff are present on a regular basis. The FBI and Law Enforcement have seen an increase in Public Sector groups being targeted when less staff are present, such as nights and weekends.    

Along with having the correct cyber insurance plan in place, R&R has tools and resources to help protect your business - big or small, public or private. We're able to create a custom program focused on 4 key steps:

  1. Employee training (annually)
  2. Internal IT security
  3. Banking protocols for wiring money and financial transactions
  4. Insurance to help keep the business up and running WHEN your organization experiences a cyber loss

Click here to learn more about properly protecting your business or to receive a free Cyber Insurance quote.


Topics: Cyber

Hospital and Insurer Price Transparency Rule

Posted by the knowledge brokers

hospital signOn June 24th, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order on hospital and insurer price transparency. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will decide through rulemaking whether hospitals and insurers will need to publish individual rates or whether they can keep their pricing information more general and publish only aggregate rates. Administration officials did not confirm when the rulemaking will take place, saying only they will use “any and all regulatory vehicles” that can carry out its directives.

The language of the executive order is not public yet, but Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar laid out the five policies the order is set to address:

  1. HHS will need to issue the rule on hospital price disclosures, mandating that they disclose in an easy-to-read format the prices to reflect what insurers and patients actually pay.
  2. HHS will also, through rulemaking, require providers and insurers to disclose to patients their out-of-pocket cost before they go in for care.
  3. HHS will need to propose a way to consolidate quality measurers across all healthcare programs.
  4. HHS will look into how to store de-identified healthcare claims data so researchers can analyze it to make improvements to the system.
  5. The Treasury Department is tasked with expanding uses for health savings accounts.

For more details, learn more here. If you have any questions, please contact a KnowledgeBroker today!

Topics: Employee Benefits

Offering Student Loan Repayment Benefits

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Dollar Sign GradCombined with rising tuition costs, more people are attending college than ever before. Sixty-one percent of millennials have attended college compared to forty-six percent of baby boomers. The class of 2017 graduated with an average of $39,500 in student debt! In recent years, some employers have begun offering student loan repayment help.

Millennials entered the job market after the recession which has resulted in fewer job opportunities. Of those job opportunities, many have had to accept jobs at lower starting salaries. With millennials making up the majority of the workforce, businesses must alter their tactics in order to stay ahead as many new graduates are seeking companies that offer non-traditional benefits like student loan repayment assistance.

According to a study by Iontuition, 80% of individuals would like to work for a company that offers student loan repayment assistance with a matching opportunity.

Right now, only 3% of employers offer student loan aid according to the Society for Human Resources Management. But the interest in this millennial benefit is definitely growing among employers.

While it can seem like all of the benefit is for the employee, there are benefits the employer can reap as well. By offering a non-traditional benefit, such as student loan repayment, you will have something that can boost your recruitment and retention strategies.

To learn more about the future of offering a student loan repayment program and the benefits to both employees and employers, click here.

If you have further questions, please contact a KnowledgeBroker today!

Topics: Employee Benefits

Industrial Hygiene Testing - Where to Start?

Posted by John Brengosz

DosimeterBack in the day, many national insurance companies had their own industrial hygiene departments and/or specialists - some even had their own laboratories!  It was widely perceived to be a competitive advantage.  However over time, the cost started to outweigh the value of services.  From the travel to the perceived value of the surveys to results, industrial hygiene screenings became highly scrutinized.

Fast forward to today and there are (3) potential avenues for industrial hygiene testing:

  1. Select insurance companies continue to perform surveys for select situations, generally at no cost to the policyholder
  2. R&R Insurance can assist for often less cost than the insurance company
    • Quarterly, R&R rents 5 dosimeters and will conduct full day noise surveys for customers at no cost. We also can borrow air testing pumps from the State of Wisconsin at no cost with the customer paying for the lab fees charged by the State to analyze the media used.
  3. 3rd party companies specializing in industrial hygiene
    • Contact us for recommended vendors
    • Services begin at $2,500

No matter the method, be cautious that costs can rise very quickly.  From the number of spaces being tested to the frequency & length of time testing; there is definite process of screening, testing, and resolving the issue(s).

I think we may need industrial hygiene testing - where do I start?

Start by asking a few questions:

  • Why is there a concern?
  • Have there been employee complaint (s)?
  • Is there an odor issue?
  • Do you just want to know?
  • Has there been any previous testing?
  • Be prepared to have your Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for the chemical(s) in question - it can help us do front-end evaluation and will be required for anyone doing testing

Testing is just the beginning of the "process".  If levels come back over OSHA limits, the work is just starting!  Things like increased ventilation and/or redesigned ventilation could be a suggested solution.  This is a true science and one that would expand beyond industrial hygiene specialists.

"Industrial hygiene: is the science of protecting and enhancing the health and safety of people at work and in their communities. Health and safety hazards cover a wide range of chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic stressors."

Contact your KnowledgeBroker to discuss if a survey is right for you.