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R&R Insurance Blog

OSHA Launches Program Targeting High Injury and Illness Rates

Posted by the knowledge brokers

OSHAEffective October 16, 2018, OSHA launched a "Site-Specific Targeting (SST) inspection program".  The goal of the program is to ensure that employers provide safe and healthful workplaces by directing enforcement resources to those workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illness.  Read the full OSHA notice here

Targeted Employers or Workplaces for SST Inspection Program:

  • All industries EXCLUDING construction, schools, or municipalities
  • 20+ employees
  • Injury and illness information submitted calendar year 2016 under 29 CFR 1904.41

How can you prepare for a potential OSHA visit?

  1. Awareness: do your company have a plan if OSHA would come knocking? 
  2. Benchmark: how does your company's injury and illness rates compare to industry peers?  Are you a red flag for OSHA? 
  3. Review applicable OSHA compliance programs compared to your company practices.

Preparing for any type of OSHA audit takes commitment from leadership.  The best success are organizations with safety teams to champion safety 24/7.  R&R Insurance can help support safety personnel with self-audits, policy review, training content, and much more.  Start the conversation with an email: safety@rrins.com.

 

Topics: Safety, OSHA

4 Questions You Need To Ask To Manage Classroom Storage And Reduce Work Comp Claims

Posted by Mike Walden

As you consider the safety of your classrooms, storage will almost always be a hot button issue with teachers and staff members alike. From textbooks to art supplies, teachers are challenged with organizing their classroom assets and maintaining a functional learning environment, making the most of tight quarters.

We encourage you to take a look at your unique classroom storage scenarios and approach each storage challenge with a focus on safety and injury prevention. As you tour your school classrooms, here are a few questions you should ask.

How Did It Get Up There?

If you encounter supply boxes stacked up to their ceiling, your first concern might be whether those items will fall, and rightly so. But if you are focusing on long-term safety and wellbeing, you also need to consider how those items were stacked in the first place. Did a teacher climb on a chair or desk to stack the items? Did the teacher lift a heavy object over their head? To minimize workers’ compensation claims and injury hazards in the classroom, you’ll need to consider each scenario from every safety point of view.

The R&R Insurance Recommendation

R&R Insurance believes in providing advice and resources to help schools minimize risks in the classroom. When it comes to classroom storage, we often encourage schools to create a storage policy that outlines a few key factors, including:

  • Appropriate items to be stored
  • Safe storage locations
  • Height restrictions on storage items
  • Weight limits on stacked items
  • Staff assigned to move heavy objects
  • Proper lifting procedures

With a policy in place, you can educate your staff members on best practices to help minimize injury and maintain a safe learning environment.

How Will It Come Down Safely?

If you see a hazard in a classroom your first instinct will often be to correct or eliminate the problem immediately. If items are stacked in a classroom, how can you remove those items safety? You might also question how the teacher was planning to safely remove the items and what standards you have in place to appropriately manage such hazards.

The R&R Insurance Recommendation

Focusing on being proactive, R&R Insurance would recommend educating staff members on proper storage protocol. If you draft a policy on who can add and remove items from storage spaces, you can ensure that appointed staff members follow proper safety recommendations. Simple things like using an approved ladder to reach an overhead item instead of standing on a chair, or using proper lifting technique, are very important safety considerations. By placing a focus on proper procedure, you can minimize injury risks in the classroom.

How Heavy Is The Item?

Teachers use a variety of materials to teach and demonstrate in the classroom, each with its own inherent risks. Consider the weight of classroom objects and assess the injury potential of each object.

The R&R Insurance Recommendation

We certainly understand that it is not always realistic to ask approved personnel to manage adding or removing items from storage. Placing size and weight specifications in your storage policy will provide your teaching staff with some flexibility to access items as needed, without asking for assistance. Consider a weight limit that teachers can lift without assistance and set safety protocols for your staff members who are responsible for lifting heavy items.

How Likely Is It The Item Will Fall?

There is always a potential for injury if items in storage have the potential to fall. Improperly stacked items, or awkwardly shaped materials, like microscopes, can often present a challenge for teachers in the classroom. Assessing the potential for injury is an important step in classroom safety maintenance.

The R&R Insurance Recommendation

Maintaining a safe classroom really comes down to properly identifying potential hazards and knowing how to safety manage each unique hazard. Your storage policy is a great place to start so everyone understands that safety is a priority. Educating team members on the details of the policy will provide them with the necessary tools to problem solve when hazards arise and ask for assistance when it is required.

At R&R Insurance, we are committed to helping schools minimize their risks, offering solutions and resources to help build safe environments for staff and students alike.

Interested in learning how R&R Insurance can improve safety in your school and reduce your costs? Request our free safety resources and case studies or schedule a call with one of our School Group Experts, today.



Topics: Safety, Loss Prevention, Risk Management, Schools, Risk Management Center, School safety, Business Insurance

Beat the Heat | Heat Stress Prevention

Posted by the knowledge brokers

iStock-483631780.jpgMany people are exposed to heat on the job, outdoors, or in hot indoor environments. Operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for causing heat-related illness. When the body is unable to cool off by sweating, heat-induced illnesses, such as heat rash, cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can occur. These illnesses can be serious, sometimes even resulting in death. However, these illnesses and deaths are preventable.

Common factors that can all contribute to heat stress:

  • High temperature and humidity
  • Direct sun or heat
  • Limited air movement
  • Physical exertion
  • Poor physical condition
  • Some medications
  • A lack of tolerance for hot workplaces or areas

Heat Stress Prevention

  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, and monitor yourself and your co-workers.
  • Block or avoid direct sunlight or other heat sources.
  • Use cooling fans or air conditioning.
  • Take regular breaks in shaded areas.
  • Drink plenty of water or high-electrolyte fluids.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and heavy meals.
  • If you detect signs of heat exhaustion, notify a supervisor or appropriate individual with first aid training.

When you or a coworker appears to be expressing signs of heat stress, determining the severity is important in order to take the appropriate first aid actions. Below are 4 signs of heat stress to be aware of.

Heat Rash
Symptoms: Cluster of small red pimples or blisters
Causes: Excessive sweating, which leads to clogged pores and, if untreated, to infection
First aid: Cleanse and dry the affected area, and use calamine lotion or powder to increase comfort.
 
Heat Cramps
Symptoms: Painful spasms of leg, arm, or abdominal muscles, heavy sweating, and thirst
Causes: Electrolyte deficiencies during or after strenuous physical activity, due to extended periods of intense sweating
First aid: The affected individual must stop all activity, sit in a cool place, drink plenty of water or high-electrolyte fluids, and wait for a few hours after the cramps have subsided before engaging in any strenuous physical activities.
 
Heat Exhaustion
Symptoms: Fatigue, profuse sweating, weak and rapid heartbeat, headaches, nausea, confusion, loss of coordination, muscle weakness, dizziness, or fainting
Causes: Dehydration, lack of acclimatization to high temperatures, strain on the circulatory system, and reduced blood flow to the brain
First aid: The affected individual must rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area. First aid includes cooling the affected individual by fanning, misting with water, or applying ice packs. Give cool (not cold) water only if the individual is conscious.
 
Heat Stroke
Symptoms: Core body temperature exceeding 104° F, hot skin with a lack of perspiration, strong and rapid pulse, nausea, confusion, dizziness, seizures or convulsions, or fainting
Causes: Heat exhaustion was left untreated and the body’s cooling mechanisms have been exhausted
First aid: Heat stroke is immediately life-threatening. Notify a supervisor and follow the emergency action procedure. While waiting for medical personnel to arrive, the individual giving care should take the following measures:
  • Move the affected person to a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area.
  • Give cool (not cold) water only if the individual is conscious.
  • Cool the individual by fanning, misting with water, or applying ice packs.
  • If necessary, loosen or remove heavy clothing.

For more information about workplace safety and preventing heat related illnesses, contact your Knowledge Broker or email safety@rrins.com.

Topics: Safety

What to do when death happens in the workplace?

Posted by Mike Geldreich

Police Line Yellow Tape.jpgIt's a topic no one wants to talk about.  And everyone hopes will never happen to them.  But the reality is that sometimes the unfortunate happens.  Do you know what to do when an accident occurs that results in a death?

Reporting a Fatality

  • OSHA - within 8 hours of finding out
    • Call local OSHA office
    • Call 24-hour OSHA hotline
    • Report online www.osha.gov
  • Department Workforce Development (DWD) - within 24-hours of death
  • Insurance carrier - within 24-hours of death

Reporting Considerations

  • Contact R&R Insurance
    • We can help facilitate contacting the carrier and DWD
  • Who / how will the family be contacted?
  • What is the criteria for the carrier?

Investigation

Law enforcement will be involved! The area will be considered a crime scene, and should be treated as such, until they are done with their investigation. Be sure to preserve all areas and equipment as part of the accident.

  • Take photos
  • Identify witnesses
  • Obtain maintenance records for involved machinery / automobiles
  • Document contributing factors: weather, road conditions, construction zone, etc.

Other Consderations

  • Crisis management
  • Death / marriage certificates
  • Media involvement
  • Other potential claims: psych treatment for those affected
  • Jurisdiction (were employees travelling?)

Looking for crisis management assistence? Contact your Knowledge Broker or safety@rrins.com to get the conversation started.

 

 

Topics: Safety

New Audit Tool Now Available Through R&R's Risk Management Center

Posted by R&R Insurance

Audit-Track.jpgIs your organization looking for a way to streamline the audit process for safety and compliance? Do you struggle to create and maintain audits, surveys or questionnaires?

R&R’s Risk Management Center offers an easy-to-use, web-based solution to help manage the audit process from start to finish.

The Audit Track® provides your organization with the tools you need to proactively manage workplace safety, employee training, IIPP/APP safety program development, and OSHA compliance tracking, reporting and analysis. The tool also allows managers to oversee safety audit, inspection and compliance reporting needs, as well as confirmation that all tasks are assigned, completed and recorded – ensuring your workplace remains safe and compliant.

Completely customizable to your organization, the Audit Track® allows you to:

  • Create custom audits for your organization or department
  • Deploy in the field on any major mobile device
  • Assign to any employee and track tasks, activities and results
  • Access summary and detailed reports based on your criteria
  • Track, achieve and demonstrate regulatory compliance
  • Target and resolve revealed issues before they become incidents
  • Proactively manage your workplace
  • Set field audits and surveys to your unique reoccurrence
  • Make automated auditing an integral part of your safety strategy
  • Keep all Safety Audits, Inspections, Self Assessments and other workplace checklists up-to-date

For more information on R&R’s Risk Management Center and the Audit Track®, visit www.myknowledgebroker.com/RMC or email Safety@rrins.com.

Topics: audit, Safety, Compliance, OSHA Compliance, Risk Management Center

Avoiding Collisions During Deer Season

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Deer-Collision-SafetyAs fall creeps in, the risk of a deer-vehicle accidents greatly increases. Deer-vehicle collisions are actually three times more likely to occur on a day in November than they are on any day between February 1 and August 31.

 

Travelers recently provided these valuable driving tips to help you avoid hitting a large animal and to limit or avoid damage to your vehicle:

  • Deer collisions typically happen from sunset to midnight and in the hours before and after sunrise. Be especially alert during these times.
  • Drive carefully through areas with high deer populations and deer crossing zones. Deer typically travel in numbers, so where you see one, there are likely others.
  • When traveling at night, use your high beams whenever possible.
  • If you see deer, slow down and blow your horn to frighten them away. Stay in your lane and brake firmly. Many deer-related accidents are caused by one car hitting another while attempting to avoid an animal.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Do not rely on deer whistles to repel deer.

 

For additional resources, contact a Knowledge Broker at R&R Insurance. Drive safely!

Topics: Safety, accident, vehicle collisions, deer collision, distracted drivers, car accidents

Three Ways to Increase Profit Using WellCompForLife

Posted by the knowledge brokers

WellCompForLifeTake control of the health and productivity of your employees - and increase profit. WellCompForLife is R&R Insurance Services’ total solutions approach to that will provide your company with the tools to increase the life span and productivity of your employees - and ultimately your bottom line!

The top three driving trends impacting an employer’s bottom line are Obesity, Workplace Injuries and the Aging Workforce.

Addressing These 3 Corporate Burdens to Increase Your Profit

1. Obesity - Yes, That Means Lose The Weight
Findings show that obese workers were more likely to report occupational injuries, with a great frequency of strains and sprains, along with falls and overexertion injuries. Consider these statistics: A comparison of obese employees to normal weight employees: 50% more workers’ compensation claims, 13x more lost work days, 7x higher medical costs, 11x indemnity claim costs. And this is just the workers compensation part. The negative effects of obese employees on your health insurance costs are overwhelming. Diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain - can all be attributed in part to being overweight. That means you have to do something about it - employee wellness programs, fitness, healthy eating, lifestyle changes for your employees and their families.

2. Reduce Workplace Injuries: Reduce the injuries to reduce the work comp claims!

  • Slip-and-fall injury prevention: ensure a safe working environment by maintaining parking lots and sidewalks; encourage employees to wear appropriate footwear for wet or slippery conditions. Make sure you have handrails at all stairwells and inclines/declines - special attention to this for your aging workforce.
  • Ensure employees can meet the physical requirements of the job: consider a post-offer, pre-employment physical for new employees – be sure the physician covers medical history as it may reveal something not seen during the physical (the cost of the test would pay for itself when preventing a back or shoulder claim!) Pay special attention to your aging workforce for their physical requirements.
  • Ergonomics enhancement: ask employees for suggestions on how their job can be tweaked to avoid fatigue or soreness; consider job rotation for repetitive tasks (also promotes cross-training!)
  • Wellness programs to aid injury prevention: help prevent strains, sprains, and falls by improving flexibility, strength, and balance. Great examples is starting a flex and stretch program, cover part of a gym membership, or hold exercise classes like yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi.Also, having a structured return-to-work program has several benefits, the most important of which is the reduction of lost-time (lost-time has 3 times greater impact on your workers compensation premium dollars than a no-lost-time claim).

There are literally dozens of ways to increase safety and reduce injuries at your place of work. If they aren't apparent to you, bring a knowledgebroker in - we'll take a look around and give you some pointers.

3. Address the Aging Workforce
Experts predict that by the year 2020, 25% of the US workforce will be 55 years or older. Couple this statistic with the fact that most people are working past the traditional retirement age of 65 and organizations need to pay special attention to this sector of the workforce.

On average, older workers are injured less frequently than younger workers. However when older workers are injured, it will be more severe and have a longer recovery time. See Preventing Injuries in an Aging Workplace.

R&R Insurance has found that if businesses address the health of their employees, reduce their number of injuries and keep a close eye on ways to accommodate the aging workforce, you will see a significant positive effect on your bottom line! WellCompForLife processes will increase the health and longevity of your employees and their families giving you a lot more control over your health and work comp insurance costs, all while improving the productivity of their employees. This is control business owners don't realize they have. At R&R Insurance, we call this program WellCompForLife!

Join the WellCompForLife discussion on LinkedIn!

For more information about WellCompForLife, contact a knowledgebroker today!

Topics: Return to Work, Safety, Workers Compensation, Employee Benefits, Wellness, obese employees, lost work days, indemnity claim costs, Self Funded Health Insurance, WellCompForLife, wellness programs, Improve Employee Wellness, increase the health and longevity of your employee, Increasing Your Profit, lower Employee Health Risk, Business Insurance

Important Tips to Keep in Mind After a Car Accident

Posted by Jenna Haertle

Car-Accident-Personal-Auto-Insurance

Have you ever been in a car accident? Did you feel prepared for what steps to take? Was there anything you forgot to do?

 

As a CSA in our Personal Lines Department here at R&R, I frequently assist clients after they’ve been in a car accident. Unfortunately, I was recently in one myself and learned what it’s like to be on the other side of the phone. Being the client was a great reminder about what steps someone should take immediately following their accident. I encourage you to keep these tips in mind, and never hesitate to contact your knowledge broker for more information.

 

  • Safety First! Make sure yourself or the other party is not seriously injured. Call for medical assistance, if needed. If cars can be moved out of the road to a shoulder or side street, try and do so to avoid another potential accident. If they cannot be moved, stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on. Don’t forget to put on your emergency flashers!
  • Call the police. They can help get tow trucks, direct traffic out of the way, and can file the policy report right there. Having a police report on file for your insurance claim will be very helpful down the road.
  • Don’t discuss fault with the other driver or a police officer. Leave it up to the officer and insurance companies to determine it. Just explain what happened so the police can document it on their reports, don’t admit fault or place blame on the other driver.
  • Gather information. Take a picture of the other party’s insurance card and driver’s license if you don’t have a pen and paper available. Make sure to get their name, phone number, license plate number, insurance carrier and insurance policy number. If possible, take some pictures of the damage done on both vehicles.
  • Witnesses. If there are any witnesses at the scene who have stopped to help, get their information as well. It may be important in helping determine who is at fault later on.
  • Call your insurance agent. It may take around 10 minutes to get the claim started, so make sure you’re in a safe place and out of traffic to do this. If you are in need of a tow truck or a rental car, they can help you out with that as well.
  • Seek Medical Attention. It may take some time before you realize that you've been injured. Once the shock of being in an accident wears off, you might realize you’re swollen or sore in places. It doesn’t hurt to get checked out by a doctor. Make sure that your doctors document everything, in case your pain gets worse later on.

 

Contact a knowledge broker for more information on car accident safety.

Topics: Safety, Personal Insurance, Accident Investigation, car safety, car accidents

5 Car Safety Features that Can Put Money Back in Your Pocket

Posted by Brandy Enger

Car-Safety-FeaturesThe advancements in car safety features over the last few years have been tremendous. From automated braking and back-up cameras, to alert systems and running lights, “car safety” has taken on a whole new meaning.

While the majority of these features can be life-saving, they also offer a great deal of cost savings as well. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers whose vehicles are equipped with certain safety features. The USAA provides insight into a few of the most common features available:

  1. Back-Up Camera. Once a luxury vehicle standard, the backup camera often displayed in the rearview mirrors or in-dash display is now a popular option on midrange cars, giving drivers assurance when backing out of a parking spot or down a driveway.
  2. Automatic braking. If the driver doesn't respond to the warning, some systems are able to brake automatically to prevent a collision or lessen the impact. Systems that combine forward-collision warning and auto-brake are the most effective.
  3. Adaptive headlights. This innovative technology, which allows drivers to see better as they round a curve, surprised researchers with how well it performed. According to Highway Loss Data Institute research, property damage liability claims fell as much as 10 percent with adaptive headlights.
  4. Sideview assist. Sensors can detect a car in your blind spot and then alert you with a light in your side mirror or with a beep if you engage your turn signal.
  5. Forward collision avoidance system. Using the same forward-looking sensors, these pre-crash warning systems alert drivers with visual or auditory cues when the vehicle is getting too close to the one in front.

To learn more about car safety features or to find out how they can positively impact your auto insurance, contact one of our knowledge brokers.

Topics: Safety, Personal Insurance, Auto Insurance, auto insurance savings

6 Safety Tips for Boating This Summer

Posted by Dan Wolfgram

couple-on-dockAlthough it may not feel like it now, summer is just around the corner. Before we know it school will be out, vacations will be planned, and boats will be hitting the water. Whether you are a new boat owner or you have had one for years, it’s important to refresh your memory with boat safety before heading out on the lake. Our friends at West Bend Mutual provided these simple safety tips for boating this summer:

  1. Read your owner’s manual and understand the various on-board warnings located on your boat.
  2. Wear a life jacket. While this sounds like common sense, the excitement of riding in a boat may take your focus off safety. A life jacket is like a seatbelt. It should be worn at all times because it can increase your chances of survival if there’s an accident.
  3. Stock your boat. Make sure you have an appropriate life jacket for each person onboard. An adult life jacket is not appropriate for children. In addition, if you plan to be on the lake for the day, make sure you have plenty of water, sunscreen, medications, and snacks. Lastly, make sure you have a fire extinguisher, flares, maps, and communication devices in case you run into trouble. Here is a great video resource for the proper safety items to have onboard.
  4. Bring a back-up. If you’re boating with friends or family, make sure somebody other than the driver is familiar with the boat. It’s not a safe idea for one adult to take a boat full of children out tubing. If the primary driver is injured or unable to navigate, it’s vital that a passenger is also familiar with the boat and can get you back to land safely.
  5. Keep an eye on the weather. Summer weather can change quickly. Pay attention to your local forecast and consider signing up for weather alerts that can be sent to your Smartphone.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings. Depending on the time of the year, boat traffic can be heavy on the lake. Make sure you always keep a close eye on what’s happening around you. If pulling a tube or skier behind your boat, always have a spotter to alert you of issues.

 

Taking a Boating Safety Course is another great way to ensure you have the most up-to-date information to protect you and your family. Visit your local DNR website for additional information. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/boat/

 

If you haven't evaluated the value of your boat this season, contact your knowledge broker. We can ensure you have the proper coverage to get you through your summer on the water!

Topics: Safety, Personal Insurance, boating