Preventing Theft and Vandalism on Construction Worksites

FenceWhen working on a new construction project, there are plenty of things to worry about, including cost overruns, meeting all state deadlines, finding high-quality sub-contractors, making sure all the equipment arrives on time and in good shape, etc… Unfortunately, you also need to worry about theft and vandalism, which is all too common on construction sites in Southern California. Construction site theft eats away at your profit and could even cause an operating loss on a job. The best way to deal with theft is to try and prevent it with reasonable safety measures.

Below is a short list of steps you can take to convince thieves that your site isn’t worth the effort and risk of plundering.

  • Create a job-site security plan and make sure all your site managers are familiar with it
  • Encourage all employees to be security conscious when on the worksite
  • If possible, enclose the job site with a strong security fence
  • Make sure the security fence is close and locked each night
  • Limit access to the site as much as possible, even during the day
  • Consider putting up cameras or motion-activated lights and posting big warning signs
  • Consider hiring security guards to patrol the premise at night
  • Keep tools in a secure area and lock them up at night
  • Mark all tools and equipment for easy identification
  • Stamp ID numbers conspicuously on all large equipment and keep records of the ID numbers
  • Require all workers to sign tools in and out to better track them
  • Require all keys to be signed in and out and limit the people on the site who are able to sign out keys
  • When possible, immobilize equipment at the end of each work day (ex. Take the gas cap out of each vehicle)
  • Keep all building materials in a secure and locked storage area
  • Keep an inventory of all tools, equipment and anything of value kept on the worksite
  • Remove equipment, tools and other materials from the worksite as soon as they are no longer needed
  • Make sure all incidents of theft or vandalism are reported promptly by workers
  • Contact local authorities immediately if a theft or vandalism has occurred
  • Maintain complete records of all incidents of theft or vandalism
  • Reach out to adjoining properties or local neighborhood watch groups and ask them to report any suspicious activity that they see on the worksite

With all or most of these security measures in place, the chances of theft and vandalism to your worksite will be drastically reduced, allowing you to worry about all the other important responsibilities that come with managing a construction project. If you’d like to protect against the financial loss of worksite theft or vandalism, consider purchasing inland marine insurance.

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How To Conduct An Accident Investigation In The Workplace

Investigating workplace accidents can help you prevent future accidents.

Investigating workplace accidents can help you prevent future accidents.

Workplace accidents are a big liability to businesses. Not only is it a terrible tragedy whenever an employee is injured while performing their job, but it can also have big financial consequences to your company as well. Losing a valuable employee for any length of time is expensive, and workplace accidents will also raise workers’ compensation premiums, which can cut deeply into a business’s overhead.

Unfortunately, accidents are sometimes unavoidable, especially in high-risk industries like construction and manufacturing. In our previous blog post, we encouraged all businesses to implement a strict safety program to try and prevent accidents. As part of that safety program, we advised companies to perform thorough investigations into every employee accident.

An accident investigation should not be conducted to place blame, but rather to understand the underlying causes of the accident in order to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

Here are the steps you need to take to conduct a comprehensive accident investigation once an accident has occurred in the workplace:

  1. Appoint an individual to be in charge of the investigation. Depending on the size of the company and nature of the accident, you may want to allow this individual to assemble a small investigation team.
  2. Define the scope of the investigation. The lead investigator should make clear exactly what information he or she is looking for and what the goal of the investigation is.
  3. Create a preliminary brief. The investigation team should put together an initial review of the incident, which includes a description of the accident, damage estimate, normal operating procedures, location of the accident, witness list and a description of relevant events before and after the accident.
  4. Visit and inspect the accident site. The investigation team should spend time at the accident site, looking for details that might have been missed in the preliminary brief. They should also make sure the area is secured so that nothing is disturbed while the investigation is ongoing.
  5. Interview victim(s) and witnesses. The investigation team should sit down and discuss the accident with the victim(s) and any witnesses to the accident. They will also want to interview other relevant individuals, such as those who regularly work in the accident area or who had contact with the victim before the accident. It’s useful to use a tape recorder to capture these interviews.
  6. Look for abnormal circumstances. If your company has a comprehensive safety program in place, then it is likely that program was not being followed in its entirety when the accident occurred. When reviewing the data collected about the accident, the investigation team should be on the lookout for odd circumstances before the accident, which could have contributed to it.
  7. Determine sequence of events. Using their notes, observation and interviews, the investigation team should be able to determine a sequence of events and the likely cause or causes of the accident.
  8. Prepare a summary report. The investigation team should put together a report that includes all of the collected data, the sequence of events, the presumed causes of the accident and recommendations for preventing future accidents.
  9. Conduct a post-investigation briefing. The investigation team should provide the accident report to management as well as a briefing to review the report findings. The most important discussion topics will likely be the causes of the accident and prevention recommendations, which the management team can then approve for implementation.

While every accident investigation is unique, these steps will provide some basic guidance on learning how and why a workplace accident occurred so you can make your company a safer place to work in the future.

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Want To Lower Workers’ Compensation Rates? Implement A Construction Safety Program

Safety pays!

Safety pays!

Companies throughout California are struggling with sticker shock as workers’ compensation insurance rates continue to skyrocket. Workers’ comp rates can be a particularly large burden to companies with a high risk of injury, like construction and manufacturing companies.

Wouldn’t you like to decrease the cost of your workers’ comp insurance? Then consider implementing a strict safety program. If safety programs were adopted in high-risk industries on a larger scale, more carriers would be willing to insure more companies. This increase in competition would help push workers’ comp rates down. Additionally, companies following a strict safety program would experience fewer workplace injuries. Fewer injuries means fewer claims and fewer payouts, which would allow insurance companies to lower their workers comp rates.

So, what would a good safety program look like?

Commitment

Most importantly, the company’s management team needs to fully commit to implementing its safety program. It doesn’t matter if your company comes up with the very best, air-tight safety program if management isn’t willing to implement it and hold themselves accountable to it.

Safety Manual

Develop a comprehensive safety manual that lays out all aspects of the safety program in a clear manner. The safety manual should include all safety rules, policies and procedures. Distributing the manual to employees is an important step, but it’s not enough. You need to make sure the manuals aren’t just collecting dust in a desk drawer. Make sure your employees read the manual, understand it, and are committed to the objectives of the manual.

Safety Committee

A safety program has a much higher chance of working if someone or a small group is put in charge of implementing and maintaining the safety program. This is your safety committee. Depending on the size of your company, you may pick one individual or a handful of employees and task them with upholding the safety program. These individuals will be in charge of training new employees on the safety program, providing yearly refresher courses, monitoring safety throughout the business, investigating injuries or reports of unsafe conditions and making sure that the program is being followed.

First Aid Procedures

Keep first aid materials on site, including first aid kits and an AED device. We also encourage you to offer first aid training to employees or reimburse them for first aid and CPR training classes.

Accident Investigation

Accidents are inevitable in any business. When one does occur, you’ll want your safety committee to perform a full investigation to determine the causes and to make specific recommendations on how to prevent similar accidents in the future. Learning from the accidents today is the best way to prevent them from happening again tomorrow.

Keeping Records

Records are critical to determining whether or not the overall safety of your company is improving. Employees need to record safety checks and document any safety concerns or issues that they find. If an accident does occur, these records will help your safety committee figure out what happened, why it happened and how it can be prevented.

Visibility and Accountability

We recommend posting safety rules and policies in highly visible places throughout the company and to provide regular reminders and refresher trainings so employees keep safety needs top of mind. You might also want to implement accountability measures to help incentivize employees to follow the policies. This could include rewards when no injuries are reported for a specific length of time or strict punishments if an employee is caught ignoring the safety rules, policies and procedures.

Fewer injuries is not only good for employees and business owners, it could also lower expensive workers’ comp premiums if businesses throughout California commit to a safety program in the workplace.

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The Indirect Costs of a Workplace Accident

 

Dollar sign

The true cost of a workplace accident may be bigger than you think.

Workers’ compensation insurance helps insulate a company from the direct costs associated with an employee injury. For example, the company’s workers’ compensation policy will pay for medical care and will cover partial wages while the worker or workers recover.

While the direct costs of a workplace injury could manifest in increased workers’ compensation rates, companies need to be aware that they also pay indirect costs related to employee injuries and workplace accidents. In fact, studies have shown that the indirect costs of a workplace accident could be as much as 20 times higher than the direct costs. In some specialized industries, indirect costs could even be 50 times higher than direct costs.

What are some of the hidden costs of an employee injury or workplace accident?

  • Decreased labor and productivity: If you have one or several injured employees who are no longer able to work, this could create critical shortages that could slow production or bring certain departments to a standstill.
  • Lower employee morale: A bad injury at work can be distressing and traumatic, even to employees who are not injured. This could lower morale or cause distractions that lower productivity.
  • Less production: If your injured employee or employees were responsible for the production of products, you may have to deal with decreased inventory or longer wait times to sell products and collect payment
  • Damaged equipment: Damaged equipment from a workplace accident will need to be repaired or replaced. Not only will the repair or new equipment cost money, but every minute the equipment is not functioning could cost the company in productivity.
  • Disrupted schedules: Having to cover the responsibilities of an injured co-worker or try to work around a damaged piece of equipment can disrupt the schedules of your employees, leading to stress and loss in productivity.
  • Loss of customer and public goodwill: If a customer becomes aware of a workplace accident, or if their product or property was damaged, this could drastically undercut their confidence in your company. Not only is there a chance that they could fire you from the job, but in this world of Yelp and other highly public customer satisfaction websites, a negative review can hurt your chances to close future prospects
  • Hiring and training new workers: If your injured employee or employees are going to be out for an extended period of time, you might have to consider hiring temp or bringing on a new employee or new employees. This will require time from you and your management team to interview, hire and train new employees. You’ll also have to absorb lower productivity until your new employees become proficient at their jobs.
  • Cleanup: If a workplace accident caused widespread damage, you or your employees may have to spend significant time cleaning up the damage, which will cost your company time and labor.

Just because your company has workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t mean you are insulated from the costs of a workplace accident or injury. In fact, the hidden costs of an injury are severe. The best way to avoid absorbing all the indirect costs of a workplace injury or accident is to try and prevent accidents as much as possible through the implementation of a strict workplace safety program.

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How Much Is A Business Owner’s Insurance Policy?

The cost of your business owners policy will depend on the unique needs and features of your business.

The cost of your business owners policy will depend on the unique needs and features of your business.

A business owner’s insurance policy (BOP) is a bundled package of individual insurance products meant to provide comprehensive insurance coverage to small- and medium-sized business owners. (See our previous blog post all about BOP).

BOPs vary in their structure, but most commonly include property insurance, business interruption insurance, liability insurance, and crime insurance.

Business owner’s insurance policies are tailored to the needs of a particular business, which is why it is nearly impossible to provide even an approximate price quote for a BOP.

For instance, a nail salon and a fitness gym will have very different BOPs. Even if their BOPs contain the same types of insurance, the cost of each individual insurance product will be different. You can bet that property insurance for a large fitness gym filled with expensive equipment will be more expensive than a small nail salon. Liability insurance is also likely to be much higher for the gym than the nail salon.

There are a large number of factors that go into putting together and pricing a business owner’s policy. An insurance broker will first need to determine what types of coverage a particular business owner needs.

The price of each insurance product within the overall BOP will be determined based on the unique characteristics of your business (ex. Projected gross sales, projected payroll, number of employees, size of location, value of equipment/contents, etc.)

Building a BOP is an easy process, and we think it is well worth it for small- and medium-sized business owners in Southern California. Bundling all of your major insurances together into a BOP not only simplifies your life and helps you fully protect your business, it can also result in substantial cost savings.

At Fusco & Orsini Insurance Services, we excel at assessing the needs of our clients and putting together cost-effective BOPs that will keep their business fully protected from the most common disasters.

The best way to learn how much a business owner’s insurance policy will cost for you is to contact an insurance brokerage and schedule a consultation with a broker. We at Fusco & Orsini would be glad to assess your business, help you determine what your particular BOP might look like, and provide estimates on how much a BOP policy would cost for you.

To schedule a free consultation, call us at (800) 481-4538 or contact us through our website.

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What Is A Business Owner’s Insurance Policy?

A BOP is a compilation of policies that can provide your business with comprehensive protection.

A BOP is a compilation of policies that can provide your business with comprehensive protection.

As a small- or medium-sized business owner in California, your plate is full of responsibilities. Not only do you have to run your business and keep your customers happy, you may also have to oversee employees, do your own books, maintain inventory, and provide  marketing.

Everywhere you turn you confront potential risks that could destroy everything you’ve been working so hard to build. What happens if a customer slips on a spill in your store and hurts their back, or an employee embezzles money, or someone breaks in at night and steals a key piece of equipment?

Accidents, theft, or disaster are sometimes impossible to prevent. The best you can do is to protect yourself and your business through a business owner’s insurance policy (BOP).

At Fusco & Osini Insurance Services, we meet with a wide variety of business owners here in Southern California, and many times we find that business owners are confused about what types of insurance are best for their business. Many also worry that the cost of insurance will be too high.

In almost every instance, we recommend a tailored business owner’s insurance policy, when available (please note that is some industries, i.e. construction, BOPs are seldom available). A BOP is not a singular policy, but actually a collection of policies bundled together for convenience and cost savings. Each business owner’s BOP will be different depending on what type of insurance they need for their particular business.

Business Owner’s Policies can include:

  • Property Insurance: Protects against damage to buildings, equipment and inventory
  • Business Interruption Insurance: Will offset lost profits and pay owed expenses if the business must halt operations
  • Liability Coverage: Protects against lawsuits for harm or injuries claimed by a third-party.
  • Crime Insurance: Covers losses due to employee crime, such as theft.
  • Hired & Non Owned Auto Liability

Our clients overwhelmingly appreciate the simplicity and cost savings of a BOP policy. Instead of having to purchase and keep track of a handful of different policies, their BOP policy protects their business from a wide variety of potential harms.

At Fusco & Orsini, we work with each client to put together the BOP that matches their needs and budget. We can write BOP policies for almost any type of business, but we specialize in the following industries: beauty salon, nail salon, barber shop, childcare (residential and commercial), clothing store, convenience store, deli, grocery store, electronic store, fitness center, janitorial services, laundromats, liquor stores, mobile home parks, residential condominium owners, specialty training schools, truckers, offices, vacant building, vacant land.

For more information or to set up a free consultation to discuss business owners policy, call us at (800) 481-4538 or contact us through our website.

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Who Needs Inland Marine Insurance?

If you regularly transport valuable objects, then inland marine insurance and help protect them against damage on the road.

If you regularly transport valuable objects, then inland marine insurance and help protect them against damage on the road.

Inland marine insurance is one of the most confusing types of commercial insurance available, and many business owners aren’t sure exactly what it is or if they need it.

To learn more about inland marine insurance, see our previous blog post where we explain the main types of coverage that it offers. In a nutshell, inland marine insurance was originally created to protect goods as they traveled overseas; hence its name. Over time, however, the insurance evolved to cover goods that travel over dry land and even valuable items  that don’t travel at all, like computer data and accounts receivable.

So, does your business need inland marine insurance?

If you regularly transport expensive goods or equipment that are not otherwise insured, than inland marine insurance may be a good idea. For example, contractors bring lots of expensive equipment and tools to worksites. In most cases, these items aren’t insured even though they represent assets for the company. If such tools and equipment are stolen, a contractor could lose much hard earned money.

The same goes for companies that regularly transport merchandise from a warehouse to a storefront or who transport equipment to multiple locations or to a worksite. Much can go wrong when you’re on the road or hauling big, bulky items from once place to another.

Businesses that are in the process of building a store, warehouse or other facilities should consider insuring it under marine inland insurance (also known as builders’ risk or course of construction). Again, the chance for an accident or damage during the building process is very real and could result in expensive losses and time delays.

Business owners are often surprised to learn that marine inland insurance can be used to protect their electronic data and accounts receivables as well. While we strongly recommend that businesses use a professional file backup system, marine inland insurance may be a good idea as an extra safety net. I’ve seen many cases of companies that don’t back up properly and then lose all of their crucial electronic files. It’s usually a devastating financial blow.

Most businesses in most industries can benefit from inland marine insurance, especially those that regularly transport expensive equipment and tools.

To learn if inland marine insurance is right for you, contact Fusco & Orsini Insurance Services for a free consultation. Call us at (800) 481-4538 or contact us through our website. 

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