Operations concerns work in progress such as constructing the steel for a bridge. Completed operations is the finished process or scope of work put into its intended use by someone other than another contractor.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mission concerns the reduction and elimination of workplace conditions which lead to accidents and illness.
Contractual liability concerns accepting grey-area responsibility through agreements with other business stakeholders.
Forklifts have revolutionized the construction industry, but they have also created the risk of serious injury and death for drivers, other employees, and pedestrians.
The winter months are the most dangerous for people who work outdoors. Often workers succumb to cold weather illness when working outside. However, employees in other industries also have ongoing cold exposure as well.
These workers include:
- Delivery People
- Postal Workers
- Maritime employees
- Food Processing Workers
- Cold storage industry
- Supermarket worker
- Tow truck operators
Cold is punishing to people and exposure to cold has many negative effects that include dehydration, frostbite, numbness, shivering, hypothermia and immersion foot disease.
What Ongoing Cold Exposure Does
Continued cold exposure first affects the limbs, toes and fingers and then progresses deeper into the body tissues and the core of the body. If the core temperature of the body dips below 95 degrees F, the worker has hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous illness and along with frostbite is one of the two most dangerous dangers of working in a cold environment – inside or out.
When a person’s skin is has a severe reaction to cold, frostbite can occur. Frostbite freezes the skin and makes crystals of the body fluids including blood. The chilling effect of frostbite is permanent damage to hands and feet, ears, and the nose. When frostbite is severe, the worker may have to undergo an amputation.
Other Dangerous Illnesses
Frostbite and Hypothermia are the two most common cold environment illnesses workers get from cold exposure. Other significant cold weather injuries include:
- Cold Immersion
- Trench Foot
Prevention of Cold Weather Injuries
Keeping feet warm and dry is the best prevention measure against trench foot and frostbite of the foot. Boots that have insulation and are waterproof is one type of the many personal protection equipment available for cold weather injury prevention. Other measures include long johns that have insulation, cold weather outer coats, space heaters where possible and other appropriate cold climate measures.
Preventing cold weather injuries is better than treating them and having your construction company’s worker compensation rates rise. Make sure that you take all reasonable measures to prevent these types of injury. For more protective measures, see our Cold Weather Checklist, and also check out this article by Juan Rodriguez – good stuff.
Small and medium-sized businesses often have employees that are “stars.” Sometimes the star is the CEO or president, other times there is a salesperson who consistently outsells every other sales team member by a two to one margin. Maybe you’re a software company that has a star coder whose ideas led to your product being a number one editor’s choice. The point is that most companies have an employee or two that helps their business thrive. What happens to your business in the short-term if a star employee, referred to by the insurance industry as a “key man,” dies?
According to a study conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), only 22% of small businesses carry this type of coverage.
As an independent contractor, you carry insurance to protect yourself against financial liability from your work. Many jobs require contractors to show that they have a pollution liability policy, which will pay for bodily injury and property damage claims, as well as the expenses of cleaning up toxic waste materials –costs that a standard general liability policy does not cover, and could run into millions.
Directors and Officers (D&O) coverage protects company and individual assets from claims regarding the management professionalism of the upper levels of companies.
The leading cause of D&O claims and payouts concerns financial reporting. The books don’t have to be cooked necessarily… they just need to be inaccurate to provoke a claim.
Relatively new accounting standards require real property values to properly reflect environmental impacts and potential clean-up costs. For example your company purchases a piece of land for $50 knowing it is environmentally impacted with an anticipated clean-up cost of $950. The book value of the property is $50 because that is what you paid, and it is the net value including clean-up. Now let’s assume new regulations require an additional $49 of remediation. You must either write down the value by $49, or if the property is held for sale, you can optionally write down only actual costs reflected in the sales price.
Of course, as with most future conditions, it can be difficult to predict what costs will be when we re-mediate the site.
Unfortunately, directors and officers must make management decisions in real time while arm-chair stakeholder quarterbacks get to review results with the power of hindsight. Will the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) decide on a conservative cost structure and reduce the value of the stock? Or, will he choose a more optimistic scenario and not reveal the full extent of the environmental impact thus falsely inflating values?
In today’s regulatory and transparent business environment, adequate D&O limits are a requirement of good management. Also, the CFO might want to consider environmental impairment insurance.
In the spirit of insurance and great risk management, the CFO can swap a premium (known expense) for a future potential claim (unknown loss), thus transferring the loss on the asset, to an expense. The asset value remains unchanged.
These valuation rules are very complex and you should consult with both a licensed insurance agent and a CPA regarding your specific needs. Give us a call… we’ll be happy to make introductions.
Sometimes you hear a story and it just touches your heart. That’s what happened when I learned that Jennifer Mimms had a tumor growing in her spine, which turned out to be lymphoma. And she has three young children. I mean… can you imagine?
Actually, I can. Five years ago (to this week) doctors found a tumor encased in my husband’s spinal column – just like Jennifer. The diagnosis was lymphoma – just like Jennifer. We had (have) three children – just like Jennifer.
I remember feeling overwhelmed, first by the circumstances, and then by the way our friends and family — our community — surrounded us with love and prayer, and financial support at a time when our family desperately needed it. We could not have gotten through that difficult ordeal without all of you.
When I learned what my son-in-love’s sister Jennifer was dealing with, I wanted to make sure she and her family received the same kind of support we did. And so the Mason & Mason “No Shave November (for Jennifer)” event was born. The rules are very simple, and there are so many ways you can help.
1. Join the “No Shave November (for Jennifer Mimms)” Community on Facebook.
2. Donate $10 (or more) to support Jennifer Mimms and her family (mail to PO Box 750, North Conway, NH 03845 – Attention: Heather Clement)
2. DO NOT SHAVE.
3. Invite your friends to get in on the action by telling them about the event and sending them the links.
4. Post your pics in the community facebook page.
It’s that easy. Won’t you join us in helping this family?
About Jennifer Mimms:
Jennifer Mimms is a young mom of three awesome kids who are her entire life, along with her long time partner, Evan. Not too long ago Jenn started having some symptoms that made her visit her doctor. Shortly after her visit she received the shocking news that she had a tumor on her spine. After the removal of the tumor and more testing, she learned that she does in fact have cancer, a form of Lymphoma. Jenn still has a lot more tests ahead of her to figure out exactly what is wrong and where the cancer is coming from. As if life isn’t tough enough trying to raise three children in the world today, add in a medical problem this serious and it could be enough to sink a young family. Your generous donations willgo towards the basic needs of the family, such as bills, groceries and gas to get to and from treatments. Jenn is currently in the hospital for chemo treatments, five days per week.
Chances are that you’re using chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) – a thermoplastic material – in pipes and related products, because it’s less expensive and easier to install than copper or iron piping. Failure of CPVC components can lead to extensive water damage, and repairs can be costly and complex because these pipes and fittings are located above ceilings, behind walls, and below floors.
In case of a piping mishap, here’s what to do:
Identify the material. CPVC pipes and fittings are usually yellow, cream, orange, or gray. Don’t confuse them with components made of its distant cousin polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which has different chemical properties, physical characteristics, and functions. In general, it’s not advisable to combine CPVC components with those made of PVC.
Preserve the failed part for forensic analysis. This involves a complex chemical/materials evaluation that requires unique skills and specialized examination methods, using such advanced techniques as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. To avoid contamination during analysis: 1) don’t tape labels on the damaged part; 2) handle it as little as possible; and 3) if you can’t leave the part in its installed position, wrap it in aluminum foil before placing it in a plastic bag (the materials in these bags can leach out).
Never break open cracked pipes and fittings to see what’s inside. Leave this to a forensic scientist under controlled conditions.
Because CPVC failures can have a variety of causes from raw material flaws and manufacturing defects to improper installation and maintenance, determining which party is responsible can be difficult. However, using proper procedures for installing and maintaining these components can go far to reduce this risk.
A word to the wise… 😉 For more construction risk management tips, feel free to browse around our website or give us a call. You can trust the construction insurance specialists at M&M Assurance Group!