Accident Prevent Archives - Harbor America


Workers’ Compensation 101

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What is Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance that provides a replacement wage as well as health benefits to help workers who become ill or injured on the job. In return for receiving a workers’ comp settlement, the employee gives up their right to sue the employer. This can save the employer from multi-million-dollar lawsuits in return for providing healthcare coverage and wages while the person is out ill or injured for a predetermined amount of time.

Employers Must Understand Workers’ Comp:

It’s vital for employers to understand what the workers’ compensation requires the company to pay and when the company will have to pay for it. The following are 7 things that companies must understand about workers’ comp:

  • Hospital Bills: The workers’ comp packages will pay hospital bills that are related to the illness or injury sustained at work. Workers’ comp may also pay for rehabilitation or other services related to the illness or injury that occurred on the job.
  • Workers’ Comp Covers Most On-the-Job Illnesses or Injuries: Workers’ comp will typically cover medical expenses and lost wages relating to documented on-the-job illnesses or injuries. These may include serious illness caused by exposure to chemicals or injuries caused by equipment or actions taken on the job site. These are costs required to be covered by the company’s insurance policy.
  • Situations Workers’ Comp Won’t Cover: Some situations workers’ comp won’t cover include any injuries that are self-inflicted or injuries that were sustained while the worker was committing a crime while on the job. Workers’ comp does not cover injuries that happened while the employee was not on the job or while an employee was violating company policies, especially in regards to safety.
  • It Must Be a Problem Caused At Work: Workers’ comp does not cover long-term illnesses or injuries that started outside of work. Workers’ comp is only for illness or injury that can be directly related to something that happened on the job while working, barring self-harm, criminal interactions, or going against company policy.
  • Employees Covered By Workers’ Comp: Only some employees are covered by workers’ comp and state laws vary in each state. Coverage will depend on how many employees the company has and what type of workers’ comp insurance the company is covered by. Seasonal or casual workers may or may not be included. Sometimes only full-time employees are included.
  • Employees Seeing Their Own Doctor(s) For Injuries: In some states or instances, employees will be allowed to go see their own doctors and specialists for injuries caused by the jobs. Other states will require the employee to see a select set of doctors chosen by the company, or the insurance company providing the workers’ comp benefits.
  • Workers Can Sue: Workers have a right to not accept the workers’ comp coverage offered by an employer in lieu of suing the company if they feel their injury is caused by company negligence or lack of safety precautions. However, once an employee does accept workers’ comp benefits, they can not sue.

Workers’ compensation is a complicated subject for most business owners. Hiring a PEO to handle this task for you and ensure you remain compliant may be your best choice. For more information on workers’ comp and our other managed services, contact Harbor America anytime.

construction site accidents

Prevent Construction Site Accidents: 6 Best Practices

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Construction Site Accidents:

It’s no secret that construction sites are a dangerous place to work. Since 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,547 workplace fatalities reported in the US.

In 2010 alone there were 635 fatalities in the construction industry from fatal falls. These accidents can range from falling off of high scaffolding to falling out of building windows or off of other high-up surfaces. This is down 25% from the all-time industry on the construction sites 847 deaths reported in 2007.

The good news, however, is that there are ways to prevent these catastrophic injuries from happening or at least a chance of reducing their frequency. These practices can save many lives and prevent many other catastrophic injuries that happen on job sites around the country each year. In this post, we will cover some of the most effective ways to prevent construction site accidents.

Tips for Keeping Workers Safe on the Construction Site:

  • Train Employees How to Get On & Off of Equipment: If you operate dangerous, large pieces of equipment such as cranes or lifts be sure to train your employees on how to get on and off these pieces of equipment properly when they are first hired. Review training regularly to keep safety first and foremost in their minds while they work.
  • Ensure Scaffolding is Secured Properly: Ensure that the scaffolding workers are climbing up on is secured. Also, ensure that the workers are properly tethered to the scaffolding in case a slip or fall is to occur. This tethering can be the difference between life and death for a worker working many stories up in the sky. Check the equipment each and every day for any signs that it is not in working order. It’s better to delay the construction process and ensure that workers are safe than to see an injury or death occur due to negligence.
  • Ensure All Equipment Works Properly: Perform daily safety checks on the equipment that you will be using to do the construction. Train workers to tell a supervisor or manager if a piece of equipment is not working properly, and discontinue its use. It can be the difference between fixing the equipment or seeing a catastrophic injury occur. The extra time and effort to safety check your equipment can literally save lives.
  • Ensure Safety Features on Equipment Work Properly: Ensure that all of the safety features on the equipment you are using are working properly. A safety feature failing can cause serious worker injury as the machinery is not working properly as it should be. Performing daily safety checks can ensure all equipment is in working order before beginning a day’s work. Make sure employees know that they MUST report any failing safety features to their supervisor or manager immediately.
  • Use Equipment Only For Intended Uses: While most equipment is pretty straightforward in what job it is designed to do, danger comes into play when you are using equipment for unintended purposes. For example, using a backhoe as a crane can end very badly when the load is dropped or the machine is broken. People in the way can get severely injured or worse could even possibly end up dying from their injuries. Taking the time to enforce the idea to employees that equipment is to be used only for the intended uses cannot be overemphasized. Also, be sure to provide all proper machinery for the job so there is no “temptation” to use the equipment for unintended purposes to keep the construction job on schedule.
  • Train Workers to Stay Clear of Equipment: Ensure that workers are standing clear of equipment while it is operating. Serious injuries or death can occur if a worker gets in the way of a powerful piece of equipment. While this equipment is vital to the success of the business, be sure that people know the power of these machines and respect it. Train the operators to ensure that they are clear of all other workers every single time before they use the machine. They can never be too careful. Finally, make it a strict company policy with harsh penalties for anyone running equipment they are not completely trained and certified to operate. This prevents people from operating equipment just to get the job done but using it in the wrong way, which can cause serious repercussions in the form of the lives of other workers. Emphasize the safety of the equipment first over the use of the equipment over the speed of getting work done.

Remember, being safe helps you be productive and will benefit your business in the long-run!

For more information on workplace safety on the construction site and to keep your workers safe as possible please contact us at Harbor America for more information!