Creating a Strong Safety Program for Your Fleet Drivers

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While most operations with an automotive or trucking fleet focus on safety, few businesses are actually monitoring their drivers to make sure they are adhering to the company’s rules, a new study has found. Many companies only pull reports on their drivers’ records on an annual basis, which means they miss important developments like a DUI or a few moving violations that will increase the cost of insuring them. In fact, 70% of companies with fleets do not even monitor their drivers and 60% don’t have a safety program in place, according to the study by SambaSafety, a firm that…
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Silica Safety Enforcement Delayed for Construction Industry

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Cal/OSHA has delayed enforcement of its crystalline silica safety standard for the construction industry for another three months to ensure the California rules are in synch with federal rules on the dangerous airborne matter. The move came after Fed OSHA announced April 6 a delay in adoption of the crystalline silica standard for the sector “to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.” The silica rules have already been in effect for general industry since 2016 and the delay in enforcement is only for the construction industry. Enforcement for the construction sector was slated to start…
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Insurance Commissioner Okays Benchmark Rate Decrease for California Employers

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California’s insurance commissioner has approved a recommendation to reduce average baseline rates on workers’ compensation policies by 7.8% at the mid-year mark. The mid-year reduction to the baseline rate is largely the result of reforms that were introduced in 2013 that have sped up the settlement process for claims (including many long-term claims), in addition to reducing medical costs. Also, because of these reforms the cost of adjusting workers’ comp claims in California has dropped over the past few years. Insurance carriers use the benchmark rate – also known as the pure premium rate – as a starting point for…
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Court Decision Shows Extent of Employer Liability for Traveling Employees

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The employer of a worker who causes damage during their off hours on a business trip may be held liable for them acting “in the scope of their employment,” according to a federal court decision. The ruling will allow the case to go forward after the court declined to uphold the employer’s motion to dismiss it as a defendant in the lawsuit after its employee had caused $147,000 in damage to a hotel room while on a business trip. The employee fell asleep while frying egg rolls on the stovetop in his room, after which a fire broke out. The…
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Companies Struggle with Benefits Compliance

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More and more employers are being overwhelmed by all of the compliance requirements associated with managing employee benefits. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America’s “Benefits Balancing Act” study found that 60% of employers are feeling overwhelmed with the increased complexity of managing their benefits programs. One of the main reasons for the additional burden is the Affordable Care Act, with its myriad of compliance and reporting requirements. The employer mandate and the documentation and new filing requirements with the IRS are high on the list of compliance issues, as are evolving Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and ERISA requirements….
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Why You Can’t Afford to Not Have Professional Liability Insurance

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At some point, most businesses are involved in some type of legal dispute, be it over an alleged physical or property damage to a third party or financial injury to a competitor, client or vendor. And you’d surely want an insurance backstop in case you are targeted, to help pay for legal costs and any settlements or judgments. The type of liability that your business is going to face will depend on the type of work that you do. If you’re in a service trade, the chances of your work causing someone physical damage or harm are remote, but you…
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GOP Releases Legislation to Gut and Replace ACA

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House Republicans have filed legislation that would repeal most of the Affordable Care Act, including measures to eliminate the employer and individual mandates. But from the get-go the legislation – backed by the House leadership – was panned by the GOP’s conservative wing, which said it doesn’t go far enough to completely get rid of the ACA, casting doubt on the prospects of it getting passed. And Congressional Democrats immediately voiced their absolute opposition to the bill, vowing to vote ‘No’ on the legislation. While passage in the House would be a bit easier, the slim 51-49 vote edge that…
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Baseline Health Tests Can Shave Workers’ Comp Claims Costs

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More employers are testing new hires in physical jobs to establish a baseline in case they ever file a workers’ comp claim down the road. The aim is to establish what physical ailments and pain the new hire already has, so if they are injured you can find out if they aggravated an existing injury or it’s just an existing injury that’s flaring up. And if done correctly, baseline testing doesn’t infringe on the worker’s rights or health privacy. Baseline testing should not be confused with physical evaluations that are conducted after a job offer, but prior to placement, to…
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How Three Companies Reduced Their Workers’ Comp Costs

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We’ve told you often in these pages about various workplace safety and claims management techniques, but sometimes it’s good to learn from the first-hand experiences of other employers. The National Underwriter insurance trade publication recently profiled three companies that had reduced their workers’ comp costs using a combination of claims management and safety initiatives. You can use their experience to apply similar programs at your company.   SMS Holdings’ experience This housekeeping and maintenance service provider did not roll out a one-size-fits-all approach to safety at is multiple locations in 46 states. The company instead took a silo approach to…
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The Effects on Your X-Mod When Purchasing Another Company

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Many companies are often taken off guard when their workers’ comp X-Mod shoots up after a merger or acquisition. The experience modifier spike is usually the result of the other employer having a less than stellar workplace safety record and high workers’ comp claims costs. But there are pre-emptive steps you can take to understand the impact of the merger on your X-Mod and the more you know, the better chance you’ll have at coping with the changed circumstances. The reason is that workers’ compensation rating bureaus have strict rules regarding mergers and acquisitions to ensure that companies don’t engage…
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