Construction Risk: Fire Safety and Threat Assessment

Fires can happen anywhere, and construction sites are no exception. Welding, electrical work, and several other common construction tasks create the perfect environment for an accidental fire. While having fire extinguishers placed in strategic locations around the construction site is a good idea, it is not a comprehensive solution. Different classes of fires need the right type of extinguisher. The most common kinds of fires on construction sites are Class A, B, and C.

Class A Fires

Class A fires have multiple sources. Wood, paper, trash, or any other material that results in glowing embers can all start Class A fires. The best extinguisher to put out this type of blaze is a Class A or Class ABC extinguisher. Class A extinguishers utilize water so construction workers should only use them on Class A fires. For example, using Class A extinguishers on a gasoline-based fire can spread the flames while using it on an electrical fire can result in electrocution. Class ABC extinguishers contain a pressurized, dry, powdered chemical that construction workers can use on Class A, B, or C fires. This versatile extinguisher is preferable over distinct classes because there will be no confusion during the commotion of a fire.

Class B Fires

This class of fire is the result of flammable liquids and gasses. Some examples include gasoline, grease, paint thinners, etc. To put out this type of flame safely, construction workers can use a Class B or Class ABC extinguisher.

Class C Fires

Energized electrical equipment cause these kinds of fires. Construction workers should use a Class BC or Class ABC extinguisher to snuff out this kind of fire.

Additional Important Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips

Knowing what kind of extinguisher goes with which class of fire is only the first step to proper fire safety. There are several more points beyond syncing extinguishers to fires; these include:

  • Knowing the locations of all extinguishers and how to use them
  • Clearing the immediate area around extinguishers of debris and obstructions for ease of access
  • Inspecting, maintaining, and caring for extinguishers

Lastly, construction workers should only use fire extinguishers for putting out fires. Horseplay can result in injuries and is a waste of a valuable fire safety tool. Supervisors should discuss the importance of fire safety and provide proper training for all construction workers to ensure a safe working environment. To learn more about construction safety, contact the experts at The Reilly Group.

Reducing Risk by Driving Workplace Engagement

The single greatest method to improving workplace safety is to engage employees. However, employers should note that engagement and job satisfaction are two different things. While employers want their staff to like their job, engagement is much better for reducing risk. Employees who are engaged have an emotional attachment to their job and take pride in their work. They are more likely to exceed expectations as well.

How Engagement Reduces Risk

Disengaged employees are more likely to have a narrow outlook whereas engaged employees are more aware of their work environment. They look beyond their assigned duties to see how their surroundings may affect their performance. If they notice something is amiss, they will ask questions to address potential workplace hazards. In fact, an engaged workforce is less likely to experience injuries on the job by 50 percent.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Employers can get an overall feel for engagement with surveys, but this is more likely to provide insight into employee satisfaction. As mentioned above, these are not the same. An employee can be happy but disengaged. The best methods for improving engagement are team collaboration, positive reinforcement, and assigning employees to tasks that allow them to shine. Isolated employees who do not feel appreciated for their work are not going to engage. However, if they feel like they are part of a team or the decision-making process, they will want to participate.

Risk management is a significant element of running a company. Engaging employees is a direct method to reducing risks and improving safety. However, reducing risk does not mean eliminating it. Threats are not always obvious, but a business insurance professional can help. The consultants at The Reilly Company can help your business identify risks before they become a problem. To learn more, contact us today.

How to Choose the Best Car Insurance Coverage

Car insurance companies offer a positive deluge of car insurance policies. While it is great to have options, many car owners do not know how to determine which coverage options are best for them. Below are descriptions of several insurance options ranked by importance.

  1. Liability insurance. If you own a car, you must have liability insurance. This is the minimum requirement and provides coverage if you injure another individual or damage property as the result of a car accident.
    1. Tip: If your financial situation allows for it, invest in more than the bare minimum to safeguard your assets.
  2. PIP and MedPay. This provides coverage for medical costs for yourself and other individuals in your vehicle in the event of an accident.
    1. Tip: This type of coverage is vital if your health insurance is lacking.
  3. Collision and comprehensive. Unless you buy your car outright, you need this type of coverage. It offers protection from total loss events so you do not have to pay the remaining cost of the loan out of pocket. This applies to individuals who lease their vehicles as well.
    1. Tip: This type of coverage is not always necessary depending on your car’s worth. If your vehicle’s value is minimal, you can save money by foregoing this coverage. However, this is not the norm so drivers should discuss their collision and comprehensive policy with their insurance provider first before eliminating it. If your vehicle is still worth a considerable amount of money, consider a higher deductible. This can reduce overall insurance costs—just be sure you can afford the deductible if you need to file a claim.
  4. Uninsured Motorist. While state laws indicate drivers need insurance, plenty of people flout the rules. If an uninsured/underinsured driver causes an accident, you may have to cover the cost. Investing in this type of insurance protects you from such events.
  5. Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) insurance. This type of insurance is applicable to anyone who owes more on their car than what it is worth. The most common example of this situation is someone who just purchased his or her car. If you are in an accident shortly after buying your vehicle, your standard insurance will only cover the value of the car, leaving you upside down on your loan.
    1. Tip: Once your car loan amount is less than what your car is worth, you can cancel this coverage.

These are some of the most common types of auto insurance coverage options available to car owners. The Reilly Company can help drivers determine which types of coverage are best for them and their financial situation. We can also discuss specialty insurance policies such as roadside assist, rental reimbursement, and personal umbrella insurance. To learn more, contact us today.

Construction Safety: Accident Prevention and Response

Preventing accidents on a construction site is preferable to managing them after they happen. Unfortunately, many companies fail to realize the extent of hazardous conditions present at a given site until after problems occur. An avoidable incident instead becomes a statistic. Some of the simplest ways to avoid accidents are reporting and acting on unsafe conditions. If a construction worker sees a colleague working in an unsafe manner, he or she should say something. The same holds true if a worker notices an unsafe working condition such as problems with scaffolding. Instead of ignoring workplace hazards, supervisors and workers should take steps to rectify safety issues, helping to mitigate risk and damages – even saving lives.

Learning From Mistakes

While accidents are unfortunate, they do provide a learning opportunity for the future. Investigating the incident can reveal new information to help avoid similar accidents. Investigations should not be a witch-hunt to pin blame on an individual, but a method of bolstering safety efforts going forward. If a construction worker witnesses an accident, they should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Where was I during the incident? Where were others that I could see?
  • Where was the injured individual at the time of the accident? What work were they doing?
  • What was I doing when the accident occurred?
  • Did any equipment contribute to the incident?

If everyone near the site of an accident committed their answers to these questions to memory, they could provide a more complete picture of what happened. Multiple detailed eyewitness accounts can provide more information than one or two. Various angles can reveal new information relevant to the indecent as well.

By providing accurate and factual information, workers can avoid similar accidents in the future. In the event of an accident, construction companies need to be prepared to adjust their safety procedures going forward as well as manage any resulting insurance claims. The Reilly Company can help construction businesses reduce the likelihood of workplace accidents and balance their risk with the right construction insurance policy. To learn more, contact us today.