5 Easy Strategies to Prevent Construction Accidents

More often than not, accidents are preventable. By following simple safety protocols, construction workers and supervisors can avoid most accidents before they occur. The following are several tips constructions workers can use to improve job site safety.

  1. Practice good personal safety. Constructions workers should implement accident prevention into their everyday routine. For example, they should ensure their tools and equipment are clean and in good condition before using them. They should also put on any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) before starting construction work. Clothing matters as well. Anyone entering a construction site should wear the proper shoes (i.e. NO flip-flops) and avoid flowy or baggy clothes that a machine can snag.
  2. Follow instructions. Many individuals have the propensity to take shortcuts when they are familiar with a job. However, such behavior is a slippery slope toward bypassing instructions on all jobs to save time. No time saved is worth an injury.
  3. Do not horse around. There is a reason adults are constantly telling kids to stop being rowdy—they do not want them to get hurt. The same is true for adults. Trying to prank a coworker may seem funny, but it can have lethal consequences on a construction site if something goes wrong.
  4. Report risky behavior or conditions right away. Accident prevention is the responsibility of the individual and their coworkers. Taking personal safety precautions can protect one person; reporting hazardous working conditions or behaviors can protect several people. Individuals can achieve this with a simple friendly warning to the individual making unsafe choices, or that person can report it to someone with greater authority.
  5. Keep work areas clean. While trash and debris around the job site are eyesores, they are also hazards. Junk laying around can cause people to trip and fall. It can also act as an accelerant for fires. Keeping work areas tidy is not just good manners; it is good safety as well.

Accident prevention starts on a personal level, but there are several large-scale methods to reducing risk as well. The Reilly Company can help your construction business identify risks and develop a plan to address them. To learn more about how we can help you protect your investment, contact us today.

How to Shut the Door on Cyber Liability Risk

When a cyber security breach occurs at a company, it is almost always the result of negligent behavior. However, this behavior is not always malicious or even on purpose. Often times, employees lack the necessary training and understanding of cyber security best practices. Below are several methods businesses can use to reduce their cyber liability risk.

Training and Retraining

Employees are prone to human error, but this does not mean businesses have no means to temper it. By holding onboard training and regular training for the tenure of their employment, businesses can improve their employees’ cyber security expertise. Many businesses believe onboard cyber security training is enough, but the evidence proves otherwise. Skills become rusty without use so it behooves businesses to ensure their employees retrain to retain their cyber security knowledge. This does not mean holding one annual training. It means conducting cyber drills and training on a regular basis—at least quarterly—to keep employees on the top of their cyber security game.

Establish a Baseline and Improve

Businesses often promote employees because they are good at their current job—not because they will do well in the next tier of responsibility. This results in promoting individuals to the point of incompetence, which is known as the Peter Principle. When this happens in departments dealing with cyber security or sensitive data, the potential for a cyber catastrophe skyrockets. Combating this problem can present uncomfortable challenges, but it is a crucial step to reducing cyber liability.

This does not necessarily mean demoting or replacing certain staff. Instead, businesses can schedule immediate training and certification courses to get their employees up to speed. While staff may balk at the notion, it is important to note no individual will place their trust in an unqualified professional. Just as individuals will not hire lawyers without a valid license to practice, they will not want to work with a business that employs uncertified cyber security specialists. Even if employees do not work in cyber security, it benefits a business to ensure they have all certifications relevant to their position.

Cybersecurity Insurance

Reducing the human error factor goes a long way toward eliminating cyber risks. However, with ever-increasing security technology comes bigger cyber threats and attacks. It is not always possible to prevent a breach from happening despite a business’ best efforts. That is why investing in cyber liability insurance is crucial. In the event that proactive cyber security measures fail, insurance can pick up the slack and save a business from financial ruin. The Reilly Group is committed to helping businesses assess their cyber risk and determine which policy best suits their needs. To discuss your cyber risk and coverage options, contact us today.

Reducing Construction Risk with Personal Protective Equipment

Construction sites come with numerous risks that can cause lasting or permanent injuries. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can help avoid this, but it only works if construction workers wear it. Some of the top pieces of PPE are hard hats, fall protection, and eye protection. Without wearing PPE, construction workers may find themselves out of a job and employers may find themselves drowning in worker’s compensation claims. Below are some examples that illustrate why PPE is so vital.

Hard Hats

Blows to the head are not uncommon on construction sites. While workers should take precautions to minimize the frequency, accidents can happen. For example, welding metal plates require heavy-duty equipment and extreme pressure. If a temporary weld fails, the plates can go flying. If the plate strikes a worker in the head while not wearing a hard hat, he or she may suffer from brain damage or worse. Injuries can still occur while wearing hard hats, but this piece of PPE offers a significant degree of protection.

Fall Protection

Construction companies work hard to reduce the risk of fall hazards, but PPE provides backup should a fall occur. For instance, if scaffolding fails, safety harnesses can prevent workers from plummeting to the ground. If a worker falls six feet before his or her harness stops him, he or she is likely to walk away from the incident unharmed. However, if that worker neglected to wear his or her harness and fell upwards of 50 feet, that individual would have serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.

Eye Protection

There are several common sources of eye injuries on construction sites. These include:

  • UFOs: While many associate unidentified flying objects with science fiction, UFOs on construction sites are most often dust and microscopic particles wafting in the air. If a worker notices dusty conditions, he or she should don eye protection.
  • Invisible threats: Welding arcs and laser beams can cause lasting eye injuries. Workers should take pains not to look directly at these ocular risks and wear the appropriate eye protection while working with them.
  • Fast moving objects: Construction works use tools and equipment that cause flying debris. Chipping, sawing, and several other tasks can cause particles to fly at astonishing speeds. Depending on the task, individuals may need protection for their entire face.
  • Liquids: Construction workers use several substances that are caustic to the eyes on a day-to-day basis (i.e. tar, paint, cleaning products for equipment). Investing in the appropriate eye protection can save a worker’s sight should the liquid splash up into his or her face.

Wearing eye protection may be uncomfortable, but wearing a glass eye is much likely more so. This is the risk construction workers run when not wearing eye protection. Depending on the job, workers may need goggles, safety glasses, or a full-face shield. Construction workers should take the time to select the appropriate eye protection that suits theira task.

Construction companies should take pains to ensure their workers are wearing the proper PPE for the jobs they are performing. Failure to do so can result in a reduced work force, safety citations, and worker’s compensation claims. The Reilly Company can help construction companies reduce their risk through proper safety planning and insurance policies. To learn more, contact us today.

Reducing Risk Exposure to Employment Practices Liability Suits

Employers can invest in employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) to ensure they have adequate coverage in the event of a claim relating to discrimination, wrongful termination, failure to promote, harassment, and more. Most large businesses have adequate EPLI coverage, but small businesses and startups may be vulnerable to discrimination claims. Thankfully, there are several ways businesses can reduce their employment practices liability risk.

Top 5 Tips to Address Employment Practices Liability Risk

  1. When posting job opportunities, include clear descriptions defining duties and expectations. Be sure applications do not include any potential discrimination triggers such as asking what year the applicant graduated from college. This can result in age-related discrimination lawsuits.
  2. Conduct background checks and screen applicants to weed out unsuitable candidates before interviewing them in person. EPLI risk starts from the moment an employer interviews a job candidate. If a business opts not to hire someone they interviewed, that individual can claim discrimination.
  3. Write an employee handbook providing clear policies and procedures for attendance, discipline, and termination. The handbook should also include an equal employment opportunity statement.
  4. Perform in depth performance evaluations for all employees and keep detailed records of the results. This can provide protection if an employee alleges wrongful termination.
  5. Discuss your risk and EPLI coverage needs with an insurance agent.

A number of factors affect how much EPLI coverage a business needs: how many individuals the business employs, any previous discrimination lawsuits, employee turnover rates, and more. The Reilly Company can help your business determine your risk level and how much EPLI coverage you need. To learn more, contact us today.