Workman’s Comp– Are you doing all you can to reduce your liability?

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  I visited a building site the other day and talked with the foreman.  The work crew was installing and taping drywall on the interior of the building.  As I watched the crew use a new machine that easily mudded and taped the drywall, I noticed that several of the workers were wearing jewelery, specifically wedding rings.
  After having 30 years of Air Force safety training, rings and jewelery were items that were forbidden in or near electrical equipment or any type of mechanical devices.
  As I was talking to the construction foreman, I asked him about the rules on wearing jewelery at the construction site.  Interestingly, he told me that at the last place he worked, rings and watches were forbidden to be worn on any job site.  However, he told me that he was now working for himself and did not have such a rule.
   My curiosity was piqued by this statement.  The foreman did tell me that he had hooked his wedding ring several times on scaffolding and when working near construction equipment.  I asked why he continued to wear his ring– he told me he just “forgets” to take it off when he is on the job site.
   Workplace and job site safety is one of the paramount concerns that we have as business consultants when we work with clients who have any type of risk exposure in the work place.  As the business owner, do you have a written safety manual?  Do you have daily, weekly and monthly safety meetings?  Is safety talked about each and every day, before and after task accomplishment?  If the answer is NO, then perhaps you may wish to rethink how you run your organization.  For the most part, safety is common sense.  Taking short cuts, using the wrong tool to accomplish a job, forgetting to use gloves, safety aprons, safety goggles, hard toe boots are just reasons for stupidity!  Indeed, safety is job 1.
   Whenever I am in an industrial environment, there are several items that I search for immediately.  Safety gear and proper safety appliances is the first item I always look to find.  I like to inspect the fire extinguishers and eye wash machines to see if they are current and up to date.  If I find that either have an expired inspection date, then I know that there are going to be other items that I will also find.  What this tells me is that the foreman, manager, superintendent, owner, has failed to pay attention to detail.  Attention to detail is the key to safety compliance.
   There is no reason to allow any of your workers to NOT FOLLOW proper safety procedures.  There is no reason not to have all of the proper safety equipment, i.e., gloves, eye goggles, eye wash machines, guards, shields, noise and hearing protection available and required for use by all employees.  The small cost of these appliances is inconsequential when compared to a serious injury or workman’s compensation claim.
   Do not allow your workman’s compensation rates to rise foolishly.  Take the proper action today to buy and require employees to use all of the proper safety equipment necessary for a safe job.  Safety is job 1 and it begins with you, the owner of the business.

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