Working in the Property & Casualty Insurance industry, I am happy to see the fight against Workers’ Comp Fraud. There are way too many people taking advantage of the Workers Compensation Insurance system in California, particularly Southern California. Honest business owners are stuck paying the high costs which is very much driven by those taking advantage of the system. I see it weekly with the claims coming across my desk. From the individual “claimants” to the attorneys and physicians, I hope you get caught.
Answer: Yes, you can be fined for not carrying workers’ compensation insurance and more. If the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (state labor commissioner) determines an employer is operating without workers’ compensation coverage, a stop order will be issued. This order prohibits the use of employee labor until coverage is obtained, and failure to observe it is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to 60 days, or by a fine of up to $10,000, or both. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement will also assess a penalty the greater of (1) twice the amount the employer would have paid in workers’ compensation premiums during the period the employer was uninsured, determined according to subdivision (c), or (2) the sum of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) per employee employed during the period the employer was uninsured. [Labor Code section 3722(b)].
Additionally, if an injured worker files a workers’ compensation claim that goes before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and a judge finds the employer had not secured insurance as required by law, when the dispute is resolved the uninsured employer may be assessed a penalty of $10,000 per employee on the payroll at the time of injury if the worker’s case was found to be compensable, or $2,000 per employee on the payroll at the time of injury if the worker’s case was non-compensable, up to a maximum of $100,000. [Labor Code Section 3722(d) and (f).]
Finally, as noted in answer to a previous question, failure to secure workers’ compensation insurance is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by both that imprisonment and fine. (Labor Code Section 3700.5)
If you need help with quotes for workers’ compensation insurance for your business, contact me today. We can market this with numerous carriers to find the best coverage and price.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants to assist small- and medium-sized businesses with their compliance and safety initiatives through their On-Site Consultation Service. This program offers confidential advice in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard work-sites. Consultation services are totally separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.
Using a free consultation service largely funded by OSHA, employers can find out about potential hazards at their work-sites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the work-site are also available. This safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort presently in place. No citations are issued or penalties proposed during the consultation appointment.
Your name, your firm’s name and any information that you provide about your workplace, plus any unsafe or unhealthful working conditions that the consultant uncovers, will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff. Your only obligation will be to commit the organization to correcting serious job safety and health hazards; a commitment which you are expected to make prior to the actual visit, and carry out in a timely manner.
Since consultation is a voluntary activity, your organization must contact OSHA to request it. The consultant will discuss your specific needs with you and set up a visit date based on the priority assigned to your request, your work schedule and the time needed for the consultant to adequately prepare to serve you. OSHA encourages a complete review of your firm’s safety and health situation; however, you may limit the visit to one or more specific problems.
For more information on the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program, visit HERE
Benefits of On-Site Consultation
Knowledge of your workplace hazards and ways to eliminate them can only improve your own operations and the management of your firm. Your organization will get professional advice and assistance on the correction of workplace hazards and benefit from on-site training and assistance provided by the consultant to you and your employees. The consultant can help you establish or strengthen an employee safety and health program, making safety and health activities routine considerations rather than crisis-oriented responses. This program provides incentives and support to smaller, high-hazard employers to develop, implement and continuously improve effective safety and health programs at their worksite(s). The program recognizes employers who have demonstrated exemplary achievements in workplace safety and health by receiving a comprehensive safety and health consultation visit, correcting all workplace safety and health hazards, adopting and implementing effective safety and health management systems and agreeing to request further consultative visits if major changes in working conditions or processes occur that may introduce new hazards.
California Senate Bill 198 requires all employers to establish, implement and maintain a written effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program. This program must include the following elements:
- Identify a person or persons with authority and responsibility for implementing the program.
- A system for ensuring that employees comply with safe and healthy work practices, including recognition of employees who follow safe and healthful practices, training and retraining, and disciplinary actions for unsafe actions.
- A system for communicating with employees on matters relating to occupational safety and health. It should include provisions for meetings, training programs, posting written communications, anonymous notification about hazards without reprisal, and labor/management safety and health committees.
- Procedures for identifying and evaluating workplace hazards, including scheduled periodic inspections to identify unsafe conditions and work practices and a system to correct them.
- Procedures for conducting accident investigations.
- Maintenance of records of safety inspections and safety and health training for each employee. These records must be kept for a minimum of one year.
An Injury and Illness Prevention Program development guideline is available from Cal OSHA which provides more detailed information on the elements of the IIPP which are required (See Links ):
If this feels way too overwhelming for you, let me know. Give me a call or send me an email and I can work with you on developing an Injury and Illness Prevention Program for your business.
A safe work environment does not happen by accident. A company’s management team must be fully engaged in creating, planning, implementing, communicating and making sure safety programs work and are designed to fit the business. Most importantly, employees have to understand their role in making their workplace safer.
Your company’s safety program should incorporate the following 8 key components:
- Demonstrate management involvement – Management must lead by example. A visible demonstration that you embrace a safety culture is imperative to its success. Provide the essential time, budget and resources to create and support a safety program.
- Communicate your safety plan clearly – Your safety plan must be published and available to all employees. Reminders and updates should be timely and effective. Allow employees to contribute their suggestions to making the workplace safer.
- Get everyone involved – A safety program is likely to be more effective when employees at all levels are involved. Standardized policies should outline responsibilities and accountability for all employees. Safety goals can become part of job descriptions and employee reviews. Safety committees can help ensure that safety practices are understood and reinforced throughout the company. Positive reinforcement of safe behaviors can be an effective way to help build the desired culture.
- Train your employees to work safely – Safety training should begin from the moment an employee is hired. Ongoing training is also essential to creating a safety culture.
- Review, revise, improve – A safety program should be dynamic, especially since most business environments continue to evolve. An effective safety program should be flexible enough to adjust to changes. Regularly review, evaluate and identify risks that could affect safety, and make the changes necessary to keep your workplace safe.
- Create safety standards – Each department should set safety standards through a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) to make sure every task is done correctly and safely. Recognize good safety performance, and cite and correct unsafe practices.
- Investigate every incident and accident thoroughly – Properly trained staff with experience in investigation, analysis and evidence collection should conduct an accident analysis as soon as possible after an incident. Report the claim within 24 hours to help ensure prompt response and injury management.
- Manage every injury – Even with the best safety program, an employee injury can still occur. Planning helps you to react immediately when an employee is injured on the job. Learn about five strategies that can help you put employees on the road back to productivity.
Initiating a comprehensive program can seem daunting, but I can help businesses like yours take the necessary steps to begin creating a safety culture. Insurance is only one piece of the puzzle. Effective risk management and loss prevention efforts go a long way to keeping insurance premiums down and other costs of doing business.
Source: Travelers Insurance
Slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries, according to the National Safety Council. Common areas for falls to occur are in doorways, ramps, cluttered hallways, unstable work surfaces, ladders and stairs. But how does this impact insurance? From National Underwriter P&C’s January issue, take a stats-eye view of these slippery expenditures:
Data recently collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance shows that 65% of workers’ compensation costs can be traced to five common workplace injury types. By knowing the top five Workers’ Compensation injury types, employers can target those injuries and take action to prevent them.
According to the data, the following are the top five injury types:
- Overexertion injuries which are caused by pushing, pulling, carrying, holding or throwing.
- Falls on the same level that may happen for a variety of reasons, such as a wet floor or a tripping hazard.
- Being struck by equipment or an object, or even a vehicle. These injuries are common in the construction industry.
- Falls to a lower level, which can be prevented by using proper fall protection, ladder safety or scaffolding.
- Other exertions or bodily reactions, which can cause strains and sprains.
A safe workplace and injury prevention are vital to keeping your workers’ compensation costs down. If your company has an increased number of claims compared to previous years, this can directly affect your experience modification factor (also known as your mod factor) and increase your workers’ compensation premium. On the other hand, decreasing your number of claims can lower your mod factor and your premium.
For more information on workplace safety, including implementing or updating a safety program in your workplace, contact me at (310) 373-6441. We have the tools to help you take control of your workers’ compensation costs.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently unveiled its top 10 most frequently cited violations at the annual National Safety Council Congress and Expo. The agency reports the leading causes of workplace injuries during its fiscal year (October through September).
The 2014 top 10 list of most frequently cited standards did not change significantly from 2013, with fall protection violations remaining at the top of the list. In fact, the top four most cited violations remained the same. The 2014 top 10 most frequently cited standards are as follows:
- Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
- Lockout/Tag out (29 CFR 1910.147)
- Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Electrical – Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305)
- Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)
- Electrical – General Requirements (29 CFR1910.303)
This is kind of the abbreviated version. If you’re interested in seeing the definitions/explanations of these violations, you can contact me direct and I’ll send.
Travelers Insurance Company has joined the ranks of other major carriers such as The Hartford in writing coverage for technology companies. Travelers Global Technology President Ronda Wescott and Chief Underwriting Officer Mike Thoma provide their perspective:
If you have a Life Science or Software and Information Technology Company and would like a review of your current insurance portfolio, feel free to contact me anytime. I can help market your coverage’s with all the major carriers specializing in this sector.
Some of the most common insurance coverage’s important to the Life Science or Software and Information Technology industry are:
- Commercial General Liability
- Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)
- Workers’ Compensation
- Commercial Automobile
- Commercial Umbrella/ Excess Liability
- Cyber Liability & First Party Data Privacy Expense
- Directors and Officers Liability (D&O)
- Employment Practices Liability
- Fiduciary Liability
- Kidnap and Ransom
- Group Medical Insurance
- Group Life and Disability