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What is General Contractors Professional Liability?

Bookmark and Share When you work as a general contractor, you may build homes from the ground up, perform repairs on a variety of buildings or renovate homes, buildings or offices. Your job fulfills you and improves the lives of others, but you do face risks. Protect your livelihood and assets with general contractors professional liability.

What Risks do General Contractors Face?

General contractors normally perform the building aspects of a project. Because you're responsible for construction, any structural failure could become your responsibility. You could potentially be liable for injuries and illnesses that result because of a mistake you or one of your sub-contractors commit.

However, keep in mind that your duties as a general contractor may extend beyond basic building. You may be responsible for:

  • Designing a project
  • Estimating project cost
  • Hiring sub-contractors
  • Supervising an entire build site
While rewarding, these additional responsibilities increase your risks and liability. An error in design, underestimated cost or mistake by one of your sub-contractors that causes bodily injury or property damage could result in a lawsuit that exceeds a million dollars. As the general contractor in charge, you would be liable for these costs.

General contractors professional liability protects your livelihood and assets if you are sued. Instead of losing your business, home and financial accounts, your liability insurance policy covers any damages. It allows you to pay for losses and stay in business.   

What Does General Contractors Professional Liability Cover?

Purchase general contractors professional liability and receive coverage for several important circumstances.

  • Design errors
  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Negligent acts
  • Contractual liability
  • Faulty workmanship
Additionally, your may purchase a general contractor professional liability policy with pollution and indemnity coverage. These important products protect you if pollution claims arise on the job site or if an engineer or architect is legally liable for problems with the project.

How Much General Contractors Professional Liability do you Need?

The right professional liability policy provides the protection you need, but you may not know how much coverage to buy for your business or a specific job. Talk to your insurance agent about your job responsibilities, potential risks and assets. These factors help your agent create a customized policy with adequate coverage limits.

You should also discuss the difference between a general contractor professional liability policy and an umbrella policy that's added to a regular liability policy. In most cases, the professional liability policy provides greater coverage and covers all your bases.

General contractors professional liability protects your livelihood and assets. It's important coverage, so make an appointment today to talk to your insurance agent, protect your business and gain peace of mind.

Electrical Safety Tips

Bookmark and Share A preventable electrical injury occurs in the workplace every 23 minutes. Here is a list of tips for keeping workers safe from shocks, burns, and electrocution on the job:

Develop a zero-tolerance policy toward energized work. Get serious about "no hot work." This includes conducting an electrical hazard analysis for energized work. Fine and discipline violators.

Get out in the field or plant and see what your workers are doing. (aka "management by walking around").

Develop checklists or other ways to track who is qualified to perform which tasks. Some businesses use job-task analyses to provide a blueprint of employees' activities.

Train your employees. To be qualified to perform any task, workers must know the construction, operation, and hazards associated with the equipment they're using. Make supervisors responsible for knowing what employees can – and can't – do safely.

Develop safe work practices and procedures. Practices such as energized electrical work permits, clearance procedures, and switching orders can help prevent accidents and can help document that the right steps were taken. These precautions become especially important in case of an accident.

Perform periodic safety audits. When workers know that they'll be subject to random audits, they'll try to maintain safe work procedures and practices. Remember: what gets measured, gets done.

Conduct job briefings any time the scope of the work changes significantly and when new or different hazards are present.

Be cautious about implementing safety awards programs, especially if they might discourage accident reporting.

Become familiar with industry standards. Examples include with NFPA 70E and the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations.

Document everything. If you don't have it in writing, you never did it. Show a good-faith effort; OSHA will notice – and compliance could save you big dollars and legal penalties.

What is Small Tradesman's Workers' Compensation?

Bookmark and Share As a small tradesman, you perform a variety of tasks on the job site or in a factory. You love your job and have invested time studying in a trade school or an apprenticeship. While you are a skilled professional, you must pay attention to your insurance needs, though, including Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation.

What is Small Tradesman's Workers' Compensation?

Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation ensures your medical and other needs are met if you're injured or become ill because of your job. It can cover injuries or illnesses caused by a specific event or from repetitive motions, overuse or exposure over time.

In general, Small Tradesman's Workers' Compensation pays for:

  1. Necessary medical treatment - pay for any generally acceptable medical care you need to treat your injury or illness, including doctor visits, lab tests, physical therapy, surgery, medication and medical equipment.

  2. Wage replacement - replace a portion of your wages as you recover.

  3. Disability - receive payment if your work-related injury or illness causes a total, partial, temporary or permanent disability.

  4. Death - survivors receive a death benefit if your work-related injury or illness is fatal.

  5. Rehabilitation - pay for therapy you need to regain employment-related skills or train for a new job.
Every state has different Workers' Compensation requirements, so familiarize yourself with the law before you start a job. Remember to check Small Tradesman's Workers' Compensation requirements for out-of-state jobs, too.

Who Qualifies for Small Tradesman's Workers' Compensation?

Several factors determine your eligibility for Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation. They can include your state's requirements, your company's size and the type of work you do.  Talk to your employer or insurance agent for details about your qualification for this valuable coverage.

How do you File a Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation Claim?

It's very important that you follow procedure when filing a Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation claim. Otherwise, your expenses may not be covered.

  • Immediately report the injury or illness to your employer.
  • File necessary paperwork that lists details about the injury or illness, including where and when it happened and what you were doing.
  • See the approved medical professionals who accept your Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation insurance.   
  • Follow all medical advice, including recommended lab testing or rest.
How do you Purchase Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation?

Every employer is responsible for purchasing Small Tradesman’s Workers' Compensation insurance. Ask your employer today if you're covered. It's easy to buy a policy from a licensed insurance agent who understands the insurance industry and the risks you face as a small tradesman. Your agent will help you follow your state laws and protect yourself.

Avoiding Struck-By Hazards

Bookmark and Share According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the second highest cause of death in the construction field is the worker being struck by an object. Most workers in the construction field are very aware of the struck-by hazards they face when doing roadwork. However, many construction workers might be surprised to know that statistics show most struck-by accidents occur on the construction site.

Heavy equipment is involved in around 75% of struck-by fatal injuries. Equipment operators that don't follow proper safety protocols not only put themselves at risk, they put workers on the ground at risk of being struck by swinging equipment, crushed under overturned vehicles, or getting pinned by equipment.

Struck-by injuries statistics prompted OSHA to establish the following procedures for equipment operators to follow in order to avoid creating hazards:
  1. All vehicles should be checked each shift to ensure that all accessories and parts are in a safe operating order.

  2. Unless a vehicle has a reverse alarm or the driver has a worker to signal them, vehicles with an obstructed rear view should never be driven in reverse.

  3. OSHA standard seat belts should be worn unless the equipment is stand-only or doesn't have a rollover protective structure.

  4. Operators of lifting and dumping devices should ensure that they and all other workers are clear of the area before lifting or dumping.

  5. Vehicles and equipment should only be operated on maintained and safely constructed grades and roadways.

  6. Parked vehicles and equipment should have the parking brake set. If parked on an incline, the wheels should also be chocked.

  7. If not in use, bulldozer and scraper blades, dump bodies, end-loader buckets, and other overhead equipment should be lowered or blocked, with the controls in a neutral position.

  8. All vehicles should have adequate safety devices, such as braking.
  9. There should be a cab shield/canopy on any vehicle loaded by a power shovel, loader, crane, and such.

  10. The load and lift capacity of a vehicle should never be exceeded.

  11. Any construction taking place near a public roadway should have traffic signs, flagging system, and barricades.

  12. Workers must wear warning clothing, such as orange or red vests, to ensure they're clearly visible. Warning clothing must be reflective if working at night.
Workers must also be mindful of overhead falling objects. This is a particular concern when working beneath scaffolding, cranes, or any area that overhead work is being done. There's also the danger of objects that potentially could be propelled through the air and strike a worker, such as a power tool or an activity involving something being pried, pulled, or pushed. The following list of OSHA guidelines can protect workers from falling and flying hazards:
  1. The first line of head protection is having a hardhat on.

  2. Workers in areas where tools or machines could produce flying particles should wear shields, safety goggles, or safety glasses.

  3. Materials should be stacked so that they don't collapse, slide, or fall.

  4. Scaffolding areas should feature toe boards, guardrails, screens, debris nets, canopies, or platforms to prevent or catch falling objects. Tools and materials should also be secured to prevent them from falling.

  5. Hazard areas should have warning signs and be barricaded.

  6. Protective guards on tools, such as lathes and saws, should be inspected for good working condition before use.

  7. Never use a power-actuated tool unless trained to do so.

  8. Try not to work in areas where underneath loads are being moved.

  9. The lift capacity of hoists and cranes shouldn't be exceeded.

  10. All components of a hoist and crane, such as wire, hooks, and chains, should be inspected for good working condition before use.