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Workers Compensation for Wineries

Bookmark and Share Mad Men may have made alcohol in the workplace look normal, but most people tend to see a drink only at the end of the day. Each business comes with its own dangers, and winery owners need to take into account the specifics. For those who purchase workers' compensation for their winery, there are a number of circumstances to consider. Find out more about how to balance safety with your budget. 

Glamor and Hazards

Few things seem more glamorous than a winery, with sophisticated, well-dressed people sipping out of glasses and declaring what hints they taste, so it's easy to ignore the dangers within. For those working in the tasting rooms, the floor has to be dry so they don't slip, they need to use their spit buckets if they taste with the customers, and they need to cut people off when they've had enough. But the real hazards may be what surrounds them.

Wine Cellars and Barrels 

Barrels might be stored very high up, which in certain states (e.g., California) can be extremely dangerous. Earthquakes and forklift operator error may cause far more than liquids to be lost. So far, there is no regulation to change how high they're stacked either. Winery owners may not fully account for the risk they're taking when it comes to safety. When barrels collapse or fall, they pose deadly consequences. Until there's a mandate to change their configurations, it may be worth rethinking barrel stacking for worker safety. A winery's reputation is tied in with how well they treat their employees, so just one incident could mean a major debacle both in terms of direct costs (e.g., fines and raised insurance rates) and indirect costs (e.g., a loss of customer loyalty.)

Accidents Happen

No matter how safe your workplace is, it's never going to be immune from having an accident occur. Without the right coverage, you may be opening yourself up to a lawsuit from the employee or family who claims an extreme amount for either real or imagined damages. With the right safeguards in place though, like liability insurance and complete workers' compensation policies, you reduce your chances of being crushed by financial penalties. Choosing a carrier who will contain the fall-out is going to be as important as implementing safety laws in the workplace. 

Your Costs 

Costs are determined by your risk assessment and how much you pay your employees. You will get a classification based on how you operate, with each classification having its own base rate when it comes to workers' compensation. Enforcing safety laws is one of the best ways to bring your rates down, as is hiring the right employees and taking the right precautions.

Picking the Right Respirator

Bookmark and Share Choosing the right respirator relevant to the nature of the employment is critical to a worker’s safety. Exposure to different hazards means that not just any respirator will suffice.

Two main classes of respirators are available:

Air-Purifying Respirators (APR)
These respirators are designed to filter air borne contaminants such as fumes or noxious dust. Other forms of APR models use a canister or cartridge containing a material that absorbs the contaminants.

APRs are tight fitting to the face and have different designs. These designs include particulate respirators, powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), gas masks and chemical cartridge respirators. They come in four different designs, including:

Full face piece - Fully covers the face from underneath the chin to an area above the eyes. This feature provides added protection to the eyes, especially from chemical irritants.

Half-face mask - Gives protection from beneath the chin to and including the nostrils.

Quarter-mask - Protects the mouth and nose.

Mouth bit respirator - Normally used for escaping a hazardous situation only. Contains a bit which is inserted into the mouth and nose clip to seal the nostrils closed.
Supplied-air respirator (SAR)
These respirators provide breathable air via an air line or a compressed work tank. SARs come in two different types. The first has a loose fitting respiratory inlet, such as a helmet or a hood which envelopes both the neck and head, that is supplied purified air through airlines. This type may have face pieces which fit loosely.

The other form of SAR has either a half or full face piece and has very snug respiratory inlets.
Choosing the Most Suitable Respirator
Selecting the most suitable respirator must be performed by an expert, such as a safety professional. The expert will consider the appropriate apparatus only after they have identified and evaluated the potential respiratory hazard and considered the relative limitations of the respiratory apparatus for the situation.
Key Questions to Ask

Here are some factors an employer should consider when determining whether a respirator may be required:
Establish the existence of a hazard by considering warnings about the material, like its chemical components or the nature of the particulates that might be released through the work performed.

Determine whether there is limited oxygen present.

Is the hazard airborne such as a particulate, fume, or vapor?

Ask whether the respirator will be used for an emergency or in combating fires.

Evaluate whether the work is strenuous and will be performed in hazardous atmospheric circumstances.

Is there any agent present which might be possibly fatal, carcinogenic, skin absorbable or acts as an irritant?

Will the work be conducted in a confined space or will the worker be exposed to abnormal temperatures?
The key is that respirators should be used to suit the work. The proper choice of respirator is vital to the health and safety of workers in many types of employment.

What is the National Council of Compensation Insurance?

Bookmark and Share The National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is a group of people who hold the details that will lead to how insurance carriers set their rates. They're the ones who are collecting and analyzing the information, and of finding the most efficient and accurate ways to parse the numbers and risks. Find out more about what they do, so you're not taken by surprise when change makes its way to your business. 

Core Services 

NCCI is looking to get the word out when it comes to insurance, so they spread the information and provide tools for everyone to learn more about workers' compensation. They're constantly going over the trends in every industry to spot which sectors may need more education when it comes to providing safe facilities and duties. They assist in coming up with exact prices and rates that insurance companies and employers will use to prepare their insurance plans. NCCI provides data products to more than 900 different insurance companies across 40 different states. 

Who Uses These Services

This group is meant to advise and analyze both the market, the laws, the money, and the compliance levels of different regulations and mandates. The people who use this service the most are insurance companies, but independent bureaus, and self-insured organizations also rely heavily on the numbers and opinions of the organization. Risk managers, legislators, and workers compensation agencies will also utilize different tools available. General employers will check their own experience ratings with NCCI for signs that they need to change their workplace safety measures (a higher score will mean higher insurance rates.)

Who They Are

NCCI has over 900 employees who are working across different systems to get the information ready to make decisions. They're faced with a nearly endless string of data, so it's not small feat. They rely on regulators, coalitions, and trade associations as well as insurers to help them ensure that they're getting everything right. It will be someone from this group that a state or regulatory agency will listen to when it comes to raising or lowering costs, so their influence is widely felt in a variety of industries. While big data is still in its infancy in terms of exactly how to organize it all, they're constantly working on better ways to get to the heart of the problem. 

Workers compensation can feel like just a line item to business owners who already feel like they can't control their budgets, but it's much more than that. There's a lot of decisions made behind the scenes that determine what you pay and when you pay it. Understanding the climate of NCCI  can make it less of a mystery.

Understanding Insurance Company Ratings

Bookmark and Share It’s no longer enough to choose an insurance company simply because they offer what appears to be the best coverage or lowest rates. You also have to know the financial security of the company especially in these challenging economic times when even the largest companies might be teetering on the edge of insolvency.

Additionally, you want to know something about the company’s track record when it comes to paying claims and overall customer satisfaction. Not all insurance companies are the same and you should take a hard look at your prospective insurer before handing over a big premium check.

How can you find this information? Well, it’s easier than you think because there are several major companies that rate insurance companies. Each offers a detailed rating service and most of these services are free. The rating system for each of these rating companies is based on a letter grade system such as “AAA”, through “NR.” However, you should note that there are both subtle and significant differences in the letter grade system. A “C” rating might mean an average score for one rating company but might also suggest the insurance company is experiencing significant financial challenges with a different insurance rating company. Make sure you fully understand the rating system for each of the companies before jumping to an erroneous conclusion.

Some rating companies only rate the top 200 insurers, while others offer more comprehensive data. Here is a brief summary of the major companies which rate insurance companies.
A.M. Bestwww.ambest.com

This rating agency is the only one which specializes in banking and insurance companies, reinsurers and covers the total insurance market spectrum including international markets such as the U.K and Canada. Also offers a comprehensive article base and in depth commentary.

Fitch Inc.www.fitchratings.com

Provides a global rating service on insurance products through combining both local and international expertise on contemporary insurance issues and trends. Also offers a monthly newsletter dealing with specific insurance issues called “Insurance Insights.”

Moody’s Investor Serviceswww.moodys.com

You have to register to log in with this company before you can access their info. Covers title insurers, life, mortgage and property and casualty. Mainly focused on the financial health and outlook of insurance companies and overall realm of the financial market.

Standard & Poor’swww.standardpoors.com

Must be a subscriber. Offers international rating services on property and casualty, life, annuities, health, title, mortgage, bond and reinsurance. Rating services include link market solutions and both the derivative product and financial subsidiaries.