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Construction Insurance Bulletin
Safety Tips For Your Construction Site Landscaping Specialists
Landscaping specialists play an important role in many construction sites. This profession can be dangerous, though. If you employ landscaping specialists, ensure they follow these safety tips.
Working near roadways and heavy equipment like backhoes is dangerous. While everyone on the job site should be aware of their surroundings, landscapers also benefit from wearing reflective clothing. They can wear highly visible colors, too, that allow them to stand out rather than blend in to the surrounding dirt and plants.
Dress for Safety
No matter how big or small the job, landscapers should wear safety gear. It protects landscapers from hazards like thorns, rocks, uneven terrain, and weather.
Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt that fit snugly.
Thick socks and sturdy work boots.
Gloves and a hard hat.
Protective eye and ear wear.
No loose clothing or jewelry.
Additionally, if landscapers will lift rocks, rake stones or perform other repetitive tasks, they should take frequent breaks and wear back and wrist braces if needed.
Dull tools require extra force and make tasks take longer. Sharpen tools to ensure they work properly, and you can get the job done faster and prevent repetitive-stress injuries.
Know the Machines
Landscapers may use a variety of machines, including mowers, augers, tillers, and blowers. Every person who operates one of these machines should first read the safety manual and then know how to operate the machine properly. Ensure operators hold the proper certification to operate each machine legally, too.
Stay away from Moving Parts
Moving machine blades and power tools can cause serious damage. Workers should stay far away from any moving parts and maintain a safe distance until the object comes to a complete stop.
Complete Repairs Carefully
When a mower jams or a power tool malfunctions, landscapers should use caution as they make repairs. First, they should turn off the power supply, then ensure the moving parts have stopped completely. Only then can they finish the repair safely.
Use Chemicals with Caution
If landscapers use chemicals on plants, they should know how to store, use and dispose of those materials properly. Never allow an inexperienced landscaper to work with hazardous and flammable chemicals.
Call Utility Companies Before Digging
Reduce the risk of electrocution, expensive repairs and other hazards when you notify utility companies before digging. This tip helps landscapers avoid puncturing gas, electric or other underground utility lines.
Despite these safety precautions, the landscapers you hire may suffer an injury or damage property. Purchase adequate construction insurance.
As you work on construction sites, you want to protect your landscape specialists. Implement these tips, and ensure your landscaping specialists follow them, too.
Scurich Insurance Services
Drug Testing Policy Details For Your Construction Independent Contractors
The construction industry relies on independent contractors who perform specialized services like plumbing, painting and drywall installation.
To prioritize safety on the job site and ensure quality work, consider implementing a drug testing policy for the independent contractors you hire.
Benefits of Drug Testing
Regular drug testing promotes safety on the job site. Additionally, it improves productivity and quality of work, lowers absenteeism and boosts morale.
Your company also builds your reputation when you implement drug testing for your independent contractors. In certain cases, you can lose contracts and be blacklisted from jobs if your independent contractors work while they’re visibly high or otherwise produce shoddy work because of drug use. Protect your business and reputation when you implement a drug testing policy.
Prepare a Contract
When you work with an independent contractor, you both typically sign a contract that outlines the exact project, timeline and pay rate. Include your drug testing policy in this contract.
Consult your specific state’s laws regarding drug testing as you prepare the contract. Check with your construction insurance agent for details on any drug testing protocols they require, too.
Typically, you may perform a drug test on every new independent contractor and after an accident when you suspect drug use was involved. You may also choose to perform random drug testing if you have reasonable suspicion of drug use, which includes:
Direct observation of drug use or associated symptoms such as uncoordinated movements, slurred speech or erratic behavior.
Reports from reliable sources that the independent contractor is using drugs.
Evidence of tampering with drug test results.
The independent contractors who apply to work for you must agree to your drug testing policy. You are then responsible to enforce it equally for all employees.
Select a Drug Testing Company
Most drug testing occurs in an independent third-party facility that’s certified by the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). You will schedule the appointment, and the independent contractor is responsible to drive to the facility where he or she will provide a urine sample. You receive test results in several hours or several days depending on the facility and results.
Address the Test Results
If the independent contractor tests positive for drugs or refuses to take the test, you must perform disciplinary action, which can include dismissal. Exceptions include a positive test for prescribed medications that the employee reported and takes responsibly. Outline your dismissal procedure in the employment contract to reduce surprises and liability for improper discipline.
As a construction professional, you must maintain safety and quality on the job site. Drug testing can help, so create a specific drug testing policy for your independent contractors.
Scurich Insurance Services
What You Need To Know About The 2018 Construction Risk Conference
The International Risk Management Institute’s
Construction Risk Conference
(CRC), held from November 4-7, 2018, in Houston, Texas, is designed for construction professionals like you. If you decide to invest in your business and attend this conference, here’s what you need to know.
What is the CRC?
Held annually, the CRC brings together a variety of experts who share up-to-date information about construction industry risks, insurance trends, and strategies and tactics you can take to avoid risks. This year’s sessions include:
Kathy Antonello, Chief Actuary at the National Council on Compensation Insurance, will discuss “Workers Compensation Trends and Challenges in Construction.” You’ll learn about trends, challenges and ways to manage your Workers' Compensation program.
The View from My Seat offers tools you can use to manage new technologies, labor shortages, law and regulation changes, and other evolving construction risks.
Jim “The Rookie” Morris shares his inspirational and motivational story.
Breakout Sessions and Snap Talks dive into topics like contracts, design liability, construction delays, and your supply chain.
Who Attends CRC?
The CRC is designed for a variety of people who work in the construction industry. It’s important for:
Project owners and managers.
Insurance agents, brokers, underwriters, and adjusters.
Consultants and service providers.
Why should you Attend CRC?
Consider attending the CRC to gain five benefits.
Gain knowledge about emerging risks, trends and solutions. As you understand new threats in your industry and to your business, you’ll also learn how to manage these challenges in ways that protect your company.
Position yourself as an expert. Attending a conference will enhance your knowledge and understanding. Use the information you gain to improve your business offerings and reputation as an expert.
Expand your network. Meet and collaborate with other construction professionals as you strengthen valuable relationships and share advice and support.
Identify your insurance needs. After learning more about your risks, you can identify and purchase the right insurance coverage for your business.
Rejuvenate your mind and body. While you’ll listen to experts and network with peers, you also have time to rest and relax, which allows you to return to work mentally and physically refreshed.
How do you Register?
Registration is open until November 7. However, you can take advantage of the Standard rate and save $400 when you register before October 12. Save even more with the discounted rate that’s available to project owners and contractors. Also, remember the IRMI Conference Guarantee. You can request a registration fee refund if you don’t get your money’s worth from the CRC.
Invest in yourself and your construction business when you attend the 2018 IRMI Construction Risk Conference. It’s good for business.
Scurich Insurance Services
7 Tips for Hiring Reliable Construction Independent Contractors
Your construction business depends on independent contractors who may perform a variety of tasks, including demolition, installation or painting. Because your business depends on quality work performed in a timely manner, use seven tips to ensure you hire reliable independent contractors.
1. Preview previous work.
Check out jobs the independent contractor has already completed. Do they match the scope of your project and meet your quality standards? If so, you can assume the independent contractor will successfully complete your job, too.
2. Do a background check.
Your reputation, business and future career could depend on the work your independent contractors perform, and you could be liable for their actions on the job site. For these reasons, perform background checks and assess the independent contractor's work history and any recent criminal charges.
3. Check insurance paperwork.
As you must carry contractors insurance for your business, independent contractors must also carry insurance. Inspect their paperwork to ensure they're adequately insured for construction site hazards.
4. Complete a W-9.
Independent contractors are not employees, and according to IRS rules, they must complete a W-9. This form includes their name, address and Social Security number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN) and indicates that they are exempt from tax withholding. Reliable independent contractors will readily agree to sign a W-9.
5. Discuss Form 1099-MISC.
The IRS mandates that you must file Form 1099-MISC for all independent contractors who make $600 or more per year. If the independent won't give you a current address or asks you not to send this form, that's a red flag that could indicate they are not operating their business according to federal laws, and you should find a different contractor.
6. Sign a contract.
A contract is an agreement between you and the independent contractors you hire. It contains details about the project such as the timeline for deliverables, payment schedule and work expectations. It also includes a statement about the independent contractor's status, a nonsolicitation clause and a right to terminate the contract for term violations. Because a contract protects you and the independent contractors you hire, only work with contractors who will sign a unique contract for every project.
7. Pay via invoice only.
Independent contractors will submit invoices to you when the job is finished. Only pay those invoices, not other expenses that are the independent contractor's responsibility. At the end of the year, make sure the invoices you've paid coordinate with Form 1099-MISC.
Hire reliable independent contractors for your construction business when you use these seven tips. For more assistance, talk to your insurance agent or business consultant.
Scurich Insurance Services
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