COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- According to the 2013 Better Life Index*, Americans now spend more time on the job than any other nation, which is why it's more important than ever to provide employees with a safe work environment. This is especially true for contractors as they have increased risk management and profitability issues due to safety concerns on construction sites.
Columbus, Ohio-based insurance company Grange Insurance provides a few tips for contractors to protect their employees and businesses and to eliminate downtime. More information can be found in the company's fourth and latest Insurance Made Simple video, "Contractor Loss Prevention."
1. Mitigate your risk for fire.
Fire has the power to destroy an entire enterprise in minutes, but many work-related fires are preventable through simple housekeeping practices. Risks decrease immediately by laying oil- or solvent-soaked rags out in the open to dry, or by storing them in an air-tight, fire-resistant container until they can be safely disposed. Bagging these rags, which is often common practice, causes them to produce flammable vapors that evaporate and build up quickly, increasing the potential for a worksite fire. It's also important to put out cigarettes and cigars in a safe place while on the job site.
"Because there are many potential causes for fires in the workplace, it's critical for all employees to be properly trained on how to use a fire extinguisher, as it's a skill that cannot only prevent serious property damage, but also save lives," said Michael Croy, risk control manager, Grange Insurance. "Consult with your independent agent to help you identify a third-party company who will come and test your fire extinguishers periodically, as well as assist in developing customized emergency plans, should a fire occur."
2. Protect your equipment.
A contractor's greatest asset is often his or her equipment, so if this equipment is stolen or misplaced, it can often mean downtime and money lost. To help avoid this, at times financially crippling situation, Grange recommends contractors take special precautions to lock down equipment and vehicles whenever they are not in use. "Thieves love to target contractors, and as a result, they're always on the lookout for unlocked vehicles, tool collections and other building materials like copper, which they can resell for a profit," Croy said.
3. Sign a contract.
Before starting any new job, it's important to outline what is and isn't included in the project estimate within a legal document. The document should be signed by the contractor and the customer, and should include all necessary agreements to protect you and your company if a claim or lawsuit is filed against you. Consult an attorney for comprehensive legal advice in your state.
4. Keep your work site clean.
Debris, openings in floors and lack of guardrails are just some of the common hazards present on the job site. Encourage all employees to keep areas clean and free of clutter to help avoid any unnecessary injuries or accidents.
"First, take the time to walk through your facility and make notes on any potential areas of concern, then plan to address them immediately," Croy said. "After you've completed and reviewed your job site, it's still important to do walk-throughs on a regular basis to see if any new (or recurring) issues are identified."
5. Partner with your independent agent.
Agents can help to identify potential areas of concern and work with customers to address these areas before they pose a risk to the business or its employees. "Our network of independent agents works hard to collaborate and consult with customers to best understand their insurance needs, so if you ever have any doubts about a commercial job, check with your agent partner," said Grange Chief Property & Casualty Officer John Ammendola. "He or she will make sure you're properly covered for the work you're doing, protecting you, your employees and your business for many years to come."
For more information on contractor loss prevention, view Grange's latest video from its Insurance Made Simple video series at https://www.grangeinsurance.com/insurancemadesimple?linkid=newsrelease.aspx, or call your independent agent today.
Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and more than $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider founded in 1935 and based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life and business insurance protection. The company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.grangeinsurance.com.
Contact: Lynn Mizer, Communications Manager, 614-449-3673
*Compiled by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
To view this video on YouTube, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGK55YEkTw8&list=PLsZ8PIvEPZkQQp06-_HBgYDPGO-wiKLM3
Media Contact: Lynn Mizer, Grange Insurance, 614-449-3673, MizerL@Grangeinsurance.com
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SOURCE Grange Insurance