Ask the Expert

OSHA Offers Grant Programs to Nonprofits

Author, Sam Brown, Vice President, Human Services Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Nonprofit leaders who want to make workplace safety training more accessible may be surprised to learn about a unique grant program through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Since 1978, OSHA has offered grants to nonprofit organizations for safety training. Specifically, grants are awarded on a competitive basis to provide employees with training on the recognition and prevention of safety/health hazards in the workplace. The intent of the program is to reach audiences who might not otherwise receive safety training.

Surety Bonds: What Are They, What Do They Do, and Why Am I Required to Get Them?

Author, Andy Roberts, Account Executive, Surety Division, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

When we have clients that are required to bond for the first time, often their first questions are what is a surety bond, how do they work, and why am I being required to provide one.  

In its basic form, a surety bond is a three party agreement between the contractor, called the principal, the project owner, called the obligee, and the surety company. The surety company provides a financial guarantee to the obligee that the principal is both qualified and capable of performing the contracted job.

Home Care Dishonesty Bonds and Client Property Theft Coverage Are Not Created Equal

A common misconception in the home care industry is assuming a Home Care Dishonesty Bond is the same as having coverage for theft of client property. Many business owners don’t realize that Home Care Dishonesty Bonds, following the payment of a claim, will seek reimbursement from the business owner. That means the business owner is ultimately going to pay the claim if they don’t have an insurance policy to cover this type of act.

CAL/OSHA Emergency Rule Adopted for Wildfire Smoke

Author, Drew Garcia, Vice President, Landscape Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.
Author, Steve Hamilton, Loss Control Supervisor, Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies.

On Thursday, July 17 2019, the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board voted to adopt an emergency standard requiring employers to take action when air quality particulate matter measures greater than 150 and when there is reasonable expectation that employees will come in to contact with wildfire smoke. 

Steps to Understanding and Managing Subrogation

Author, Daniel Frazee, Executive Vice President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.
Author,
Jim Malone, Workers’ Compensation Claims Advocate, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Subrogation crosses into many areas of the insurance world including workers compensation, general liability, property, and auto. As an employer, developing an effective Incident Investigation Plan is a key first step to managing the potential impacts of subrogation on your organization. 

RM365 Safety Star Program May Lower Risk of Receiving OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Violation

Author, Kevin Howard, CRIS, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Rancho Mesa Insurance Services’ RM365 Advantage Safety Star Program™ checks several boxes for contractors who are looking to improve their safety culture and lower risk. The program provides safety training designed to reduce an organization’s probability of work-related injuries; thus, minimizing the likelihood of an OSHA citation when used in conjunction with the Risk Management Center tools.

Top 5 Free Safety Apps for Landscape Contractors

Author, Drew Garcia, Vice President, Landscape Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Mobile devices have become an invaluable tool for many people, on the job. They provide access to contacts, email and applications (i.e., apps) that can make work a lot simpler and safer for landscapers. We researched the top apps that boost worker safety. In no particular order, here are the top 5 free safety applications for the landscape industry.

Fleet Management: Driver Behavior Counts

Author, Sam Clayton, Vice President, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

When you give the car keys to your teenager for the first time, you wish you were sitting in the back seat controlling how they drive. Unfortunately, you have very limited control and the consequences of poor driving can be disastrous. It’s time to think of your employee drivers in a similar manner; these principles apply to your company’s fleet management program.

Time To Renew Your Bond Line of Credit

Author, Matt Gaynor, Director of Surety, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

The majority of Rancho Mesa’s contractor clients have a fiscal year, end of December 31, for their company financial statements. During March, April, and May we collect a variety of financial information from our contractors to update the bonding company. The underwriting items we request include the 12/31 CPA financial statement, along with the work in progress and closed contract schedules. We also request an updated bank letter, account receivable/account payable schedules, and a personal financial statement from the owner.

Promoting Safe Behaviors in the Workplace

Author, Jeremy Hoolihan, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Safety awareness is one of the most important factors in reducing workplace injuries. There are approximately three million workplace injuries, every year. This amounts to roughly 8,000 injuries per day, 350 per hour, or 6 injuries per minute. Many of these injuries are preventable. Unsafe behaviors or decisions are usually the most common contributing factors. If employees are unaware of hazards or not motivated to follow safety protocol, their behavior will expose them even more.

Protecting Employees from Third Party Harassment

Author, Chase Hixson, Account Executive, Human Services Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

The recent changes to California’s Anti-Harassment Training Requirements have prompted employers to take a closer look at their internal operations and how they can eliminate harassment from the workplace. A question that is frequently asked is “What happens if the harassment comes from someone other than one of my employees?” This is known as Third Party Harassment.

What is the General Indemnity Agreement & Who Has to Sign It?

Author, Andy Roberts, Account Executive, Surety, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Most questions that we receive from contractors new to the industry or new to bonded work usually center around what is a General Indemnity Agreement (GIA) and why do they (ownership) and spouse(s) have to sign personally.

Understanding Your Claims: What Do You Have To Lose?

Author, Daniel Frazee, Executive Vice President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Claims happen. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all types of parties, and can cost your company in many different ways. An important aspect of managing the costs of risk start with gaining a clear understanding of your claims. Our clients are always looking to improve their bottom line. This article focuses on just one piece of the pie chart; workers compensation claims. Understanding the nuances of these cases can create measurable plans in the future to reduce frequency and severity of claims and ultimately lower your costs.

Stay Off OSHA's Radar with an Effective Ladder Safety Program

Author, Casey Craig, Account Executive, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Year after year OSHA publishes the “Top 10 Most Cited Violations” and it always seems to include violations dealing with falls. Fall protection, scaffolding, ladders, and fall protection (training requirements) all made this list and all of them have been on this list perennially for over a decade. How can a company that is using ladders keep from becoming just another name on the list of violators? How can you ensure that your employees are using provided equipment properly?

Pollution Liability for Landscape Contractors

Author, Drew Garcia, Vice President, Landscape Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Most Landscape Contractors believe their exposure to pollution is limited to the herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers they apply. In order to provide some limited coverage for this it is common to see the Herbicide/Pesticide Endorsement added to the Commercial General Liability Policy. Although the endorsement extends some coverage, Contractor’s Pollution Liability would help fill the gaps created by the General Liability Policy for all of the landscape contractor’s pollution exposures. 

What Does the Employer Do After a Work Injury?

Author, Jim Malone, Workers’ Compensation Claims Advocate, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

A work related injury can be a very traumatic event for the injured worker, but also for their co-workers, employer, family and friends. Some injuries occur from a specific event when everybody knows the injury occurred. Other times, incidents occur during the work day, or repeatedly over time, where the employee needs to report these incidents, accidents or developing symptoms to his supervisor, manager, or human resource manager according to company protocol. 

What Do You Mean My Deductible Is Infinity?

Author, Kevin Howard, CRIS, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

In this unsettling time throughout various workforces, it makes good business sense to consider EPLI options with varied deductible ranges. Having that clarity brings comfort to many clients who have worked years to build their business, acquire assets, and improve their net worth. Exposing their business to what could very well be unlimited costs creates considerable risk moving forward.

4 Essential Tools For Managing Your Company's Risk

Author, Alyssa Burley, Client Services Coordinator, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Risk Management is the identification, analysis, assessment, control, and avoidance, minimization, or elimination of unacceptable risks. Companies manage their risk through what is known as an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). As a business owner, supervisor or manager, there are tools available to assist in risk management endeavors.

Group Captive Insurance 101

Author, Sam Clayton, Vice President, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

The property and casualty market over the last decade has been what we consider “soft.” Overall, insurance premiums have remained relatively flat, or in the case of workers’ compensation rates have decreased considerably. However, we are seeing significant pricing pressure in commercial auto. In the next few years we expect to see the same pressure in workers compensation. One alternative risk financing strategy that you may want to consider before the coming hard market is a member-owned group captive.

Painters Stretching Can Lead to Reduced Premiums

Author, Casey Craig, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Having played professional baseball for several years, I know the importance of stretching to prepare oneself for the day. My team would stretch when we got to the field, then again before batting practice, and once more before the game started. Most people reserve stretching for sporting events. They forget the importance of stretching before work - feeling they will “loosen up” as the day goes along. However, there are countless ways for employees to become injured and those medical bills can grow all too fast.