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Job Site Theft is All Too Common

We all want to think that we can trust our staff and that they would never behave in a dishonest or malicious manner. Unfortunately, in this day and age, theft is all too common on the job site. In fact, professional industry estimates are that over $1 billion in losses every year are due to theft. The numbers have been growing ever since the mid-1990s and show no signs of stopping. Here are some tips to prevent job site theft and how you can mitigate the damage when these incidents occur.

Damages from Theft

The most obvious damage from job site theft come from the immediate loss of equipment and materials. You may suddenly not have the tools you need to perform a job. You might lose out on important construction materials from copper pipe to drywall.

This direct loss then leads to secondary losses: you have to pay extra money to replace the lost materials, and you may run overtime or over budget on the job as a result. This doesn’t even consider the loss in man hours as your crew waits for the needed tools and materials.

Why Construction is Targeted

Construction sites are often targeted for construction for several reasons. They often have poor security due to the very chaotic nature of the industry. This extends to off hours — nights and weekends — where things are often just parked and left unattended.

Equipment and vehicles have easy-access open cabs. A single key can operate most, if not all, of the equipment on a site. Record keeping is also often poor, meaning it’s hard to track when something goes missing.

Perpetrators of theft from job sites can include those who aren’t even employees, who simply break into the site looking for a quick smash-and-grab. They can also include workers who are desperate and in need of money, or very often can include disgruntled workers who feel they are “owed” something, or who have recently been let go.

job site theft

Reducing Theft

There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of job site theft. When no one is working, keep the area well lit. Check up on things regularly and be sure your staff sees you doing it so they know you’re paying attention. Try to schedule supply delivery as you need it rather than stocking up right at the beginning of the job.

Maintain thorough records of all equipment, tools and materials and practice strong inventory management. Make sure that your perimeter is secured and locked down. Look into theft deterrents and recovery systems so that any equipment that is lifted can be tracked down.

Mitigating Damage

No matter how secure you are, there is always the risk that someone will find a loophole and engage in job site theft. In order to mitigate damage, you should always carry employee theft protection on your insurance policy. Standard insurance generally does not cover you against theft; specialized coverage is necessary.


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Helpful Tips to Improve Job Site Attitudes

How to Improve Job Site Attitudes

Attitude is everything when it comes to the job site. People love to throw around words like “teamwork” and “team building,” and often these terms are dismissed as platitudes and touchy-feely buzz terminology. The truth is, however, that acting as a team is vital to the functioning of a construction and contracting job. This is a dangerous business, and the better the attitudes of your workforce, the safer the job site becomes. Here’s a few ways you can improve job site attitudes and thus prevent costly accidents and injuries.

Benefits of Positive Attitudes

When you take steps to improve job site attitudes, you create a number of benefits that help to reduce liability and danger to your workers. Among these are a culture that operates faster and more efficiently. Fewer mistakes on the job site translates to less waste and higher quality work.

In addition, people will be more focused on their work, with fewer distractions, which will lead to a far reduced risk of accidents that can cause injury or property damage. Finally, weather and extenuating circumstances notwithstanding, projects will be far more likely to be completed on schedule.

improve job site attitudes

Attitude and New Hires

When people have a positive outlook about their job and work together like a well-oiled machine, new hires are welcomed into the community and have an easier time finding their place. Coworkers are more open and available if a new hire needs help or has questions, and this includes supervisors.


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Training

In order to keep the environment happy, new hires should be given thorough training about their role in the company and on any safety and security issues before stepping onto the job site. This should apply even if they are experienced. It shows that you care about your workers and want to keep everyone safe.

Hazing

Do not tolerate any form of harassment, initiation, embarrassment, or hazing at your business. Everyone has already gone through (presumably) the same hiring process and is perfectly appropriate to the job they’re taking. There is no reason for other staff to “test” or otherwise put a new worker through the ringer.

improve job site attitudes

Job Site Humor

While joking around and enjoying themselves on the job should be encouraged, inappropriate humor should be avoided. Jokes that are racial, religious, political or sexual in nature should not be permitted on the job site, as they stand to make some workers distinctly uncomfortable. Avoiding these situations can save your workers stress and discomfort, can improve job site attitudes and save you the hassle of harassment lawsuits.

Fair and Equal

Always be fair and equal with your staff. Get all the facts before rendering a judgment on an issue, and always be fair and equal with everyone. When problems arise, ask your staff what you can do to remedy the situation without putting anyone on the spot. Never “out” a worker who comes to you with a serious concern. Doing so can open them up to shunning or poor treatment by others.

Of course, workers compensation insurance and commercial general liability insurance are always good defenses against liability issues that do arise.

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Are You Protected with Errors and Omissions Insurance?

Errors and Omissions Insurance

The right contractors’ insurance can mean the difference between an effective business and bankruptcy from liability concerns. No matter how safe your practices may be, no matter how careful you are to abide by OSHA standards, accidents happen on the job site. In fact, they happen all the time. It pays to have the right coverage available so that when the unthinkable occurs, you are covered. This includes errors and omissions insurance.

General Liability

General liability insurance should be carried by every business owner. It is, in fact, required by law. Its intended purpose is to protect you from unexpected injuries and accidents that happen on your business premises or as a result of you conducting business. When someone falls off of a ladder, has a car accident in your lot, falls through a wall on the job site, or even accuses you of slander, general liability kicks in.

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There are, however, situations in which general liability does not protect you. This is where errors and omissions insurance becomes so important.

Errors and Omissions

This kind of coverage applies when you employ independent contractors, consultants or advisors who make mistakes and cause you liability issues. If, for example, a consultant gives bad advice to a customer which ends up disastrous, the customer can come back and file suit for it. Having this kind of insurance coverage will protect against litigation and out of pocket settlements.

For example, if you had the option to remove a tree from a property and fail to do so, then the next week a storm knocks that tree over to damage a home, this form of coverage will greatly lessen your liability issues and defend you against the costs of litigation.

Not the Same

At a glance, it can look like general liability is the same thing as error coverage. While both cover you and reduce litigation costs in the case of unforeseen occurrences, this is where the similarity ends. Liability covers contractors whose employees have accidents, or who are faced with lawsuits from others being injured on the business premises or job site.

Errors and Omissions insurance, on the other hand, is specifically tailored to independent consultants, advisors and the like who provide advice and indirect support to job sites. If a worker falls off of a ladder, liability covers it. If a structure collapses because of an architectural defect, error coverage will be necessary. If falling debris hits a pedestrian, you’ll want liability. If a structure collapses because an advisor had you build it on uneven ground, you will need error coverage.

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Improving Dangerous Construction Site Safety Tips

Dangerous Construction Site Safety 101

Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places there are. In 2012 there were more than 760 fatal incidents surrounding the industry, with falls, electrocution, falling debris and “caught-in” accidents being the most common causes. Here are some ways you can improve dangerous construction site safety.

OSHA Training

You should ensure that all of your staff, supervisors and subcontractors are well-educated and trained in all OSHA safety regulations and why these are in place. The organization offers Construction Industry Outreach Training, which encompasses everything workers need to know to recognize, avoid and prevent hazards. The program includes 30 hours of training and is excellent for workers, subcontractors and supervisors.

Personal Protective Equipment

Using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is a vital aspect of construction safety. Hardhats, safety goggles, face protection, slip- and puncture-resistant work boots, the right kinds of gloves to protect hands while allowing necessary dexterity and the like should all be applied without exception and wherever needed.

dangerous construction site safety

Scaffolding and Heights

Scaffolding accidents are some of the most common accidents in the industry. They are some of the most frequent citations issued by OSHA for dangerous construction site safety violations. Ensure that scaffolds are always on solid footing, securely planed together and anchored, in good working condition, and never overloaded or moved within 10 feet of power lines.

Whenever possible, any worker on scaffolding or at height should be tethered and anchored so that if the unthinkable happens, they do not fall a great distance and suffer injury or death. Guard rails should always be applied as additional safety, and entrances and egress should have handrails and be permanently available.

Electrical Issues

Electrocution is a major risk for workers. Work should never be performed on or near live wires or circuits. Power should always be completely cut before work begins. Effective tag and lockout systems must always be in place, and all cords should be properly grounded. Know where all power lines are and keep any ladders, scaffolding and equipment away. Finally, never use damaged, worn or frayed electrical cables.

Communication

Communication is your first line of defense against accidents. This does not just apply to alerts issued when incidents occur. It also means using the proper signage and warnings wherever needed. It means offering and ensuring that all of your workers have the proper training and education.

dangerous construction site safety

Having a solid plan of action when dealing with heavy equipment is vital. Make sure that no one not rated to use the equipment is anywhere in the vicinity. For moving equipment or vehicles, establish zones where no one is permitted to walk past, and specific procedures for equipment movement.

Of course, accidents can happen no matter how strong your dangerous construction site safety may be. Carrying proper liability insurance is vital to make sure that you and your workers are covered in case the unthinkable happens.



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Safety Standards for New Roofing Materials

Safety with New Roofing Materials

Laws and regulations surrounding the contracting and roofing industries are constantly changing and evolving. While sometimes more stringent rules may slow down work, they are always important to protecting workers from harm and employers from liability issues. Here’s a look at new roofing materials, safety standards and how the right contractors insurance can protect you and your employees.

Modular Homes

The modular home is a popular option for construction businesses these days. With this method of construction, homes are prefabricated in sections to exacting standards off-site. These sections can then be put together in different configurations to the requirements of the individual project. Modular home construction, including roofing, allows for a high degree of quality control in manufacturing. This in turn means a safer structure for the new homeowner. In addition, the ease of construction reduces risk for contractors.


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Lightweight Building Materials

Once upon a time, the accepted truth was that heavier is better. This is no longer the case. Now, lighter materials are available that are even stronger than the old-fashioned heavy options. These lightweight new roofing materials which include composite woods, plastics and others are weather and pest-resistant and are much easier and safer to install.

Weather Resistance

Rain and snow are a major threat to any building. Modern roofing materials excel at protecting homes from moisture and damage from the elements. Newer gutter guard systems are ideal for directing water away from the home while avoiding clogs and debris backup.

Wind resistance is another area in which newer materials are improving safety and stability. In fact, many states are now requiring that buildings incorporate wind resistance in their construction.

Roofing Contractors Insurance

When addressing roofing safety standards, the right insurance policy is a contractor’s first line of defense against liability and accidents. No matter how careful you are, no matter how complaint with OSHA standards you may be, unfortunate incidents tend to occur. By maintaining a thorough and complete insurance policy, you can make sure that when injury or accidents happen, your workers and your business are protected.

Roofers insurance can include a broad variety of coverage from a general business owner’s policy to vehicle insurance, but there are three common elements that should be included in every policy. These are:

  • General Liability Insurance: Liability insurance is a sort of umbrella that covers you against lawsuits resulting from disasters at the workplace. It covers your legal fees and damages from lawsuits and is a state requirement across the nation.
  • Professional Liability: As a supplement to general liability, this coverage protects you against damages and injuries from negligence on the job site.
  • Workers Compensation: Also required in most states, workers’ comp coverage protects roofers who get hurt on the job and require rehabilitation, medical care, lost salary recovery and other issues that arise from workplace injury or illness.