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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.
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Prevent Risk and Liability with Masonry Contractors Insurance

Preventing Risk and Liability for Contractors

The construction business is a dangerous one. There are risks for illness and injury at every turn. Any contractor needs to take precautions to mitigate these risks and save themselves great cost in liability, manpower and efficiency. Failure to include the right policies and procedures can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and damages. Here’s a look at how contractors must be aware of these issues and how proper masonry contractors insurance can protect you, your business and your workers from disaster.

Safety Standards

Maintaining proper safety standards is the first thing a contractor can do to defend against the costs of accidents and injury. Some contractors make the mistake of believing that guidelines put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are onerous and unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.

OSHA standards are sometimes stringent, but they are important. These regulations are in place to protect workers from harm. Not only are they vital for maintaining safe work conditions, but they are the law. Contracting businesses who fail to obey them can be subject to fines and other censures from the organization.

Equipment Hazards

Heavy equipment such as mixers are a fact of life on masonry job sites. It is vital to ensure that all employees and workers are properly trained and educated in the policies and procedures involving the use of heavy equipment. Safety zones should be established to keep unauthorized persons from the area of the equipment, and only those completely trained and certified should use the equipment.

In all cases, anyone on a work site where heavy equipment and machinery is in use should wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). This varies by equipment but could include hard hats, safety suits, gloves, boots or other pieces of protective clothing.

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Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials aren’t common on masonry jobs, but situations can arise where asbestos, lead and other substances may be encountered. Follow OSHA guidelines in dealing with these substances to the letter. This includes the use of HEPA filters, respirators and other PPE indicated based on the substance that could be encountered. All workers should be properly trained and educated in safety policies and procedures. Regular updates in this training should be scheduled to make sure everyone is always up to date.

Insurance Coverage

No matter how careful you are, accidents happen. The best way to manage liability issues is to carry a proper and complete masonry contractors insurance policy. This can include workers compensation, vehicle insurance, accident and liability insurance, and a variety of other coverage options that may vary from business to business and even job to job. The right insurance can make the difference between helping an injured worker get back on their feet, and going out of business.



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What Kind of Liability Insurance Do Painters Need?

Liability Insurance for Painters

Being a painter may seem like a relatively risk-less job compared to other contractors, but the truth is that painters need just as much protection from liability as any other professional trade. The equipment painting contractors bring in can potentially cause damage to their clients’ home or building while presenting an injury risk to any outside parties who wander on the job site.

Just the nature of needing to enter someone else’s property to perform work puts painters at a liability risk. Cover your painting business from uncertainty and unanticipated disasters by purchasing liability insurance for painting contractors. No matter if you are a specialty painting business, remodelers, a general contractor, a builder or any other type of tradesmen, have your business protected from the problems that can arise during painting.

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General Liability Insurance

The biggest element painters will want to have covered is their general third-party liability. Damage to property is a very real risk any time a painting contractor enters a property with large pieces of equipment. Ladders and scaffolds could easily tumble, ripping up drywall and damaging interior components of walls. Equipment like paint sprayers can sometimes cause electrical shorts in unfinished job sites where electrical systems do not yet have all the needed safety systems in place.

Paint spills are especially a concern. Clients’ carpets and furniture can become soiled in the event of a spill, and when paint seeps under drop cloths the damage only becomes worse. Spare your painting company the cost of replacing an expensive carpet covered in paint boot prints by having the adequate coverage any time you enter a job site.

Injury risks from outside parties are very real, too. A client popping in to see how the color looks on the walls can trip over an extension cord and end up with a broken collar bone. General liability insurance can cover their medical costs in this situation, sparing you from having to pay for the accident out of pocket. Never enter a job site without such protection, or you could be placing your company in a financial hole as a result of one innocent blunder.

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Commercial Auto Insurance for Painters

Painters have a ton of equipment to lug around, and they often manage it by purchasing vans, trucks or large cars capable of hauling their materials, tools and equipment. Driving these company vehicles on a daily basis means risking a collision. No matter how careful your drivers are, others on the road may cause them to get in an accident where they are somehow viewed as at-fault.

Keep your drivers and your vehicles covered with commercial auto insurance for painting contractors. Your liability costs for damage to other vehicles or injuries to vehicle occupants can be handled through an insurer. Many states require commercial vehicle operators to carry higher liability limits than the minimum, so ensure that your coverage is adequate to protect you from legal costs as well as liability costs.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Liability includes covering your own workers from injuries they sustain on the job. As an employer, you no doubt care about the health, safety and well-being of the laborers that help you earn money. Protect them from the costs of injury by providing them workers compensation insurance. You will also be protecting yourself from legal liability in the process since accepting workers compensation claims in most instances waives that party’s right to legal action.

For all these reasons, liability insurance for painters, painting contractors and construction workers who paint can be an invaluable, if not mandatory product to have. Give your workers and your clients confidence by purchasing these liability insurance products from a trusted provider of contractors insurance.

 

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Employee vs. Independent Contractor Checklist

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Checklist

With the new healthcare laws into effect combined with the cost of workers compensation, providing benefits to employees has become more expensive than ever before. Many employers are looking to downsize staff and bring in independent contractors to fill the gap. It is important, however, to be sure you are not misclassifying employees as contractors. Doing so could present a high degree of liability for you that could bring severe damage to your business. It’s vital to understand what constitutes a 1099 worker and construct an employee vs. independent contractor checklist.

A Growing Epidemic

Recent figures estimate that over a third of businesses have misclassified employees as 1099, or independent contract workers. In the construction industry, low wages and a lack of regulation have become epidemic, and misclassification has resulted in estimated figures nearing $100 million in unpaid workers comp insurance premiums. This doesn’t account for the loss of FMLA, unemployment, overtime and safe workplace protections.

Tax Issues

Employee misclassification also results in workers having to pay more taxes than they should, because they are paying the employer’s portion of social security tax, which for contractors is called the “self-employment tax.” While this may seem advantageous to the company looking to save money on their books, it is becoming a real problem in federal tax loss. It is also, so far as the IRS is concerned, fraud.

Determining the Difference

An independent contractor is someone who is self-employed. If the worker controls or directs the nature and means of the work being done (what to do and how to do it), they are an independent contractor. If the employer controls and dictates the services performed and how they are done, the worker is an employee. Finally, if an employer-employee relationship is in place, the worker cannot be an independent contractor. There are three basic factors that should form the basis of your employee vs. independent contractor checklist. These factors are:

  • Do you control how the worker performs his duties and exactly what those duties are? This forms the Behavioral aspect of the issue.
  • Are your employees’ business aspects controlled by you? That is, do you determine how the worker is paid, whether they get reimbursed for expenses and who pays for and supplies tools, equipment and the like? This is the Financial consideration.
  • Do you have written contracts for employee benefits? Is the relationship ongoing or for a set period of time? Does your worker perform a key role in your business? This is the Relationship aspect of employment.

Consequences

Misclassification of an employee is considered fraud by the IRS. At very least you will be responsible for paying back employment taxes for the worker in question and may be held liable for deserved benefits that you have yet to provide. In addition, you run the risk of being reported. Any worker who thinks they have been misclassified may complete Form 8919 to report your share of these taxes.

For more information on liability insurance and the employee vs. independent contractor checklist, see our informational page, and get in touch with us for a review and quote today!



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Stay Protected with Contractor Liability Insurance

Contractor Liability Insurance

Heavy equipment forms one of the largest and most common hazards on any construction site. The potential for accidents and disaster carries heavy contractor liability, especially if staff are not properly trained and qualified in their use. Equipment that moves in such a way as to create potential danger should be locked and tagged to prevent such accidents as amputations, electrocutions, collisions and other potentially fatal events.

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