Fall prevention the focus of safety stand-down

By Troy Dohmeyer

Fall prevention the focus of safety stand-down

Preventing falls is a key concern in construction.

Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 279 of the 806 construction fatalities recorded in 2012.

Those deaths were preventable.

During fiscal year 2014, fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations.

Awareness Campaign

This year’s National Fall Prevention Stand-Down aims to raise safety awareness in the construction industry with a goal of preventing fall hazards. The theme is: Stand tall, stand proud and Stand-Down for fall safety.

OSHA encourages construction employers to conduct a voluntary safety stand-down at each job site between May 4 and 15 to discuss safety and fall prevention. A safety stand-down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.

Targeted are:

  • commercial construction companies of all sizes
  • residential construction contractors
  • sub-contractors
  • independent contractors
  • highway construction companies
  • general industry employers
  • the U.S. military
  • government participants
  • unions
  • employer trade associations and institutes
  • worker interest organizations
  • safety equipment manufacturers
  • One educational resource available is the Fall Protection Resource for New Home Construction compiled by faculty at the Washington University in St. Louis and supported by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The site catalogs dozens of fall protection devices and systems, describing how to use the devices and at what stage of construction each is appropriate. The tool also provides links to vendors and cost estimates.
  • More information and resources for employers and workers are available at the Stop Falls Stand-Down website.

After the Stand-Down, employers will be able to provide feedback and download a Certificate of Participation signed by Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. Last year’s Stand-Down – the first ever – included self-reported participation by 4,882 organizations reaching at least 770,000 individuals.

For information about Stand-Down events open to the public, visit the Events page on OSHA’s website or contact the Stand-Down coordinator in your OSHA region.

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Construction Safety Week promotes education, prevention

By Troy Dohmeyer

Construction Safety Week promotes education, prevention

Construction industry leaders are promoting Construction Safety Week, May 3-9, as a unique opportunity for construction firms across the U.S. to work together to eliminate worker injury.

Every year, more than 80,000 workers suffer on-the-job injuries at construction sites across the U.S. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2013, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In addition, three of the top 10 standards violations that resulted in worker deaths in 2013 were construction-related, including No. 1, fall protection; No. 3, scaffolding requirements; and No. 7, ladders.


The Construction Industry Safety (CISI) group and the Incident and Injury Free CEO (IIF) Forum have joined forces to promote safety week, with the goal to inspire everyone in the industry to be leaders in safety.

The groups’ collective mission for Safety Week 2015 is to partner together in:

  • Thanking workers for supporting safety and recognizing their efforts to be injury free
  • Increasing awareness of the importance of being committed to safety, every day
  • Inspiring all industry members to share best practices and to work together to strengthen the industry’s safety culture
  • Celebrating the need to be injury free
  • Conducting on-site safety awareness activities to support education

This year, there are more ways than ever for companies and individual workers to get involved.

Events and Activities

Participating companies are encouraged to:

  • Visit the Idea Book for events and activities to hold throughout the week
  • Invite OSHA on site to discuss injury statistics and other industry items.
  • Host a Safety Roadshow and invite vendors to showcase new tools and safety equipment.
  • Invite local union representatives to engage in Safety Week events.
  • Hold safety training sessions such as fall protection and ladder safety.
Commitment Pledges

Company leaders are encouraged to make a project-specific personal commitment pledge, asking these basic questions:

  • How engaged am I currently in company safety programs?
  • Can I increase my engagement levels with the project teams?
  • Can I make a difference to our workers’ safety by engaging more?
  • Does our company empower me to make a difference in workplace safety?
Social Media

Individuals may also:

  • Follow discussions on Twitter using the hashtag #2015SafetyWeek
  • Join the Construction Industry Safety Week LinkedIn Group

For more information, visit the Construction Safety Week website at

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Training offers foundation to build on

By Mike Klenk

Training offers foundation to build on

The insurance industry is growing and has a high need for talented professionals with a variety of training and skills. Recruiters are asking job seekers “where do you fit in?” In this series, Cincinnati Insurance associates describe their own career journeys.

My dad was a highly regarded coach in the Cincinnati area, and the one thing he always instilled in his players was to establish a strong foundation by practicing and perfecting the basics. Once you established the fundamentals, you could build a winning organization. I have found this to be true in both sports and business.

The training programs at The Cincinnati Insurance Company provide our underwriters with a strong foundation and understanding of our core business: fundamentals that allow them to advance along the underwriting path if they so choose or to branch off into other areas in the company with a solid understanding of what our business is all about. That’s what happened with me.

My training began over 25 years ago when I entered the underwriting class as a rookie, wet behind the ears with no practical knowledge of insurance. We started by learning the basics: understanding the different coverages, how to identify exposures, how to rate and how to establish an adequate price for our product. As I gained experience, I was given more opportunities to expand my knowledge by taking additional classes on everything from customer service to team-building.

Later in my role as manager, I was provided training that focused on human behavior and how to effectively listen and communicate with people. Training was made available to enhance my business writing skills as well as to improve my financial acumen to make better business decisions. I took advantage of every available class that provided me additional insight into the workings of this business. But more importantly, I was provided training into understanding people: to discover what motivated them, to help them define their goals and to develop a workable plan to accomplish them.

Most recently, I had the good fortune to continue my training by participating in our Advanced Leadership Class. This eight-month class provided me the opportunity to learn about a host of management, self-awareness and leadership topics while providing the chance to share my thoughts and ideas with other leaders within the organization. I found this exchange of ideas to be one of the most thought-provoking of my career. It energized my desire to implement many …read more

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Planning a hotel or motel stay? Think about fire safety

By Bill Lecky

Planning a hotel or motel stay? Think about fire safety

Count the doors between your room and the exit.

An estimated 3,900 hotel and motel fires are reported each year in the United States. Use these tips to ensure that you stay safe during your vacation or business overnight.

Plan Ahead

  • Choose a hotel or motel that is protected by both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system. The U.S. Fire Administration provides a master list you can search to find hotels and motels that adhere to life safety requirements.
  • Pack a flashlight and keep it on your nightstand in case you need to escape in the dark.
Familiarize Yourself
  • Read the fire evacuation plan carefully. If one is not posted in your room, request one from the front desk.
  • Locate the two exits nearest your room and fire alarms on your floor.
  • Count the number of doors between your room and the exits to assist you in the event of an emergency evacuation.
Escape Safely
  • If the fire is in your room, get out quickly. Close the door, sound the alarm and notify the front desk.
  • If the fire is not in your room, touch the door with the back of your hand to see if it is safe to leave.
    • If your room door is hot, do not open it. Instead, seal the door with wet towels or sheets. Turn off the fan, heater and air conditioner. Call the fire department to give your location.
    • If the door is cool, open it slowly. Be ready to close it quickly if there are flames on the other side. Take your room key with you in case fire blocks your escape and you need to re-enter your room.
  • Stay low by crawling on the ground, where the smoke is the least dense, to the nearest exit.
  • Always use a stairwell, never an elevator.

Used by permission from the U.S. Fire Administration website. This material is not the complete and official position of the USFA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety. Download the complete USFA Hotel Fire Safety handbook.

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Go out and play, but keep one eye toward home security

By George Grossenbaugh

Go out and play, but keep one eye toward home security

Make sure windows have a secure lock.

Good weather gives you opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. It also gives some unscrupulous people the opportunity they are looking for to burglarize your home or car and take your valuable possessions. You cannot prevent 100 percent of the thefts, but there are steps you can take to minimize the potential problem.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.9 billion in lost property in 2011: overall, the average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,185. Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 74.5 percent of all burglary offenses.

These statistics clearly show that we have to be very aware of the potential for theft and take necessary steps to minimize this crime.

The National Crime Prevention Council offers the following tips to help you protect your property:

  • Light the outside of your home to eliminate hiding places
  • Leave some lights on in your home to make it appear occupied (timers on lights are a good option in the event you will be gone)
  • Plan landscaping to provide maximum visibility to and from your home
  • Cut tree limbs back from your home to prevent access to windows
  • Use a strong exterior door — either solid wood or metal — and add lighting at every door
  • Install locks on all sliding glass doors and place metal or wooden bars in the tracks to prevent opening
  • Make sure your windows are secure and have a good locking mechanism
  • Use strong and reliable locks; this is one of the most cost effective ways to help secure your property
  • Always keep doors and windows locked, even if you are going to be gone only a few minutes

Some additional suggestions for keeping your property safe:

  • Purchase a home security alarm
  • Let a trusted neighbor, friend or relative know when you are going to be gone for more than one night
  • Don’t allow newspapers or mail to accumulate; have a friend pick them up
  • Let your local law enforcement know if you will be gone for an extended time

While you may not be able to prevent every break-in, making a few changes in home security can help minimize thefts.

Note: This blog was originally published on April 17, 2013. The crime statistics have been updated to reflect 2011 numbers, the most recent figures available.

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Building a better summer camp experience

By Brian Rawlings

Building a better summer camp experience

Careful planning can help keep summer camp fun and safe.

Spring is a busy season for parents reserving spots for their children in summer camps and activities, and many health, tennis, racquet and athletic clubs are starting to ramp up for summer.

If you are a club owner, you are probably finalizing the types of camps you will offer. Once you decide among sports, arts and crafts, adventure or other activities and determine the age groups you will serve, you can move on to other details. Here are some areas of primary concern:


Putting the right person in position to lead your camp programs is vital. You may not be around every minute of every camp day, and you want someone in charge who shares your vision and understands the mission of your organization.

The right leader can:

  • manage staff expectations
  • keep everyone organized and on task
  • react to a quickly changing environment
  • keep safety a top priority
  • communicate well

Get your leadership team in place early, and then involve them in hiring and training your remaining staff.


Training for camp leaders and staff should cover:

  • emergency medical response – defibrillator (AED), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid
  • your established camp policies and protocols
  • swim safety, including lifeguard training
  • emergency weather training
  • discipline policies
  • abuse awareness and protocols
  • communication plans and other safety protocols for field trips and activities

Partnering with recognized community organizations – such as the Red Cross for lifeguard or CPR training, child advocacy groups, local hospitals or local police, fire and EMS services – can increase the credibility and effectiveness of your training. Make sure your staff members – especially younger members – gain some basic understanding of childhood development and behavior.


Pools – Define expectations and responsibilities for your camp staff and lifeguards to assure smooth swim times. Be clear if camp staff need to remain in the pool area to provide extra supervision while lifeguards are in charge.

Field Trips – A cornerstone of most summer camp programs, field trips also present some of the biggest safety challenges. Unfamiliar locations with unknown hazards – along with the added element of contact with the public – call for heightened awareness and protocols. Increase staffing or add volunteers to reduce the ratio of children to adults. Take frequent head counts and position staff members where they are most needed. Protocols should prevent a sole staff member or volunteer from being alone with children.

Transportation – Whether you use parent volunteer drivers, own or lease vans or buses …read more

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Spring into safe mowing

By Steve Heiden

Spring into safe mowing

The good news is that winter is gone and green lawns are finally here. The bad news is those lawns need to be mowed, and serious injuries can occur if you aren’t careful while mowing.

Every year more than 300,000 people are treated in hospitals and medical clinics for lawn mower-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 10,000 of those injuries involve children, including teens through age 18.

Here are some safety tips to prevent you or your children from being injured while mowing.

Before Mowing

  • Have the lawn mower serviced before the first use of the season to make sure it is in good working order.
  • Wear sturdy shoes for traction and to prevent contact with the blade – no flip flops.
  • Wear protective eyewear to minimize the damage from being struck by objects thrown from the blade.
  • Do not operate without the grass catcher, discharge chute, or other safety devices in place and working.
  • If the lawn is wet, wait. Wet grass is slippery and can clog the chutes with clumps that you may be tempted to clear with your hand.
  • Make sure children are not in the area.
  • Check the lawn for stones, toys and other objects that can be discharged from the mower and turned into dangerous projectiles. Researchers at the University of Arkansas found objects can be launched at speeds above 170 miles per hour and thrown up to 50 feet.

While Mowing

  • Pull the mower backwards or mow in reverse only when absolutely necessary. When mowing in reverse, be sure to check for children or obstacles behind you.
  • Always respect the power of the blade. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the energy transferred by contact with a typical lawn mower blade is the equivalent of being shot in the hand with a pistol.
  • Turn off the mower and wait for the blade(s) to come to a complete stop before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, inspecting or repairing the mower, or when crossing gravel paths, roads or other areas.
  • If there is debris in the mower, remove it with a stick or broom handle. Never use your hands or feet.
  • Drive up and down slopes – never across – when using a riding mower. Do not use riding mowers on steep slopes. In general, never mow a slope greater than 20 degrees with a walk-behind mower or a slope more than 15 degrees on a riding mower. Zero-turn radius riding …read more

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Life insurance in the workplace

By Janice Brockman

Life insurance in the workplace

Good benefits can increase employee satisfaction. If you are an employer, providing valuable benefits that can be paid via payroll deduction can give you an edge when trying to attract and retain workers. Life insurance is one benefit you can offer in the workplace at a reasonable cost.

But as you consider offering life insurance, you may ask: How much coverage is needed? What about protection for family members?

According to LIMRA, a leading insurance and financial services trade organization, millions of Americans have no life insurance coverage other than the employee group term life insurance offered by their employers. Group life insurance plans usually include a cost to the employer, offer limited coverage options for the employees, and are not portable if an employee leaves the company. And, since these plans cover employees only, an even greater number of people have no coverage for their spouses or dependent children.

A LIMRA study found that almost eight in 10 American households have no personal life insurance agent. The only opportunity they may have to work with an insurance professional is through the employee benefit programs offered by their employers.

Individual life insurance as a voluntary benefit Voluntary life insurance plans offer individually owned life insurance to employees, their spouses and dependent children without direct cost to the employer. These plans give employees the flexibility to build an insurance program according to their needs and budgets. Some of the features you may want to look for are:

  • Guaranteed issue
  • Eligibility without a medical exam or blood profile
  • Availability to add the employee’s spouse, children and grandchildren
  • Premiums paid through the convenience of payroll deduction
  • Customizable policies to meet individual family needs
  • Portability – the option to continue coverage with no change in death benefit or cost if an employee leaves or retires
  • Voluntary – no sales pressure approach

Employees want a variety of benefits to choose from, which leaves you to decide what options to offer. Consider that retaining current employees is more cost effective for a business than hiring new. Offering your employees the added financial protection they may need in the event that something unexpected happens could be a deciding factor in their retention.

Talk with your local independent insurance agent to learn more about voluntary life insurance opportunities.

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Protecting your craft beverage equipment

By Kevin Getz

Protecting your craft beverage equipment

While means and methods will vary, one item that all craft beverage manufacturers share is dependence on their equipment. That’s why it’s important to make sure you include equipment breakdown coverage as part of your insurance portfolio if you’re a craft brewer, distiller or winery owner.

When most of us think about insurance protection, we think of insuring against fire, wind, theft or injury to other parties due to our negligence. But what about an electrical arc that interrupts the power supply, a sudden compressor failure on a glycol chiller or the sudden breakdown of your grape crusher/destemmer? These can be expensive items to repair or replace, and the downtime may prove more costly due to the lost revenue and time it may take to get replacement equipment.

Most traditional property insurance policies exclude the sudden and accidental breakdown of mechanical, processing and heating and cooling equipment. A separate equipment breakdown policy or endorsement (a policy addition) is often required to insure these items properly. Many machinery and equipment policies include coverage for ammonia contamination and product spoilage due to temperature or humidity changes when vital equipment is suddenly damaged.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Your heating boiler explodes, causing extensive damage to your brewhouse and building. Equipment breakdown coverage can cover the damage to your equipment and your building.
  • A gear in a bottling line suddenly breaks, shutting down production. Equipment breakdown coverage can pay for your cost to repair or replace the damaged gear, up to the limit of your policy, and could also cover your lost income or extra expense caused by the accident.

In addition to covering the specialized equipment used in your craft, consider routine breakdown of equipment common in many business categories: air conditioning equipment, air tanks, electric motors, electronic data processing equipment, fans and blowers, water heaters and more. All of these can be covered under an equipment breakdown policy or endorsement.

Consider this important coverage to round out your insurance protection. By insuring your equipment against failure or breakdown, you can greatly reduce the financial impact to your business when they occur. For more information or to find a Cincinnati Insurance agent in your area, go to

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