Business Newsletter - November 2018

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2205 Point Blvd., Suite 200 | Elgin, Illinois 60123
847-741-1000 | www.lundstrominsurance.com | Fax 847-428-8857


"Serving you, your business and your community since 1956"

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Vol. 26 No. 6

Occupational Safety and Repetitive Stress


If you spend time each day at a computer keyboard, you are probably familiar with one result of repetitive stress—carpal tunnel syndrome, which can result in pain and/or numbness in the wrist and fingers. 
 
Repetitive stress injuries (also called cumulative trauma disorders—CTDs) can result from repeating movements many times or working in an awkward or cramped position for a prolonged period of time, and they can affect the hands, wrists, arms, back, neck, and shoulders. 
 
CTD injuries are not new. In the 1800s, it was not uncommon for telegraph operators to suffer from "telegrapher's finger," and workers in many other occupations (including meat processors, roofers, auto workers, textile workers, assemblers, and cashiers) have long been affected by repetitive motion stress. 
 
Ironically, since writers, reporters, and editors—who now spend much of their time at computer keyboards—have joined the growing number of workers experiencing repetitive stress, CTDs have received more attention in the media. 
 

A Somewhat Cloudy Issue

Nevertheless, the widespread recognition of repetitive stress injuries has not brought complete clarity to the problem. If, as some suggest, CTDs develop over a period of time possibly going back many years, how much of an individual CTD is related to the aging process and how much may be attributed to stress outside rather than inside the workplace? (Insurers are particularly interested in these questions, as the answers will determine which insurance mechanism—primary health, disability, or workers compensation—will be most affected by claims.) 
 
Regardless of where such injuries occur, and to what extent they are caused or aggravated by the workplace, employers are facing increased pressure from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to become proactive in the area of workplace injury prevention. The business community is justifiably concerned about how potential costs to control CTDs will, in fact, pay off in terms of higher employee productivity, fewer CTD claims, and lower insurance costs. 
 

Redesigning the Workplace

In the face of these pressures and rising disability claims related to CTDs, many companies are looking to consulting firms specializing in ergonomics to help prevent CTDs and control risk exposure. 
 
Ergonomics, also known as human factors engineering, is the study of how people interact with machines and their working environment. It examines the nature of the job and the body movements necessary to perform that job. The goal of studying these people-machine relationships is to maximize worker performance, comfort, and safety. 
 
One of the key elements of grassroots programs in injury prevention has been the matching of employee capabilities to the demands of the job. Starting with a worksite analysis to identify risk factors, both the employee and the job may be "reengineered." 
 
Redesigning a job may involve implementing changes to work stations, tools, or work requirements; reshaping employees may include providing education to increase awareness and physical fitness programs to enhance employee health. A less stressful work posture, more frequent rest breaks, and job rotation are the types of changes that may be implemented to help reduce CTDs. 
 
OSHA emphasizes that occupational ergonomic problems are a significant safety and health concern in the workplace. The discovery of risks in the workplace, the ability to modify the work environment, and the training of the workforce will all play a role in reducing work-related injuries. If ergonomic reengineering of the workplace is successful, it should enhance employee productivity and help control injury-related costs and insurance premiums. 
 
 

Pollution Brings Troubles in Tow


In today's marketplace, evolving attitudes, new legislative and regulatory initiatives, and ongoing product and process innovations continue to create environmental compliance concerns for business owners. Since pollutants are surprisingly common and exist in different forms, most businesses, regardless of whether or not they handle hazardous materials, may have some type of environmental liability. However, a general liability policy may not provide your business with sufficient protection to keep up with the frequent changes that occur in environmental rules and regulations. For many businesses, obtaining environmental impairment liability insurance coverage, either through a separate policy or a specific endorsement, may be a necessary component of a comprehensive risk management plan. 
 

What Is Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance?

Environmental impairment liability insurance can protect your business from environmental damage caused by contaminants released on land or into the atmosphere or any watercourse or body of water. These policies may cover the expense of both on- and off-site environmental cleanups mandated by the government, bodily injury or property damage liability, defense costs for environment-related lawsuits, business interruption costs, loss of value of third-party property resulting from contamination, and liability of parties contracted by your business. 
 

How Can You Be Sure?

Environmental problems associated with your property can surface as a result of previous business activities unknown to you. There may be existing pollutants on your property, or your company's current disposal procedures may be inadequate. Environmental liabilities often have unlikely origins, and there may be no indications that particular problems exist. Consequently, consider the following steps to help minimize the risk of environmental liabilities on your business: 
  • Evaluate your history. Check for problems, both past and present, on any land your company owns, and be cautious when purchasing new sites. 
  • Examine your risks. What chemicals do you use? If you have a subsidiary company, what chemicals does it use? Do you store hazardous materials on site? What are your disposal procedures? These are just a few of the questions to consider when assessing your overall risk. 
  • Create an emergency procedure. Create a detailed plan for handling potential accidents and provide appropriate training for your employees. Keep the plan accessible to staff at all times and also store a copy at an off-site location. 
  • Be aware of Federal, state, and local regulations. These may vary according to the location and type of your business. Also, be sure you understand reporting requirements in case of an accident. 
  • Report any accidents immediately and start cleanup. Notify the appropriate regulatory agencies of any accidents that may lead to environmental contamination. Begin containment and cleanup immediately. Also, give us a call so we can begin working on your behalf. 
Businesses of all types and sizes can face pollution liability, the effects of which could be devastating to a company's finances and its ability to continue business operations. While some businesses may need an endorsement to their general liability policies, others may need separate environmental impairment liability coverage for full protection. Please feel free to contact one of our qualified insurance professionals to determine if your business is at risk.
 
 

For Your Information


Legal-Ease 

With legislation changing on a regular basis, would you like to be up-to-date on the newest laws governing business? If you answered "yes," then check out the government website, www.businesslaw.gov. This informative resource offers a free electronic newsletter, as well as information to help you handle a range of situations with employees. You'll also find guidance for state and local issues specific to your area and tips on how to hire an attorney for your business. 
 

Electronic Tran-sfer 

If you're concerned that your small business loan application may get lost in a sea of paperwork—worry no more. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has developed E-Tran, an electronic gateway that allows lenders to electronically send loan applications directly to the SBA. E-Tran also has the ability to accept numerous applications at one time. For more information check out the SBA website at www.sba.gov
 

OSHA Offerings 

As a small business owner you are probably aware of what OSHA stands for—the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA regulations govern workplaces nationwide, and to help companies comply, this government organization provides a variety of resources. For example, The OSHA Handbook for Small Businesses is a guide to help small business owners keep their workplace safe. It covers topics ranging from employee training to self-inspections. For more information, or to download this guide, visit OSHA online at www.osha.gov.
 
 

Reducing Your Risk of Employee Turnover


employee turnover

Positive employees create a positive work environment, and in turn, this is vital to their ongoing productivity, as well as the continued growth of your company. Consider the following ideas for promoting a positive workplace to help reduce the risk of employee turnover. 
 
When was the last time you acknowledged an employee for a job well done? Look for ways to celebrate your team. Call a meeting and discuss all that is going well with your company. Contact a local health club to arrange guest passes for your employees or surprise them with a pizza luncheon or fresh bagels for breakfast from time to time. 
 
Whatever you spend in recognition of employee contribution will be a small price to pay for the boost in morale, which may help retain your top performers. 
 
 
 
 

Did You Know?


Open Source Programs 

According to the 2018 Open Source Program Management Survey, formal open source programs are becoming a best practice for companies in the technology, telecom/media and financial services industries. In fact, 53% of the companies surveyed say their organization has an open source software program or has plans to establish one within the next year. Additionally, 72% of companies frequently use open source for non-commercial or internal reasons and 59% say open source is very or extremely critical to the success of their teams. 
 

CEOs Ready to Lead? 

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) reported in a recent survey that 68% of CEOs surveyed said they were not "fully prepared to take on the CEO role" and nearly 50% found that several of their initial tasks were more difficult than they had anticipated. Another problem is that CEOs don't necessarily ask for help when they need it. In fact, 62% of leaders said they did not rely on their boards for "honest feedback" and 72% did not try to get advice from other leaders in the company. 
 

Job Satisfaction 

The Conference Board's latest survey on job satisfaction found that 51% of U.S. employees feel overall satisfied with their job. The results also show, over the last seven years employee attitudes about wages and job security experienced the biggest improvements. In fact, satisfaction increased each year following the Great Recession. The greatest satisfaction came from a job's relational and social aspects.
 
 

Different Coverages for Different Kinds of Crime


 Any business is vulnerable to crime—the damages are not only frightening, but they can also be costly. A jewelry store (hypothetical case) learned this the hard way. During a break-in, the store's inventory valued at $1 million was hauled away in the dead of night. The owner had previously decided the price of insurance was too high and did not have coverage. The store was left to rebuild its entire inventory. businessinsurance
 
Businesses hope they will never have to experience crime, but the reality of it calls for precautions. Standard, broad-based insurance meets the basic needs of many businesses, but the best protection may require special coverage.
 
Insurance companies classify crimes that victimize businesses into 14 categories, and they offer ten standard insurance plans for various protection levels. Following are the crime categories:
 
    Form A: Employee dishonesty
 
    Form B: Forgery or theft
 
    Form C: Theft
 
    Form D: Robbery and safe burglary
 
    Form E: Premises burglary
 
    Form F: Computer fraud
 
    Form G: Extortion
 
    Form H: Premises theft and robbery outside premises
 
    Form I: Leases of safe deposit boxes
 
    Form J: Securities deposited with others
 
    Form K: Liability for guests' property (safe deposit box)
 
    Form L: Liability for guests' property (premises)
 
    Form M: Safe depository liability
 
    Form N: Safe depository direct loss
 
Your business may be the target of many types of crime. Choosing the proper coverage can help prevent devastating loss and damages.
 
Here is a brief outline of the ten protection packages:
 
    Plan 1: For combination crime with separate limits. This is among the broadest of plans, containing any combination of forms A through J, with a separate limit for each.
 
    Plan 2: For combination crime with a single limit. Forms A through E are required, all at the same limit, with optional supplemental forms at separate limits.
 
    Plan 3: A broad form to cover money, securities, and other property. Forms A through E are required, but at separate limits.
 
    Plan 4: A form to cover burglary and robbery. This protects against burglary and robbery for money up to $50, securities, and other property. Forms D and E are required with uniform separate limits.
 
    Plan 5: For office burglary and robbery, to cover money, securities, and other property. This requires forms D and H, each with a separate uniform limit.
 
    Plan 6: Protection for guests' property in a safe deposit box. This is applicable only to those who provide lodging facilities. Form K is required.
 
    Plan 7: Protection for guests' property anywhere on the premises. This plan is also for providers of lodging.
 
    Plan 8: For institutions with safe deposit boxes, excluding financial institutions.Forms M and N may be incorporated into this plan.
 
    Plans 9 and 10: These apply to financial institutions authorized by the federal government to conduct banking or trust company activities.
 
Businesses should carefully review their risks to select a plan to suit their needs. We are here to help you evaluate your exposures and explain the available coverages in greater detail
 
 
Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
The content of this newsletter is taken from sources that are believed to be reliable. 
However, this newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal, financial, or professional counsel.

 


 



2205 Point Blvd. Suite 200 | Elgin, IL 60123 | p 847.741.1000 | f 847.428.8857