Cold Weather Work Habits and Personal Protection Equipment

Dec 07

Most of us have heard of cold-related illnesses such as frostbite, hypothermia, chilblains, and trench foot. All are illnesses related to cold stress. But the cold is insidious and works its way deep into the body where it indirectly causes cold-related problems.

Workers with chronic diseases such as asthma or arthritis are more likely to suffer flare-ups in cold weather.

Cold stress also decreases the worker’s dexterity, coordination, mental skills, and causes an overall decline in performance that negatively affects worker safety. Workers are more prone to accidents.

Also, working in the cold increases the likelihood of employee sprains and strains. This turns up as a health issue such as a low back strain. However, all muscles and tendons have less resistance to harm when exposed to cold weather.

What is Cold Stress?

Cold stress is the way your body responds cold temperatures stemming from heat escaping from part of your body, such as hands, limbs, feet, and/or head. When the body has prolonged contact with cold, lengthy exposure is a physical and mental challenge to your body.

Humans lose heat four ways:

  • Radiation
  • Convection
  • Conduction
  • Evaporation

The best way to avoid cold weather stress leading to cold weather illness or injury involves changing work habits and wearing the right clothing.

Changing Work Habits

How long an employee works in cold weather depends on wind and air temperature. The colder the temperature and the stronger the wind, the shorter work periods are. The following table, adopted by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) as Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for cold stress is an excellent guide for management in establishing the length of a work period.


Top High-Tech Car Safety Features

Nov 10


MP900438798 - smallEverybody has felt that unpleasant surprise when a car comes zooming into view after being hidden in a blind spot. Older motorists are no different, and they see warning systems against this hazard as the top safety feature in newer cars, according to a new report by the MIT AgeLab and The Hartford Insurance Company. After surveying hundreds of drivers over age 50 who get behind the wheel at least three times a week, the study found that these “mature motorists” felt more confident with cars which have at least one of 10 advanced safety technologies.

Here are the top 10 safety features for older motorists (in order):

  1. Blind-spot warnings alert drivers when another vehicle is approaching unseen and also help with parking.
  2. Crash mitigation systems detect imminent collisions and can help reduce passenger injuries.
  3. Emergency response systems alert paramedics or other emergency personnel if there’s an accident.
  4. Drowsy driver alerts warn motorists when they nod off or otherwise become inattentive.
  5. Reverse monitoring systems help drivers (especially those with reduced flexibility) judge distances and back up safely by warning of objects behind the vehicle.
  6. Vehicle stability control reduces crashes by helping steer a car if it veers offline or has trouble navigating a curve.
  7. Lane departure warning alerts motorists when they drift from a lane.
  8. “Smart” headlights illuminate the road more effectively by responding to the direction the driver is steering and the vehicle’s speed.
  9. Voice-activated command systems allow motorists to use a car’s features without losing focus on the highway.
  10. Automated parking assist calculates the angles and steers the car into the space, reducing driver stress and increasing the number of potential parking spots.

How many of these safety features does your newer car have?



Landlord Insurance, Anyone?

Apr 27


If you rent all or part of your property to others, it makes sense to buy this special type of Homeowners insurance. A Landlord insurance policy will cover damage to the building and your belongings, and protect you against potentially catastrophic legal and medical cost suits from lawsuits by people injured on your property.

If the property is mortgaged, the lender will usually require that you buy enough coverage to pay off the outstanding loan balance.

Above this level, you can tailor your Landlord coverage to your needs and budget in a number of ways:

  1. Changing the deductible (which usually ranges from $100 to 5% of the building coverage).
  2. Selecting the type of losses covered, by buying either “comprehensive” coverage – which pays for losses from all causes, unless specifically excluded – or on a “named perils” basis, which covers only losses from a listed number of causes.
  3. Choosing the type of reimbursement – either “actual cash value” (the value of your property, less depreciation) or the more expensive “replacement value.”
  4. Adding coverage to provide reimbursement for loss of rental income during a period when the property is uninhabitable.
  5. Covering increased liability risks from dealing with tenants, such as legal fees, libel, slander, and discrimination claims.

In making your decision, assess the benefits of potential premium savings against the risk of paying for hefty classes.

Our Homeowners’ Insurance specialists will be happy to evaluate your situation and recommend a comprehensive, cost effective solution. Just get in touch with us at any time.



How can personal liability affect your company bottom line?

Jan 28

insurance1Personal automobile liability, homeowners’ liability coverage, watercraft, aviation, and umbrella liability are designed to cover all the risks associated with day-to-day hazards. But, many times, entrepreneurs are not as vigilant with personal risk management as they are with their business’.

So ask yourself: do you want your partner’s 17 year-old son randomly choosing your next partner as the result of a DUI accident?

Once the underlying limits run out, the partnership share, the stock ownership, the thrift plans, become vulnerable to seizure. Yes, your new partner might be a bit angry with your old partner. Of course we advocate safe sober driving, but any claim can exceed the statutory limits of liability and create an unpleasant internal operations problem for your company. Cover the real risks properly.

Enterprise risk management uncovers this sort of hazard. Business continuation planning recommends surveying personal risk management among the owners and partners of any closely held company.

Just as you protect your company assets and income against casualty and property losses, protect your partnership too. Review the personal lines limits of liability partners carry. Require at least several million dollars of umbrella coverage.

Okay, you’re asking why so high.

Do you want your business to thrive for many years? Do you know how long it takes to get through the court system for a major liability case? If the injured party doesn’t settle, the business assets and partnership could be at risk for four years.

And if the case would settle for a million dollars today, claims inflation might make the payout three times that in four years. It is not entirely predictable. But it is predictable that your policy limit will not rise as the result of inflation. You must take action to increase that limit.

Stay ahead of the liability curve and protect your business structure with proper personal risk management risk assessment, planning, and program implementation.