Risk Management

All posts tagged Risk Management

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Ladder Safety is Important for All Work Environments


Did you know that 43% of fatal falls in the last decade have involved a ladder? And among construction workers, an estimated 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involve a ladder? But, ladders aren’t only used in construction environments. Many office, manufacturing and retail workplaces have ladders that employees may use occasionally. Any employee that may use a ladder should be trained on appropriate use. Here are some great reminders from the Ladder Safety Hub blog:folding-ladder-1122072_640

  1. Before you use your ladder, make sure the ground you are putting it on is level. If you need to, dig out one side to make the ladder even with the other side. You also can use levelers. Don’t use your ladder on stairs unless you are using an articulating ladder.
  2. When calculating the weight being put on a ladder, make sure to include the tools and supplies the worker will be using. If the ladder is rated for 250 pounds, and the worker weighs 240 pounds, he or she should have no more than 10 pounds of equipment.
  3. Why is the bottom rung the most dangerous? Because that’s the rung that gets missed the most. Almost 20 percent of all ladder accidents are caused by the worker thinking he is on the last rung when, in fact, he has another one or two rungs (so one or two feet) to go. These accidents can lead to sprains, strains and, in the more serious cases, broken bones.
  4. When climbing the ladder, keep your center of gravity between the rails. Often, people will lean to save time so they don’t have to move the ladder. Doing this is not only dangerous, but can cost more time in the long run if there is any sort of accident.
  5. When working on a ladder, don’t stand on the top rung or top cap. The top rung serves no purpose but to hold a warning label. When a worker climbs on the top rung or top cap, he or she risks a ladder accident.
  6. Different jobs require different ladders. Don’t use an A-frame when an extension ladder should be used or an extension ladder when an A-frame would be better.

If you would like help putting together ladder safety training for your employees, contact our Safety Director Reed Balls at 801-443-1090 or rballs@aplusbenefits.com for more information.

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A Plus BenefitsLadder Safety is Important for All Work Environments
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Safe Practices at Home Lead to Safer Workplaces


Utah Safety Week starts today and this week we will be focusing on things all employers can do to create safer working environments for their employees, regardless of industry. Encouraging safe behaviors at home and on the job will allow employee to return to work each day healthy and ready to perform their job duties.

All employers can encourage employees to utilize Personal Protective Equipment at home and on the job.  Here is some information you can share:

Personal Protective Equipment For On and Off the Job

Stressing safety at work is a familiar focus for business owners and employees alike, especially when it comes to wearing PPE.  But we sometimes overlook taking the same precautions at home.  Personal protective equipment commonly used at work has an equally important place when doing yard work, home repairs or even participating in many recreational activities.  Consider these “Off-the-Job” suggestions to protect you and your family:

Use Safety Glasses – When:                      lawnmower-384589_1280

  • Mowing and trimming the lawn
  • Using any powered tools/equipment – i.e. drills, sanders, pneumatic tools, etc.
  • Playing sports
  • Shooting firearms
  • Working on vehicles or equipment with batteries

Use Gloves – When:

  • Using any powered tools/equipment
  • Doing yard work and trimming trees
  • When working with paints and chemicals

Wear Protective Footwear – When:

  • Mowing and trimming the lawn
  • Moving heavy things
  • Hiking, riding ATVs, etc.
  • Doing construction type work

Use Hearing Protection – When:

  • Mowing and trimming the lawn
  • Shooting firearms
  • Using any powered tools/equipment – i.e. drills, sanders, pneumatic tools, etc.

Use Respiratory Protection – When:

  • When using paints and chemicals

More than half (52%) of U.S. injuries requiring medical treatment occur at home, followed by the community (26%), work (12%) and on the road (10%) (Source: National Safety Council Injury Facts 2016). Help keep your employees healthy by encouraging them to be mindful of safety on the job and at home.

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A Plus BenefitsSafe Practices at Home Lead to Safer Workplaces
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Preventing Falls at Work


This week (May 2- May 6) OSHA observes the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down to raise awareness about preventing fall hazards in construction. During the first week in May, OSHA encourages employers to bring awareness to fall prevention and conduct toolbox training on the topic with employees.Fall

This issue is a top priority for OSHA because violations of fall protection safety standards were among the top ten most frequent citations by OSHA in 2014. Additionally, fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for almost 40% of construction fatalities recorded in 2014.

Even if you aren’t in the construction industry, now is a good time to review fall prevention training with your employees. OSHA has free resources that employers can use to educate their employees about preventing falls:

If you have any questions about fall protection or any other safety issues, please feel free to contact our Risk Management Department.

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A Plus BenefitsPreventing Falls at Work
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What Are the Differences Between a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and a Payroll Company?


We have met with countless small business owners over the years and learned they have some specific things in common, no matter the industry or size of the company. First, small business owners are busy. They do not have extra time to spend processing payroll, fielding employee benefits questions or researching human resources best practices. If they do happen to have extra time, they would much rather spend it with their family and friends than dealing with administrative headaches.startup-593326_1920

This leads many business owners to consider available options to help with some of the time-consuming tasks related to running a business. Payroll processing is one of the tasks that is often first on the chopping block. Luckily there are many options for outsourcing payroll including payroll software companies, payroll processing companies, and PEOs. Sure, we’re biased being a PEO ourselves, but our clients have suggested several distinct characteristics that set a PEO apart from other payroll solutions.

Access to exclusive resources
Based on 26 years of experience working with business owners we know that they are almost universally passionate about what they do. That passion drives them to push toward their goals, even during the most difficult times. They are also understandably protective of their business and employees. They want to be able to offer the very best pay and benefits, but cost is a real concern. Working with a PEO allows a small business the ability to offer a wide range of Fortune 500 level benefits at unbeatable prices. This includes employee benefits such as medical, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, 401(k), flexible spending, dependent care plans and many more.

Benefits are just the beginning. A PEO is also able to provide human resources solutions such as leadership development training, tools for recruiting and retaining the best employee talent, and turn-key onboarding resources. While there are standalone resources out there for each of these areas, the cost of even one of these solutions is generally too high for a small business to justify.

Cutting-edge technology solutions backed by world-class service
It is undeniable that technology makes our lives easier.  The challenge with new technology is that it is only as effective as the person using it. Having the newest and best payroll software will not make someone instantly an expert in payroll.  Working with a PEO gives a company access to not only the very best payroll and human resources software available, but also to the expert-level customer service professionals that you need to make the most of the technology.

Coordination of all employee-related business functions
A small business owner often has to wear many hats. One of those hats is to coordinate the various vendors that are working with the company and employees. There may be a benefits broker for health and dental, and yet another for vision. There is likely a financial advisor helping with the 401(k) and maybe a supplemental insurance broker helping with life insurance and disability. That is four to five individual relationships to manage and invoices to pay and that is only relating to benefits. There are additional vendors for workers’ compensation insurance, drug testing, payroll and many more. Working with a PEO allows business owners to consolidate payroll and all of these items with a single vendor. This not only saves the time and frustration associated with dealing with multiple vendors, but also allows for a unique coordination of services not available anywhere else.

A PEO offers a suite services for small business owners that simply are not available anywhere else. As small business owners research and consider their options, we hope they will look at the opportunities working with a PEO will provide their business. We believe whole-heartedly that the industry offers solutions small business owners need to compete and win in an increasingly competitive market.

If you are interested in learning more about how a PEO can help your small business grow through high-level technology backed solutions, more affordable benefits and other exclusive resources that meet the needs of business owners and employees alike, contact one of Business Consultants for a free quote.

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A Plus BenefitsWhat Are the Differences Between a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and a Payroll Company?
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Reminding Employees About the Dangers of Distracted Driving


April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, making it a great time to remind your employees about the dangers of distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?
“Distracted driving” is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.

Some examples include:mobile-1209058_1280

  • Talking on a cell phone (even using a hands-free device)
  • Texting
  • Eating
  • Applying makeup
  • Adjusting the radio or temperature controls

Why is it important for businesses to take a stand against distracted driving?
Driving safety should be a priority for every company. You may be thinking “I don’t employ any drivers,” but I guarantee that most, if not all of your employees drive into work each day. Making sure employees return home safely to their families each night means that they are able to return happy and healthy to work the next day.

Additionally, the cost of on-the-job crashes for employers is enormous and can cripple small businesses:

  • $60 billion – Annual cost to businesses
  • $16,500 – Average cost of one crash
  • $74,000 – Average cost when on-the-job crash causes an injury
  • More than $500,000 – Average cost when a fatality is involved

What can employers do about it?
 Here are some steps you can take to make sure your team is safe when they are driving:

  • Have a written cell phone use policy for employees who drive company vehicles or are driving their own vehicles on company time. If you would like an example policy, contact A Plus Benefits.
  • Owners, executives and managers must set a good example for the rest of the team by following the company driving polices.
  • Offer periodic training to employees on defensive driving, distracted driving and other driver safety. Contact A Plus Benefits for training materials or assistance.
  • Encourage employees to drive safely (put down cell phones, avoid eating, etc.) even when they are not on the clock.

Where can I find more information about distracted driving?
Here are some additional resources to share with your team this month to keep the focus on safe driving:

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A Plus BenefitsReminding Employees About the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Top Ten OSHA Violations for 2015


Last week, OSHA announced the top safety violations for 2015 at the National Safety Congress. The top 10 violations were:

  1. Fall Protectionforklift-835342_1280
  2. Hazard Communication
  3. Scaffolding
  4. Respiratory Protection
  5. Lockout/Tagout
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Electrical – Wiring Methods
  9. Machine Guarding
  10. Electrical – General Requirements

For the past few years, these top 10 violations have been very similar. If you haven’t conducted training or updated your safety manual for these topics, now would be a great time to do that.  As we discussed in a previous blog post, the ROI of a safety program is almost always positive (only 5% of businesses report a negative ROI). Check out our infographic for a great place to start.

Do you know if you would pass an OSHA inspection? Contact a member of our Account Management team to request a safety audit from our expert Safety Director.

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A Plus BenefitsTop Ten OSHA Violations for 2015

3 Reasons PEOs Make Sense for Small Businesses


When an individual decides to start a business it is because they love what they do. They have a passion for their industry that drives them to put in the time and resources to build a company of their own. What most small business owners don’t have a passion for is all of the pieces that come along with hiring employees. Finding and keeping great employees is necessary for any business that wants to grow and succeed. But many small business owners struggle to find the time to focus on the growth of their employees and their business. That is where a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) comes in.Success

Partnering with a PEO gives a business owner:

More time: Partnering with a PEO means you spend less time on the administrative tasks related to your employees. PEOs process your payroll, pay your quarterly and annual employer taxes, issue W-2s, complete unemployment paperwork, track employee time off, negotiate with insurance carriers, train employees, conduct drug screening and a number of other time consuming tasks that pull you away from the reason you went into business in the first place.

Better access to resources: The nature of the PEO relationship allows companies to have access to a wide variety of resources including employee benefits such as health, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, 401(k), and flexible spending accounts. These benefits usually come with enhanced coverage at a lower cost since PEOs are able pool small businesses together to provide better buying power.

Expert advice: Most business owners are experts in their field. They may know everything there is to know about plumbing, advertising, or dentistry, but they are not experts in human resources, payroll, benefits or risk management. A PEO hires skilled employees in each of these departments, providing immediate access to expert level advice whenever it is needed.

Over the past 25 years, A Plus Benefits has learned from our clients that the benefits small and medium sized business experience from partnering with a PEO are second to none. We have been lucky enough to work with great businesses over the years and learn a lot about what it takes for small businesses to succeed, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Research shows that “small businesses that use PEOs grow 7 to 9 percent faster, have employee turnover that is 23 to 32 percent lower, and are 50 percent less likely to go out of business than companies that don’t use PEOs.”

If you want to know more about how working with a PEO can benefit your business specifically, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.

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A Plus Benefits3 Reasons PEOs Make Sense for Small Businesses

The Importance of Safety Focused Leadership


With all of the issues that cross a small business owner’s desk in a day, it is inevitable that some of those tasks get pushed to the bottom of the list indefinitely. Unfortunately for many small businesses, focusing on safety is one of the things that often gets put off.  There is often a perception that focusing on safety will be expensive, time-consuming, and unproductive. But the fact is the exact opposite is actually true. Investing in a safety focused culture will actually save your company time and money and increase your productivity and competitive advantage.characters-696951_1280

Research done by McGraw Hill Construction provides evidence of this. According to their research, there are many positive impacts of focusing on safety practices including a better reputation in the industry, workers proactively reporting unsafe conditions, lower reportable injury rates, ability to contract new work, and improved project quality. Some additional benefits that likely attribute to these are reduced overall injury rates, reduced costs as a result of reduced risk, less rework, more on-time completion of projects, improved employee morale and enhanced productivity.

Some of the additional findings in the research include:

  • Over 50% of the businesses reported that their safety program has a positive ROI and only 5% reported that their safety programs had a negative ROI.
  • 46% of the businesses reported that safety practices help them to retain employees

So what can a small business owner do to start to see some of these benefits?

First, commit to regular safety discussions with your employees. Weekly or daily safety meetings (depending on your industry) can keep employees thinking about safety, which has been shown to dramatically reduce injuries. This commitment to regular safety meetings (attended by leadership) also demonstrates to your employees that you are committed to their safety and gives you an opportunity to hold them accountable for their behavior. Our Risk Management team can provide you with resources for these meetings. Contact us for more information.

Second, consider putting together an employee safety committee. This can be a great way for your employees to provide their ideas about ways they could make their business processes safer and more productive. Often the safest way to do something is also the most profitable. This open door environment will not only bring new ideas to the table for safety, but other areas of the business as well. Asking for employee ideas has also been shown to improve employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Third, invest in appropriate safety equipment. Again, this is often seen as an added expense, but as the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Having up-to-date safety equipment for your employees once again demonstrates your commitment to the safety program. It shows that you are not comfortable with cutting corners to save a few dollars. This makes your employees more comfortable spending the time and effort to do things the safest way.

Finally, make safety a part of your regular business discussions. Think about the impact business decisions will have on safety. Consider how company safety impacts your organization’s goals and share that with your employees. It isn’t just about ROI or increasing profits. It really is about making sure your employees make it home safe to their families each night.

It is impossible to eliminate all risk, but if employees see that company leadership is committed to safety and seeking their input on how to minimize and control risk, there will be improved productivity, morale and of course safety. We can provide resources and support for clients to help develop a safety focused culture, but commitment from the business owner will be the key to success.

We have also created an infographic with information about safety focused leadership.

Reed Balls is the Safety Director for A Plus Benefits Inc. He can be reached at rballs@aplusbenefits.com or (801) 443-1090.

Image from Pixabay.

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A Plus BenefitsThe Importance of Safety Focused Leadership