Deaths from falls and accidental electrocution are the two leading causes of construction-related injuries and fatalities according to experts at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s (PCI) safety workshop held in Madison, Wisconsin this week.
The program provided the opportunity for PCI member companies to invite their policyholders to hear experts on construction safety concerns regarding electrical safety and fall protection, as well as the most updated information on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) record keeping rules.
“Safety at Work III: Risk Management Techniques for Small Business” was designed by PCI based upon a “needs assessment survey” of its members attending previous workshops. PCI holds a series of safety workshops each year. Its members write almost 39 percent of the private workers’ compensation insurance market nationwide.
“The goal of these workshops is to help our members’ policyholders understand the best methods of keeping their workplaces accident free while, at the same time, keeping a tight rein on workers’ compensation insurance costs,” Arlene Ryndak, PCI director of loss control, said. “Those surveyed felt strongly that the construction-related safety issues warranted a full workshop that addressed those specific issues.”
David Kapitan, CSP, from General Casualty Insurance explained the fall protection standard, including conventional and specialized fall protection systems and electrical standards.
“Safety experts recommend that accidental falls can be controlled by ‘pre-planning’ the work to be done and the protection systems that need to be in place before the work begins, such as guardrails, hole covers, anchorage points and personal fall arrest systems,” Ryndak said. “Accidental electrocution was listed as the number two killer of construction workers. Common requirements that apply to all construction contractors, such wiring design, protection and methods and a complete assessment of hazardous locations were all covered in detail.”
New record keeping forms, revised by OSHA as of January 2004, were also listed as a priority topic for this workshop.
“Policyholders need to be aware of safety and health requirements and these workshops target important, bottom-line information that is critical to the success of their businesses,” Ryndak said. “For example, a specific column for recording musculoskeletal disorders that was proposed was not included in this revised form on work-related injuries. However, a column on hearing loss was added.”
Ryndak added that many of the PCI safety workshops are attended by small and mid-sized workers’ compensation companies and their policyholders that value the one-on-one ability to ask questions and get answers right on the spot.
“Employers can find help in keeping their workplaces safe by asking for assistance from their insurance company or by going to OSHA’s web site, area offices, or asking their trade association,” Ryndak said.
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