Viewing posts from: September 2017

Increasingly Sophisticated Weather Forecasting Technology a Boon to Trucking Industry

Posted September 26, 2017 by Administrator

Sophisticated weather forecasting technology applications help trucking fleets navigate adverse weather conditions that could pose freight delivery delays or safety risks.

New technologies provide drivers in the contintental U.S. with weather-related information to improve safety and efficiency. With these new applications, drivers can view:

  • current radar
  • precipitation on roadways
  • wind speed
  • current and extended forecasts, helping them be aware of the weather ahead.

Weather prediction resources have significantly improved since the days when the Farmers’ Almanac was the best weather forecaster source.

Rapidly improving technology has put weather forecasting and radar capabilities into the hands of those who need this information the most, which includes truck drivers. Weather technology continues to improve, current technologies are able to predict the disruptive impact of weather events and suggest actions that can be taken to mitigate the effects of the disruption.

This ability to foresee the weather and make adjustments as needed is especially useful for trucking fleets, whose daily operations can be disrupted, sometimes for days or weeks, from the effects of a hurricane, flash flood or blizzard.

According to PeopleNet, a provider of fleet management technology, weather has accounted for $3.5 billion in mobility costs and $14 billion in accident costs. Amazingly, 93% of those disasters can now be predicted using the new, cutting-edge predictive applications.

The new weather technology may be the catalyst for change for today’s competitive trucking firms, who must deal with disruptive weather events. A large-scale weather event, such as Hurricane Harvey that recently swept through the Houston, TX region, can have a disastrous effect on the transportation supply chain.

Weather is one of the biggest causes of market volatility in both the short term as well as the long term. These new technologies can help mitigate the impact such events can have throughout the supply chain. Companies are starting to use trading platforms that enable independents, fleets and third-party logistics firms to lock in rates ahead of major weather events like earthquakes.

Weather forecasting has been used to predict market price volatility for commodities since the 1980’s and is already commonly used by oil, gas and grain traders.

Enhanced notifications of road and cargo hazards can help carriers minimize losses and reduce down times. The new technology will enable drivers and equipment to maximize their potential while improving delivery efficiency during harsh weather seasons. For more on transportation safety, news, and risk, contact Cline Wood.

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Amendment to Delay Commercial Truck Driver ELD Mandate Fails in U.S. House of Representatives

Posted September 18, 2017 by Administrator

An amendment to delay the roll out of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate that is slated to go into effect December 17, 2017 was recently defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendment would have stalled the EDL enforcement date for ten months.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) was sponsored by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas.) The amendment would have restricted funding for enforcement through the 2018 fiscal year, effectively delaying the mandate until September 30, 2018. The amendment was defeated with a 246-173 final vote.

Babin has also filed a bill in the House that will delay the ELD mandate’s enforcement date by two years to December 2019. This bill has been referred to the House of Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation. The bill is seeking the implementation of the ELD mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) be delayed for two years to give drivers time to make the transition from paper logs to an electronic logging device.

The purpose of the ELD rule is to create a safer work environment for drivers. It will also make it easier and faster to track and share records of duty status (RODS) information. The ELD will synchronize with the engine of the commercial vehicle to automatically record driving time, making sure that Hours of Service (HOS) records are accurate.

There are exceptions to the ELD mandate. The following drivers are not required, by law, to use an ELD, unless they volunteer to do so.

  • Drivers who use traditional logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period
  • So called driveaway-towaway drivers (drivers who transport an empty vehicle for sale, lease or repair)
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the year 2000

An evaluation by the FMCSA studied the safety benefits for carriers that utilize an ELD. The FMCSA found that there is an 11.7% reduction in crash rates and a 50% reduction in hours-of-service violations; it is estimated that implementation of the ELD mandate will prevent 1,844 large truck crashes and save the lives of at least 26 people each year.

Motor carriers that meet the agricultural exemption or the covered farm vehicle FMCSA exemptions are not subject to the ELD rule while operating under the terms of the exemption. The duty status of the driver may be noted as either “off-duty” or “exempt.” Click here for more information on the agricultural exemption for the ELD mandate.

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National Farm Safety and Health Week to Focus on Implementing Safety Practices

Posted September 13, 2017 by Administrator

Farming has always been a hazardous job with many risks not seen in other industries. Because of this, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a proclamation in 1944 to bring more attention to the plight of the everyday farmer. The goal of this proclamation was to reduce farming injuries as their steadily increasing numbers were hindering the war effort. That proclamation is now known as National Farm Safety Week. This year, National Farm Safety Week runs from September 17 through September 23.

In spite of this increased focus, agribusinesses represent one of the most dangerous industries in the country. For example, over 400 farmers and farmhands died from work-related accidents in 2015. While these numbers are grim, the farming industry is experiencing improvements in safety and decreases in injuries. To continue this trend, the National Farm and Safety Week theme is focusing on implementing safety best practices. Below is a summary of events for the week:

  • September 18: Tractor safety
  • September 19: Farmer health and wellbeing
  • September 20: Health and safety of children
  • September 21: Confined spaces
  • September 22: Rural thoroughfare safety

Below are some highlights of each segment to help farmers improve safety and reduce risks.

Tractor Safety

  • Tractors and transportation accidents are the most common cause of death on farms. Tractors rolling over represent a significant amount of these incidents. As such, farmers should make use of roll over protective structures (ROPS).
  • Relating to farm transportation, farmers should implement safety practices to reduce run over incidents and PTO entanglements as well.
  • Farmers should also avoid risky shortcuts. The potential time saved is not worth the risk. Maintain vehicles and fix mechanical issues to reduce the temptation to make use of a dangerous bypass.

Farmer Health

Many farmers experience health issues later in life. Some are hard of hearing while others may require oxygen. However, farmers can avoid many of these health concerns by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes:

  • Respirators
  • Eye protection
  • Hearing Protection

Farmers should also look after their mental wellbeing in addition to their physical health. Isolation is a leading factor in depression so farmers should take their mental health seriously.

Health and Safety of Children

Each year, around 110 children and teenagers die from farming incidents. Causes range from machinery incidents to ATVs to drowning and more. This particular day will focus on creating areas that are safe for children to play as well as educating farmers on how to make farms safer for kids.

Confined Spaces

Farmers encounter hazardous gas and entrapment dangers when entering manure or grain pits. This particular day will focus on how to store and access grain as well as how to enter manure pits safely.

Rural Thoroughfare Safety

When farm vehicles and passenger vehicles collide, there are grievances on both sides. Instead of focusing on who is at fault, this day will concentrate on ways farmers and passengers alike can reduce the risk of an accident.

Cline Wood is dedicated to improving farm safety. As the leading provider of agribusiness insurance, we can help farmers identify and reduce risks. To learn more, contact us.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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Three Tips to Reduce Farming Risks

Posted September 5, 2017 by Administrator

Many individuals use the term risk when discussing farming when they really mean uncertainty. Risks are measurable; farmers can calculate and prepare for them. Uncertainties are not quantifiable which means farmers cannot gauge them. While most people do not like to dwell on the negative, farmers cannot afford to ignore risks within their operation. Below are several risks that farmers can address and mitigate straightaway.

Clear Contingency Plans

No one likes to consider his or her mortality, but it is necessary to ensure farms continue to run smoothly during adverse events. Farmers need to make sure vital employees have a backup team in place. Backup employees can be existing staff members. These substitute workers should have all necessary skills to perform the job, so farmers may need to cross train these individuals. Contingency plans are not only in place for deaths. They allow farmers to leave the farm if needed without bringing business to a halt.

Family Feuds

Farms are often a family operation, but this presents challenges. Power struggles and secrecy plague family businesses. These issues are particularly damaging during a transfer of leadership. Almost all family businesses suffer from communication problems. Some examples include authoritarianism, refusing to accept blame, and ongoing disputes. Farmers can hire consultants who specialize in family businesses to address communication issues. Bringing in a third party will help keep emotions out of business discussions.

Victims of Success

While many business owners may think there is no such thing as too much success, farmers are at an increased risk of expanding at an unsustainable rate. Before taking advantage of a growth opportunity, farmers need to analyze the costs of their current operation as well as how much money they have in reserve. Farmers need to make sure they can bear the burden of increased costs while waiting for returns. They also need to address logistical elements. For example, if a farmer purchases new land two hours away from his or her home, he or she needs to determine who will manage it.

Farmers cannot remove every threat to their operation. Some are uncontrollable, such as the environment. However, several farming risks are manageable and farmers should take steps to confront them. Cline Wood can help farmers identify risks specific to their farms and suggest methods to managing them. To learn more, contact us today.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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