Posted April 24, 2020 by Erin
President Donald Trump today signed a $484 billion coronavirus relief package, the latest effort by the federal government to help businesses devastated by the pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which was approved by the Senate earlier this week and overwhelmingly passed by the House yesterday afternoon, will inject $310 billion back into the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The latest relief comes less than a month after the CARES Act allocated $349 billion to the PPP, a federal forgivable loan program created to help small businesses keep workers employed during the coronavirus crisis. The Trump administration and lawmakers have been under pressure to replenish the program after it quickly ran out of funds and was forced to shut down last week.
About $60 billion of the new PPP funding has been specifically earmarked for community lenders, smaller banks and credit unions to help smaller businesses that don’t have established relationships with big banks, and had a harder time obtaining loans in the first round.
The new package also includes $60 billion more for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a separate SBA program offering economic relief, $25 billion for expanded coronavirus testing, and $75 billion for hospitals.
The SBA says that it has already approved over 1.66 million PPP loans, and nearly 27,000 EIDL loans and over 750,000 EIDL advances. As with the first round, these new funds are expected to run out quickly. Therefore, businesses that wish to take advantage of the PPP or EIDL programs, should act immediately. Borrowers may use this tool to find a nearby SBA lender.
Source: Lancer Insurance Company | Click HERE to view Lancer’s video “Applying for the Paycheck Protection Program”
Click HERE to watch a playback of MMA’s CARES Act Overview Webinar
Click HERE to view all of MMA’s Coronavirus Resources
Posted April 23, 2020 by Erin
Team Beef Virtual Run & Ride – FREE event
Have your race schedules been impacted this Spring? Are you looking for opportunities to put your training to good use and remain active? Join the Team Beef community from across the country to get outside and move during this time of social distancing. Show how you’re #FueledByBeef by participating in a virtual run or bike ride.
Here’s how you can participate:
- Register for a running or cycling activity and distance of your choice at no cost.
- Complete your run or ride between April 1 and May 3 tracking your activity using a GPS-enabled device (phone, watch, etc.)
- Distance options include a 5k or 10k run/walk, Half Marathon or Marathon run; 10, 25, 50, or 75-mile ride.
- Upload a public photo of your activity to Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter tagging Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. and your State Beef Council. Use the hashtags #TeamBeef and #FueledByBeef.
- Optional: Join the Team Beef club on Strava to track your run or ride with Team Beef athletes from across the country.
The essential nutrients found in beef, like protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins, provide our bodies and minds with the fuel we need at all stages of life to be the strongest version of ourselves. Click here to learn more about how beef’s nutrients, along with a healthy lifestyle, work to help build muscle and mental strength.
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
Anyone is eligible to participate. Minors (under 18 years of age) should participate under the supervision of an adult.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Email your local State Beef Council with any questions.
What’s the refund policy?
No fee is required to participate in this event.
Funded by the Beef Checkoff.
Posted April 17, 2020 by Erin
Last Friday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued an enforcement guidance with details on how employers should record occupational illnesses, specifically cases of the COVID-19. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employers – other than those in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations and correctional institutions – may have difficulty determining whether workers contracted COVID-19 due to exposures at work. In light of those difficulties, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion in order to provide certainty to the regulated community.
OSHA has determined that under its recordkeeping requirements in 29 CFR § 1904.5, COVID-19 is a recordable illness and employers are responsible for recording cases of the disease, if: the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5; and the case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7.
The American Feed Industry Association expects that it will be difficult for companies to determine whether a case of COVID-19 is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5. However, until further notice, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR § 1904 to require other employers to make the same work-related determinations, except where:
- There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related. This could include, for example, a number of cases developing among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation; and
- The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. For purposes of this memorandum, examples of “reasonably available evidence” include information given to the employer by employees, as well as information that an employer learns regarding its employees’ health and safety in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees. This enforcement policy should help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects, rather than on making difficult work-related decisions in circumstances where there is community transmission. If it is determined that a case is work-related, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and should be coded as such on the OSHA Form 300. Because this is an illness, if an employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log, the employer must comply as specified under 29 CFR § 1904.29(b)(7)(vi).
This memorandum will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Visit OSHA’s webpage frequently for updates.
Article Source: Kansas Grain and Feed Association. Originally Published by the American Feed Industry Association
Posted April 10, 2020 by Erin
In spite of the almost universal shutdown of our national economy, the FMCSA, and Texas DPS, are still actively conducting regulatory audits. Fortunately, as of right now, all audits are being conducted remotely via email and phone calls. That does not eliminate the seriousness of the audit, but it does relieve you of the added pressure of having a government regulator sitting in your office for a week.
So, what do you do if you receive notice of an audit? The following steps have proven to be an effective response framework for most motor carriers.
- Organize Your Audit Response Team
Get your most effective team members organized to manage the audit response. This team should have clear authority from senior leadership. Senior leadership should communicate with any and all department heads to clarify the purpose and role of the audit response team in assessing and responding to the audit. This is not the time for departmental silos, compartmentalization of information, or managers being territorial.
- Facts are Critical
The audit response team should be focused on gathering facts. Your HOS records for the past 6 months are what they are. But, you must know what they are. Discover the truth within each area of your operations with compassion and empathy toward coworkers, but do not let the hurt feelings push you away from accurately assessing the current state of your business operations.
- Free Up the Audit Response Team
Senior leadership needs to clear other non-critical responsibilities from the audit response team so they can be present and available to effectively respond to the auditor.
- Take Ownership
We will respond to the audit findings through a high-quality Corrective Action Plan. However, senior leadership needs to take absolute ownership for those findings. Great leaders do not point fingers.
- Be Present for Audit Opening and Closing
If the audit is serious, you may need to postpone your business trips and your golf outings. It is most important for you as a leader to be present for the audit opening and closing if it is an on-site Compliance Review. This is when real leadership is manifested.
For more information or if you have questions, please reach out to your Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency representative.
Posted September 16, 2019 by Erin
“The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week is scheduled for Sept. 15-21. Throughout that week, enforcement officials will conduct roadside safety inspections on commercial motor vehicles throughout North America. Vehicles with critical brake violations, or other critical vehicle inspection item violations, will be restricted from traveling until those violations are corrected. Vehicles without critical vehicle inspection item violations are eligible to receive a CVSA decal indicating that the vehicle passed inspection.” ¹
Many states start these inspections early and run later than the announced event date to work with inspector’s hours, facility hours and to accomplish several thousand inspections. We also know that tools used to normally by-pass the scale for carriers with Green/Pass CSA SMS Scores are turned off thus bringing more tractor trailers through the scale house for inspection. Other states select designated highways in which they will assign numerous state troopers to work multiple sections pulling tractor trailers over to ramps for road side inspections
It seems like we finish one inspection focus just to be followed by another. Though the official violation counts and OOS data from some of the 2019 inspections are not in yet, it is still alarming to see the counts of violations being found, whether out of service or not, when we always know to expect these inspections each year.
As safety advocates, most of us work with our state troopers numerous times a year at the scale houses or through our safety organizations where we can visualize and learn what they are finding during inspections. “During this year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors will be paying special attention to brake hoses/tubing. While checking these brake system components is always part of the North American Standard Inspection Program, CVSA is highlighting brake hoses/tubing as a reminder of their importance to vehicle mechanical fitness and safety.” ¹
“Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles. The brake systems on commercial motor vehicles are comprised of components that work together to slow and stop the vehicle and brake hoses/tubing are essential for the proper operation of those systems. Brake hoses/tubing must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and appropriately flexible. Brake hoses/tubing are an important part of the braking system so when they do fail, they can cause problems for the rest of the braking system.
“We all know how important a properly functioning brake system is to vehicle operation,” said CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson with the Arkansas Highway Police. “All components of the brake system must always be in proper operating condition. Brake systems and their parts and components must be routinely checked and carefully and consistently maintained to ensure the health and safety of the overall vehicle.”
Out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations represented 45 percent of all out-of-service vehicle violations issued during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck enforcement campaign. And, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 2018 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics, brake-related violations accounted for six of the top 20 most frequently cited vehicle violations in 2017.
The goal of Brake Safety Week is to reduce the number of crashes caused or made more severe by faulty brake systems on commercial motor vehicles by conducting roadside inspections and identifying and removing unsafe commercial motor vehicles from our roadways.” ¹
Hopefully you are well ahead of this reminder and have decided to reduce your odds in becoming a statistic in these inspections. Remember to keep your entire company involved, accountable and ready for these inspections and the daily safe operation of the fleet. Many of our clients have added additional pre-maintenance programs to their fleet to not only combat these inspections but to reduce road repair costs. Often times road repair costs are 3 to 4 times of that in your own facility or with your selected vendor. Many have also taken advantage of trailer pool locations and created the time to accomplish repairs and inspections to help avoid breakdown and prevent inspection violations.
What a great accomplishment it would be to have our clients’ teams show either “No Violation” inspections or a major reduction in all inspection violations affecting your CSA SMS scores for the next two years.
Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program, sponsored by CVSA in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.
Source: ¹ Brake Safety Week is Sept. 15-21 (June 18, 2019). Retrieved from: https://www.cvsa.org/news-entry/2019-brake-safety-week/ , accessed 9/6/19.
Posted September 13, 2019 by Erin
Safely Loading and Unloading Grain Trailers
Transporting and unloading grain at grain facilities may seem like the easiest part of the job, until you realize that some of the drivers may be farm workers who get little experience except during harvest season each year. Here are several safety tips to help keep both your experienced and seasonal drivers safe during this harvest season.
General Grain Transportation Safety Tips
- Be aware of and avoid contact with all overhead electric wires when moving grain transport equipment.
- Stay out of loaded grain wagons, truck beds and trailers in order to avoid potential grain entrapment and suffocation hazards.
- Do not allow children to play in or near grain wagons, trucks or trailers.
- Use extreme caution when backing grain transport equipment in order to prevent running over bystanders or other workers.
- Use extreme caution when traveling on public highways. Use hazard flashers as necessary to alert other drivers of your presence.
- Be extremely careful when field loading and operating trucks and trailers near ditch banks. At a minimum, stay away from the edge of the ditch bank a distance equal to the depth of the ditch.
- Avoid rollovers by keeping grain evenly distributed, and slowly travel up and down the slope on hilly fields.
- When the loaded tractor trailer rig reaches the mill or storage, it may be pulled across a grated dump. In the case of a hopper bottom trailer, each section of the trailer may be emptied by opening a sliding gate and letting the grain from that section flow by gravity into the dump grating. Then the truck will be pulled up to empty each segment of the trailer.
- The truck may be pulled across the dump for weighing and then be backed up to the dump grate after weighing in. The driver will not be able to see behind the trailer and may need a “spotter” or ground guide to back safely onto the dump, so as not to endanger dump personnel.
- If the trailer of the truck is not a hopper bottom, the entire truck (both tractor and trailer) may be raised by a lift to an angle sufficient to allow the grain to flow from the rear of the trailer into the grated dump until the trailer is empty. The lift is then lowered to level, the truck is driven off the dump and returns to the field to be refilled and the trip to the mill is repeated.
- Safety in the truck loading, transporting, unloading and return phases of the hauling operation cannot be overstated. Operators should be cautious during the transition from field roads to public roads, stops, starts, foot traffic during loading in the field and unloading at the mill because each phase has its unique safety hazards.
- Although many of the drivers of hauling rigs may be owner operators and have many years of professional experience in over the road operations with large loads, some may be farm workers who get little experience except during harvest season each year. Caution and practice to build familiarity with the equipment and extensive training in the specifics of transporting grain should be seriously considered before allowing inexperienced workers to operate this equipment. ¹
Grain Trailer Safety Tips
- Make sure the trailer is in good operating condition, including all required lights.
- Never overload the trailer or the tow vehicle. Always refer to manufacturer’s specifications for details and limits when in doubt.
- Make sure about 60 to 65 percent of the total load is placed in front of the trailer axles. Proper weight distribution affects how well the trailer “follows” the tow vehicle. It also affects the traction and “steer-ability” of the tow vehicle. When properly loaded, the rear of the tow vehicle should “squat” down a little. Too much “rear squat” and too much front lift of the tow vehicle indicates the trailer load is too far forward. On the other hand, lifting of the rear of the tow vehicle indicates the trailer load is too far to the rear.
- While loading the trailer, remember to set the tow vehicle brakes and to chock the wheels. This is important to prevent tipping and movement of the trailer during loading.
- Make sure that load will not fall from the trailer or move within the trailer during transportation.
- If using tarps, protect ropes and straps from sharp edges or corners on the load; these serve as wear points and locations of failure.
- Secure tarps so wind cannot get under the front edge of the tarp. This will prevent the low air pressure at the rear of the load from lifting the tarp. Avoid flapping as it leads to tarp damage which can reduce its capacity to protect/contain the grain. ¹
Source: Sadaka, S., & Johnson, D. M. (n.d.). On-Farm Safety for Grain Wagons, Semi-Tractor Trailers and Trailers. On-Farm Safety for Grain Wagons, Semi-Tractor Trailers and Trailers. University of Arkansas, United States Department of Agriculture, and County Governments Cooperating. Retrieved from https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-1065.pdf
Posted September 13, 2019 by Erin
Fall Prevention Awareness Week
This year we refocus our attention on slips, trips, and falls during the week of September 23-29. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most incidents in general industry involve slips, trips, and falls. Such incidents cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicle accidents as a cause of fatalities1. Slips happen when there isn’t enough friction or traction between a person’s feet and the surface they are walking on. Common causes of slips include walking on wet or oily surfaces, loose or unanchored mats, and flooring that lacks the same degree of traction in all areas.
Trips happen when a person’s foot strikes an object, causing them to lose balance. Workers trip due to a variety of reasons, including clutter in walkways, poor lighting, uncovered cables, drawers being left open, wrinkled carpeting or rugs and uneven walking surfaces. Common areas of slips and trips include offices, shops, public walkways, parking lots, and steps.
Falls occur after someone has slipped or tripped and they tumble to the ground or to a lower surface. OSHA notes that the majority (67%) of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 30% are falls from a height such as from a trailer floor, loading dock, a ladder or elevated walkway ¹.
Now here are some great tips on how to prevent these accidents from happening:
“1. Wear proper footwear.
This tip is simple enough, but is often overlooked. Encourage your team to wear comfortable, fitted footwear that has enough traction on the bottom.
2. Create traction.
It doesn’t take much for the ground to become slick, especially on sloped and smooth surfaces. Using anti-slip mats and tape can help to add traction when materials like dust and grease cannot be cleaned up or otherwise removed.
3. Keep it clean.
A clean workplace is usually a safe one too! Take the time to pick up boxes, ropes, and cords, and clean up spills to keep workers on their feet. This is especially true in work areas and in aisles.
4. See accidents before they happen.
Poor lighting in basements and stairways can cause anyone, at work or home, to misstep and trip. Adequate lighting makes it easier to avoid hazards (and also reduced eye fatigue). At home, leave a porch light on when leaving in the evening. You’ll be rewarded with a well-lit entryway when you return later that night.
5. Block off temporary trip hazards.
Use barricade tape, cones, and other floor safety products to restrict access to areas that present temporary slip, trip and fall hazards.
6. Mark out clear passageways.
Use floor marking tape to show where walkways are and that these areas should be kept clear. Tape out areas around swinging doors and stairways to help others avoid these hazards too.
7. Post safety signs to remind everyone of hazards and policies.
Posting the right safety signs will help to alert workers of trip and fall hazards, remind them to check ladders and scaffolding, and alert them to your policies for a clean workplace.
8. Gear up with the right PPE.
Fall arrest systems are important and essential parts of any fall prevention plan. Remind workers to wear the right PPE with OSHA compliant fall protection signs.
9. Inspect first, climb second.
Before you climb a ladder or scaffolding, inspect your set-up. Inspections require a critical examination from someone properly trained. If a ladder or scaffolding is in bad condition, tag it for repair or removal so no one will accidentally use it.
10. Train every employee to recognize and avoid slip, trip, and fall hazards.
Like any other safety hazard, slips, trips, and falls can be highlighted during safety training. Make sure that everyone can recognize and avoid slip, trip, and fall hazards and that they use PPE correctly when necessary.” ²
Posted August 30, 2019 by Erin
How Does Your Safety Program Impact Your Insurance Cost?
At Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency, we are fortunate to work with many great commercial transportation and agribusiness companies as they continually look to improve their day-to-day operations. One of the areas that we focus on in particular is the development of an outstanding safety program within each company.
As many business leaders can attest, when evaluating pros and cons of either implementing a safety program for the first time, or enhancing an existing safety program, cost and budgeting are at or near the top of the list as far as factors to consider. From a cost perspective, it has been proven time and time again that an outstanding safety program helps reduce accidents, which in turn reduces the number of claims reported to the insurance carrier. But how does that translate to insurance cost?
Insurance Cost 101
At a base level, each company pays a certain amount of premium to their insurance carrier in exchange for the benefit of insurance coverage. The amount of the premium charged to each company is based on calculations that typically reflect past losses, estimated future losses, and amount of coverage requested. Along those lines, a frequent metric that helps quantify a company’s losses is called a loss ratio, which essentially is the amount of claims dollars paid out vs. amount of premium received (see below). If the ratio is 1.00 (i.e. 100%) or more, more dollars are being paid out than received, and the insurance carrier is going to have to increase the amount of premium being charged going forward, so the lower the loss ratio the better. Conversely, the less dollars being paid out in claims, the less premium the insurance carrier will need to receive, and the insurance quotes offered will typically be more favorable to the company.
$(claims dollars paid out) / $(premium received) = % (loss ratio percentage)
When it comes to safety programs and insurance costs, there is still much work to be done. According to A.M. Best, the commercial auto space, for example, hasn’t had a combined loss ratio under 100 since 2010 (Commercial Auto Market Should Improve This Year But Not a Lot: A.M. Best, April, 2019), which continues to drive insurance rates upward as well, especially for those companies who are not proactively developing an outstanding safety program.
Other Positive Effects
In addition to direct effect on insurance cost, there are several other advantages to establishing an outstanding safety program and safety committee that have a positive effect on your company’s bottom line, including but not limited to:
- Ability to pursue and secure high-value contracts with more lucrative customers.
- Reduction in out-of-pocket expenses due to injury and illness.
- Reduction in out-of-pocket expenses due to property damage.
- Reduction in your overall injury and illness rate (OSHA Recordable).
- Validation of senior leadership’s commitment to a safe workplace.
- Increased awareness and appreciation for the company’s safety culture
- Invaluable feedback to senior leadership to aid in decision-making. (Ray, 2018)
As you begin, or continue to focus your safety program efforts on items such as growing your safety committee, determining root cause of accidents and providing comprehensive safety training, don’t forget to take time to celebrate the safety successes along the way. Some options include gift cards, cook outs, plaques and social media recognition. These celebrations don’t cost a lot of money, but can have a big impact and help the great people who work for your company understand that you appreciate what they’re doing on a daily basis to reduce insurance cost to the company. (Page, 2018)
For a more in-depth review of safety committee development, we strongly suggest reviewing the following great articles by our in-house Risk Consultants:
Commercial Auto Market Should Improve This Year But Not a Lot: A.M. Best. (April, 2019). Insurance Journal.
Page, S. (2018, October). Risk Consultant – Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC. Steve’s Helpful Hints – Safety Committee Meetings.
Ray, K. (2018, October). Risk Consultant – Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC. Safety Committees: A Valuable Tool for Business Success.
Posted August 30, 2019 by Erin
RECOGNIZE SAFETY SUCCESSES
Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event to recognize the successes of businesses that have adopted programs to improve workplace safety and health. Implementing a safety and health program can improve businesses’ safety and health performance, save money, and improve competitiveness.
Each August, we invite you to share your safety successes with us! We know that successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, while improving business sustainability. We look forward to learning how your innovative efforts to be #SafeAndSoundAtWork have improved your workplace!
For more information, please visit www.osha.gov/safeandsound.
Here is the link to the web page: https://www.osha.gov/safeandsound/
Here is the link to a flyer to reference: https://www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek/docs/Graphics_How_To_Participate.pdf
Posted August 28, 2019 by Erin
Formal Safety Committees
Safety Committee meetings can be positive and constructive if they have set goals and stay on task. I have seen many successful teams and also some that have failed terribly.
Here are some action items to keep you and your team on task:
- Managers before you start a team sit down and put your thoughts together of items you would like to see the team to tackle and what time you are going to allow the team to meet and work on the tasks with an ending goal date.
- Managers if you don’t have specific items for your team to tackle then a formal brain storm session should be held by you to decide what the team feels needs addressed areas of safety, improvements needed or even a company improvement. This requires a good brain storm facilitator to take the brain storm session to keep them on track and then break items down into objectives as you go suggestions or solutions listed in each category.
- Managers once you have gathered your ideas (either manner above) it’s now time to select your committee team and set the specific task or tasks, goals and timelines. It will also require you to pick a team leader and note taker that will meet with you at least one to two days after each committee meetings to review progress or barriers in which they seem to reach.
- Managers the first couple meetings should be attended by you. This allows you to set team guidelines and the letting the team understand that not all items that come from the team will be implemented and sometimes these ideas will take some re-work depending on the task or even cost prohibited item. Sometimes it might even require further corporate review or future cost planning to implement.
Non-Formal Safety Committees
- Some of the best safety committee meetings I have seen are best called “Tool Box” meetings. It is done in a matter like a football huddle or coaches locker room. Most important it is completed in the teams work area with a cup of coffee and donut or pizza depending on the time of day.
- Managers should have a small agenda in outline form in which they stay on track with team discussion and someone to assist them in taking notes as the “Tool Box” meeting progresses.
- These types of meetings produce strong efforts from the team and build relationships needed to work safe together! These sessions create “self-policing”. You don’t need tattle tales running to you every time Joe fails to wear all his PPE using the cut off saw or Sally failed to lock out tag out a tool. You want to develop your team to handle this task as they all want to work safe even Joe or Sally that need extra coaching.
- This style of meeting can also be completed on a phone from time to time though it takes real buy off from the team members to stay on track with you.
Last but not least, don’t forget to document all meetings to include attendees and make sure to take time to celebrate the success that your team brings to your business.
These celebrations don’t need to cost a lot of money! Certificates, Gift Cards, Cook outs, Newsletter Article, Plaques, Posters, Handwritten Notes, Company Facebook site and Company announcements of the change being brought to you by or sponsored by the committee will have big impact and help you change and improve your future business.
Keep in mind, safety committees can also be used in business improvements, retentions efforts, future hiring efforts and many other needs in which you must have the commitment of your company from the top down to be successful.
Safety Teams are your company’s future success!
Non Distracted Driving backed with Good Decisions and Good Judgment Calls will provide many Safe Miles!
Steve Page | Risk Consultant C.D.