Viewing posts categorised under: Risk Management

How to Combat Driver Fatigue in 6 Simple Steps

Posted November 6, 2018 by Administrator

Truck driving isn’t an easy job. With difficult deadlines, limited parking, and ever-changing safety regulations, it’s easy for drivers to become stressed and exhausted. This is a recipe for fatigued driving, which reduces the driver’s ability to perform due to low energy. When drivers are groggy, they can’t react physically or mentally as they could when at maximum alertness. Fleets can use the following methods to battle driver fatigue:

  1. Get adequate sleep. A good night’s sleep is imperative for safe driving. Truck drivers need to stop driving for the day to give themselves enough time to rest to resume work the following morning. Drivers should also avoid getting behind the wheel during hours they would naturally be sleeping. In particular, truck drivers should avoid operating their vehicle between midnight and six in the morning.
  2. Take naps. If a driver begins to feel tired, he or she should take a quick nap if possible. Aim for 15-30 minutes for an optimal energy boost. Any more or less, and the nap may make the driver feel more drowsy, a condition known as sleep inertia.
  3. Avoid medication that causes drowsiness. Most people know allergy medicines can make them feel drowsy. However, a plethora of medications include warnings not to operate heavy machinery while taking them. Muscle relaxers, cold medicine, and sleeping pills are all no go’s while driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
  4. Practice good diet and hydration habits. Drivers should aim to eat their meals at regular hours and intervals to ensure good quality sleep. Going to bed hungry or after gorging on fast food can result in poor rest. Proper hydration is also key to remaining alert. Keep water bottles in the cab for easy access during the day.
  5. Avoid alertness tricks. Turning up the radio or rolling down the window may provide a small initial jolt of energy, but fatigue will quickly take over again. Drinking caffeinated beverages can help, but those can prevent drivers from sleeping later or cause more drowsiness when the driver experiences the inevitable caffeine crash.
  6. Know the signs. Drowsiness can sneak up on drivers, but, if they know the signs, they can pull over and rest before causing an accident. Some of the hallmarks of drowsiness include yawning, heavy eyes, blurry vision, slower reaction times, and impatience.

Following the above tips can help drivers stay alert when operating their CMV. To learn more about improving transportation safety, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

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.

Cyber Security Awareness

Posted October 31, 2018 by Erin

Cyber Security is big news these days, and for good reason.  Many large companies have been hit by hackers, and unfortunately some trucking companies have been victims as well.  Take this scenario for example:  Your server is hacked.  The hackers send an email to one of your office workers that purportedly comes from your Chief Operating Officer, and requests a large sum of money be wired to a bank account.  This is a deviation from normal protocol, but the office worker hasn’t been trained in what red flags to look for in emails, and hasn’t been encouraged to question anything suspicious.  So unfortunately the office worker proceeds with the request and wires the money.  The scam isn’t discovered until later that month when your Bookkeeper sees the entry in your bank records.  At that point you call your IT service provider to investigate where the hack originated, if any personal and/or proprietary information was also stolen, and re-install proper security measures to prevent future hacks, but by that time the damage has been done.

Fortunately there are measures your trucking company can put in place to prevent these types of scenarios.  Click HERE to learn about 15 Best Practices to Protect Your Website from Malware & Cyberhacking.  We also encourage your company to review your insurance coverages and speak with your Producer or Account Manager regarding available coverages to help reimburse your company in the event of a loss.  Below is a chart showing types of insurance coverages that may come into play depending upon each unique cyber scenario:

Source: http://www.gccapitalideas.com/2018/07/04/chart-the-cyber-insurance-matrix-explained/

 

For more information or assistance, please contact us at safetrucking@clinewood.com.  We appreciate your safety efforts!

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.

 

 

Safety Committees: A Valuable Tool for Business Success

Posted October 31, 2018 by Erin

The value of a workplace safety committee is often debated between those leaders tasked with operational assignments and those tasked with safety performance. The arguments against utilizing safety committees usually include comments related to operational inefficiencies (waste of time, slows production, etc.) or committee ineffectiveness (doesn’t accomplish anything, nothing changes, etc.).   However, when a safety committee is properly established and utilized, the financial and cultural benefits to a company far outweigh any actual or perceived negative consequences. Most companies which effectively utilize safety committees will argue that said safety committee is a vital component of the overall success of the organization.

What’s In It For My Company?

There are many advantages to establishing and utilizing a safety committee, including but not limited to:

  1. Potential reduction in Workers’ Compensation premiums (varies by state).
  2. Pursue and secure high-value contracts with more lucrative customers.
  3. Reduction in out-of-pocket expenses due to injury and illness reduction.
  4. Reduction in out-of-pocket expenses due to property damage reduction.
  5. Participation by front-line workers in identifying risks to the company.
  6. Reduction in your overall injury and illness rate (OSHA Recordable).
  7. Validation of senior leadership’s commitment to a safe workplace.
  8. Increased awareness and appreciation for the company’s safety culture; and
  9. Invaluable feedback to senior leadership to aid in decision-making.

Other Considerations

While from a federal regulatory standpoint safety committees are not required for most companies, several states do require the use of safety committees if you participate in the state Workers’ Compensation Program. However, since such requirements vary from state to state, please verify any such requirement via the agency which manages your state’s Workers’ Compensation Program.

In addition, if your company holds certain state or federal contracts you may have a regulatory requirement to establish a safety committee. You may also be required to establish a safety committee if you participate in any of the most recognizable national or international safety certification programs such as the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program, the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Program, or ISO 45001.  You may also have a contractual obligation to establish a safety committee by certain customers, particularly those in highly-regulated industries such as chemical or nuclear processing, oil and gas refining, hazardous materials manufacturing, and furtherance of intermodal transportation.

Final Thoughts

All that said, the ultimate decision to establish and utilize a safety committee is first and foremost a function of senior leadership, who must be fully onboard from the outset in order to successfully develop a safety committee, grow a safety culture, and successfully reduce accidents.

Be on the lookout for future articles, where we’ll drill down into the details, including: how to establish a safety committee, selection of committee members, how to conduct a safety committee meeting, and utilization of safety committee recommendations. In the meantime if you have questions about safety committees or other safety-related topics, please contact your respective Cline Wood Risk Consultant or email us at safetrucking@clinewood.com.

 

Kenny Ray, Cline Wood Risk Consultant

 

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.

The Holidays are approaching fast – beware of CARGO THEFT!

Posted October 31, 2018 by Erin

While you’re making preparations for company gatherings and thinking about holiday shopping, be sure to take some time to review the processes and checks your company has in place to prevent cargo theft – because thieves are already making their plans to take their presents early.  In fact, according to a Dec., 2016 Commercial Carrier Journal article, approximately $5.8 million in cargo losses were incurred during the holiday season between 2012 and 2016.1

If you’re ever been the victim of cargo theft, you’re likely very familiar with what that terminology means.  However, the Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board developed the following legal definition: “The criminal taking of any cargo including, but not limited to, goods, chattels, money, or baggage that constitutes, in whole or in part, a commercial shipment of freight moving in commerce, from any pipeline system, railroad car, motor truck, or other vehicle, or from any tank or storage facility, station house, platform, or depot, or from any vessel or wharf, or from any aircraft, air terminal, airport, aircraft terminal or air navigation facility, or from any intermodal container, intermodal chassis, trailer, container freight station, warehouse, freight distribution facility, or freight consolidation facility….”2

Much of this cargo theft occurs at truck stops, parking lots, and warehouses – or in other words where most commercial vehicles can be found.  There are a couple common theft scenarios.  First scenario involves a thief following a driver from the warehouse until he stops, then stealing the cargo at that location.  Second scenario involves what’s generally called “fictitious pickups”, or pickups where a thief impersonates a legitimate carrier and fraudulently secures a contract to transport cargo.  The cargo is taken in this scenario with typically no trace of the thief upon discovery of the crime.3

So what can your company do to help prevent this kind of theft?  In his Dec. 2017 webinar (which can be viewed on our Recorded Webinars page HERE), NICB Special Agent Steve Covey suggests: vetting potential business associates by way of internet checks (Safersys.org, FMCSA) and word of mouth/calling other companies; contacting local Cargo Security Councils and national associations to access the latest information and resources; and, make friends with the police before your problem happens (the police want to help you prevent theft and are happy to give their input).  Other measures that can help include high visibility lighting, secured yards, high security locks, and confirming receiving facilities holiday hours to help prevent unnecessary layovers with loaded trucks.1

For more information or assistance, please contact us at safetrucking@clinewood.com.  We appreciate your safety efforts!

1source: https://www.ccjdigital.com/cargonet-freightwatch-warn-against-holiday-season-cargo-theft/

2source: “Cargo Theft, 2016”, pg. 1, 2016 Crime in the United States, U.S. Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigation – Criminal Justice Information Services Division

3source: “2014 NICB Identified Cargo Thefts: NC, SC, VA”, pg. 1-2, Data Analytics Forecast Report

 

 

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.

Assessing Risk in the Farming Industry

Posted October 9, 2018 by Administrator

Running a successful farm takes hard work and careful risk management. Farms face several unique risks that don’t affect other industries. However, assessing those risks follows the same process. While the degree of acceptable risk and the approach to handle it will differ from person to person, the framework for identifying risks remains unchanged.

Develop a Risk Heat Chart

A heat chart provides a simple visual tool to identify if a risk is significant enough and likely enough to address. The chart below is a simple illustration comparing the potential effect of a risk on the left and the likelihood of the risk occurring on the bottom. The darker the color, the more damage the risk can cause to the business.

To make a usable risk heat chart, farmers need to perform the following:

  1. Pinpoint things that can go wrong. This includes external and internal risks. This step is critical because many farmers overlook risks they think are unlikely, which can come back to haunt them later. Some external risks include fluctuating markets, law and regulations governing farming, and weather events. Internal risks can be a loss of employees due to failing health or quitting, damage to assets such as a barn fire, personal debt, and more.
  2. Estimate the potential effect. Once farmers identify risks that can affect their farm, they need to determine how much it can hurt their operation. Farmers will want to seek input from employees to gain a balanced view of the risks. Using the above heat chart, farmers can assign five categories ranging from negligible to severe for the potential effect the risk can exert on the farm.
  3. Estimate how likely the risk is. Similar to the above step, farmers need to look at their risks and determine how likely they are to happen. From there, they can assign them to one of five categories ranging from remote to probable.

Once farmers know their risks and decide how much they can affect the business and how likely they are to occur, they can plug them into the various slots on the heat chart. For example, if a farmer estimates that a drought it possible this year (category 3 risk) and the potential effect is severe (category 5), this creates a risk score of 15—one of the hottest risks on the heat chart. This tells the farmer he or she needs to develop a risk management strategy to protect their farming operation. All farms have risks they need to address, but they don’t need to do it alone. The experts at Cline Wood can help you identify all risks that could affect your farm as well as implement strategies to mitigate them. Contact us to learn more.

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.

Cline Wood expands Risk Management Team with addition of two experienced safety professionals

Posted September 21, 2018 by Erin

CLINE WOOD EXPANDS RISK MANAGEMENT TEAM WITH ADDITION OF TWO EXPERIENCED SAFETY PROFESSIONALS

Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, has hired two new risk consultants to help its transportation and agribusiness clients build and enhance their safety cultures and design and implement various industry-specific risk management solutions.

Steve Page has spent over 30 years as a leader in transportation and safety management. His previous leadership positions within several realms of the trucking industry included roles focusing on safety and safety programs, compliance, FMCSR rules and regulations, and driver management/coaching. He earned the NATMI Certified Director of Safety designation in 2003 and many other awards and acknowledgments because of his work in transportation safety. Steve will primarily work with employers in the Midwest region.

Kenny Ray has spent over 30 years building a successful career in safety, security and risk management. His experience includes 25 years as a peace officer in Texas and many years with the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers in various leadership positions. These combined with his most recent role as a transportation safety director have positioned him well to support Cline Wood clients in Texas and the Southwest.

“We are committed to helping our clients build a safety culture that helps control losses and increase the value of their companies,” said Mike Wood, president of Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company. “Our team is made up of proven professionals who have met the challenges in the industries we represent and they will work with our clients to find solutions to those challenges. We are extremely pleased to have both Steve and Kenny join us, as they embark on a new stage of their careers.”

 

Please contact our Safety & Risk Management team with any questions at safetrucking@clinewood.com.

 

Farmers Share the Top 3 Challenges Facing Agribusiness

Posted September 11, 2018 by Administrator

Small and medium size agribusinesses now experience significant challenges from the local level all the way up to the global stage. They must stretch to meet the growing demand to feed the global population while adhering to unforgiving emissions regulations. This means trying to grow more food on less land to reduce their ecological footprint. To understand these challenges better, CASE IH conducted a survey at the Ag Connect Expo to find out farmers’ biggest concerns. By learning about farmers’ diverse needs, the agriculture industry is better able to innovate and develop technological solutions. Some of the biggest challenges farmers face include:

  1. Meeting the worldwide need for food. As economies boom and populations proliferate, it is becoming harder for farmers to keep up with production demands.
  2. Managing the dearth of land. With less land available, prices are skyrocketing. Farmers need more land to keep up with global demands for food, but purchasing the property is cost prohibitive.
  3. Mandates and regulations. The government issues new regulations in an effort to improve safety and reduce the effect of farming on the environment. However, this means farmers must be ready to pivot and change business operations without disrupting production or increasing costs.

Other concerns farmers identified included the stability of global markets as well as the advancement and use of bio-based fuels. When asked which of the above concerns will affect their farming operation in the immediate future, government regulations was the top response. Nearly one-third of farmers anticipate that government regulations will affect their business in the next year. Tied for the second top issue, about one-quarter of farmers named the lack of land and resulting price increases as well as the instabilities of the global marketplace as their next biggest concerns.

Despite these challenges, an astounding 89% of farmers expect their operation to expand within the next five years. If you anticipate that your farming operation will grow in the near future, you will need to address the above concerns in order to succeed. Part of business planning is identifying and managing risks that can prevent your farm’s success. Contact the experts at Cline Wood to learn how we can help you reduce risk on your farm.

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.

Distracted Driving – Keep Your Focus on the Road Ahead

Posted August 16, 2018 by Erin

Deadly rear-end highway accidents continue to be on the rise – but they can be prevented – and we have resources to help you!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,450 lives in 2016 alone.1 Our Cline Wood University webinar entitled “Keeping Your Focus on the Road Ahead”, presented by Mike Bohon – Safety Representative, Great West Casualty Company, focuses on this critical topic, the consequences of distracted driving, and details how to prevent these types of accidents. We strongly encourage your Safety Director and drivers to review this webinar at your earliest opportunity via our website here, along with other great information located on our Safety & Claims Resources page (click on the University tab, then select Safety & Claims Resources in the drop-down). Thank you for your dedication to safety!

 

1Source

 

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.

How to Manage Financial Risk on the Farm

Posted June 26, 2018 by Administrator

Managing a farm is a risky venture. Farmers can encounter production problems, environmental hazards, and financial risks. In fact, recent years underscored just how dramatically farming finances can fluctuate. From 2011 to 2014, farm income averaged $105 billion annually. By the close of 2015, this number plummeted to $56 billion. In an environment where profits can decrease by almost half in a short span of time, farmers need a solid plan in place to survive economic difficulties. The following suggestions can help farmers stay afloat during periods of financial uncertainty.

  1. Always pay attention to the little things. In prosperous times, it’s easy not to worry about the small stuff. A few extra dollars here, not getting the best deal there—it’s not concerning when cash flow is positive and ledger margins are in the black. However, when crunch times strike without warning, these behaviors will make a difficult situation worse. Making every dollar every day count can be the difference between surviving an economic downswing and folding under the pressure.
  2. Develop a reliable accounting system. Farmers can’t hope to build a successful agribusiness if they don’t track their finances with an appropriate system. Investing in enterprise accounting software can help farmers manage accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing, payroll, and more.
  3. Don’t rely on the value of the land. When the value of goods and services goes down so too does the value of land. Not only that, but land is not a liquid asset. Farmers can’t easily convert land into cash, and a rapid sale can result in a loss of profits. In addition, banks are less than impressed by real estate as a means of repaying loans. Instead, farmers should focus their efforts on products and services that generate cash so they can pay down debt.
  4. Make decisions. When the economy begins to turn, family businesses such as farms often feel the squeeze before major organizations operating on huge margins do. Many farmers feel crippled by the fear of making a wrong financial decision. However, inaction can prove much more lethal to a family farm than action can. For example, lenders will grow frustrated and less willing to work with farms that skirt their inquiries than those that at least respond. A willingness to navigate an uncertain future is much better than remaining frozen during an economic storm.

Managing finances on tight margins isn’t easy, but Cline Wood can help. As a top provider of agribusiness insurance, we go beyond providing coverage. We work with agribusinesses to understand their risks and implement strategies to manage them during difficult times. Contact us today to learn how we can help your agribusiness.

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.

How to Reduce the Likelihood of Sexual Harassment in Agribusiness

Posted June 13, 2018 by Administrator

Sexual harassment isn’t an issue that is unique to farming. However, the conditions common to farming present a significant number of opportunities and the victims often lack resources to make it stop. A significant portion of the problem occurs when farmers contract out their labor rather than hiring their workers directly. These farmhands are often unfamiliar with harassment laws or don’t know their rights. They also fear retaliation for speaking out so they remain silent.

How to Recognize Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment isn’t always overt, as it can be verbal as well physical. It can occur before, during, or after working hours when a supervisor or co-worker makes unwelcome advances while operating within the scope of employment. Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Unwanted sexual commentary, jokes, written notes, or derogatory remarks of a sexual nature
  • Unwanted and intentional touching of a sexual nature or on an intimate area of the body
  • Wielding a position of authority to extort sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or preferential treatment

Any sexual action that creates a hostile work environment opens an employer up to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Employers’ and Supervisors’ Obligations to Farm Workers

Any authority figure on the farm needs to take pains to avoid committing harassing behaviors as well as identify and correct inappropriate employee conduct. Supervisors who fail to put a stop to sexual harassment can be held liable in a lawsuit for tolerating offensive behavior. As such, all farming operations need to have a complaint procedure that allows victims to report harassment without fear of retribution. Employers should also include at least one female employee as a complaint receiver as many female victims don’t feel comfortable reporting to a male.

Farms should also implement clear disciplinary guidelines for sexual harassment claims. By following procedures every time, employers can eliminate the perception of discrimination or preferential treatment. Employers should also follow up on any reports of harassment to ensure it actually stops. When cases of employee sexual harassment make it to the courtroom, judges consider if the employer learned about the problem as soon as possible, how the employer addressed it, and what steps the employer took to prevent it in the future.

Protecting Employees and the Farm

Farming operations accused of creating a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment can find themselves at the center of an expensive lawsuit. Farms often operate on tight budgets, and a lawsuit can be enough to shut it down permanently. While taking steps to prevent sexual harassment in the first place is key, farmers can also invest in insurance to protect themselves and their agribusiness. Contact Cline Wood to learn more.

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.

Copyright © 2019 Cline Wood.