5 Risks your Small Business is exposed to this Summer

Here are 5 Summer Risks Small Businesses face and some ways to deal with them. 

Summer Weather poses unique risks that all small businesses should prepare for. Not only excessive heat, but also natural disasters, storms, insects pose a threat to the health of your employees. How well prepared your business and your employees are for this season determines how well the business will deal with these risks. Here are five types of risks many small businesses deal with every Summer and how best to deal with those risks.

Blue Collar Worker dealing with the Summer Heat.

Summer Heat Exhaustion

If you have employees who are required to work out in the elements, it is important to have a plan in place to take care of their physical well-being. No matter where your business is located, your employees will have to deal with extreme heat in some way. Providing them with proper clothing, cold water, and talking about how they deal with the elements.

Summer Sun Exposure

Sun exposure specifically is a difficult risk to address. Some employees may want to get a Summer Tan. Others simply may not take the exposure seriously. The best way to get the employees on board with dealing with sun exposure is to model good behaviors among managers and key employees. If you wear proper clothes to deal with the elements, wear a hat, and apply sunscreen; your employees will be more likely to join in.

Summer Insect Exposure

Most insects are only out during the Summer Months. Insect bites carry life-threatening diseases like lymes disease, malaria, and wes nile.  These are only a few of the diseases that are spread through insect bites. The only way to eliminate this risk is to not go outside. Wearing proper clothes and applying bug spray can go a long way towards limiting the risk your employees face when it comes to insects.

Summer Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are an enormous risk to your employees throughout the employees. Early in the Summer some areas of the country face tornadoes. Later in the Summer some areas face the risk of Hurricanes. Severe weather is always a concern everywhere. This is especially a risk if you have employees who drive to third party locations as a part of normal business operations. Preparing for these situations and having tight controls on the actions of your employees is the best way to prevent the risks your business faces relating to thunderstorms.

Summer Natural Disasters

Natural Disasters are something small businesses must plan for. Hurricanes are especially common in the late Summer and early Autumn. If your business is located in an area of the country prone to natural disasters, it is important for your business to have a plan for how you are going to take care of your property and the employees who work for you. It is also important to have a contingency plan in place for when a natural disaster occurs. If you do business throughout the United States or Internationally, you will quickly find that business keeps on moving even when your community has experienced a catastrophic event. Having a plan in place for when this occurs can be the difference from a natural disaster being a small hiccup your business has to deal with or the natural disaster becoming a situation that completely pulzerize’s your business and forces it to close.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Return to Work

Why a return to work program should be a part of every safety program

If done well a return to work program can benefit both the employer and employees.

June is National Safety Month. In honor of national safety month all businesses should examine their safety programs throughout the month of June. One element of a good safety program is a well thought out return to work program. This is important because returning to work after an injury can be a daunting task for even the best employees.  Anything you as an employer can do to make this process less difficult for an injured  employee will benefit the injured employee as well as the business.  The return to work  process should start before the injury occurs by designing adequate safety programs to prevent and limit the damage of injuries in the first place. Unfortunately, being in business means some of the time accidents are going to happen.  When accidents do occur, the more prepared your business is to deal with those situations will have an enormous impact on how quickly an injured employee returns to work. Here are six ways to create an effective return to work program for your small business.

Worker with injured leg and doctor implementing a safety program that includes return to work.

Put your return to work policy down in writing

It may seem like a small step to put the plan down in writing, but having something on paper for everyone to go back to from time to time is helpful. It is especially helpful if you do not experience an injured worker very frequently. Your business could realistically go more then a year at a time without experience an injury that causes an employee to miss time from work. During the time in between injuries your organization may very likely have turn over in staff and management. Having a document to go back to is helpful for these new employees.

Develop a Communication Plan for the return to work process

Have a plan for how your business should communicate with everyone involved in the workers compensation system is essential to getting your injured employee the help they deserve and get them back on the job quickly. The communication plan should include detailed information for everyone who should be kept in the loop within your business, at your insurance agency, at the insurance carrier, and at the medical facility providing care.

Take care of your employee

When an injury occurs, taking care of the health and well-being of your staff is paramount. It is simply the right thing to do. It will help the injured employee deal with the injury properly. It will show the injured worker that the business does truly care about them. It will send a nonverbal message to your other workers that you will take care of them if they are injured in the future.

Report the injury promptly

Most insurance carriers will require a first report of injury form to be filled out before medical coverage is paid for. One thing to remind all managers is to document as much as possible. Even if it is on a loose sheet of paper. They can always go back and transfer this information to the proper form, but do not leave this information to memory. This information will help the medical professionals administer proper care to the injured employee. Also, insurance carriers document these injuries and if certain injuries occur frequently within a particular industry they can help the industry develop plans to deal with these issues.

Stay in touch with your adjuster throughout the return to work process

In the days and weeks after an accident it is important to keep both your insurance agent and your insurance carrier in the loop.  Do not be alarmed if your agent directs you to call the carrier. Processing the claim is the responsibility of the carrier and not the agent. The agent is not being rude if they direct you to do this. Your agent should be able to give you advice for who to contact at the carrier, their contact information, and how to address the situation when you talk to the carrier. Still it is important to keep the agent in the loop. They can be a resource if the carrier is not living up to their obligations, but they will be a more effective proponent if they are kept in the loop the entire time.

Close your claims quickly  

Once your employee has returned to work, it is important to let both your agency and carrier know this. Do not be alarmed if the carrier keeps the claim for several weeks or even a few months after the employee has returned to work. This is because if the employee reinjures themselves the insurance carrier does not want to process a second additional claim for the one injury. If this happens it can drastically impact the businesses experience modification rating. This rating is the primary way carriers determine what to charge your business for premium the next year. Keeping this rating in good shape is essential to your business.  For this reason, it is important to periodically check in with both your agent and carrier to make sure the claim is closed at the appropriate time.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Workers Compensation Insurance Jargon

Navigating the workers compensation system is a difficult task. It is difficult for the injured employee, but it is also difficult for the employer, as well as the health care provider. Everyone involved in the situation should have the injured employee at the forefront of their thoughts while navigating this system. Because of the complicated nature of the workers compensation there has developed a jargon used only within the system. If you are not familiar with this process this jargon will more than likely confuse you no matter if you are the injured employee or the employer trying to get your employee the care they deserve. Here are some terms to familiarize yourself with in order to more effectively navigate the workers compensation system in your state.

Corporate jargon word cloud concept

Aggravation claim: An aggravation claim is for additional benefits because taht are the result of a worsening of the medical condition by an injured employee after the claim has been closed.

Attending physician: The attending physician is a health care provider who is primarily responsible for the treatment of an injured worker. In some states this person may be called the primary treating physician or treating physician.

Average weekly wage: Average weekly wage is also frequently abbreviated to AWW. It is an amount of the average weekly wage of workers in covered employment. This may be used to calculate benefit rates for temporary disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and death.

Date of Injury: This is the date when the injured employee got hurt or became ill. If the injury was caused by one traumatic event, it is easily distinguished, but for repeated exposure injuries the date is not actually known. In this case the date is the first date the injured worker knew or should have known the injury was caused by work.

Exclusive remedy: When the workers compensation system in each state were formed, during the first half of the 20th century, the systems were frequently referred to as the ‘exclusive remedy’. The basic concept was that an employee who is injured at work is entitled to medical costs and some lost wages, but may not sue the employer for damages. The one exception is if the injury occurred because of something out of the workers scope or the employer did not take reasonable steps to prevent the injury.

Experience Mod:  The Experience Modification Rating is frequently referred to as the Mod or the Experience Mod.  The rating compares the businesses loss data to other employers within the same class code of business. The rating is expressed as a credit or debit on your policy. This is the number one factor insurance carriers use to determine what to charge a business for workers compensation insurance premium.

Federal employer identification number: The Federal Employer Identification Number is frequently abbreviated to FEIN. This is essentially the social security number for a business. It is assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): HIPAA is a federal law that is set up to ensure the privacy and security of health information. It also deals with a patients’ access to their health-care records.

Independent contractor: An independent contractor is a person who is contracted to do work but is not subject to the direction and control of an employer. Within the workers compensation system, an independent contractor must purchase coverage for themselves in order to receive benefits. The classification of an independent contractor can vary widely from state to state. Many businesses who think they are using contractors are actually using employees according to the state governing bodies interpretation. If this is the case for you business you need to purchase coverage and if you are an independent contractor yourself you may need to cover yourself.

Managed care organization (MCO): A Managed Care Organization contracts with an insurer to provide medical services to injured workers. If you are an injured employee, it will be important to have frequent communication with both your employer and the managed care organization. If you are the employer helping an injured employee, you need to notify them who the managed care organization is and what the injured employee should expect from them.

Modified work: Modified Work is important to getting injured employees back on the job and a part of your organization again.  A modification to an injured worker’s job duties should be designed to accommodate the physical limitations resulting from the injury or disease. This can be important to your business because when injured employee winds up on permanently disability your experience modification rating can be extremely negatively impacted.

Worksite modification: Making modifications to an injured employees worksite is something your managers should be prepared for in order to get injured employees back on the job and part of your organizaiton. The quicker you can get them back in to their work routine, the more likely the injured employee will be to return to full time permanent employment.

 

Workers Compensation Insurance Jargon

 

Resources:

https://www.hr360.com/Resource-Center/Workers-Compensation-Terms.aspx

https://www.dir.ca.gov/DWC/WCGlossary.htm 

 

Posted in General | Leave a comment

June is National Safety Month

What are you doing to keep your Small Business safe during National Safety Month?

June is National Safety Month. According to the National Safety Council, ‘National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities’. Saving lives is the first and foremost goal of National Safety Month, but there are many more ways a business can benefit from a safe work environment. Safety leads to less frequent and less severe injuries to employees. It also leads to less loss to equipment and property owned by a business. Plain and simple, in most cases a safe business is a profitable business. Here are some facts and figures to show you why your small business should participate in National Safety Month and implement the information you find out about a safe work environment into your organization throughout the rest of the year.

June is National Safety Month

Why is safety important?

Safety may seem like an obvious important aspect to any business, but when bills start pouring in safety may take a backseat to other issues. This is a very short-sighted view to take as a small business owner. Especially considering the substantial cost just one severe workers compensation claim can have on a business.

What is most important to implement?

Slips, Trips, and Falls are the number one reason a business has to file an insurance claim. Especially businesses that have high traffic like a restaurant. Because of the frequency of these claims, your managers and key employees should periodically take time to prevent these occurrences from happening in the first place. Slips, trips, and falls and not the most severe injuries. The most severe injuries typically take place related to heavy lifting, employees working at height, and car accidents. If you have employees who engage in any of these activities, it is important to address these risks head on and make it a regular part of your business to prevent severe injuries.

Where do we go from here?

National Safety Week is designed to bring attention to the importance of safety in the workplace. This exercise is not something a business should celebrate one month a year and quickly go back to old habits after the Independence Day Holiday Festivities take place. Using this time to get with key employees within your company to design or update your safety programs is the best way to benefit throughout the year. After this designing or updating of your organizations safety programs it is important to carve out some time to dedicate to safety on a regular basis. These safety meetings do not have to be long or exhaustive, but they should be regular and documented. This documentation can come in handy with your insurance carrier when you have a year in which you have several claims or one large claim. This documentation can be used by you and your insurance agent to show that you have the proper policies in place to make sure the issue does not become an ongoing problem.

One perfect reminder in the not so distant future is the Safe+Sound Week, which kicks off on August 13. This is a nationwide event led by OSHA to bring awareness and understanding to the value of safety and health programs. OSHA wants to include management, worker participation, and a systematic approach to fixing hazards in the workplace. The Safe+Sound Week is the perfect opportunity for a business to check in and see what improvements they have made to the safety protocols and what areas still need work.

 

Here are some statistics to show you just how important safety is to any small business.

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017):

  1. Fall protection, construction
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
  6. Ladders, construction
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry
  8. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements
  9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements
  10. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry

According to a recent survey of small business Employers Insurance, ’17 percent never got any workplace training. For companies with less than 10 employees, that number jumps to 25 percent’.

According to OSHA, 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016.

14,803 more people died accidentally in 2016 than in 2015 – a 10 percent year-over-year increase. This is the largest single-year percent rise since 1936.

Overdoses from the use of non-medical drugs and alcohol while on the job increased by 32% from 2016-2017. This ratio has seen a 25% increase each year since 2012.

Posted in National Workers Compensation | Leave a comment

Injured Employee Tips

 6 steps to take after an employee is injured

If you stay in business long enough, you are more than likely going to experience an injured worker. Even the safest of companies have instances that are not avoidable. How a business prepares for and responds to an injured employee will speak volumes about their company culture. A strong company culture is one of the best aspects contributing to the long term success of your business. Here are 6 tips to help you prepare for and respond to an injured employee.

Focus on the employee first

Focusing on the injured employee first and foremost is the right thing to do on a human level and it is the best thing to do from a business stand point. Focusing on your injured employee will prevent additional injury to your employee, it will show your injured employee you care about their well-being, and it shows the other employees not injured that you are there for them in goods times and in bad. It is human nature for those employees to look at the businesses reaction to an injury at work and envision how they may be treated if they are injured in the future.

Attempt to prevent further injuries

Prevent the employee from being injured further and prevent additional employees from becoming injured as well. The experience modification rating is the number aspect an  insurance carrier uses to determine what to charge your business for insurance premium. This is impacted by the frequency and severity of a claim. If you can limit an insurance claim to one injured employee and not multiple, it can help keep this rating lower. Also, if the injury to the employee is dealt with quickly and properly it will limit the severity of the claim. This can drastically impact your experience modification rating.

Know your healthcare provider

There may be more than one hospital or emergency care provider in your area. Make sure your managers and important staff members know where to send your employees to be covered within the workers compensation system. Some medical providers are better prepared to provide all of the medical needs an injured employee might need throughout the entire healthcare process. Starting them in the correct system can help the injured employee have a smooth process and return to work sooner.

File a report

Everything must be documented and documented quickly. It is a good idea to have your managers and key employees practice this process periodically when injuries do not occur. Keep a documented record of everything your business does in relation to safety programs, policies and procedures; as well as how your business dealt with an injury at work. The accuracy of these reports can be immensely helpful to your insurance carrier and a lawyer if one needs to be involved.

Contact your insurance professionals

When an injury occurs, contacting your insurance carrier and insurance agency is a good idea. You more than likely have more of a personal relationship with your insurance agency and that is probably who you will call first. It is a good idea to keep them in the loop when an incident occurs, but do not be alarmed if they direct you to contact your insurance carrier for the processing of the claim. This is the job of the insurance carrier and not the agency or agent. It is a good idea to keep the agent in the loop because they can give you advice about how to contact the carrier. They may know who is best to call or what things to say and not to say to the carrier. The agency can also be helpful in the unfortunate occurrence where your insurance carrier is not living up to their end of the 5bargain.

Learn from the incident

It is extremely important for you and your key employees to review what happened that caused an employee to be injured and what needs to be done to prevent a similar injury in the future. Documenting these meetings is important and especially any changes you made to your safety program or return to work program. This documentation can be helpful when you go to renew insurance after a year in which you had several claims or one severe claim.

Posted in General | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Home Health Care

Workers Compensation Needs for Home Health Care Companies

Home Health Care Companies have some of the most unique workers compensation risks that make the industry difficult to protect from the insurance carriers perspective and is difficult to provide a safe workplace from a business owner and managers perspective. Taking additional time to determine what risks apply to each individual business can go a long way towards the long term health of the organization. Here are TKTKTK risks most home health care companies face.

Find the best information about Home Health Care Workers Comp issues at the Workers Compensation Shop Blog.

Remoteness

Many home health care companies have employees who travel to one or more locations through out the day. This can dramatically impact the amount businesses pay for home health care workers comp. Working in someones’ home brings about a lot of risks that are out of the business owners hands. The condition of the home can be all over the place depending upon the customer. Doing a walk through of the location prior to taking on a client is a good idea to get an idea of the condition of the remote site.  Unsanitary conditions are a concern because of the health of many of the clients the company serves. The spread of infectious disease is higher than other industries.  In addition to the risks of your employees health is the fact that employees are working inside another persons home. When something goes missing, your business and your employees are an easy target to blame for theft. Having a plan for when this occurs will make a big difference in how your business deals with a situation when an employee actually steals something and when your employees are falsely accused of theft.

Driving 

A lot of home health care agencies have employees that drive to a remote location or to a number of remote locations throughout the day. The time during which your employees are on the road driving from location to location is a time when your business is liable for accidents that happen while employees are out on the road. This increases the frequency and severity of accidents that occur for home health care businesses. This can impact what a business pays for Workers Compensation Coverage, but also for all Commercial Insurance overall.

Lifting

Because of the health condition of the clients businesses work with in this industry; slips, trips, and falls are more common. This can cause an increase in the frequency of injuries to employees due to lifting the patients. Providing back belts may be something you provide for some or all of your employees. If your business finds an uptick in the frequency of injuries your employees experience, you may need to require employees to wear belts or other protective equipment.

High Turnover

Home Health Care Companies tend to have a high turnover rate when it comes to their workforce. For this reason, it is important to come up with creative ways to keep your employees happy when you do find an employee who is reliable. A high turnover rate can cause a business to spend extra time training employees and less time using an experienced staff to serve your customers. If turnover gets too high, the business owner may need to determine how many customers the business can actually serve. One accident to a customer can cost your business immensely. Sometimes having less patients who are taken care of properly is better than spreading your staff too thin resulting in additional problems for your risk management efforts.

Increasing Demand

Here in America we are experiencing an increasingly aging population.  By 2020, 17% of the entire population will be 65 or older.  That will results in 50 million people who will need help from the home health care industry. As the population grows, it may be tempting for a business owner to take on as many customers as possible, but in the health care industry quality control is of the utmost importance. Keeping adequate staffing levels and keeping those staff properly trained is crucial in this industry.

 

Posted in General | Leave a comment

5 coverages most Lawncare and Landscaping companies need

Lawncare and Landscaping Companies have unique challenges many other industries do not face. A few of the largest risks businesses face within this industry are high employee turnover, excessive amounts of time driving, and the use of highly specialized equipment. Here are five not so common insurance policies most Lawncare and Landscaping Companies should consider when purchasing commercial insurance.

5 additional types of insurance for lawncare and landscaping companies from the workers compensation shop blog.

General Liability Insurance for Lawncare and Landscaping

General liability Insurance, along with workers compensation, are the two types of insurance most businesses start with to protect their investment. This is because in most states, these two coverages are required by law for most businesses. General Liability will cover your business for property and and bodily injury liability your business faces involving third parties not associated with your business. This can be as simple as a rock from your lawn mower flying up and hitting someone while an employee is mowing to even something as complex as a business in another city on the other side of your state claiming you are using the same business name as they are and sewing you for damages. The one thing to remember when purchasing this policy is that it is not all encompassing. It is important to speak with your insurance agent about the limitations of this policy and what additional coverages you may need.

Employee Dishonesty Coverage

Unfortunately, in the Lawncare and Landscaping industry high employee turnover is a normal part of the business. Because of this it is difficult to ever truly trust all of your employees. Your employees are frequently working under minimal supervision on the premise of third parties. These employees are put in tempting positions frequently where they have the opportunity to steal from your clients. If you stay in business long enough you more than likely will experience employee theft. For this reason, it is important for you to consider securing an employee dishonesty insurance policy.

Business Personal Property for Lawncare and Landscaping

Business Personal Property is a type of insurance coverage that covers nearly all items of value at your businesses property that are not considered a structure, fixture, automobile, watercraft, or aircraft. That is a pretty general description, but depending upon the specific policy it could include items such as desks, chairs, tools, equipment, appliances, furniture, etc. BPP also covers Mobile Equipment like bobcats, forklifts, and other mobile pieces of equipment that are not meant for use on public roads and are not required to be licensed with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This coverage would cover these pieces of equipment when they are stored at your facility.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland Marine Insurance Coverage is designed to cover specialized equipment that is frequently in transit. Because of the remote nature of the Lawncare and Landscaping Industry, for most businesses most all of the work is done at a third party location. This creates a unique risk most other businesses do not face. This is unique risk exists because  your specialized equipment (mowers, weed eaters, chainsaws, etc.) is located or being transported to a remote location, it is not protected under a commercial property or business personal property policy. This is because the business has less control of what people do on the third party location. Because it is not protected under those policies it is important to consider purchasing and inland marine insurance policy.

Umbrella Insurance for Lawncare and Landscaping

A reality of the Lawncare and Landscaping Industry is that a lot of the risks faced by businesses in this sector have the potential to be expensive. A worst case scenario would be that an employee gets in to a wreck while driving your company owned vehicle. The wreck results in a totaled truck, several damaged mowers, and results in two severely injured passengers in the other car. Now depending upon the policy you have in place, these damages may exceed the limits of the policies you have in place. An umbrella insurance policy is designed to cover additional costs on top of other covered losses. The key to this policy kicking in is that the original loss has to be a covered loss, but the covered loss exceeds the limits of the policy. If there is a claim that is not covered (like a flood, fire, hurricane, or tornado) the umbrella will not kick in in place of this lacking coverage. The umbrella policy will only kick when a policy is in place and it does not have enough coverage to cover the entire loss.

 

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Lawncare and Landscaping

5 Tips for Lawncare and Landscaping Businesses when purchasing Workers Compensation Insurance

Spring is the time of year when most people start thinking about the condition of their lawn. For this reason, it is a very busy time for businesses in this industry. When business picks up in this or any other industry, with that extra business comes extra risk. The risks your business faces need to be protected with adequate insurance. Here are 5 tips to consider the next time you are considering workers compensation insurance for lawncare businesses.

Lawncare and Landscaping Insurance | Workers Compensation Shop Blog

Choose your equipment wisely

If you are a wise business man, you wouldn’t take a knife to a gunfight, right? The same concept applies to operating a successful lawncare business. When deciding which types of equipment to buy and how many, it is important to first consider the types of services you are going to offer. Target the equipment that will help you get the job done fast, first. Considering equipment that requires minimal maintenance is crucial. It is equally important to consider the total cost of ownership as opposed to the initial price. Just because a mower has a cheaper purchase price doesn’t mean it’s the best solution.

Take Hiring Seriously

Replacing employees is expensive. Taking additional steps to get the right people in place can save you immensely in time and money later when you do not have to rehire employees. Finding the best fit is most important. Sometimes an employee with a less desirable resume may be the better fit because they are committed to you and your business.

Implement a Safety Program

Safety programs can help your business in a number of ways. First and foremost, it will limit the amount and severity of injuries you and your employees experience. Also, it can be used by your insurance agent to get additional credits and discounts when purchasing workers compensation insurance. Additionally, a well-documented safety program can help your agent negotiate on your behalf when you have a year in which you have several claims or one large claim. The safety program can be used as a way for your agent to show the insurance carrier you have a plan to prevent these claims from becoming a recurring habit. Without a safety program in place, your insurance carrier is much more likely to raise your rate of premium or drop you from coverage altogether.

Include a Return to Work Plan

Including a return to work plan as part of your safety program can be an enormous cost saving measure. More than half of all injured employees who are out of work more than 12 weeks never return to work. This is when a small claim can turn in to an enormous cost for your carrier and have damaging result to your experience modification rating. This rating is one of the key components insurers take in to consideration when deciding to offer you coverage. Not controlling this rating can have disastrous effects on your business. A thorough return to work program can prevent a claim from moving from a slight hiccup to something that has disastrous impact on your businesses bottom line.

Consider Pay as You Go Workers Comp

Because of the seasonal nature of the lawncare and landscaping industry it is difficult to forecast a businesses yearly revenue or man hours. Because of this seasonal nature to the industry, pay as you go workers compensation insurance may be an excellent way to pay your insurance premium. This program allows a business to pay their workers comp premium each month based upon the previous months payroll. This is instead of paying an estimate based upon previous years payroll. This prevents you from over or under paying premium and prevents the need for most mid-term audits. This can save you time, money and a few headaches when dealing with your insurance carrier.

Posted in Lawncare | Leave a comment

Beyond Texting: Tips to Eliminate all types of Distracted Driving.

April is distracted driving awareness month.  Many people think distracted driving begins and ends with texting while driving, but there are many ways people can be distracted. The three main types of distractions related to operating an automobile are related to manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Here are 5 distracted driving tips for you and your business to use to help eliminate distracted driving.

Texting is not the only form of Distracted Driving. Find 5 distracted driving tips at the Workers Compensation Shop Blog.

Adjusting the Radio or AC/Heat

The first type of distraction a driver might face is the interior sound system or climate control system. Most people adjust this first thing before putting on their seat belt. Typically the last time you were in the car, the temperature needs were not the same as they are at this particular time. This is something that should be taken care of before a driver gets out on the road and the amount of time adjusting controls should be kept to a minimum while occupying the vehicle.

Eating

America is now a nation on the go. It is very common for people to eat while in the car. This can be extremely distracting to the driver. Many people think they are good at juggling two things at once, but statistics show this is not the case when operating a motor vehicle. No matter how business someone is, your life is more precious than any appointment you are rushing to get to.

Using a Navigation System

A navigation system is another type of electronic device that many people use frequently when driving. When using these devices, drivers are typically on a road they are less familiar with. Thus they are distracted by the device and by the fact they are driving on unfamiliar roads.

Smoking

Smoking is becoming less common than it was 10 or 20 years ago, but there still is a large proportion of the population who smoke regularly. Vaping devices are gaining in popularity and they contribute to distracting drivers. Smoking should always take place before or after operating a motor vehicle.

Lost in Thought

Many people get behind the wheel at the beginning of the day and after a long days work. These are two times when people are commonly deep in thought. First thing in the morning you may be remembering what happened the previous day or preparing for the days work. On the way home from work, many people use the commute as a time to decompress and reflect on what happened throughout the day. No matter when or where you are behind the wheel, it is important to not let these cognitive distractions keep you from the task at hand.

Posted in Distracted Driving | Leave a comment

Types of Distracted Driving

There are many ways people can be distracted when behind the wheel. Distracted driving is not only texting and driving. There are many things that can distract a person when behind the wheel. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles there are three main types of distractions; visual, manual, and cognitive. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and all of us at Workers Compensation Shop are dedicated to help end this phenomenon.

Visual distractions may include electronic devices, but they also can include anything that takes your eyes off the road. Manual distractions include anything that takes your hands off the wheel while operating a vehicle. Cognitive distractions include anything that takes your mind off the activity of driving. Here are some common examples of each type of distraction.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Texting and Driving

Because texting is such a common activity for most people, sending a text doesn’t seem dangerous to many people. However, when you’re doing it behind the wheel, there are many factors at play and most are distracting to the task at hand. The facts state that texting and driving is a hazardous habit and is becoming more common every year. In 2014, 26 percent of all car crashes involved cell phone use. Even when presented with these facts, 42 percent of teenagers still admit to texting while driving.  Texting while driving has become a greater hazard than drinking and driving among teenagers.

Using a Bluetooth Device

Talking on the phone while driving is not without risk as well. Even when using a blue tooth device, hands free is not risk free.  The only way to stay truly safe while behind the wheel is to have your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving.

Eating

Eating while behind the wheel is another activity that takes both your hands off the wheel, your mind off the activity of driving and your eyes off the road. For that reason, it is equally distracting compared to other types of distracted driving.

Putting on Make-up

Many people have lots of tasks to take care of throughout the day. If you have kids, you probably feel like you have been running behind since the moment they were born. No matter what the reason you are running late, it is never a good reason to do any of your grooming activities while behind the wheel.

Dealing with the Kids

Children can be extremely distracting when behind the wheel. It is important to remember that no matter how big of a crisis they are making their problem seem vocally, it is almost always not as serious as the task of operating the motor vehicle safely. No matter what the situation, it is important to wait until you can park the car in a safe place before dealing with the needs of your children.

Posted in Distracted Driving | Tagged , , | Leave a comment