Reduce your risk for home fires by following basic safety practices: no overloaded circuits, close electric panel doors, and don’t overuse power strips.
Homes should be inspected by a licensed, qualified electrician if electrical updates haven’t been done in the last 30 years.
Check the age of your circuit breaker panel — it can wear out even if it hasn’t been tripped lately.
Older materials like knob and tube wiring should be removed by a licensed electrician.
If a building has aluminum wiring, an electrician should evaluate the condition of the wiring and confirm that connections are secure.
Have your electrician replace Federal Pacific electric panels and Stab Lok circuit breakers immediately. They are out of date because of a high fire risk.
Keep combustible material at least 3 feet from electric panels.
Limit extension cord use as much as possible and don’t use extension cords for permanent use.
If cords are necessary, use only UL-listed cords and never use damaged power strips or cords.
Don’t overload extension cords and strips.
Never cover power strips, which can cause overheating.
Avoid using space heaters that are not attended.
If a space heater is necessary, use only UL-listed heaters with automatic high temperature shut off and tip-over protection.
Never plug a space heater into a power strip; only use wall outlets directly.
Don’t leave stoves and ranges unattended with open flames.
Watch grease closely when frying and don’t leave unattended.
Keep grease and combustible material at least 3 feet away from range surfaces when in use.
Have a smoke detector on every level of your home. Change batteries every year and replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
Never fuel or transfer fuel from equipment inside a building.
If you weld, keep welding areas clean and clear combustible dust off equipment before welding.
Keep properly maintained fire extinguishers in the shop and near all welding equipment.
“Hot work” describes work that produces heat or sparks and takes place outside of the controls found in normal work areas.
When performing hot work, clear work areas of combustible material, always keep a fire extinguisher on hand, and maintain a fire watch.
Water heaters use a lot of energy and having more than one or two heaters can stress circuits.
Regardless of equipment size and speed, most accidents involving trucks or mobile equipment and workers on foot result in serious injuries or death. Provide space for equipment to operate and maintain awareness at all times.
Follow all OSHA rules for safe welding practices that includes workstation setup, personal protective equipment, equipment use, and gas cylinder storage.
OSHA also estimates the average $500 workers’ compensation claim results in $2,250 of indirect cost to the employer. Accident prevention is good for people and business.
Report all workers’ compensation claims as soon as possible to involve professional claim representatives.
To help people recover faster and return to their normal duties sooner, find transitional work for employees returning from a medical leave.
Even if equipment has proper guards in place, many accidents occur during service or repair work, when the guard is temporarily removed.
Implement lockout procedures that follow OSHA requirements and ensure that the procedures are followed at all times to de-energize and secure equipment.
Lifts with articulating booms are used in a wide variety of construction jobs and account for about 70% of lift accidents. Hazards include falls, tip over or collapse, and electrocution. Follow all OSHA and manufacturer requirements for use, inspection, and maintenance.
When lifting a heavy weight, lift at waist level with hands close to the body. Try to avoid over the shoulder and below the knee lifts, or with hands extended.
When turning while carrying a heavy weight, never twist! Step in the direction you want to go.
Bend your knees to pick up and set down loads.
When using your arms to move objects, take time to reposition your body to stay close to the work to avoid overloading shoulder joints from reaching too far. Don’t reach for things above your head or that are out of reach if possible.
Don’t jerk to lift or pull or push sticking objects.
Get help or use lifting aids or supports before moving heavy objects or when you need to hold an object for several seconds.
If you must hold an overhead position to paint or work, let your body recover before fatigue and discomfort starts.
Watch for fatigue, stress, and other physical factors that can affect driving.
Reduce the risk for automobile accidents by implementing driver hiring practices, a cell phone policy, and accident reporting procedures.
If you must park in an alley or driveway, try to back in and drive out if possible.
Back slowly and keep your eyes moving, using mirrors to check sides and the rear view for clearance and changing situations. Note tight corners, other vehicles, people, and fixed objects.
Avoid low-cost household fans in barns. They do not have sealed bearings and are prone to collect dust and grit, which can cause overheating.
Periodically clean dust or chaff off fans and other electrical devices.
Many large farm equipment fires occur after the machine has been shut down when dry debris, grease, or leaking hoses are ignited by warm parts. Always let equipment cool down before leaving it alone, especially if it’s parked inside a building.
Frequently blow leaves, chaff and other harvest materials from the engine area of large farm equipment using an air compressor or portable leaf blower.
Periodically remove caked-on oil, grease, and crop residue from large farm equipment using a pressure washer.
Remove crop residue wrapped around bearings, belts and other moving parts from large farm equipment before continuing to use it.
When refueling vehicles and large equipment, always shut off the engine and let the equipment cool before you refuel.
Keep a 10-pound ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher in the cab of any large farm equipment.
Keep the operator platform and steps on any large farm equipment stable and free of debris or slippery material.
Ladder falls represent nearly 3 percent of all workplace fatalities in some years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Train all employees and enforce proper ladder use and give people time to set up and use ladders properly.
When walking on a slippery surface, take short steps or shuffle if necessary and focus on balance.
Minimize distractions or carrying material on slippery surfaces if possible.
If you rent a crane with an operator, did you know that there is a premium charge for general liability, even if the company provides a certificate of insurance? The premium charge is calculated based on wages and can be up to one-third of the total amount paid.
Did you know that Hastings Mutual customers that use leasing/staffing firms are still responsible for their payroll exposure for purposes of a premium audit? The general liability certificate of insurance from the leasing/staffing firm covers activities as a staffing firm, not the many types of labor performed by workers sent to a workplace.
A premium audit reviews payrolls after a policy term expires or after the policy is cancelled. This determines the final Workers’ Compensation premium.
Final Workers’ Compensation premiums are adjusted following a premium audit and can result in a premium refund or an additional charge.
Premium audits can benefit employers by verifying proper business classifications.
Even if a premium audit results in an additional charge, an accurate audit benefits the business by helping to accurately plan for future business expenses.
A typical premium audit takes less than 2 hours and requires little from the business, especially if the account is prepared for the audit.
Preparing and having the information available will reduce premium audit time and help with accuracy.
Before a premium audit, policyholders will receive a packet of information used to complete the audit.
General information needed for a premium audit includes a description of operations, officer and employee names, titles, job duties, and employee counts by location.
Payroll information needed for a premium audit includes gross pay, bonuses, pretax information, vacation pay, and sick pay.
Subcontractor information is needed for an accurate premium audit. This includes names, certificates of insurance, project contracts and invoices, and licenses if required by the state.
Did you know that information on employee meals and housing is needed for an accurate premium audit?
When a policyholder conducts a self-audit, the Premium Audit Information Request (PAIR) is sent on or near the policy’s expiration date. The agent is notified at the same time. If the completed form is not received within 30 days, a second PAIR is sent as well as notification to agent, and another 30 days is allowed for return.
When a completed Premium Audit Information Request (PAIR) is received, the audit team reviews it for completeness, applies all state and Hastings Mutual rules, and processes the final audit using actual exposures for the policy period.
If the Premium Audit Information Request (PAIR) is not returned, a self-audit is processed as non-compliant, resulting in a higher charge. This can be a 0%, 15%, or 25% increase of the estimated exposure. A Premium Audit Information Request (PAIR) is sent when processing a non-compliant final audit, allowing the insured another chance to provide audit information.
Policies in a non-compliant audit status can be cancelled at the discretion of Hastings Mutual management.
Audit requests are sent 35 days before policy expiration date to either a Hastings Mutual auditor or one of our vendors.
If a policyholder disputes a premium audit, they can request a review and revision. If the final audit is disputed, billing cannot be held until the revision information is received in writing, and an audit reviewer has confirmed a revision will be done.
It is the agent’s and insured’s responsibility to contact Accounting and request a premium audit revision after a dispute. The Audit department will only note that a file is being disputed.
Did you know that you have access to our professional staff of Loss Control consultants? Access is available with in-person visits or to assist with questions by phone or email.
The Hastings Mutual Loss Control team can provide technical assistance and consultation on a wide variety of topics related to worker compensation, property, automobile, liability, or farm risk.
Did you know our Loss Control team includes these professional designations? Certified Safety Professionals, Certified Industrial Hygienist, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Associate in Risk Management, Associate Loss Control Management, Associate in General Insurance, Certified Fire Protection Specialist, Associate in General Insurance, Associate in Insurance Services.
Hastings Mutual Insurance Company
404 E. Woodlawn Ave.
Hastings, MI 49058
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (EST)