Construction sites provide a golden opportunity for cyberspace mischief makers and thieves alike. Contractors and subcontractors share huge data sets including pictures, drawings, submittals, photographs and various other files where viruses and spy ware hides.
Operations concerns work in progress such as constructing the steel for a bridge. Completed operations is the finished process or scope of work put into its intended use by someone other than another contractor.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mission concerns the reduction and elimination of workplace conditions which lead to accidents and illness.
Your fireplace looks beautiful and adds warmth to your home. It can also be a fire hazard, though. Protect your home and family as you enjoy the beautiful ambiance when you follow a fireplace maintenance schedule and implement safety tips this winter.
Check the Chimney
An essential part of your fireplace, the chimney needs a thorough inspection once a year. Hire a professional to look for cracks and other damage and to clean out combustible buildup like creosote. Then, secure a spark-arrestor screen to the chimney as you prevent dangerous sparks from escaping and damaging animals from entering.
Start the Fire Safely
Before you light a relaxing fire, open the flue. Start the fire with only approved materials like newspaper and dry logs. Once you have the fire going, don’t use it to burn holiday gift wrapping or grill food.
Maintain the Screen or Door
Every fireplace needs a safety screen or glass door. It prevents sparks from flying into your home and discourages your children or pets from reaching into the fireplace. Ensure the screen is constantly in place and free from any damage as you reduce accidental burns and other injuries.
Flammable rugs, draperies, paper and other combustibles should be located at least three feet away from the fireplace. Otherwise, these combustible materials could cause a fire.
Use the Right Tools
Metal tools safely adjust logs and remove ash. Store them near the fireplace (but out of your children’s reach!)
Provide Proper Supervision
Always supervise your fire. If left unattended, sparks could start a fire in your home or your children or pets could walk into the bright but hot embers.
Remove Ash and Coal Properly
A one-inch layer of ash in the firebox insulates the fire. To remove excess ash or coals, wait until they’re completely cool. Use an ash vacuum or metal shovel, and place the materials in a secure metal container outdoors.
You’ll safely enjoy your fireplace all season when you use proper fireplace maintenance procedures. For more fireplace safety tips, visit This Old House online. Keeping your home in top condition can actually help reduce your insurance premiums. Give us a call today to update your home insurance policy and provide a layer of protection for your family and house.
Social media is a great way build your business’s reputation. Interactivity between merchants and customers has helped many unheard of boutique shops become Internet darlings with maxed out sales. However, fostering social media on your website or participating in social media on another’s blog can be dangerous.
The danger is Internet Defamation.
What is Internet Defamation?
Defamation is when a person makes false statements about your business such as stating that you use discriminatory practices in hiring, or you use dishonest practices dealing with your customers. Making statements like these and putting them on the Internet for anyone and everyone to see is libel. There are important elements for a statement on the Internet to earn the label of a defamatory.
- The person who published the statement was not the person defamed
- The statement is a false statement of fact
- The false statement was understood to be:
- About the plaintiff and
- Designed to harm the reputation of the plaintiff
- Should the plaintiff be a public figure he or she must also prove malice.
Businesses with a presence on the Internet, especially if the Internet site encourages comments and dialogs among visitors need to be especially vigilant monitoring about what other users post on their site. There is a powerful federal law known as Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code (47 USC § 230). This federal law is part of the Communication Decency Act of 1996. This law has precedence over any local or state laws and protects owners of interactive computer service providers from claims of defamation from postings made through reader’s comments and entries of guest bloggers. In other words, this law gives you, as a web host, protection from claims made from hosting information written by third parties.
Then why should a business watch what third parties say on their site? This is a valid question. You want your site and blogs to promote your brand, not distract from that purpose by allowing a “flame war” on your sites.
Allowing an offensive statement to stay on your site — even when written by a third-party — is off-putting to potential clients and customers.
Imagine: your own employee gets baited into a discussion and tries to defend your business. He then engages in Internet Defamation costing you customers and even cash if a lawsuit against you goes to court. Words have power.
Insurance for Internet Defamation
Even though the Section 230 language and the truth – if what you said is true it is not libel – help keep the threat of you being successfully sued for Internet Defamation lower, it is a risk that your insurance advisor can cover through your BOP policy, your General Liability Insurance, or an Umbrella Policy.
Talk with one of our risk specialists to understand your exposures and the best way to cover them with insurance.
The winter months are the most dangerous for people who work outdoors. Often workers succumb to cold weather illness when working outside. However, employees in other industries also have ongoing cold exposure as well.
These workers include:
- Delivery People
- Postal Workers
- Maritime employees
- Food Processing Workers
- Cold storage industry
- Supermarket worker
- Tow truck operators
Cold is punishing to people and exposure to cold has many negative effects that include dehydration, frostbite, numbness, shivering, hypothermia and immersion foot disease.
What Ongoing Cold Exposure Does
Continued cold exposure first affects the limbs, toes and fingers and then progresses deeper into the body tissues and the core of the body. If the core temperature of the body dips below 95 degrees F, the worker has hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous illness and along with frostbite is one of the two most dangerous dangers of working in a cold environment – inside or out.
When a person’s skin is has a severe reaction to cold, frostbite can occur. Frostbite freezes the skin and makes crystals of the body fluids including blood. The chilling effect of frostbite is permanent damage to hands and feet, ears, and the nose. When frostbite is severe, the worker may have to undergo an amputation.
Other Dangerous Illnesses
Frostbite and Hypothermia are the two most common cold environment illnesses workers get from cold exposure. Other significant cold weather injuries include:
- Cold Immersion
- Trench Foot
Prevention of Cold Weather Injuries
Keeping feet warm and dry is the best prevention measure against trench foot and frostbite of the foot. Boots that have insulation and are waterproof is one type of the many personal protection equipment available for cold weather injury prevention. Other measures include long johns that have insulation, cold weather outer coats, space heaters where possible and other appropriate cold climate measures.
Preventing cold weather injuries is better than treating them and having your construction company’s worker compensation rates rise. Make sure that you take all reasonable measures to prevent these types of injury. For more protective measures, see our Cold Weather Checklist, and also check out this article by Juan Rodriguez – good stuff.
Risk management is a process by which business risks are identified, analyzed, engineered, reduced, eliminated or transferred. Often, insurance is the final transfer of risk.
Certain risks point to insurance solutions, for example large liability limits for products or automobile exposures.
Other risks immediately point to engineering or operational risk management. Think of insurance as replacing a monetary loss. If a building burns to the ground, money replaces the loss as building funds or asset value. Now, think of losses that money cannot replace. Money will not buy a second Mona Lisa.
Failure to recover data from damaged computers, loss of cryogenically stored materials, losing the irreplaceable — these risks require management.
The cloud changes the data recovery problems of the past, but it exposes data to misuse and mischief. Simply keep a second portable record separate from the original. This duplication technique can be used for inventory management too; split mission critical stock storage into two locations.
Use redundant monitoring systems on refrigeration or other climate controlled areas. Implement a self-contained back-up energy supply such as a generator. If money cannot replace the materials stored, take avoidance and reduction loss control measures.
Do you have a product which requires a high level of expertise to operate properly?
Once the product leaves your care, poor operator training can lead to injuries or property losses. Distinguishing between defective equipment and operator error can be difficult, or it may become secondary to the financial depths of the stakeholders’ pockets.
If your product requires operational expertise, reconsider selling it as a service whereby your own personnel complete the task. You may save your company exposure to liability claims.
Risk management techniques work well with non-monetary issues or when components are irreplaceable at any price. Think through your operations and identify risks which cannot be solved with money. Risk manage those. We can help.