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Construction’s Leading Loss Drivers, What You Should Know

November 22, 2019
Industry Blogs | 4 minute read

Though the means and methods of construction have changed significantly over the last 20 years, the three main loss drivers remain the same: Fall From HeightsLadders, and Eye and Face Protection. These loss drivers account for many claims across the construction industry—and pose serious threats to worker safety.

Listen and learn as Jake Morin, ProSight’s Value Creation Executive with over 20 years of construction insurance experience, shares his insights on these leading loss drivers—and how to minimize their risks.

1. Fall From Heights
First of all, it’s important to note why Fall From Heights is considered a separate loss driver than Ladders. Fall From Heights means falling from any elevated working area—which based on certain Labor Law could be a mere 1-inch drop—encompassing everything from tripping over a curb, to taking a tumble down the stairs, to falling off a roof. Resulting claims can range from a minor ankle twist to a catastrophic injury.

How to Minimize Risk: Safety is everyone’s responsibility, so there should be a concerted team effort to create and follow a safety plan which encompasses fall protection. This begins with a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) conducted on site BEFORE the job begins—whether the job entails an existing roof install of four solar panels or a multimillion-dollar ground-up build. During a job safety analysis, the insured’s Risk Engineer meets with the entire crew to review the particulars of the job and the exposures present. This review will help decide which types of fall protections and safety precautions should be put in place—whether it’s guardrails, safety nets, or personal harness systems. As a best practice, a new safety analysis should be conducted at every phase of the construction process.

2. Ladders
When it comes to Ladders, the risks associated with climbing up and down the rungs are the first thing that comes to mind. But there are many more factors to consider. Is the ladder portable or fixed? Fiberglass or aluminum? How’s it being used? What’s the max load? The Ladder exposure actually touches three different lines of business, including:

Workers’ Compensation—think shoulder, back, or knee injuries from lifting, loading, or carrying ladders at a job site.
Auto Liability—accidents occurring if a ladder falls off the back of a truck or doesn’t have the proper safety flags attached.
General Liability—property damage or bodily injury due to swinging or falling ladders that could hit the side of a building or a passerby.

How to Minimize Risk: Know in advance how you plan to load, unload, and transport your ladders. And don’t limit your thinking to just the Workers’ Comp exposure—consider Auto and General Liability, too. This will help reframe your thinking to consider safety for all three exposures.

3. Eye and Face Protection
It’s common sense to keep the face and eyes protected when using machinery that can send wood chips, metal shavings, and chemicals flying. But even something so simple as wiping sweat from a brow can transmit debris into the eyes if a worker isn’t wearing the right safety goggles.

How to Minimize Risk: Make sure you understand the type of construction that will be taking place to account for the exposures. Will there be welding? Grinding? Wood cutting? Also, consider the weather conditions workers will be in. Will they be outside? In the cold? Is it humid? Ensure they have quality safety gear that’s appropriate for the situation, such as a full face mask or wrap-around goggles that won’t fog.

It also pays to review OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards so you can find and fix additional hazards that could affect worker safety. For proactive insurance coverage that watches out for your business safety, look no further than ProSight. Contact Jake Morin for tailored solutions built for your construction needs.