Five New Resolutions for Better Employee Safety (and how to actually keep them!)

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With a New Year and a new decade kicking off, it’s time to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re headed, and how to improve ourselves in the coming years.

Sound familiar? It’s always the same with New Year’s resolutions. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Work smarter. We have the best of intentions. Still, study after study shows that most of us never keep these resolutions. Many of you have already abandoned on yours.

But when you resolve to improve safety in your business, you can’t afford to give up.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018. That’s an average of more than 100 a week, or more than 14 deaths every day. Can you make your business a safer place? Here are five New Year’s resolutions for creating a safer work environment, along with some tips on how to actually keep them.

  1. Conduct an honest assessment. Take a hard, honest look at your operation to identify all safety risks. Check equipment such as fire extinguishers and personal protective gear. Thoroughly review records of safety violations, accidents, injuries, fatalities, and claim trends. Find out exactly where you are and what needs to be improved.
  2. Create a doable to do list. If you try to fix everything at once, you risk getting bogged down in a black hole of to-dos that never get done. Start by creating a short list of practical action items to achieve in the current year such as scheduling regular safety meetings.
  3. Improve communication. Have you created an environment in which every employee feels comfortable voicing concerns to managers about safety issues? If not, make it a goal. Open, robust communication is an essential component for any safety program.
  4. Turn near misses into opportunities. Near miss incidents are indications that something is wrong. Don’t sweep them under the rug. Learn from them so you can fix whatever caused them. If you don’t, the next incident might be a serious accident, injury, or even fatality.
  5. Take advantage of free resources. You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to implementing effective safety measures. There are many helpful resources available such as OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs. Your insurance advisor is also a great resource for risk management advice.

Once you’ve made these resolutions, how do you keep them from going the way of most New Year’s resolutions? Here are a few tips:      READ More 

Your nonprofit has an important mission to carry out.


Making a Difference

Your nonprofit has an important mission to carry out. Every dollar you spend either supports or depletes your ability to serve. Most organizations work with a limited budget, but all face exposures and risk management challenges that need to be met. In short, you need a broker experienced in nonprofit insurance with your mission in mind.
Heffernan’s Nonprofit Practice cares about your mission and understands your unique insurance needs. Serving more than 4,000 nonprofit clients nationwide, Nonprofits Insurance CHOICE is a division of Heffernan Insurance Brokers offering exclusive products and services not available through any other agency. Our alliances with nonprofit-focused insurers are among the best in the industry, ensuring you have access to the best programs and the most competitive prices.
Heffernan’s reputation and success was built through niche practice business such as nonprofit, construction, healthcare, transportation, hospitality, food industry, real estate and technology. With ten branch offices coast-to-coast and approximately 450 staff, Heffernan’s reach spans virtually every industry.
M. Brant Watson| (925) 330-1151 |E-mail | Website

Workplace Harassment Prevention

We’ve partnered with ThinkHR to offer a solution to clients who are required to comply with this new law. Think HR has developed a completely new product to meet state requirements called Workplace Harassment Prevention.  Workplace Harassment Prevention gives employers access to new and existing mandated training courses and best practices for updating policies and procedures, reporting incidents, and following up on complaints within each state they operate.

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What Every Employer Needs to Know
California has expanded its current sexual harassment training standards for employers beginning January 1, 2019. The newly expanded law requires all employers with five or more employees, including temporary and seasonal employees, to train all supervisory and non supervisory employees in California by January 1, 2020.
As part of your People Risk Management strategy, Think HR offers workplace harassment prevention courses for both managers and employees, including specialized harassment training for the states of California, Connecticut, Maine, and New York. Each course incorporates the necessary state references to meet the standards for California’s sexual harassment prevention training.
Want to know more about the California law? Read more here.
Want more information contact me.

Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151

Cannabis Industry Risk Management: The Vape Crisis

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E-cigarettes were supposed to be a healthier alternative to smoking. Millions of people started vaping as the fad took off. Now new concerns are raising alarm bells over these products. Vaping might not be as safe as people thought. As the cannabis industry continues to grow and tries to establish itself as a legitimate – and insurable – business, it will need to grapple with the vape crisis.

Reports of Lung Injuries

E-cigarettes turn a liquid into a vapor that users can inhale. The liquid is often flavored, and it can contain THC or nicotine. Fans of e-cigarettes point out that they do not contain the toxins commonly associated with traditional cigarettes.

But this does not necessarily mean they’re safe. In recent months, cases of lung injuries associated with vaping have made headlines. According to the CDC, there have been 2,409 reported hospitalizations for vaping-associated lung injuries as of December 10, 2019, and 52 people have died.

The CDC has concluded that Vitamin E acetate is the culprit – or one of the culprits, at least. More research is being done, and other harmful additives may be discovered. In the meantime, the CDC says that Vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarettes and that people should avoid THC-containing e-cigarette products, particularly those obtained from informal sources.

Targeting Teens

While reports of lung injuries stream in, another issue has been plaguing the vaping industry – teens love to vape.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. While 66 percent of teens say their e-cigarettes only contain flavor, 13.2 percent say they’re vaping nicotine, 5.8 percent say they’re vaping marijuana, and 13.7 percent don’t know what they’re vaping.

Vaping companies have been accused of targeting teens. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 70 percent of teens are exposed to ads for e-cigarettes. Both high school students and middle school students have seen ads in various forms, including retail, movie and internet ads. According to Bloomberg, both California and New York are suing Juul Labs Inc., an e-cigarette company, for allegedly targeting teens.

Read More 

Heffernan Insurance Brokers Acquires Henderson Insurance

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Heffernan Insurance Brokers, one of the largest full-service, independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States, has acquired Henderson Insurance. The firm has purchased the assets of the Newport Beach-based Henderson to join HeffDirect, a division of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, effective December 1, 2019Scott HendersonLaura HendersonJackie SmithJulie Nii, and Eric Manzo have all joined Heffernan’s operations.

Heffernan Insurance Brokers logo (PRNewsFoto/Heffernan Insurance Brokers)

With over 47 years of dry cleaner and laundry insurance expertise, Henderson has a strong background and understanding of the industry’s insurance needs.  This specialized expertise will be a pronounced enhancement to Heffernan’s niche practices.

“Henderson’s unique skillset and knowledge of the dry cleaning and laundry industry will be a great addition to the team,” said F. Michael Heffernan, President and CEO of Heffernan Insurance Brokers. “We’re looking forward to expanding our niche practices and our future together.”

“47 years ago we started by insuring the single-location cleaner,” said Scott Henderson, President of Henderson Insurance.  “Since then, cleaners and laundries have evolved into sophisticated, multi-location enterprises with complicated insurance needs.  Heffernan gives us broad policy offerings to allow us to fully serve the insurance needs of every cleaner and laundry, regardless of size.  And the acquisition allows us to expand from serving cleaners and laundries in only seven states to being able to serve them anywhere in the country.”

About Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Heffernan Insurance Brokers, formed in 1988, is one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States. Heffernan provides insurance and financial services products to a range of businesses and individuals. Headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., Heffernan has offices in San FranciscoPetalumaMenlo ParkLos Angeles and Irvine, CAPortland, ORSt. Louis, MO and Phoenix, AZ.

Employee-owned, Heffernan Insurance Brokers was named the Top Mid-Sized Broker in the United States to work for in 2009 by Business Insurance Magazine. The firm has been among the Top Greater Bay Area Philanthropists since 2003, donating more than 13 percent of profits to charity in 2015.

For more information, visit www.heffins.com.
License #0564249

SOURCE Heffernan Insurance Brokers

Careful Hiring Practices: An Essential Step in Reducing the Incidence of Workers’ Compensation Claims

The home health industry needs workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of 1,208,800 new home health aide and personal care aide positions between 2016 and 2026.  Finding workers to fill those positions may be difficult, leading to worries of a major worker shortage. But despite the need for workers, there’s also a need for smart hiring practices. To keep workers’ compensation claims down, employers must take precautions.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Home health workers face risks that can lead to injuries, and these injuries can lead to workers’ compensation claims. These risks include:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries, often the result of lifting or maneuvering patients
  • Automobile crashes, which can occur when workers drive from one patient’s home to another
  • Assaults, which can occur if patients or others become violent
  • Other accidents, such as tripping and falling, which can occur because workers are constantly visiting different homes with unique layouts and risks

These risks can be made worse if workers are not physically capable of performing essential duties, such as lifting or maneuvering patients, or if they use poor techniques when doing heavy lifting. Dangerous driving habits and criminal tendencies – including filing fraudulent claims – can also result in expensive workers’ compensation claims.

Although these risks cannot be eliminated entirely, careful hiring practices can reduce them.

Want more information contact me.
Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

Careful Hiring Practices

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Five Things to Know About Retirement Income Taxation

accounting-black-and-whitePlanning for retirement? Don’t forget to plan for taxes. Uncle Sam can take a big chunk from your retirement income. If you’re trying to make your money last, high tax rates can be a major concern. As you plan for the future, keep a close eye on the  following tax impacts.

1. Social Security retirement benefits may be taxed.
Many retirees depend on Social Security for a big chunk of their retirement income. However, this income may be reduced by taxes.
On the federal level, retirees may have to pay taxes on up to 85 percent of their Social Security benefits if they have significant income from other sources.
If combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000 when filing as an individual, or between $32,000 and $44,000 when filing jointly, 50 percent of Social Security benefits may be taxed.
If combined income is more than $34,000 when filing as an individual, or more than $44,000 when filing jointly, up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits may be taxed.
This means that it is important to consider how wages, dividends and other income sources will impact a retiree’s annual income. (Thresholds are subject to change; see the Social Security Benefits Planner for more information on calculating combined income.
It’s also important to consider state taxes. Some states tax Social Security benefits, but others do not. As a result, where you live can make a big difference in how much of your benefits you actually get to pocket.

2. 401(k) and IRA withdrawals are typically taxed.   Read More

California AB5 – What Does It Mean for Your Business?

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Classifying workers as independent contractors is about to get more difficult in California. The state has recently passed a new law, Assembly Bill 5, which establishes new rules for gig work. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020, and it could have major implications for any business that uses contract workers.
January 14, 2020 Top Ten Ways to Prevent Employee Lawsuits Enroll Here
January 22, 2020 Heffernan Retirement eLearning: What You Need to Know About CalSavers Enroll Here
On-Demand Insurance –
Get the coverage you need immediately with our Thimble

Heffernan’s reputation and success was built through niche practice business such as nonprofit, construction, healthcare, transportation, hospitality, food industry, real estate and technology. With ten branch offices coast-to-coast and approximately 450 staff, Heffernan’s reach spans virtually every industry.
M. Brant Watson| (925) 330-1151 |E-mail | Website

Commercial Insurance renewal creates an excellent opportunity

When your commercial insurance renewals comes due keep us in mind. Heffernan’s access and service platforms are exceptionally unique.
This creates an excellent opportunity for you to explore multiple coverage, cost and service options in the changing marketplace, especially If you have not shopped outside your current brokerage relationship recently.
Would you be open to updating me on your current placement and interest level in a brief conversation or email exchange?   10 minutes or so should be enough time for us to determine if next steps are mutually beneficial.

Contact me today to learn more about the best possible insurance for your needs.

Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior VP

Insurance for healthcare providers

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Growth. Disruption. Innovation. Times are changing in health care. Are your insurance and risk management programs keeping up?

With health care reform, a booming older population, industry consolidation, cyber risk, and evolving technology, there are a lot of exposures to consider in the health care industry. While change is good, it can create coverage gaps, oversights, and new exposures not considered by last year’s insurance.
Just contact me and we can review. It will only take a few minutes. 


Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers           
800-234-6787     925-330-1151 Mobile       

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