Archive | June, 2012

WCIRB Report Says Work Comp Insurers Lost $2.3 Billion in 2011

28 Jun

The reports are in for California’s workers’ compensation insurers for 2011, and the news is not pretty.  The insurers collected $10.4 billion in workers’ compensation premiums in 2011, but paid out $12.7 billion – $7.7 billion in support benefits and medical care, and expenses of $5 billion and thus lost about $2.3 billion, or a loss of 22.1% of premium last year.

For that reason, we are seeing one insurance company after another file for higher rates in California, and pricing their renewal policies much tighter as well. Continue reading

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Society of Safety Engineer Offer Tips To Prevent Heat Illness

22 Jun

Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience heat illness, which often manifests as heat exhaustion. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke.

To prevent heat-related work injuries and illnesses, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) suggests employers and employees take safety precautions and be aware of factors that can lead to heat stress, the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, ways to prevent heat stress, and what can be done for heat-related illnesses.

Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience heat illness, which often manifests as heat exhaustion. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke. Continue reading

Driving Safety – Distracted Driving Classified as Epidemic

15 Jun

Distracted driving, whether drivers are using cell phones on the road, “texting while driving” or otherwise not paying attention to their driving, has become so much a problem that the US Dept. of Transportation and Federal OSHA have combined to launch a new distracted driving initiative. 

An you as an employer, or a driver on our roads, should join in and help. Millions of workers’ jobs require them to spend part or all of their work day driving ― visiting clients and customers, making site visits, or delivering goods and services, or just commuting to work. 

The human toll is tragic. DOT reports that in 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distraction and thousands more were injured. “Texting while driving” has become such a prominent hazard that 30 states now ban text messaging for all drivers. In 2010  an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.  Continue reading

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Heat Illness by Year in California

8 Jun

Heat Illness by Year in Califonria

2012 is reported to be the warmest year on record, according to the Weather Service. In California already this spring, two worker deaths could be attributable to heat illness. And summer is still about two weeks away.

In all of 2011, there were two confirmed heat-related fatalities. There also were two in 2010, Cal/OSHA says they are placing their “highest priority” on heat illness prevention. DIR Director Christine Baker said on a June conference call that many employers are complying with the Cal/OSHA rules designed to prevent heat illness, but the agency has seen evidence that other employers “are still not providing basic protections to workers.”

Cal/OSHA is partnering with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and the Labor Enforcement Task Force will target both agriculture and construction.

The latest suspected heat illness cases involved construction and agricultural workers. On June 1 in Coalinga, a 56-year-old farm worker collapsed while pruning suckers from pomegranate trees in high-heat conditions. Emergency responders were summoned but he died at a local medical center. The worker was an employee of Temp Handbody Farm Labor Service of Riverdale, according to the Department of Industrial Relations. Continue reading

You May Have Missed It – Workers’ Compensation Insurance Premiums Are Rising in California

4 Jun

As noted recently by Marc J. Beaulieu, CPCU, ARM, Senior Vice President, Preferred Employers Insurance Co., “workers’ compensation insurance companies have begun increasing rates all over California.

The state’s business owners should expect many insurers to pass on rate increases effective July 1, 2012. Some businesses will see minor rate adjustments in the 2%-5% range while others could get clobbered with 15% or more.” 

CA Insurance Commissioner Jones approved a 8.26% increase in “pure premium” rate for California workers’ compensation insurance as of July 1, 2012 policies.  This increase is on top of a January 1, 2012 rate of $2.30 which was first increase approved by any California Insurance Commissioner since January 1, 2009.   Continue reading