From time to time we receive calls from our clients regarding what they should tell their employees who have sustained a work related injury. Below is a list of questions and answers that best fit what we tell them.
1. What is one of the first things I should do if I get injured on the job?
First thing to do is to notify your direct supervisor or manager right away. The longer you delay this the longer it could take to receive care. Make sure that they complete some sort of report for the accident. This will make sure that any information that is needed in order to process your workers compensation claim is recorded with it being fresh in everyone’s mind. Your employer might also have a specific medical facility that they use and they can then guide you to it or set up the transportation needed.
2. What happens if I am injured for a long period of time and cannot return to work right away?
Don’t worry, if you can’t perform your duties at work due to injuries sustained while working, then the Workers Compensation Active can provide you with vocational retraining or rehabilitation. Each state has different ways in which to pay for this rehabilitation, many of which using the benefits under your workers compensation insurance policy to do so. It’s always a good idea to contact your Insurance Agent to find out if you in fact will need such a policy.
3. How long will the process of my claim take?
Typically, if your injuries only caused you to have medical bills with no lost wages then the amount of time that a claim will stay open is for approximately one year after the last day that any medical expenses were paid out. If however, you had lost time payments made then the period could be about twice as long so that the claim could be open for another two years past the last day payments for lost wages were given.
4. What are some of the benefits that I could expect?
Some of the benefits to workers compensation insurance may include the following; Payments for medical treatments that you must have as a result of work related injuries, benefit for any long-term or permanent disability caused by work related injuries, occupational retraining or rehabilitation and payments for lost salary as a result of the work related injury.
5. And benefits for death?
This is the toughest benefit to answer. Each state has different laws and regulations that determine the death benefits that are received by the dependants. In some cases the dependant could expect to receive wage payments for a determined amount of time. Contacting your local legal counsel that specializes in workers compensation claims is advisable.
6. Should I allow the workers compensation insurance carrier to question me and record what I say?
The insurance carrier that is providing the benefits in case you are injured will most likely contact you for a statement of what happened. In many cases the carrier or claims adjuster that is assigned to your claim will want to record your statement for accuracy. This should not be a problem and is very standard but if you believe that the carrier is or could be questioning the circumstances then you may want to contact your local legal counsel specializing in workers compensation law prior to allowing the carrier to record your statement.
7. Can I be dismissed from my job for filing a claim?
Absolutely not. There are many state laws that against employers to let employees go for filing work comp claims. Also, federal laws are in place to protect the employee again being fired for filing a workers compensation insurance claim as well.
8. Are workplace injuries very common?
You bet. Everyday there are many job related injuries which is why so many states have laws that are geared towards protecting employees. The statistics are alarming as to how many daily injuries and death as a result of workplace accidents.
9. Are there any special considerations for being part of a union?
There are some. You may be able to approach your union to get in touch with the union steward. They may be able to help negotiate benefits and possibly guide you in the process of your claim. They might even be able to advise you on whether or not you may need an attorney to help with the claim process. It’s always a good idea to check.
It should be common practice for a general contractor to inspect job sites with multiple sub contractors. During the inspection, there is a good chance the GC will run into a sub contractor that complains that the general contractor picks on them for minor safety infractions. Sometimes what a sub contractor considers a minor safety infraction is a major safety problem to a GC. Most general contractors will explain that they don’t want to see them get hurt, which is normally the case and that should be enough explanation. If that doesn't work, then the general contractor might need to explain to them what OSHA calls its multi-employer directive.
This directive was made to define safety responsibilities if there’s more than one company working on the same jobsite. Usually, the person with the most to lose is the general contractor because they’re responsible for everybody on the site. A good overview of how everyone is seen in the eyes of OSHA is as follows:
In regard to multi-employer work sites, an employer can be classified as creating, exposing, correcting or controlling of hazards. If a company exposes a subcontractor’s employees to a hazard, they are creating or exposing, and if the host company has a contract to oversee and control a subcontractor’s work practices, they would be classified as controlling or correcting.
The above defines a controlling employer as "an employer who has general supervisory authority over the worksite, including the power to correct safety and health violations itself or require others to correct them. Control can be established by contract or, in the absence of explicit contractual provisions, by the exercise of control in practice."
OSHA also states that the controlling employer must exercise reasonable care to prevent and detect violations on the site.
What this basically means is, if a contractor's employees are facing injury from a sub contractor’s negligence, they have to take immediate action to remove their employees from the hazard. The contractor must also use any contract provisions that require safe work conditions, and let the subcontractor know about the safety issue.
With all of this in mind it becomes pretty clear that general contractors and sub contractors are joined at the hip when it comes to safety issues. If you think about the high number of sub contractors working some of these jobs you can see why a general contractor might be worried. Not only are they responsible for running a safe project, they also want to avoid OSHA citations for their sub contractor’s negligence.
With so many incentives and energy credits coming down the pipeline,
solar installation is on the rise for both residential and commercial
properties around the United States. And why not, you feel good while
reaping the incentives. Along with this boom in installations comes a
brand new problem for the insurance industry; how to properly insure
your solar contractor. It's not as straight forward as one would
believe. Many insurance carriers have no written rates for this type of
contractors insurance and therefore will not provide coverage even
though solar contractors may have less risk than say, a roofing
contractor they do have their own special types of risks to cover.
One risk that solar contractors have to worry about is damage to bodily injury or property damage to a third party. A good general liability insurance policy is recommended in order to properly cover these. The difficult part is understanding the different trades that come along with Solar Contractors. Some carriers although do not have specific rates for true Solar Contractors will allow the Insurance Agent to blend several rates together for the particular trades that are used by the Contractor in order to customize a policy for their client. This is where a knowledgeable Agent comes in handy. Depending on the specific types of solar array, the carriers might agree to allow lower rates for the lower risk trades associated with their work. This could mean the difference between higher and lower overall premiums.
Solar, inherantly being what it is, usually needs to be installed up high. This increases the risk of employee injury, yes, much like roofers. In many states, Workers Compensation Insurance is mandatory with different factors being involved. It's important to check with your Agent or local authority in order to find out if you are required to carry Workers Compensation Insurance and at what limits.
Loss of Income: Much different than most other Contractors Insurance policies, loss of revenue generated by improper design or installation on the part of the Solar Contractor can be very costly. Most Contractors Insurance policies will specifically exclude this as it tends to be in between different types of policy types, so beware.
Care Custody and Control: Solar arrays can be expensive and fragile to say the least. One slip and you can be dealing with thousands in damaged equipment. There are policies that are designed to cover these products in case of damage while in the Contractors control.
Solar Contractors have a combination of risks to think about and their Insurance Agents have the job of properly defining them while also saving money for the client. With a good understanding of these risks there should be no reason not to sleep good at night knowing you are properly covered.