A Business Insurance Agent Helps You Plan against Serious Work Hazards
On May 16, 2013, Hugo Hernandez Palomino, 28, was working on scaffolding when he was hit by a transformer. The force hurled him 8 feet into the air and down to the concrete surface below, paralyzing him from the neck down. The workers were told that the transformer had been de-energized when in fact, it had not. Palomino sued for negligence and was awarded $21.7 million for medical care, as well as for past and future lost wages.
Palomino’s case is just one of thousands of occupational accidents in the U.S. As of 2013, the latest recorded year, there were about 3,929 fatalities, 20.3% of which were in construction. Forty percent were due to transportation accidents, 17% were due to persons/animals violence, and 16% were due to contact with objects, falls, and slips and trips. The combined efforts of OSHA, state administrators, employers, union advocates and safety professionals have significantly reduced occupational injuries. Since 1970, fatalities went down by more than 65%, and injuries and illnesses by 67%.
Types of Hazards
Hazards are anything that cause workplace-related injuries and illnesses, and are classified into four main types.
Chemical: Solvents, gasoline, paint, smoke, asbestos, carbon monoxide, etc.
Biological: Contagious illnesses such as common cold, influenza, that may be contracted airborne, or through bodily fluids; also includes insect bites, fungal/bacterial infection, and animal aggression wounds and sickness from droppings.
Physical: Any situation that can cause wounds, tripping or falling, or electrocution, such as wet floors, heavy machineries, knives, poor wiring, defective ladders, or even sources of noise that can damage hearing.
Ergonomic: Seemingly harmless working conditions that may cause bodily harm in due time. Examples are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, repetitive motion injuries, uncomfortable chairs and desks and poor lighting.
Impact on Business
According to many a professional business insurance agent, workplace injuries incur different kinds of costs. Take social costs, for example, where the community ends up shouldering the task of caring for the permanently incapacitated without benefiting from his contributions in return. There are also organizational costs, where a business expends time and effort to train a replacement. Not to be overlooked are the economic costs, given that considerable money is expended to provide for the injured person’s needs.
In light of the above, experienced business insurance brokers emphasize the importance of risk management planning. A company’s finances can go wayward if the owners don’t have a vivid picture of what risks their business faces. Firms like Allied Insurance Managers, Inc. engineer comprehensive risk management programs that include disaster planning, hazard recognition, safety program consultation, job safety analysis, and preparation for OSHA inspection to raise safety standards and minimize work-related injuries.
(Source: Paralyzed construction worker awarded $21.7 million after accident at Pepco site, Washingtonpost.com, October 24, 2014)