courtesy Mark IV Builders

What’s the connection between a frayed extension cord and your insurance costs? Any safety oversight can cause jobsite accidents that raise premiums, lead to lawsuits, or worse.

At Mark IV Builders, strict safety practices have given us a strong safety record and a great relationship with our insurance company. The following may help you improve your record and your rates, too.

  • Ask your insurance rep to visit your company and review your protocols and paper trails. What other safety procedures can help you maintain the best possible price? OSHA’s website also has information that can keep you out of trouble.
  • If you don’t have a safety manual, create one. Ours is just four pages but clearly spells out the basics: company safety policy, individual responsibility, daily reviews, work clothing, protective equipment, tools, ladders, etc.
  • Keep a paper trail. Have “toolbox talks” at regular production meetings. Spot-check jobs, and document safety violations and actions taken, including reprimands of staff or subs.
  • Write up emergency protocols: what to do in case of fire, medical emergency, gas leak, flood; what the fire department will ask; emergency contact numbers, etc.
  • Have everyone sign each document (policies, toolbox talks, etc.) agreeing that they have read it and will abide by it. Keep these forms on file, in case the insurance company asks to see them.

A detailed paper trail helped keep our rates from rising after a jobsite fire a few years ago, our only major incident ever.
—Andy Hannan is production manager of Mark IV Builders, in Bethesda, Md.