Ensuring Your College Students have Proper Insurance Coverage

With most college students living in a dorm or off-campus housing, it’s imperative they review their family’s insurance policies to ensure they have insurance coverage for their possessions.

With expensive electronics, sports equipment, and furniture inside of many student apartments, it’s important to make sure you have coverage for those items.

Unfortunately, for many of these students, they will not have any insurance coverage under their parents’ homeowners or renters policies.

The Insurance Information Institute recommends doing the following before your child goes to college:

    1. Create an inventory to document what’s leaving home: The I.I.I. suggests making a list of all the items your student will be taking with him and listing their estimated value.   To make the process easier, you can use a free web-based software called know KnowYourStuff.org. Be sure to note specific high-value items such as a computer, camera or musical instrument and scan receipts into the system to document their retail value. Having an up-to-date inventory can help determine how much insurance to purchase and get insurance claims settled faster in the event of theft, fire or other types of disasters.
    2. Check your homeowners or renters policies for off-site coverage: Many homeowners and renters policies will provide some financial protection your college student’s personal possessions while they are away from home and residing on a college campus. Other policies will limit the amount of coverage to 10 percent of the total amount of a policy’s overall coverage for personal possessions.  In both cases, the student’s possessions would be covered for the same disasters that are in a standard homeowners or renters insurance policy. These include fire, theft, vandalism and natural disasters, such as a hurricane. The student would not be covered for typical college type mishaps, such as accidently spilling coffee on an expensive electronic device.  Keep in mind, though, that some policies will not provide coverage for personal possessions located away from the residence.  It’s important you work with your agent to see exactly what kind of coverage your policy provides.
    3. Review auto insurance policies: If a student has been driving the family car and will now be away at college, at least 100 miles from home, you should let your agent know as you may be eligible for a discount. If a student has his or her own car, the insurance company should be informed if it will be used at school or left at home. If the car is being taken to school, the price of the policy will now be re-evaluated based on where the school is located. If a student leaves a car at home, it is important to let the auto insurer know if anyone else will now be driving the car or if it will remain un-used except for when the student is home for vacation. If that is the case, the policyholder may be eligible for a discount. Many auto insurance companies will also give a discount to students who get good grades at school.

As you can see there are many insurance considerations with any kid that will be attending college.  If you have any questions in regards to ensuring you and your college student are protected, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call.

Do I Really Need Umbrella Insurance

Do I Really Need an Umbrella Insurance Policy? Here Are Some Things to Consider

Standard auto, homeowner’s and boat insurance policies cover liability a person may have for bodily injuries or property damage for which you are negligent.  while limits of $100,000 to $250,000 may cover you for most accidents, there are cases where those limits simply aren’t enough.   And if you have personal assets above those limits you may be jeopardizing those assets.

To cover financially devastating events like these, insurance companies offer personal umbrella policies. These policies provide additional protection when an accident uses up the amounts of insurance provided by the other policies. They may also cover some types of losses these other policies do not cover.

In order to determine whether or not an umbrella policy is right for you, you should answer the following questions:

First, do you have items that put you at a higher risk for a catastrophic loss? For example, do you have multiple cars or inexperience drivers in your household?  Household attractions like swimming pools, trampolines, and swing-sets present an exposure to severe losses. Boats, like cars, can cause serious injuries and damage if the operators are inattentive, intoxicated, or inexperienced.

Next, do you have any exposures that do not involve potential physical injury or illness or property damage or that might require different coverage? For example, do you or any members of your family participate in social media websites or online discussion forums? Does anyone coach a youth sports team, belong to the governing board of a non-profit organization, write computer code as a hobby, or give music lessons? These activities present different exposures to legal liability.

Third, do your underlying policies have high enough limits? How high are the liability limits on your homeowners and auto insurance policies?  Does your homeowners insurance cover any business activities? Does it cover family members accused of slander, libel, or defamation of character in online postings?

Lastly, an umbrella may cover things like volunteer activities, statements made online, and certain business activities that a homeowner’s or auto policy might not cover. Normally, the insurance company will require you to pay a deductible amount (such as $250 or $500) before it will pay for a loss that one of these other policies does not cover.

If you have any other additional questions on whether or not an umbrella insurance policy is right for you, please contact our office.

5 Tips to Save Utah Residents on Car Insurance with Teen Discounts

Did you know that for Utah residents adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy can cause your premiums to jump anywhere from 50 to 100 percent?

Teenage drivers have a disproportionately high amount of traffic accidents and tickets.  In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 15 to 19.

Thankfully, there are teenage driver discounts available to help you save on your premiums.  This post is dedicated to top 5 premium discounts available to the parents of teenage drivers.

Discount #1: Good Student Discount

Most insurance companies will provide discounts for your student good grades.  The requirements vary, but basically if your child is able to achieve inclusion on the dean’s list or honor roll you may qualify for premium discounts anywhere from 15 to 35 percent.

Discount #2: Defensive Driving Course

Knowing that teenage drivers are at a much higher risk to be involved in an accident, many insurance companies are now either offering their own defensive driving classes or coupons that give you admission into a local class.   These classes have proven to improve teens’ driving, and they will also qualify you for an additional 5 to 15 percent discount on your premiums.

Discount #3: Distant Student Discount

If you have a child who has moved away from home to go to school, then you may be eligible for another discount on your premiums.   Some insurance companies will decrease your auto insurance premiums if your child has moved a certain distance away from home (usually 100 miles) and is attending school without his or her own vehicle.

While the discount is nice, we recommending working with your agent to review the details of this discount.   Some insurance companies will actually remove and exclude your child from the policy, which can create a serious risk if they temporarily come home and use one of the vehicles in the house.

Discount #4: Driving an Older Vehicle

Buying your child a used vehicle will typically result in lower premiums than new vehicle.   In evaluating a vehicle for your child, it’s also important to pay attention to the safety features provided by the vehicle.   While the older vehicle have cost less to insure, a slightly newer vehicle may come with safety features that will do a better job of protecting your child in the event of an accident.

Discount #5: Take Advantage of Technology

One of the ways that insurance companies are helping keep teen drivers safe is by providing electronic devices that actually monitor their driving habits.   For some companies it is a device that is installed on the dashboard while for others it is simply installed into the power outlet in the vehicle.

The device then monitors the drivers habits and creates a report that families can monitor.  The report will typically show how many miles the car is driven, how fast it’s driven, and how often the brakes are applied hard.

For drivers that drive safely with the monitoring device, they can qualify up to an additional 30 percent discount in their premiums.

If you would like to find out more about how these discounts can help save money on your teen drivers please feel free to give our office a call.

Tips for Achieving New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

Unfortunately, while most New Year’s resolutions are made with vigor and hope, most people don’t make it past the first month with their resolutions.

We have provided 9 tips and tricks to help you achieve your goals and ensure your resolutions don’t fall by the wayside.

Please take a few moments to explore the attached tips and infographic to hopefully find a little insight and/or inspiration as you are setting your own goals for the New Year.

1. Make it something you really want. Don’t make it a resolution that you “should” want or what other people tell you to want. It has to fit with your own values.

2. Limit your list to a number you can handle.  It is recommended that you make only two or three resolutions that you intend to keep, That way, you’re focusing your efforts on the goals you truly want.

3. Be specific. To be effective, resolutions and goals need to be pretty specific,  Jettison the amorphous “exercise more,” in favor of “I’m working out at the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 p.m.”

4. Automate. Automating financial goals can maximize your odds for success without you having to do anything,

For example, if your goal is to save $3,000 this year, calculate the amount out of each check, then arrange to have it automatically deposited into your savings account each time you get paid.

5. Make a plan. Rather than stating one daunting goal, create a series of smaller steps to reach it.

If you need immediate rewards, here’s a suggestion. “Ask yourself: What are the short-term goodies?” says Susan Wilson, co-author of “Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals.”

For example, if you want to exercise regularly and love spending time with your friends, getting the group together to walk regularly could give you a short-term payoff and help you meet the long-term goal, she says.

6. Be prepared to change some habits. One reason that resolutions fail is people don’t change the habits that sabotage them.

One potent approach is to realize that all you ever have is the present moment. So ask what you can do now that will get you closer to your goal.

It could mean trade-offs such as sacrificing an hour of couch time for your new goals.

Another good strategy is to arrange your life so you don’t have to wrestle with temptation.

7. Write down the goal and visualize it regularly. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a goal because they fix it firmly in the subconscious.

And if you write down your goals, put them in a prominent place where you’ll view them frequently, such as on the fridge or on your desk.

8. To tell or not to tell? Having someone hold you accountable can be a powerful tool. In general, making a public commitment adds motivation.

Skip the naysayers, but if you have one or two people in your life who will act as cheerleaders or coaches, share the goal with them.

9. Forgive yourself. If you fall off the wagon, jump back on. Many people fall into the trap of believing that if they stumble, they should give up.

The truth is you don’t have to wait for next year or for some magic moment. Instead, realize that slipping is part of the process.  Then, get back to your goals.

Holiday Safety

The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what’s important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health.  Unfortunately, for many, the holidays bring additional risks, injuries, and even death.  In fact, did you know that according to the National Safety Council, 2-3 people are treated in emergency rooms every hour for decorating injuries?  Or that there are 15,000 injuries related to “angel hair” alone?

Below you will find some basic precautions that will ensure your whole family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.

Decorating Safety

  • Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.
  • Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” It can irritate your eyes and skin. A common substitute is non-flammable cotton.
  • When spraying artificial snow on windows or other surfaces, be sure to follow directions carefully. These sprays can irritate your lungs if you inhale them.
  • Small children may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat, but many plants may be poisonous or can cause severe stomach problems. Plants to watch out for include: mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Keep all of these plants out of children’s reach.
  • When displaying a tree, cut off about two inches off the trunk and put the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly.
  • Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.
  • Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.
  • If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights only outdoors). Look for the UL label. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.
  • Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.
  • If using a natural tree, make sure it is well watered to avoid dry branches from catching fire from the heat of light bulbs.
  • When displaying outdoor lights, fasten them firmly to a secure support with insulated staples or hooks to avoid wind damage. Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow.

Ladder Safety

  • When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture.
  • If you have to use a step ladder near a doorway, lock or barricade the door and post signs so no one will open it and knock you off the ladder.
  • A straight or extension ladder should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of ladder height.
  • When you climb, always face the ladder and grip the rungs to climb – not the side rails. Always keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • When climbing, keep your hips between the side rails and do not lean too far or overreach. Reposition the ladder closer to the work instead.
  • Use ladders with slip-resistant feet and wear clean, dry and slip-resistant shoes when climbing a ladder.
  • When using ladders outdoors, get down immediately if high winds, rain, snow or other inclement weather begins. Winds can blow you off the ladder and rain or snow can make both the rungs and the ground slippery.

Hosting and Food Safety

  • When preparing a holiday meal for friends and family be sure to wash hands, utensils, sink, and anything else that has come in contact with raw poultry. Keep in mind that a stuffed bird takes longer to cook.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw it in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.
  • While doing holiday cooking, keep your knives sharp. Most knife injuries occur due to dull blades.
  • Use a clean food thermometer to cook foods to a safe internal temperature before serving.
  • Avoid cleaning kitchen surfaces with wet dishcloths or sponges. They easily harbor bacteria and promote bacteria growth. Use clean paper towels instead.
  • When reheating leftovers, bring the temperature up to at least 165°F to eliminate any bacterial growth.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers (less than two inches deep) within two hours after cooking. Date the leftovers for future use.
  • Being a smart party host or guest should include being sensible about alcoholic drinks. More than half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Use designated drivers, people who do not drink, to drive other guests home after a holiday party.
  • The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. You can’t avoid stress completely, but you can give yourself some relief. Allow enough time to shop for gifts and meal items rather than hurry through stores and parking lots. Only plan to do a reasonable number of errands.

Winter Vehicle Preparation

  • Prepare your car for the winter by checking items such as the brakes, spark plugs, battery, and tires. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended interval for a tune-up.
  • Be prepared for emergency situations on the road by having a winter “survival kit” in the vehicle including items such as, a working flashlight, extra batteries, reflective triangles, compass, first aid kit, exterior windshield cleaner, ice scraper, snow brush, wooden stick matches in a waterproof container, and non-perishable, high energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.

What is an SR-22?

A DMV may require an SR-22 from a driver to reinstate his or her driving privileges following an uninsured car accident or conviction of another traffic-related offense, such as a DUI.  An SR-22 may be required for three years for conviction of driving without insurance or driving with a suspended license and up to five years for a DUI.  If an SR-22 should expire or be canceled, the insurance company is required to issue an SR-26 form, which certifies the cancellation of the policy.

Here are the three things to know about an SR-22 if you are required to have one:

1. It’s not really insurance

While many refer to “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 is actually just a certificate auto insurance company files with your state to vouch for you. Basically, it verifies you have coverage. You only need an SR-22 if a judge says you do—this can happen after certain violations, or after a succession of them.

2. It’s not (too) expensive

Having an SR-22 filing might cost you a little extra (again, temporarily):

  • There’s a fee to file it.
  • Your insurance rate might go up if you need the SR-22 because of a moving violation or accident.
  • Certain states require you to pay in full when you have insurance that includes an SR-22 filing.

3. It’s not forever

In three years—give or take, depending on your state—you won’t need your SR-22. At that point, call your insurer and ask to have the filing removed from your policy.  Three years is also how long it takes, generally, to clear your driving record. So, any violations that triggered your needing an SR-22 have cleared from your record, too.

If you would like to find out more, please contact our office.

Does Vehicle Insurance Cover Personal Belongings

People leave stuff in their cars every day. We drop our cell phones in the cup holder, leave a bag on the floor, and throw our golf clubs in the back seat. We’re human, so we forget about this stuff, park, and go inside. It happens. The thing is, sometimes when we come back to our cars, the things we left aren’t where we left them.

Did you know that while personal belongings may not be covered with auto insurance, your homeowners insurance may still provide the coverage?

Some Homeowners’ insurance policies treat your car as an extension of your house. That means your personal property coverage would protect almost anything (purses, luggage, camera equipment, electronics…all kinds of things) stolen from your car. This coverage may even be better than what’s offered by comprehensive car insurance! For instance, did you know comprehensive coverage usually doesn’t cover jewelry, clothing, and accessories kept in your car?

If you would like to find out which coverage would apply to your situation, please give our office a call.

Protecting Your Home from Mold

When it comes to keeping your home mold-free, a strong offense is definitely your best defense. To prevent mold, eliminate moisture from your home and be on the lookout for signs of possible growth, such as musty smells or watermarks on walls and ceilings.

Caught early, mold can usually be removed by a thorough cleaning with bleach and water. To prevent mold from re-growing, however, it is essential that the source of the moisture be eliminated and the affected area properly dried, cleaned, and if necessary, replaced. Also, remember to bag and dispose of any material with moldy residue such as rags, paper or debris.

Mold, like rot and insect infestation, is generally not covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Standard homeowners policies provide coverage for disasters that are sudden and accidental. They are not designed to cover the cost of cleaning and maintaining a home. If, however, mold is the direct result of a covered peril such as a burst pipe, there could be coverage for the cost of eliminating the mold.

To help prevent the growth of mold in your home, take a look at our suggestions below.  If you would like to find out how your homeowners insurance will respond in the event of a mold-related claim, please contact our office.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold is everywhere. It grows year-round and can be found both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, mold is commonly found in shady, damp areas and in soil. Indoors, it can be found where humidity and moisture levels are high, such as in basements, kitchens, bathrooms and on ceilings and wall interiors where water from leaky pipes, roofs or windows can accumulate. While most molds pose no threat to humans, the CDC warns that certain molds can produce hay fever-like allergic symptoms. If you or your children have symptoms associated with mold, see a physician. Keep in mind, that many symptoms associated with mold exposure are common to other illnesses.

Reduce Humidity In Your Home

  • Keep the humidity level in your home between 30 percent to 60 percent by using air conditioners or dehumidifiers.
  • Put exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Don’t install carpets in damp areas such as basements or bathrooms.
  • Don’t let water accumulate under house plants.

Use Mold-Reducing Products

  • Clean bathrooms with bleach and other mold killing products.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.

Keep Your Home and Belongings Dry

  • Inspect hoses, pipes and fittings – Consider replacing hoses to major appliances like washer and dishwasher every five years. A typical water hose costs $5-$10
    • Refrigerator ice maker and water dispenser
    • Water heater
    • Washer
    • Dishwashers
    • Kitchen and bathroom sinks
    • Bathroom toilets
  • Keep gutters clean of leaves and other debris.
  • Maintain your roof to prevent water from seeping into your home.

Be Careful After A Flood Or Other Water Damage

  • Properly dry or remove soaked carpets, padding and upholstery within 24-48 hours after a flood to prevent mold growth. Anything that can’t be properly dried should be discarded.
  • Remove standing water as quickly as possible. Standing water is a breeding ground for microorganisms, which can become airborne and inhaled.
  • Wash and disinfect all areas that have been flooded. This includes walls, floors, closets, shelves, as well as heating and air-conditioning systems.

If you have any questions regarding mold and homeowners insurance, contact our office. We can provide information on how to maintain your home and may also be able to provide the name of an expert in mold-remediation. You can get more information on mold by accessing the Center for Disease Control.

Roofers Insurance Fall Safety Part 2

Using the Right Equipment

Employers must provide roofers fall protection equipment that meets OSHA requirements whenever they work 6 feet or more above a lower level. There are fall protection systems available that can provide roofers the flexibility they need during demolition and roof installation. Some are more efficient than others because, in many cases, the employer can use the same system for both processes. Each phase of roof replacement has different challenges, but the risk of falling remains constant. Contractors may be able to protect their workers using the following equipment:

  • Personal fall arrest systems;
  • Guardrails; or
  • Ladders.

Providing Fall Protection for the Whole Job

Personal fall arrest system: A PFAS is a tool available to roofers during replacement jobs. In fact, a PFAS is the system of choice for many roofers. However, a breakdown in any component of a PFAS could be disastrous for a worker. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on selecting, installing and using PFAS components correctly. Some PFASs include special elevated anchor assemblies that permit the system to protect workers even when they stand near the anchor locations. Certain anchorage assemblies rotate or offer extension arms to improve mobility and prevent lifelines from contacting the roof surface. This is particularly useful during roof demolition when a line could catch on a nail or debris.

Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)

A PFAS is designed to safely stop a fall before the worker strikes a lower level. It includes three major components:

  • An anchorage to which the other components of the PFAS are rigged.
  • A full body harness worn by the worker.
  • A connector, such as a lanyard or lifeline, linking the harness to the anchorage. A rip-stitch lanyard, or deceleration device, is typically a part of the system.

Horizontal Lifeline

Remember that workers must use full-body harnesses in fall arrest systems. Body belts can cause serious injury during a fall, and OSHA prohibits their use as part of fall arrest systems. Horizontal lifeline: An engineered horizontal lifeline system, when used as part of a PFAS, is another way to increase the area in which a worker is protected. Install the system following the manufacturer’s instructions and under the supervision of a qualified person. Horizontal lifelines must be designed to maintain a safety factor of at least two (twice the impact load).

Rope grabs: Instead of attaching themselves to a fixed anchor, workers may be able to use adjustable rope grabs, another available component of a PFAS. This inexpensive and very popular system is the fall protection system of choice for many roofers. Rope grabs allow workers to adjust the length of the lifeline and can be useful when workers are moving about the roof frequently. The anchored ropes can be as long as necessary, making this form of fall protection highly versatile. Roofers who use rope grabs need to constantly take up the slack out of the line. Too much slack could allow a worker to free fall more than six feet off the roof if they slip. Training and monitoring are critical to the safe use of rope grabs.

Rope Grab: Ensure that a stopping mechanism prevents workers using rope grabs from backing down over the roof edge. This mechanism could be an added attachment or a simple knot in the rope.

Fall Restraint: While fall restraint systems are not mentioned in OSHA’s fall protection rules, OSHA will accept a properly utilized fall restraint system instead of a personal fall arrest system when the restraint system is rigged so that the worker cannot get to the fall hazard. In effect, (if properly used) the system tethers a worker in a manner that will not allow a fall of any distance. A fall restraint system is comprised of a body belt or body harness, an anchorage, connectors, and other necessary equipment. Other components typically include a lanyard, and may also include a lifeline and other devices.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a qualified person to ensure proper installation of anchor points. Fall restraint may be a viable way to provide fall protection in situations in which the employer has concerns about the adequacy of available anchorage points for fall arrest equipment.

Temporary guardrails: Removable guardrail systems can offer roofers effective protection when installed around the roof perimeter. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a qualified person for proper guardrail installation. This person could be the owner, the supervisor, or any other worker who has extensive knowledge, training and experience with fall protection and is able to solve problems relating to fall protection.

Guardrail Systems.

Other considerations: Some employers have found success in eliminating fall hazards by using scaffolds and aerial lifts when site conditions permit their use.  Attaching Anchors OSHA requires that anchors for PFASs be able to hold at least 5,000 pounds of weight per person or maintain a safety factor of at least two (twice the impact load) under the supervision of a qualified person. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a qualified person when installing anchors to ensure they are strong enough to hold the sudden weight of a falling worker. OSHA believes that anchorages available on the market will meet the strength requirements if they are installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions, with the right number of properly sized nails or screws through the roof sheathing and into one or more roof trusses.

When choosing an anchor to use for fall protection, employers have a number of options; for example,

  • Peak anchor: At the top of the roof, peak anchors are typically solid, non-moving pieces secured to the trusses underneath.
  • Permanent D-rings: Inexpensive D-ring anchors can be attached to the truss frame; they can be left permanently on the roof for future use.

Install an anchor above the area being built:

Choose an anchor that is appropriate for the type of roof and anchor location. Depending on the roof design, the best location might be at the peak of the roof, directly over a truss. Consider leaving anchors in place: Where practical, employers may consider leaving anchors in place. This can make the current job simpler and reduce the burden for roofers in the future.

Written Fall Protection Plans

When working at heights of 6 feet or greater, if the employer does not use ladders, scaffolds, aerial lifts or fall restraint systems and can demonstrate that it is not feasible or would create a greater hazard to use conventional fall protection equipment (guardrails, safety nets or PFAS), the employer must develop a written site-specific fall protection plan.

The plan must be prepared by a qualified person. This person could be the owner, the supervisor, or any other worker who has extensive knowledge, training and experience with fall protection and is able to solve problems relating to fall protection.

The site-specific fall protection plan must document, for each location, why the use of conventional fall protection equipment is not feasible or will create a greater hazard. The plan must also describe the alternative methods that the employer will use so that workers are protected from falls. Workers and their supervisors must be trained on the proper use of those other fall protection methods.

Conventional fall protection equipment can reduce or eliminate the chances of a fatal fall. Otherwise, a written site-specific fall protection plan ensures that protection continues, even when conventional fall protection methods are determined to not be feasible.

Roofers Insurance Fall Safety Part 1

Re-roofing exposes workers to the hazards of demolition work at heights. With the proper fall protection, the risk of serious falls can be substantially reduced. The next two blog posts will highlight information from OSHA to point out some of the hazards workers encounter during re-roofing and will list some practical methods employers can use to protect workers who replace roofs.  Please remember that employers are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable OSHA requirements.

Risks During Re-Roofing

Workers replacing roofs risk permanent injury or death from falls while they demolish old roofs and install new roofing material (for example, shingles, tiles, or slate). Even experienced roofers are exposed to unpredictable fall hazards caused by uneven sheathing, sudden gusts of wind, loose roofing materials, and surfaces that become slick when wet. Taking appropriate fall protection measures reduces risks and saves lives.

The employer must provide a training program for each worker who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program must enable each worker to recognize the hazards of falling and train each worker in the procedures to follow to minimize these hazards.

More than one-third of fall deaths in residential construction are caused by falls from roofs.

Safe Roofing Practices: Important Steps

Before beginning the job, focus on identifying fall protection needs. Survey the roof to determine if there are pre-installed anchorages available that can be used. If not, then plan immediately to identify those systems needed to protect workers from falls and have them in place before the workers report to the job.

Reducing Risks: Determining Structural Integrity

Many workers have been injured when the roofs they were working on collapsed from under them. Employers must determine the structural integrity of the roof and take all necessary precautions to protect the workers before the job begins. If workers notice signs of structural deterioration (for example, dry rot), a competent person should evaluate the area.

Other considerations for a safe construction site:

• Guard against falls through skylights or other roof openings. Use a guardrail system, a personal fall arrest system (PFAS), or a protective cover that will support two times the weight that may be imposed on it at any one time.

• Appropriate footwear is important personal protective equipment on any construction site, but it is critical during roof demolition. A nail or shingle-removal tool injury can cause a worker to lose concentration and fall.

• Workers should be careful of air hoses and power cords for nail guns and other electrical equipment. If a worker steps on one, hoses and cords can slip underfoot and lead to falls.

Staging Material

Loose material and hand-held equipment can create tripping hazards on the roof surface. To minimize exposure to fall hazards, employers can stage materials so that workers on the roof have quick and safe access to them. While handling material on the roof, the worker should hold the material on the side of his or her body that faces the down-sloped edge to prevent being struck by the materials if they are dropped. Material can also be staged so it cannot slide off the roof edge and potentially strike a worker on the ground. Slide guards can help to keep material from sliding off the roof. Establishing a restricted area around the perimeter of the project can also keep workers out of the danger zone where debris, tools or materials may fall to the ground. The area should be posted with signs that warn of the potential hazard.

Coming up in part 2 we will discuss the specific personal safety systems roofers can use to avoid potential injuries.