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Reduce Your Exposures During Work Events

Businesses host parties for a variety of reasons, including the holidays and organizational accomplishments. While these events are fun, team-building opportunities, they can create a number of risks for the hosting company. In fact, in the event that an employee is injured at the party or causes property damage, the employer is usually the one held responsible. This can lead to costly litigation and reputational harm that can affect a company for years.

To avoid major losses, it’s not only important for employers to secure the right insurance coverage for every individual risk, but to also have a thorough understanding of common holiday party exposures.

Alcohol

Anytime you provide alcohol to individuals in a non-commercial manner, you are considered a social host. This is important to note, as a social host may be responsible for the acts of their guests should their conduct create harm. These risks are compounded when alcohol is served, and employers may be liable for damages following a drunken driving accident or similar incident.

While the best way to reduce alcohol liability risks is to avoid serving it altogether, this isn’t always feasible. To promote the safety of your employees and guests at company-sponsored events, consider the following:

• Hold the event off-site at a restaurant or hotel.
• Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the night.
• Serve drinks to guests rather than offering a self-serve bar. Limit the amount of alcohol you will serve. Require servers to measure spirits.
• Set up bar stations instead of having servers circulate the room. Place table tents at each bar that remind employees and guests to drink responsibly.
• Don’t price alcohol too low, as it encourages overconsumption. Offer a range of low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks at no charge.
• Close the bar an hour before the scheduled end of the party. Do not offer a “last call,” as this promotes rapid consumption.
• Entice guests to take advantage of safe transportation options by subsidizing taxis or promoting a designated driver program.

Marijuana Consumption

Similar to alcohol use, marijuana and other drug consumption can directly affect the safety of your party guests. In fact, according to the most recent federal data, 44 percent of vehicle crash deaths can be linked to drug-impaired driving, up from 28 percent a decade earlier.

Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, many of which act directly on the body and brain. Individual sensitivity to marijuana can vary, but the general effects include the following:

• Dizziness, drowsiness, light-headedness, fatigue and headaches
• Impaired memory, concentration and ability to make decisions
• Disorientation and confusion
• Suspiciousness, nervousness, anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations
• Impaired motor skills and perception
• Dry mouth, throat irritation and coughing
• Increased heartbeat

These health effects can last long after an employee smoked, increasing the potential for accidents or major health concerns. In addition, federal, state and local laws may prohibit marijuana use in certain areas, making it all the more important to educate employees on behavior expectations.

To keep your party guests safe and avoid any liability concerns, consider making clear rules for marijuana use at your party. Remind employees that even though they are at a social event, they are still attending a work function and workplace policies on the use of marijuana still apply.

Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Even when holding company-sponsored events off-site, employers are expected to enforce their workplace policies and safeguard their employees. In particular, employers must pay extra care to prevent issues of harassment and discrimination at their events, as they can lead to employment claims and costly litigation.

To help keep employees safe at company parties, employers should ensure all of their policies related to harassment, violence, discrimination and code of conduct are up to date and account for company-sponsored events. Policies should be specific as to what is and is not tolerated, and redistributed them as thoroughly as possible.

In addition, employers should:
• Consider making the event a family party where employees can bring their spouse, significant other, children or a friend. This can help deter inappropriate behavior.
• Keep event themes and decorations appropriate. Parties should be neutral and not make reference to specific religions or beliefs. In addition, plan your party on a day that does not conflict with religious holidays.
• Consider having just one entrance to your party. This will allow you to control who enters the venue and ensure that uninvited guests do not attended.
• Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.
• Avoid making attendance for company-sponsored events mandatory.

Food Exposures

Food is a staple of many company-sponsored events, and can actually be a useful way to keep party guest sober and limit alcohol-related liability (starchy foods can help reduce the absorption of alcohol). However, when serving food, there are a number of risks employers should consider.

For instance, employers need to be wary of potential food allergies. In the event that a guest gets sick from the food, they could sue the employer for negligence.
To help protect against this, employers should ask party guests to disclose any of their allergies, either in their RSVP or by contacting the event coordinator directly. In addition, you should specify what ingredients are in every food item, both on the menu and on display cards near the food itself.

For added protection against illnesses, it’s critical that employers promote safe food preparation and handling practices. Moreover, when working with a third-party provider, employers should do their due diligence to ensure they are securing reputable vendors.

Property Damage

Property damage can occur at just about any kind of party, even small, company-sponsored events. As the host, it’s your job to ensure your guests remain safe, behave appropriately and respect the venue and its contents.

To do so, employers should:
• Set behavior expectations before the party.
• Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.
• Remove valuable items from the party area wherever possible. Make sure any areas that you don’t want guests to enter are locked, roped off or secured in some way.
• Review your liability insurance and know what it covers.
• Ensure the venue is equipped to handle the number of individuals invited to the party.

Secure the Coverage You Need in Advance

Even if you take all the appropriate precautions, incidents can still occur. As such, it’s important for all organizations to secure adequate insurance.
Each business is different, and may require additional policies to account for all of their exposures. Contact Warren G. Bender Co. today to learn about your coverage options when it comes to hosting a party.

Filed under: Property & Casualty,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:38 pm November 21, 2018


Do Office Employees Need Training for GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Identification of Hazardous Substances)?

Back in 2013, employers were advised of the requirement to train employees regarding new label elements and safety data sheets but there have been questions about why some employees would need to be trained. For example, an office employee cleans their desk surface weekly with a cleaning product purchased by the employer from a grocery store and is available for employee use. Is GHS training required for that employee?

The Technical Answer
California Code of Regulations 5194(b)(5)(G) excludes incidental use as follows:
(G) Consumer products packaged for distribution to, and use by, the general public, provided that employee exposure to the product is not significantly greater than the consumer exposure occurring during the principal consumer use of the product; GHS training is required for employees working with hazardous substances on a regular basis in the course and scope of their employment.

The Practical Answer
GHS Training is not required for incidental use of a consumer product used in a consumer manner but general awareness training for all employees of the hazardous material identification system would be considered wise and a ‘best practice’ for all employers. Why? Because in the event of an injury to an employee caused by substances in the workplace, it could be deemed negligent that an employer provided a product but not information of its hazardous nature. Free information and GHS training materials are readily available from many sources, see below.

Still unsure of whether to train? Call OSHA Compliance 916-263-0704. I reached a knowledgeable person on my first try and/or call your insurance agent/broker for information.

Resources
California Code of Regulations-Hazard Communication https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/5194.html
Cal OSHA Safety and Health Fact Sheet on GHS-Globally Harmonized System-DIR http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/ghs_fs.pdf
Guide to the California Hazard Communication Regulation-DIR https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/hazcom.pdf
US Department of Labor –OSHA Hazard Communication https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html
Free PowerPoint presentation http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardcommunications/ghsoverview.ppt
Free YouTube Training Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkGbof7FeZA
Sacramento Safety Center http://safetycenter.org/

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jackie Sudia-Reno, AIC, ARM, CRIS
Claims and Risk Management Liaison
Warren G. Bender Co.
License #0406967
jsudia@wgbender.com
(916)380-5333 (Direct Phone & Fax)
(916)960-6957 (Mobile/Text)

Filed under: OSHA,Property & Casualty,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 1:29 pm March 30, 2016


Oh Rats! Surprising Risks You Should Know About the Drought

By: Jackie Sudia-Reno, AIC, ARM, CRIS, Claims & Risk Management Liaison, Warren G. Bender Co.

We’re all changing the way we do things due to the severe drought that our area is experiencing. Here is an example of an unexpected consequential hazard from the drought…

A large commercial building sustained water damage; the culprits are rats. The rats chewed holes in condensation water lines above the ceiling tiles of the building to get to the water inside. When the hot weather hit and the condensation flow increased for several days running, the water escaped through the holes in the lines and caused major damage to the ceiling, walls, and flooring which produced mold growth quite quickly into the warm air. (more…)

Filed under: Property & Casualty,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:17 pm June 25, 2015


CNA Endorsed By California Manufacturers & Technology Association

cnaSAN FRANCISCO, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — CNA and the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) today announced that CNA has been chosen as the endorsed business insurance carrier of choice by the CMTA.

As a world leader in advancing safety and writing coverages across 90 percent of all manufacturing classes, CNA was selected by the CMTA, working with broker Warren G. Bender Co., because of its depth of experience in the industry, financial strength and expertise in coordinating end-to-end coverage programs for today’s modern manufacturers.

“This endorsement affirms CNA’s positon as the premier provider of insurance coverages, claim and risk control services for manufacturers,” said Franklin Maccotan, director and industry leader, Manufacturing, CNA. “CNA’s goals align with the CMTA’s mission of helping California manufacturers protect the safety of their employees and the public, as well as the assets of its members. The endorsement allows CNA to be even more responsive to the unique needs and concerns of the manufacturing community.”

The CMTA represents over 400 manufacturing, processing and technology-based companies, and works to improve a strong business climate for an economic sector that generates more than $230 billion annually and employs more than 1.2 million Californians.

“CMTA is proud to announce its partnership with CNA to deliver a premier and cost-competitive commercial insurance package to its members,” said Dorothy Rothrock, president, CMTA. “California manufacturers are the backbone of our state’s economy and innovation. Because comprehensive insurance protection and effective risk control support is a critical component to operating in California, the CMTA looked at many potential partners. CNA, with its experience and long history of end-to-end coverage and manufacturing focus, was the clear choice to deliver the best program.”

CNA is the endorsed business insurance carrier for more than 15 national trade associations, including the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) and the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). CNA is also a member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

To learn more about CNA’s manufacturing industry capabilities, visit www.cna.com/manufacturing.

About CNA
Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country’s eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 13th largest property and casualty company. CNA’s insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine and other property and casualty coverages. CNA’s services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. Use of the term “partnership” and/or “partner” should not be construed to represent a legally binding partnership. For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com. “CNA” is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the “CNA” service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities.

About CMTA
CMTA works to create a strong business climate for a manufacturing sector that generates more than $230 billion in revenue every year and employs more than 1.2 million Californians. For more information, please visit the CMTA at www.cmta.net.

CONTACTS:
Andy Viglietti, 916-498-3340, CMTA
Gino DiCaro, 916-498-3347, CMTA
Brandon Davis, 312-822-5167, CNA
Sarah Pang, 312-822-6394, CNA

SOURCE CNA; California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA)

Filed under: Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 2:09 pm May 19, 2015