Read TBG%202009%20Q1%20Winter%20Newsletter.pdf text version


Enforceable Safety Programs

Key Solutions that Benefit Your Bottom Line Improve Your Safety Culture The Union Construction Workers' Compensation Program

Winter 2009

A publication of The Builders Group, protecting our members with safety awareness.

Built By the industry for the industry

The QUARTERLY ExPRESS is published quarterly by The Builders Group of Minnesota as a free service provided for our members and contracted agents. ConTriBuTors Jennifer Noble John Primozich Katie Schofield Stu Thompson Adam Tripp Jim Walerius Jim Zugschwert


3 Fund Manager's View 4 Key Solutions that Benefit Your Bottom Line 5 EASY-PAY: Pay Your Monthly Premium Online 6 The Union Construction Workers' Compensation Program 8 OSHA 300 Log: Defining Differences Between OSHA Recordable and Workers' Compensation Claims 10 The Importance of Enforceable Safety Programs 11 Safety at Work Award Winner: Northland Concrete & Masonry Co. 13 From the Archives: By the Audit Manager 14 Safety Committees: OSHA Compliance 15 MUCA: Minnesota Utility Contractors Association

The Builders Group 2919 Eagandale Blvd. Suite 100 Eagan, MN 55121 888-824-3923 Toll Free 651-389-1140 Local 651-389-1141 Fax Marketing Jim Zugschwert 651-389-1049 Audit Jim Walerius 651-389-1143 Underwriting Jeanne Cunningham 651-389-1042 Accounting Mike Wanschura 651-389-1165 Loss Control Sandy Wilson 651-389-1047 MeadoWBrook insuranCe Group Claims John Wiatros 651-255-2565

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Built By the industry for the industry

©2008 The Builders Group of Minnesota. All Rights Reserved.


A Look Toward the Future

The 2008 year is behind us and we look forward to the challenges of 2009. I have heard the word "unprecedented" used to describe 2008 several times recently. As I think about it, the word really is a good description of the economic events of 2008 ­ Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was sold, AIG needed a massive government bailout to survive, and the American auto industry almost became extinct. This does not even include the bailout of the banking industry and the stock market crash. I guess it was unprecedented! From my view, things can only get better and we will see improvement in 2009. I expect the first two quarters of 2009 to be slow with business picking up in the last two quarters. The first quarter is typically the busiest time of the year for safety meetings with our loss control department. If you are not doing so already, now is the time to take advantage of TBG's loss control department to review and improve your safety practices. As a member of a self-insured fund, working safer means fewer claims and increases the potential dividends to everyone. Another way to help reduce our costs is to sign up for EASY-PAY. This not only makes your monthly reporting easier but will reduce errors and allow you to keep your money right up to the 15th of the month. All at no cost to you! Please make sure you read the EASY-PAY article on page 5 of this newsletter to find out how to enroll. To help encourage you, there is a monthly drawing for a cash prize for members who make their payments by the 15th of each month using EASY-PAY. Speaking of improvements, in December TBG officially went "paperless." This will allow our staff and Meadowbrook to become more efficient in their daily duties. For example, instead of looking for a paper file around the office, it is in the computer. Now, if two or more people need a file at the same time, they both have access to it and can complete their tasks rather than waiting for the file. How does this benefit our Members? Over time it will help reduce our expense ratio by increasing the productivity of our staff. As we continue to look for ways to reduce our expenses, we also maintain our search for new and improved services for our Members and Agents. Early in 2009, we will be launching our new website giving our Members and Agents access to additional services and information. Look for an announcement in the next couple of months! In spite of the recent economic troubles, we at TBG are excited about 2009 as we are committed to being the best WC alternative for the Construction Industry. With a history of serving Minnesota for more than 11 years, TBG is a quality Work Comp provider with loss control and claims management services that are the best around. As a Member of TBG, you are receiving more value for your premium dollar than any other option in the market. So let's all work together and make 2009 one of the best years ever!

Stu Thompson Fund Manager

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Key Solutions that Benefit Your Bottom Line

by JiM ZUgSChwErt, AgEnCy MArkEting MAnAgEr

proactive claims management

TBG's policy is to keep the work load as close as possible to 100 open files per loss time adjuster, which is well below the industry standard. This allows us to be proactive rather than reactive in handling claims.

monthly payments designed to improve your cash flow

It's that time once again when businesses take time to reflect on their past year and look to what lies ahead on the calendar. When planning for the New Year, what will make the difference for your business in 2009? Just like in sports, a business plan must focus on the fundamentals for short-term stability and long-term success. At The Builders Group, our business is your business! We add value to our members and agents by delivering some fundamental differences that directly benefit your bottom line.

loss control and safety services

TBG requires monthly payroll reports based on actual payroll from the previous month rather than estimated payroll. The reports and premium payment can be submitted right on our website. Unlike other carriers that require an estimated premium due at the beginning of each month, TBG allows you to pay less in the slow times and more during the busy times resulting in minor audit adjustments.

ownership of your workers' comp

TBG has five full-time loss control/safety representatives who specialize in construction providing customized safety programs for each TBG Member.

As a member of TBG you join the other members in "owning" any profits (surplus and investment income) generated, which can be returned to the membership over time.

leadership with vision

Formed to provide a long-term stable market for the construction industry, TBG is led by a Board of Directors made up of fund members. With the goal to protect the fund from assessment and maintain long-term financial solvency, the Board continues to serve for the benefit of the members and for the betterment of Minnesota's construction industry.

coming soon in 2009

In addition to these great benefits, TBG will be launching a new website with more features and services for our members and agents in early 2009. We will also be implementing a new operating system that will allow us to increase productivity and efficiency while keeping our operating expenses low. TBG delivers products and services to help your bottom line today and into the future.

tbg iS yoUr Strong, stable, consistent solution for construction workers' compensation ­ protecting Minnesota businesses for over 11 years!


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Pay Your Monthly Premium Online!

Thank you to our members who signed up for EASY-PAY after reading about your TBG online benefits in our last newsletter. For those of you who have not signed up, maybe you still have some questions about EASY-PAY that we can answer here.

Q: What is EASY-PAY? a: EASY-PAY is TBG's online Q: Is there a charge? a: No. You will actually save

money ­ no checks to write or envelopes and stamps to mail your payment.

Q: How can I be sure that it

thErE ArE thrEE MEthoDS for preparing your monthly reports and payments. All three methods are acceptable, but we recommend calculating and submitting your Monthly report online, and paying with EASy-PAy, our direct payment plan. it reduces your paperwork, increases accuracy, and simplifies the entire process.

was paid? a: When you are logged into TBG's website, click on Payment History to view your online payments.

Q: How do I sign up? a: We are glad you asked! Go

online Calculation, online payment

1. gather payroll data. 2. Enter payrolls online ­ the system will automatically calculate the premium! 3. Click on Pay online ­ the system will then process your payment.

payment system.

Q: How does it work? a: After you are signed up,

you can process your monthly payroll report and payment anytime from any computer with internet access. That's right, anytime ­ 24/7!

Q: When are the funds with-

drawn from my account? a: You control the timing! After you enter your payroll online and click on Pay Online, EASYPAY will process your payment. Typically, the funds are withdrawn from your account within two business days after you submit your payment.

to and log into your account, or click on "Register for an account." To sign up for EASYPAY, click on the "EASY-PAY Sign Up" link in the Payment Center section. If you have signup questions, you may contact Bethany Nelson at 651-389-1167, toll free at 888-824-3923, or [email protected]

online Calculation, Manual payment

1. gather payroll data. 2. Enter payrolls online ­ the system will automatically calculate the premium! 3. Print the Monthly report. 4. write a check. 5. Mail to tbg five days before the 15th of the month.

Take your TBG benefits to the next level!

StiLL hAvE qUEStionS? Contact our Director of Finance, Jennifer noble, at 888-824-3923, 651-389-1137, or [email protected]

Manual Calculation, Manual payment

1. gather payroll data. 2. write payrolls on Monthly report. 3. Calculate premiums manually. 4. write premiums on form. 5. write a check. 6. Mail to tbg five days before the 15th of the month.

neW payMenT MailinG address effeCTive iMMediaTely

the builders group Attn: A/r 2919 Eagandale blvd., Suite 100 Eagan, Mn 55121-1214

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Compensation Program

by ADAM triPP, tbg LoSS ControL rEPrESEntAtivE

The Union Construction Workers'

Insurance premiums are one of the most substantial costs of doing business. In today's unstable economy, companies that control their insurance costs are most likely to survive. Controlling insurance costs means controlling exposure to losses, and there are multiple ways to reduce a company's exposure to losses. Improving safety and preventing injuries are the best ways to reduce insurance costs. Even if a strong safety culture is active, accidents can still happen. Minimizing the costs of workers' compensation claims is the next best way to reduce the negative impact of work place injuries on the bottom line. Improperly managed claims are potentially devastating to everyone involved including the injured employee, the employer, and The Builders Groups (TBG); your a self-funded insurance company. Effectively managing claims is to everyone's benefit and helps reduce subsequent costs. One of the most effective ways to manage a claim for Union Construction Contractors is to join the Union Construction Workers' Compensation Program (UCWCP). The UCWCP is an alternative to the state's workers' compensation system and was designed to reduce the costs of injuries by eliminating the delays and expenses of litigation. In the State's System, resentment can


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frequently asked Questions

what happens when there is a problem? The UCWCP Alternative Dispute Resolution system has a Dispute Resolution Facilitator who can be contacted by anyone involved in a claim at any time to answer questions. A fair three-step process is used to reduce costs associated with litigation. The vast majority of claims are resolved within days or weeks rather than months or years typically without the involvement of attorneys. how do injured workers get medical treatment? An Exclusive Provider Organization has been agreed upon by the unions and contractors that include specialists in Occupational Medicine. This streamlines the process by getting the employee to a doctor who best understands what caused the injury and provides a specialized and proactive treatment plan. This leads to a timely cost-effective return to work. whose doctor provides a neutral opinion? Medical disputes are resolved by the opinions of unbiased doctors from the UCWCP Neutral Medical Examiner Panel. The Dispute Resolution Examination often settles the issues that arise thereby reducing the need for a long drawnout expensive legal battle. how do injured workers get back to work? An Exclusive Rehabilitation Consultant Network has trained professionals getting injured employees back to gainful employment quickly and safely. These consultants are selected because of their specific knowledge of the construction industry. Employees are not rushed back to their job too soon or left off on expensive lost-time status too long, and employees are more likely to reach their pre-injury productivity and overall health.

occur when both parties feel like they are potentially going to be taken advantage of while pursuing their claims or defenses. The UCWCP was designed to eliminate this unproductive culture by aligning the best interests of all involved. This is done by: Improving the delivery of wage-replacement benefits and the quality of medical care Returning injured workers to their pre-injury job quickly and safely Increasing the competitiveness of union contractors by reducing insurance costs The Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) is an important part of the program's success. This is a network of doctors who understand the demands that workers go through on the job site each and every day and how to effectively manage their injuries. This reduces claim costs in a variety of ways such as having Occupational Medicine Providers be the first choice for treatment, prescribing over the counter medications whenever appropriate, identifying return to work and light duty possibilities rather than totally disabling the employee and having the follow-up appointment weeks later. If an experienced doctor is not working hand-in-hand with the claims management team, claim costs can soar.

From an employee's standpoint, the UCWCP is designed to provide them with high quality medical care and all the benefits provided by Minnesota law on time and without the expensive time-consuming hassles of litigation. Timely return to work and appropriate medical care drives the effectiveness of this program for everyone. Currently, TBG offers a 5% credit on a TBG member's annual premium due to the effectiveness of the UCWCP program. There is an annual subscription fee to join the UCWCP, but this fee is typically recovered through the credit. By effectively managing claims and reducing

costs, participating companies can realize gains by decreasing insurance costs over time and seeing a decrease in their insurance multiplier (Experience Modification Rate).

For FUrthEr inForMAtion Contact your Loss Control rep. or call kevin gregerson, the Director of workers' Compensation Programs at the wilson-McShane Corporation. 1-800-535-6373 toll Free 952-851-3462 Direct 952-854-0795 Main [email protected]

Information for this article was provided by the Negotiated Workers' Compensation ­ A Joint Labor-Management Approach Packet and first hand accounts of parties involved in the claims handling process. Contributor: Elliot Herland

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Defining differences between OSHA Recordable and Workers' Compensation Claims

by kAtiE SChoFiELD, ArM, ASP, ChStLoSS ControL rEPrESEntAtivE

OSHA requires that each company with ten or more employees maintain a log of OSHA injuries and illnesses for each calendar year. This record keeping is done by means of the OSHA 300 Log. Very detailed instructions on how to fill out and maintain the OSHA 300 log can be found, along with a copy of the 300 Log, on the following website From the website, you can download the 300 Log and related instructions to your desktop. Keeping the OSHA 300 Log correctly is very important because Incident Rates (IR) and Days Away-Restricted-Transferred Rates (DART) are calculated from the log. These rates can play a major role when bidding for certain jobs or projects. These rates standardize your company's rates of injuries and illnesses and compare them to all other companies. These rates can help you identify problems in the workplace or areas in which you have made progress. It is also important to maintain a correct OSHA 300 Log because it is a different system and not related to the workers' compensation system used here at The Builders Group; we do not necessarily have the same information or the information in the same form as what is required on the OSHA 300 Log. As detailed in the directions on the 300 Log, injuries that require medical treatment beyond first aid or any work-related illnesses are to be entered onto the log and are deemed "OSHA Recordable." The OSHA log is concerned with the number, extent, and severity of injuries and illnesses as determined by the number of days


that the employee is affected by them. These types of injuries or illnesses would also be sent in as a First Report of Injury and be reported as a work comp claim. Workers' compensation is primarily concerned with the monetary impact and payment of these medical visits and claims. So although in most cases, OSHA recordable and workers comp claims will be triggered for the same event, there are situations when the 300 Log and workers' compensation differ. Here are some examples: If an employee is taken to the doctor solely for observation or diagnostic procedures but no injury is found, this is NOT an OSHA recordable but should be reported as a work comp claim. If an employee goes to the doctor, but the doctor only administers first aid such as using a tweezers to remove a splinter from the hand, drilling a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, draining a blister, putting non-rigid elastic wraps on a part of the body, or using bandages such as Steri-strips or butterfly bandages, this is NOT an OSHA recordable but should be reported as a work comp claim. If an employee needs to have a tetanus shot after being cut (no stitches), this is NOT an OSHA recordable but should be reported as a work comp claim. Mental illness such as anxiety or depression which has work-related stress as a major contributing factor (as diagnosed by a licensed professional) IS an OSHA recordable illness. However, in the state of Minnesota, mental illness without any contributing physical injury to the employee

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the instructions provided with the oShA 300 Log answer the majority of frequently asked questions that companies have. however, more resources can be found at:

additional Tips for Maintaining your osha 300 log

> All information in the log is confidential so keep it in a secure place to protect the privacy of employees on the log > At the end of the year, fill out the Summary Form that is included in the log. the Summary will not (and should not) include any names or sensitive information. Post the Summary no later than February 1st, and keep it posted until April 30th in a place where all employees can see it. > Even if the company has no recordable cases for the year, the Summary is still required to be completed and posted. > keep both the 300 Log and Summary on file for five years following the year it pertains to. > you do not have to send the 300 Log or Summary to oShA unless they specifically ask for it. > Do not hesitate to call your tbg Loss Control representative to discuss questions or concerns about the oShA 300 Log or any other record keeping or documentation issue.

is NOT a work comp claim. When counting days away, restricted duty, or transferred duty for a recordable case, the maximum for the OSHA 300 Log is 180 days. Workers' compensation does not follow this system so the true amount of these days may far exceed what will be recorded on the 300 Log. The difference between an over-the-counter and prescription strength painkiller, such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, can make the difference between an OSHA recordable or non-recordable doctor's visit. If there is no major injury detected and the employee can return to work that day with no restrictions, make sure the doctor does not give them anything prescription strength to save yourself an OSHA recordable! However, the visit and outcome should still be reported as a work comp claim.

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The iMporTanCe of

Enforceable Safety Programs

by ADAM triPP, tbg LoSS ControL rEPrESEntAtivE

overall, unsafe acts cause four times as many accidents as unsafe conditions.

This statistic and others in the article are cited from Seven Common Causes of Accidents by Ted Gordon.

Eighty percent of accidents are the fault of the person involved in the incident. Employees in the field choose to follow safety policies and work safely. A vast majority of accidents can be reduced in severity, or eliminated all together, by forming a strong safety culture within a company. The safety culture should focus on relevant safety policies/ programs, pre-task planning, proper training, and company wide safety involvement. Overall, unsafe acts cause four times as many accidents as unsafe conditions. Safety practices and policies are in place not only to protect the employees but also to protect the employer from easily preventable injuries. Not only do the safety programs need to be in place, they need to be enforceable. Programs that are not ac-

tively enforced lead to employees bypassing safety procedures and taking unnecessary short cuts. It is human nature to attempt to perform our tasks in a more efficient manner. Unfortunately people associate efficiency with risk taking and short cuts. Accidents are often blamed on the variables (unsafe conditions) that may have played a role in the final outcome rather than on the underlying cause of the accident. When accidents and unsafe conditions are sufficiently analyzed, the cause typically stems back to unsafe acts. Following are two examples of accidents that can be addressed on multiple levels. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on how the unsafe acts led to the injuries. There are multiple ways of

correcting the behaviors that lead to unsafe acts. The employees that are willing to put themselves and others at risk need to be identified and removed. Active programs such as employee discipline programs, training, identifying near misses, pre-task planning, and increased communication between all involved are effective when deterring undesirable behaviors. If this is not done or short cuts are allowed to occur, unsafe acts will increase and all the negatives associated with injuries will ensue. The point being, it is essential to control every exposure possible.

example 1

A contractor built a temporary railing system to protect employees from a leading edge down to a stairway and lower level.


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The work area could be properly accessed by a stairway that came up from the lower level a short walk away. One employee made the decision to bypass the fall protection, grab a stud on the wall and lower himself down to the lower level instead of taking the slightly longer time to use the staircase. One particular time that this occurred, the 2x4 snapped causing the employee to fall onto the stairway below. The fall was approximately 9 feet. The employee sustained multiple fractured ribs, a lacerated liver, lumbar and cervical neck injuries, and a shoulder injury. For the shortcut that was taken by this employee, the employer is now facing a $140,000 plus claim which has carried on for close to a year thus far. Employer expectations about risk taking behaviors need to be clearly addressed prior to every employee performing work. Constant oversight by management also needs to take place. It is probably safe to assume that this was not the first time the employee took this short cut. Instilling a culture of self responsibility and calling out people who take unnecessary risks/shortcuts is important to keep all safe. When analyzing this injury, it is obvious that the employee performed an unsafe act. Regardless if the 2x4 in question could have supported the employee's weight, shortcuts should have not been tolerated. The employee may have saved the company a matter of seconds when taking the shortcut rather than using the provided stairs and now threaten the profitability of the company. A safety

culture of intolerance toward risk taking and shortcuts needs to be created. This company was taking multiple steps to reduce claims and keep employees safe but forgot to address the human factor.

example 2


And the Award Goes To...

Northland Concrete & Masonry Co.

by John PriMoZiCh, tbg LoSS ControL MAnAgEr

Another situation occurred when pounding stakes for concrete footings. A gas line was punctured at a depth of 20" when pounding a 24" stake. Gas lines legally need to be buried at 18". Anytime the ground is to be broken near utilities, a full locate needs to be performed. This fortunately turned out to be a near miss situation because no one was injured. It is unbelievably fortunate that there was no ignition source in the immediate vicinity. The employee, who generally smokes, was observing the company's No Smoking policy when removing the stake from the ground and receiving a blast of gas in the face. The possibility of injuring or killing numerous employees was very real here. Good decision making, active safety programs, and a strong safety culture prevented this from being a potentially serious accident and will keep this from happening again. In general, employees can be well educated as to the hazards they face in the field, but without proper guidance from management, shortcuts will be taken with potentially devastating results. Contact your TBG Loss Control Representative for help with setting up all hazard identification/reduction programs.

Congratulations to Northland Concrete & Masonry Co., LLC (NCM) for their hard work and dedication to safety. In 2006, a new management/ownership team took over at NCM. After an analysis of the overall safety effort, it was decided significant changes/enhancements had to be made for the company to be successful in today's competitive construction market. They quickly realized that safety is something they could control and that focusing heavily on employee safety could help them gain a competitive advantage. This saves them significant amounts of money that would have otherwise been spent on injuries and related costs; not to mention all the other benefits of having a work force that believes all accidents are preventable! Let's take a look at how they're doing it.

hiring process

NCM worked with a Human Resources Consultant to develop a pre-screening process for new hires that includes: 1. Written job descriptions with physical demands of the job. 2. Conditional offers of employment. 3. Post offer, pre-placement medical questionnaire. 4. Pre-employment drug testing. 5. Pre-placement strength assessment.

claims management

Managing claims, should they occur, is an essential part of an effective Safety and Health

Continued on page 12

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Continued from page 11

Program. Employees return to work quicker with fewer claim dollars spent. 1. Developed a written Returnto-Work program with identified transitional job duties. 2. Developed close relationships with their insurance claims adjusters to stay informed and in control of W/C claims. 3. Joined the Union Construction Workers Compensation Program (UCWCP). See the UCWCP article on page 6. 4. Partnered with Minnesota Occupational Health for primary injury care.

zero injury culture

management involvement. 2. All accidents have a root cause. NCM has focused their attention and resources on identifying those root causes and addressing them so that the same incident never happens twice.

multi-prong strategy

NCM began working to create a Zero Injury Culture ­ a culture where no injury is acceptable and every injury is preventable. 1. Encouraged the employee to get a voice in the process. Employee involvement became as important as

a Word froM nCM

"It has been our experience that management must engage the help of employees. It has been shown employees will cooperate fully with management when they are part of developing and implementing safety and health protection for themselves and their fellow workers. "Our employees have come to love working at a place where they aren't pushed beyond their comfort levels to take risks ­ they are pushed beyond their comfort levels to work safely. A few years ago, it was more natural for some of our guys to walk across a 12" wide wood plank 20' off the ground than it was for them to don a pair of safety glasses. We fought them to use ladders instead of shimmying up scaffold frames! Fight them to work safely and they'll eventually thank you for it." ­ northland Concrete & Masonry Co.

Their safety program has many components. It includes a screening and orientation process for new hires, daily pre-task planning and stretching on all job sites, certified forklift training for operators, competent person scaffolding training, an A.W.A.I.R. program, respiratory protection program with fit testing and training, return-to-work program, incentive program, CPR & First Aid certifications and OSHA 10 Hour Construction Outreach training for foremen, an active Safety Committee, jobsite safety inspections reviewed by peers/co-workers, and annual companywide safety meetings. As you can see, they have pulled out all the stops when it comes to safety. Their owners have empowered the safety department to truly hold everyone accountable with a strict disciplinary system balanced by a generous incentive program. Employees earn points by working safely which they can redeem for company work wear and apparel, and prize drawings are held when company safety goals are reached. Instead of the "safety cop" approach having an entire company answering to one safety director, they've included everyone within the company. NCM essentially "deputized" their superintendents and foremen to

become safety directors. They bill any injury back to the jobs, which got the attention of not only the foremen who are judged by job profitability but also their project managers who began pushing the safety efforts. The benefits realized by NCM have been dramatic. "Safety" has become a buzz word not only at NCM's headquarters but also on every job site. Their safety culture continues to grow and develop each day as successes are recognized. They have seen a dramatic drop in their frequency rates, claim costs, and have recently logged over 500,000 hours with just one minor lost time injury. With an increased presence in the Twin Cities and across the nation and continued involvement in high profile projects, NCM's OSHA job site inspections have increased, but citations have been reduced to nearly zero. They are proud to have played key roles on two projects and one pending that qualified for MN Sharp status- an award rarely seen on construction sites. Their relationship with OSHA has been very beneficial as NCM was recently approved for a $10,000 grant to purchase carbon monoxide monitors and other safety equipment. The information discussed above is a great example of taking ownership of your safety program and ability to control whether injuries will occur. The results will enhance the safety of their employees, reduce claims, and add to the overall profitability of their business. Congratulations to Northland Concrete & Masonry!


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froM The arChives

by JiM wALEriUS, tbg PrEMiUM AUDit MAnAgEr thE FoLLowing toPiC was covered in the Summer 2006 newsletter, but it bears repeating. As long as an executive officer or owner of a limited liability company is covered, he/she is subject to the minimum and maximum payroll limits (as stated in the MN Ratemaking Report which is also reprinted under the assigned risk rate pages). All officers (whether owners or not) of a nonclosely held corporation or owners of a non-closely held limited liability company are covered automatically. Executive officers of a closely held corporation as explained below who own at least 25% of the stock of the corporation or 25% member interest in the limited liability company are not covered unless they elect to be. Sole proprietors and partners who elect coverage are also subject to the same minimum and maximum payroll limits. An "executive officer" is defined as the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, or any other officer appointed in accordance with the charter or bylaws of such entity. For members who joined the fund before 4/1/2008, the maximum payroll limits for the 2008 calendar year for individuals mentioned in the first paragraph are $1,565 per week or $81,380 annually. For those who joined on or after 4/1/2008, the maximum limits are $1,615 per week or $83,980; those maximum limits apply for the 2009 calendar year (except for members who join on or after 4/1/2009). The maximum limits for those who join after 4/1/2009 which will also apply to the 2010 fund year have not yet been published. Besides a maximum limit, the above mentioned individuals are subject to a minimum payroll limit. For members who joined the fund before 4/1/2008, the minimum payroll limits for the 2008 calendar year for individuals mentioned in the previous paragraph are $280 per week or $14,560 annually. For those who joined on or after 4/1/2008, the minimum limits are $330 per week or $17,160; those minimum limits apply for the 2009 calendar year (except for members who join on or after 4/1/2009). Here again, the minimum limits for those who join after 4/1/2009 which will also apply to the 2010 fund year have not yet been published. The following individuals are automatically excluded from coverage unless they elect in writing to The Builders Group to be covered: 1) A sole proprietor and the spouse, child, or parent of a sole proprietor; 2) A partner and the spouse, child, or parent of a partner; 3) An executive officer of a closely held corporation if that officer owns at least 25% of the stock of the corporation (A closely held corporation is one that had less than 22,880 hours during the previous calendar year; we estimate that there must be more than 11 full time employees including the officers to generate 22,880 hours of payroll or about $500,000 annual payroll); 4) The spouse, child, or parent of an executive officer of a closely held corporation; 5) The manager of a (closely held) limited liability company having 10 or fewer members and having less than 22,880 hours of payroll in the preceding calendar year, if that manager owns at least 25% membership interest in the limited liability company; 6) The spouse, child, or parent of the manager of a closely held limited liability company. The following family members of an executive officer of a closely held corporation or of a manager of a closely held limited liability company are automatically covered unless they elect in writing to The Builders Group not to be covered: 1) Siblings; 2) Sons-in-law or daughters-in-law; 3) Grandparents; 4) Grandchildren; 5) uncles and aunts; 6) Nieces and nephews. Cousins, ex-spouses, or step-children cannot elect not to be covered and are always automatically covered. The actual payroll as indicated in the member's records for parents, spouses, or children of an individual sole proprietor, of a partner of a partnership, or of an executive officer of a closely held corporation who are employed by such entity to perform work in connection with the operations of the employer and for whom coverage has been elected in writing will be included in the basis of premium computation subject to a minimum amount per each week actually worked. A part of a week is considered a full week for this calculation. The minimum amount for members who joined the fund before 4/1/2008 for the 2008 calendar year is $235 per week. For those who joined on or after 4/1/2008, the minimum amount is $242 per week which also applies for the 2009 calendar year (except for members who join on or after 4/1/2009). The minimum limits for those who join after 4/1/2009 which will also apply to the 2010 fund year have not yet been published.

it is important to clearly state your coverage elections in writing to tbg.

An election of coverage form is available on our website at www. or through your agency. Please don't assume that because one child is covered e.g., all of the others will be, too. Remember if your organization is larger than 11 full time employees or about $500,000 annual payroll, all officers and family members are automatically covered and cannot elect not to be covered. Questions? Call Jim Walerius at 651-389-1143 or email him at [email protected]

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Keeping Your Company in OSHA Compliance While Improving Your Safety Culture

by kAtiE SChoFiELD, ArM, ASP, ChStLoSS ControL rEPrESEntAtivE

The formation of an active effective safety committee is an OSHA regulation that is often unknown or overlooked by company owners. Creating a safety committee, and doing it well, is not as easy as putting up a guard rail or putting on a harness. It requires time, active effort, and concern from both the management, office, and employees in the field. However, once established and running, a safety committee can bring forward excellent ideas to benefit the company in terms of safety and productivity, get employees involved, and positively affect overall safety culture.

who needs to have a safety committee?

representatives should equal, if not exceed, the number of management representatives on the committee. Employees should be picked by their peers to be on the committee, but in the absence of volunteers, the employer may select representatives. If there is an abundance of volunteers, you may wish to rotate members on and off of the committee every six months or annually. Ideally, members of the safety committee are the people who lead by example, vocally promote and enforce safety, and have ideas and concerns about how to make the company a better place to work. Often times safety directors and foremen will take a leading role on the safety committee, but membership does not need to depend on job title or experience level. Additionally, being a part of a safety committee is considered part of an employee's job, and all time spent with the committee and performing related tasks is considered time worked.

what does a safety committee do?

Enhancing company communication can involve orienting new employees or training existing employees on new safety procedures, bringing the safety concerns or suggestions of employees to management, and presenting safety information at staff meetings, safety meetings, and tool box talks. Another activity of major importance is assisting in accident investigations involving any injury, incident, or monetary loss.

what are the benefits of a safety committee?

OSHA required that all companies with 25 or more employees form a safety committee and hold regularly scheduled meetings. If the number of employees drops below 25 during certain times of operation, the committee only needs to meet during the periods when 25 or more are employed. Ideally, the committee should meet at least quarterly with a documented agenda and attendance record.

who should be on the safety committee?

There are a large number of activities that a safety committee can perform. Tasks that have an immediate effect on safety include participating in frequent work place and job site inspections and reporting any safety or health violations, providing information for new safety procedures or rules, and conducting job hazard analyses.

Above and beyond being in OSHA compliance, a safety committee will get employees involved in the safety processes of the company. Committee members are safety leaders in the company including out in the field, and they allow employees to take ownership of the company's safety culture. Safety Committee Benefits: · Overall safety awareness improves · Employees feel empowered · Great ideas are brought from suggestions and concerns which benefit safety, efficiency, and productivity · Lessons are learned from accident investigations to prevent losses · Participation is increased in safety measures in the field; more "buy in" · Safety violations are reduced · The benefits go on and on.

you may direct questions regarding safety committees to your tbg Loss Control representative.

An employer's guide to developing a LABOR/MANAGEMENT SAFETY COMMITTEE

thErE ArE MAny rESoUrCES including tbg Loss Control, which can assist you in forming a safety committee, or making your existing committee more active and effective. Please refer to the following excellent resource for an indepth description of safety committees and a step-by-step action plan for safety committee formation and operation:

Anyone who is concerned with safety and health in the company should be on the committee. Employee

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Workplace Safety Consultation May 2002


Q ua r T e r ly e x p r e s s · W i n T e r 2 0 0 9

Our mission is to promote and serve the underground utility contracting community including suppliers and support industries by providing safety training, certification, continuing education, scholarships, and community As a contractor member of service. In addition, we provide a range of advocacy work including State and MUCA, you will automatiFederal lobbying and regulatory work. This makes MUCA your front line of cally be part of the National defense on issues affecting your business. Utility Contractors AssoMUCA has a full-time State Lobbyist providing our industry with the ciation team. This network access and knowledge it needs to stay on the cutting edge of changes in of over 2,000 contractors, regulations and laws. MUCA has an aggressive legislative program to bring suppliers, and manufacturmore infrastructure dollars to Minnesota through both federal and state ers nationwide, including funding. MUCA's Political Action Committee also gives you a voice in the po40 state and local chapters, litical arena by helping to elect key decision-makers who are out there to help maintains a wide range you in your business. of benefits, educational Our Association is on the forefront of your safety and training needs. We opportunities, and services offer tailored training to your company as well as our core programming prodesigned with you in mind. viding pipelayers certification, confined space, and other required course work for the industry. In addition to this core safety training, MUCA is expanding our training profile to provide utility construction focused business training this year. Check our website for additional information on our new programming. MUCA is working to expand our workforce in many ways. In addition to providing scholarship opportunities for our Members' children, we are working with state-wide institutions to expand the visibility of pursuing careers in the construction field. MUCA recently won a national grant to continue to work on this very important investment in the future. As a member of MUCA, you will have access to The Underground Press ­ our award winning quarterly magazine. You will enjoy our annual directory of industry contacts, regular email alerts on key topics of importance to the industry, MUCA's Safety Library, Annual Conference, and key events that provide networking as well as up-to-date information you need to know. The list is long, and the benefits are measurable. Our membership provides you with the ability to grow your exposure in the industry, save money with safety, access business and management training, and increase profits.

Minnesota Utility ContraCtors assoCiation

Consider joining the MUCA team. Your membership dollars will show on your bottom line. Check us out at or give us a call at 651-735-3908 to learn more!

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