Dry Cleaners

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It’s never fun to think about the risks your dry cleaners business faces, but ignoring them will never make those risks go away.  Knowing exactly what you are and are not covered for is, in some situations, the difference between being closed for a week and your business having to close its doors permanently.  There are many different types of risk a dry cleaners faces. Those risks can be dramatically different from the risks of a painter, an electrician or even a lawyer. If your machinery breaks and you have to be closed for a few weeks while you wait for a part, will your insurance cover that down time? If you damage a clients clothes and your business gets sued, will your insurance cover the lawsuit. If an employee is hurt on the job, how much and what types of medical coverage will your insurance pay for. These are questions you need to have the answers to when you are deciding to buy workers compensation insurance for your dry cleaning business.

Get your questions answered about workers compensation insurance for dry cleaners businesses at My Insurance Question.

Partnering with an independent insurance agent is a good place to start. Independent agents have the ability to shop your workers compensation insurance policy around to many carriers and not just one or a select few. Not all carriers excel at every industry. Some provide better coverage at better prices for certain industries depending upon the appetites of each carrier. Independent agents know what carriers work better with different industries. If you can take just a few moments to let your agent know about the intricacies of your business and the priorities of you as a business owner, they can more than likely find the best coverage to meet your unique needs.

Many Dry Cleaners have a laundromat attached to their business. Find out how this will impact your commercial insurance at My Insurance Question.

 

Dry Cleaners Liability Classification Codes

Commercial insurance companies use various liability classification systems in order to classify and rate coverage premiums for Dry Cleaners. Here are the most common business insurance classification for businesses that perform dry cleaning services:

Business Liability Category: Service Business

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

•   7216- Drycleaning facilities- Except Rugs

•   7216- Drycleaning and Laundry- Coin Operated

NAICS Liability Classifications:

•   812320- Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services (not coin operated)

•   812310- Coin Operated Dry Cleaning and Laundry Store

Business ISO General Liability:

•   Code: 14732- Dry Cleaners and Laundry Stores Front (receiving station)

•   Code: 14733- Dry Cleaners and Laundry Store

•   Code: 45678- Dry Cleaning and Laundry Plants

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

•   2586- Dry Cleaning Plant- All Employees

•   2589- Dry Cleaning or Laundry- Retail Store and Drivers

•   2590- New York- Dry Cleaning or Laundry Store

•   8017- Retail Store (Pick-up and Drop-off only)

 

Natural Disaster Preparedness

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With the devastation people have experienced this hurricane season in both Texas and now in Florida it is a wise time to create a natural disaster preparedness plan for your business.  The risks your business will face are going to be different depending upon where your business is located and the industry you operate in. speaking with a risk management professional can be the first step towards determining how much risk your business faces, what types of risk you actually face and how to best mitigate those risks.  Here are four tips to help you protect your business from the impact of a natural disaster.

What can the Business Community learn about Natural Disaster Preparedness from the hurricanes in Texas and Florida?

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, now is a great time to develop a Natural Disaster Preparedness plan for your small business.

 

Call your insurance agent

Every disaster readiness plan should start with a phone call or in person meeting with your insurance agent. It is wise to partner with an independent insurance agent because they interact with many different carriers and can do a better job of making sure your business gets the most extensive coverage at rock bottom prices. Insurance agents also have a unique perspective because they interact with customers on a daily basis who have had to file a claim when something went wrong at their business. They can use those experiences to help you realize risks you may not realize you face and they can help you protect your business to the fullest.

Create a Disaster Readiness Kit

Depending upon where you live and the industry of your business, the contents of this kit may be defense. The size of your staff will make a difference as well. First aid supplies, batteries, water and canned foods should be the start of this kit. Depending upon how far you want to take your preparedness kit, you can also include a generator, fuel, flashlights or even solar chargers. Your insurance agent can help you come up with a list of things you may need and ready.gov is a great place to go for guidance.

Create a communication plan and practice it periodically

There are many ways to communicate with your employees during a time of emergency. The best plans have numerous ways to get out a message during a time when communication lines are down. First you need to find the ways in which your employees like to receive their messages. Many people today do a majority of their communicating via their mobile device, but it is not wise to expect all employees to communicate in this manner. Some may still prefer to receive an email, text message or even an actual phone call. Again, the best way to make sure all employees receive the message is to have numerous ways to communicate with your employees. Once you have a plan in place, it is important to test out your system periodically. This is important because you want to know that your messages can get through when electricity and all communications systems are up and running. Once you know the system will work when things are up and running it is important to than test for when one or all of the ways of communicating are down.

Create a Business Continuity Plan

This is especially important if you are not just a regional business. As many people realize right now that when a disaster happens in one area of the country, business keeps on churning in other parts of the country or internationally. If you have businesses that are expecting shipments to be received or services rendered than you need to prepare for when you cannot preform those services. You may find that you need to consult with a lawyer to get language into a contract for when you are not physically able to perform your contractual obligations. It is good to be prepared for this types of situations, but nothing is better than establishing a good relationship with all parties.customers and keeping open good lines of communication. Most people and businesses will understand when a disaster strikes that business may be interrupted. Giving them a heads up if you know in advance a disaster is coming will go a long way towards getting your third parties on your side when you cannot fulfill your obligations because of a natural disaster.

Assigned Risk Provider

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 What is the Assigned Risk Provider?

The assigned risk provider is also frequently referred to as The State Fund or The PoolQuestion Mark: What is the assigned risk provider?

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required by law in 48 out of 50 states in the country. Oklahoma and Texas are the only two exceptions to this rule. The workers compensation system was was designed to provide medical coverage and some lost wages for workers who are hurt will performing normal business operations. It benefits the employers by preventing lawsuits that result from injuries that occur as a normal part of the business duties. Now if the business is not following normal safety procedures for their industry they can still be held liable for injuries to their employees.

Workers compensation systems are governed by each individual state government. They determine what types of business can exclude themselves from coverage. Some industries, like artisan contractors for example, do not have to carry coverage on themselves or their employees.  The individual states also determine how rates are determined by insurance carriers who offer coverage within their state. Most states partner with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to determine rates for different class codes. Some states; like Utah for example, have their own rating system administered by a government organization. Most use the basic guidelines of the NCCI system.

 

The Assigned Risk Provider is frequently referred to as 'the pool'.

An additional responsibility of the states is setting up a provider of last resort for the employer’s of the state. This provider of last resort is also referred to as the assigned risk provider, the state fund or sometimes the pool. This assigned risk provider is designated as the provider of last resort for businesses who can’t find coverage on the open market. In most cases this provider is noticeably more expensive.

Businesses end up having to purchase coverage from the assigned risk provider for a number of reasons.  Some businesses are in a high risk industry that no carriers are willing to quote coverage to businesses in this industry. Sometimes the business is forced to purchase coverage from the assigned risk provider because the business has had too many claims within a short period time. A final common reason for winding up in the pool is because the business just does not generate enough revenue to justify the amount of risk their business takes on. Most states have some type of requirement for the business to try to obtain coverage from a certain number of providers on the open market before they can apply to the assigned risk provider.

There are three main ways states go about providing employers with an assigned risk provider. States can provide their own fund, some states use NCCI and some states have a partner carrier who guarantees coverage for employers who cannot find coverage on the open market. Typically states who have a strong assigned risk provider enjoy the best rates on workers comp insurance. There are different ways to provide this strong provider, but typically the stronger this provider, the lower the rates employers pay.

Utah is a good example of strong state provider. The fund is called the Workers’ Compensation Fund. It controls 57% of the market and is the main reason Utah enjoys some of the lowest rates in the country. Colorado is another state who operates their workers compensation system a tad differently than most states. Colorado has a partnership with Pinnacol. Pinnacol was begun around the time workers’ compensation became a requirement in the state and it was designed in partnership with the state government to guarantee competing coverage with carriers on the open market.  This partnership does a fairly good job of keeping the rates reasonable for the employer’s of Colorado. Both of these states enjoy some of the lowest rates on Workers’ Compensation Insurance because of their strong Assigned Risk Providers. New York is an example of a state who operates their own assigned risk provider, but does not compete as well to keep rates reasonable. New Yorks’ state fund administered as a non profit agency. The state also has very difficult regulatory compliance regulations for employers in relation to workers compensation coverage. These regulations force many carriers out of the state market. These factors contribute to New York to having some of the highest workers compensation rates in the entire country.

Administering the workers compensation system in a given state is left up to each individual state. There are three main ways states go about doing this service to the business community. Some handle it themselves, others partner with an outside carrier and some contract this service out to a company like NCCI. All three ways can be effective and they each have their own challenges. The strength of these assigned risk providers goes a long way towards determining what employers across the state pay for workers compensation coverage and they will for the foreseeable future.

Gun Clubs

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Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges provide facilities for customers to practice and compete shooting at targets with various types of firearms.  Some ranges are indoors and allow shooting primarily with handguns at fairly short ranges. Other facilities may include outdoor facilities that allow for more long range shooting where larger firearms are present.  Many facilities offer lessons for beginners and concealed carry classes for people interested in self-defense.  Some facilities offer sales of weapons and accessories, rentals of weapons and even repair for damaged weapons.  Many facilities offer periodic tournaments and other competitions. Each of these aspects of the business bring with them additional risks.  Depending upon the business activities of each individual gun club or shooting range the liability needs for each business can be drastically different.

Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

Workers Compensation Risks for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

As most business owners know, the risks facing a gun shop are very unique to each individual business and industry. The risks of running a gun shop are different then that of a food truck or an accounting firm.  Many of the Workers Compensation Exposures at gun clubs and shooting ranges are similar to many facilities open to the public. Slips, trips and falls are common causes of injuries in these facilities. There is an elevated amount of risk when a firearm is involved in one of the accidents. This is because of the severity of an injury when a firearm is involved. Businesses in this industry do not typically have a higher frequency of claims, but the claims do tend to be more severe. Because of the severity of these risks, employees should be well-trained and everyone should be required to wear proper safety equipment including ear and eye protection.

Employees who work in this industry face both short term and long term risks. Ear protection is important to protect the long term hearing health of your staff.  Additionally eye protection should be worn at all times when in the presence of live fire. It is wise of a business to provide this safety equipment for the employees and to spend a little extra in order to get safety equipment that is comfortable to wear. Spending additional investment on adequate safety and training programs can go a long way towards keeping your staff safe.  A safe staff is a happy and productive staff.  Taking additional time to protect your employees will help them be more productive and can prevent a costly insurance claim.

 

Shooting Range Liability Classification Codes

Commercial insurance companies use various liability classification systems in order to classify and rate coverage premiums for Gun Ranges. Here are the most common business insurance classification for Shooting Clubs:

Business Liability Category: Recreation and Sports

 

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

    •   7997- Membership Sports and Recreation Clubs

NAICS Liability Classifications:

    •   713990- Other Amusement and Recreation Industries

Business ISO General Liability:

•   Code: 47253- Indoor Rifle or Pistol Ranges

•   Code: 47254- Outdoor Rifle or Gun Ranges

•   Code: 48206- Skeet Shooting or Trap Shooting Ranges

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

    •   9180- Amusement Operations- Shooting Clubs

 

Florist

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As a florist, a business owner has chosen an industry that is very diverse and has specialized business insurance needs.  Those insurance needs differ from other small businesses. The diversity of this industry can include providing arrangements for both weddings and funerals. Many of these occassions require you to provide just the right touch at a moment’s notice. This diversity in the floral industry brings about specialized business insurance needs that differ from other small businesses. As far as workers compensation risks, the first and foremost risk results to lifting which can cause back injuries, sprains and strains resulting from slips and falls.

FInd the best answers to your questions about workers compensation insurance for a florist at myinsurancequestion.com

In order to combat these risks, employees should be provided with the proper safety equipment for a florist. Your business has to train your employees on the proper techniques to prevent risks. Also, realize the risks you face in this industry are different than the risk of an electrician or a home health care business. Never assume your employees no how to keep themselves safe or that they value safety. Delivery drivers should have thorough background checks done on them that include periodic driving records. The driving records should be pulled yearly if not more frequently.

Securing proper insurance coverage in the floral industry does not have to be a difficult process. Partnering with an experienced independent insurance agent is a good idea because they can help you determine what exact risks you face and how to best combat those risks. No matter who you choose to partner with as an agent, the buying process should begin with a thorough discussion of your business operations. Taking a little bit of additional time to let them know what exactly your employees do and do not do on a daily basis can help you avoid catastrophe down the road. Insurance agents interact with small business owners not only when they are purchasing insurance coverage, but also when claims occur. They have to interact with business owners in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. They can use this experience to help you prevent a catastrophic claim that may cause you to close the doors of your business permanently.  Flowers from a florist.

Independent agents are the best to partner with because they have the ability to shop your policy around to multiple carriers in an effort to secure a better price and even better coverage. This is especially important if you have employees who drive as a part of their daily duties. Driving risks tend to cause claims to rise in both frequency and severity for small businesses. Because of this fact, insurance carriers charge more in premium to cover a business that has a driving risk. No matter what risks your business does face, partnering with an experienced independent insurance agent will always help you secure the best coverage at the lowest premium possible.

 

Business Liability Category: Retail Stores- Flowers

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

•   5992- Florist

•   5992- Flowers, Nursery Stock, and Florist Supplies

NAICS Liability Classifications:

•   453110- Florist and Flower Shops

•   453998- Other Miscellaneous Retail Stores

Business Insurance ISO General Liability:

    •   Code: 12841- Florist

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

    •   8001- Retail Flower Shops and Drivers

 

Accounting Firms

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Accountants handle clients’ financial records. Their services are provided to both individuals and businesses. With the diversity in the work that accountants do, and the fact they are dealing with sensitive financial information, the level of risk in this industry is unique. Bodily-injury claims are not very high, but the severity of loss from financial data can be extremely high.

Accounting firms

An accounting firm may or may not carry the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. The need for the CPA certification depends on the type of work each accountant will provide and the purpose or type of financial statements the accountant will prepare for the client.  The more employees a business has with proper certifications the more likely they are to get additional credits and debits offered by an insurance carrier to help off-set the cost of insurance premium.

Get the best answers to all your accounting firm insurance questions at WorkersCompensationClassCodes.com

Some accountants may also act as financial planners and offer investment advice.  If they do, this also adds to the amount of risk the business takes on and can impact the type of coverage the business needs to secure and the limits they will need in response to these risks. One type of risk to consider is related to the property your office is located in. Whether you own the property or rent will have an impact on the types of coverage you will need.

A majority of insurance carriers commonly write Business Owners Policies for accounting firms with less than 50 employees. Most find that a BOP policy is the best way to go because it saves accountants 15% – 20% on their coverage when bundling policies.  Buying each policy as a stand alone decreases the likelihood carriers will offer as many available credits and debits on a policy.  When insurance underwriters know they are going to get multiple lines of coverage from your business they have more incentive to compete for your business.  Working with an experienced independent insurance agent can help mitigate these problems and ensure your business does not have any gaps in coverage.

 

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

•   8803- Accountant, Auditor; traveling

    •   8810- Clerical; office only

 

Interpreting the Loss Ratio

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The loss ratio is a quick and easy way for an insurer to determine the profitability of a workers compensation insurance policy.  It is calculated simply by dividing the incurred losses by the total earned premium.  Therefore, a company with a very low loss ratio would be considered a very profitable policy, and an employer with a very high one would be less profitable or not profitable at all.  The loss ratio can be looked at in two different perspectives.  From the insurer’s side, it represents the percent of earned premium that they need to set aside to pay off incurred claims.  From the insureds perspective, the loss ratio represents the amount of premium paid that will be returned to cover the cost of their claims.  By knowing the loss ratio, the insured can also determine the amount of money that the insurer keeps as payment for expenses and risk.  Take for instance a company with a loss ratio of 95%.  That would mean that for every $1.00 of premium paid, the company is receiving $0.95 of insurance coverage, which would most likely result in loss for the insurer after they pay expenses.  If the company with a 95% loss ratio paid a total of $25,000 in premium, then the insurer would only be left with $1,250 to cover their expenses.  A company with a loss ratio of >100% would be receiving more money for claims than it is paying out for premium, and would cause the insurer to lose even more money.  This gives incentive for insurers to write more policies with employers that have a low loss ratio.  If it writes a company with a 45% loss ratio, it will have 55% of the paid premium to cover its expenses and produce profit.

Find the answers to your Small Business Loss Ratio Questions at Workers Compensation Class Codes.com

You can also use the loss ratio to look at the insurer’s profitability.  For example, an insurance company that has a book of business that pays $100 million in premium has a loss ratio of 40%.  This would mean the company earns $60 million in profit.  If the same company had a loss ratio of 50%, it would only earn $50 million in profit (before expenses).  Another ratio that is very similar to the simple loss ratio is the combined ratio.  The combined ratio is the loss ratio with the various insurance expenses included.  It is calculated by: (Total incurred losses + Total expenses incurred) ÷ (The total premium earned) = Combined ratio.  The NCCI lists that the combined ratio for the entire workers compensation market in 2014 was 100%, and it was 94% in 2015.  The 94% combined ratio of 2015 represents the first underwriting gain of the workers compensation market since 2006, when it was 93%.

 

There are a few reasons why a company may have a high loss ratio.  The most obvious reason is that the company has a bad history of losses.  Therefore a high loss ratio can sometimes indicate that a company is riskier.  However, the frequency and severity of the claims listed on the loss history must be analyzed to understand why the ratio is so high.  If it seems there is a high amount of small claims, the insurer could insist the company does something to change its operations and/or safety procedures to help stop or slow down the amount of claims.  If it is a small amount of high severity claims, perhaps the insurer should help the company mitigate the cost of the claims.  A high loss ratio could also be the indicator that the insured is being charged too low of a premium rate.  This could be due to a misclassification of payrolls or just a soft insurance market (soft meaning premium rates of the market are lower than usual).  In this instance the insurer would be inclined to fix misclassified employees, and perhaps increase the premium rates being charged if they can.

 

There are also a few reasons why a company would have a low loss ratio.  The simplest reason being that the company has suffered little to no losses while they have been insured.  The insurer would see this as a highly profitable policy, whereas the insured may view it as an inefficient use of their resources.  While it would seem like the right thing to do for insurers to seek the lowest possible loss ratios, it is not always beneficial.  Very low loss ratios can also be an indicator that premium rates are too high.  When rates are too high it results in slower growth, and this can cause the company to lose market share.  Depending on the strategy of the firm, maintaining growth and achieving certain market shares may be the goals that management is pressured by.  Also, when premium rates are too high it is likely that profit is not being maximized.  For example, imagine a firm that has a book of business with $100 million in earned premium, and a loss ratio of 40%. It would be earning $60 million in profit.  However, if the firm was to lower their rates it would increase their amount of earned premium to $125 million while also increasing their loss ratio to 50%.  This would cause them to earn $62.5 million in profit, which is a $2.5 million increase in profit.  Even though the company’s loss ratio increases, they earn increased profit and therefore benefit from lowering their premium rates.

 

Insurance for Floor Installation

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Floor installation is an activity that brings many unique risks to a business that make it a tad more difficult to quote from an insurance perspective. The risks faced by a business in this industry are very different from the risks faced by a janitorial services company, an automobile service company, or even a trucking company. Floor laying, finishing and refinishing operations are a type of specialty carpentry that increases exposures involving the actual construction and lay out of floors in both residential or commercial buildings. This may include the installation of floor coverings such as linoleum, tile or carpeting. There may be certain types of chemicals your workers are exposed to that can increase the severity of a workers compensation claim.  For brand new structures, floor installation may include cutting and installing sub-flooring over a structural frame, installing hardwood flooring, and applying layers of paint and/or varnish. Each type of activity brings with it its own unique set of risks.  For this reason it is extremely important for a business owner in this industry to talk a little longer with their insurance agent about what exactly the employees of the business do and do not do on a daily basis.  The insurance agent is in the business of analyzing risk, so if they are absent the appropriate amount of information it is in their best interest to always assume more risk.  IF they assume more risk it can cause your business to be classified improperly which will cause your businesses premium to increase.

 

Floor Installation

 

Unique Workers Compensation issues for Floor Installation Businesses

Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature any job.  This is very much the case in the floor installation industry.  Replacing the carpet in one room of a 10 year old house is dramatically different than replacing the hardwood floors of a 5,000 square foot house that is 50 years and located in a humid area like the Florida Gulf Coast.  From an insurance agency perspective they have to assume you are doing both types of activities in order to protect the risk their own business takes.  If you are a one man team that only installs carpets in new houses than you may be in a classification code with less risk and consequently a lower rate in premium.  This type of mistake usually gets fixed during the end of term audit, but it can still tie up useful cash in paying too much premium throughout the year or it might cause a bit of a surprise if you have to pay the additional premium at the end of the term.

 

Here are several common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

•   5478- Carpet, Linoleum, Vinyl Installation

•   5438- Tile Floor Installation

•   5437- Hardwood Floor Installation and Refinishing

•   5645- Residential Construction

•   5651- Commercial Carpentry

•   5436- California- Hardwood Floor Installation

 

 

Pest Control

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What risks do Pest Control Companies face that relate to workers compensation insurance?

 

Pest control companies and fumigators are the type of small businesses that provide services to both commercial and residential customers. This presents risks that can be varied and diverse. The pest control agent or exterminator determines the type of pest a property faces and the most effective method of removal.  At the same time they must determining what will cause the least amount of disruption to the customer.  This disruption can come in the form of interrupting business operations or making the home life uncomfortable or inhabitable for a family.  All of these issues must be taken in to consideration by the business and these decisions leave the business at risk of liability to others as well as to their employees.

 

FInd the best answers to your pest control insurance questions at Workers Compensation Class Codes.com

 

With the issues a pest control company faces on a daily basis comes an an amount of risk that is higher than the average business.  Workers compensation exposure can be high for the Pest Control industry. Common hazards include slips and falls during application; minor injuries while using hand tools; lifting injury and back injuries, hernia, sprain and strain.  Employees can experience lung, eye, or skin irritations due to the chemicals.  The impact of these chemicals can be immediate or long term.  In some Pest Control companies seasonal employees may make safety a challenge. Loss potential becomes severe if the contractor fails to train and supervise employees properly. This is especially important when it comes to the proper use of protective gear by the employees.

 

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

•   9014- Janitorial Services by Contractors- (Florida- Exterminators)

•   4828- Chemical Blending and Fumigation

•   9031- California Code- Pest Control- All Operations

•   0046- Massachusetts Code- Pesticide Application

 

 

Artisan Contractors: Painters

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The term artisan contractor is one used widely throughout the insurance industry, but is not so common throughout the general population.  The term includes carpenter, plumber, painter, electrician, mechanic, mason, or any other sort of skilled contractor.  The level of risk that each of these professions takes on is different and because of that the amount they pay for commercial insurance premium is reflected by that amount of risk.

Get the best information about insurance for a painter at workerscompensationclasscodes.com

 

For this reason; if you operate in one of these industries, it is important to spend some extra time speaking with your insurance agent about precisely what your business does and does not do.  This is especially important for handy man contractors who may do several types of work that may not be able to put them in one particular classification code. After a thorough conversation with your agent, they should be able to properly classify you for all of your business insurance needs.

When it comes to workers compensation coverage, similar to that of an electrician, risks for a painter vary based on the size and nature of the job.  Employees may be exposed to dust and chips containing lead.  Lifting, back injury, hernia, and sprain and strain are all common occurrences for a painter as paint buckets can be heavy.  How your and your employees use power tools can result in cuts and burns that cause claims.

When painting or other work is done on ladders and scaffolds, there is a potential for injury from falling or being struck by falling objects.  Adverse weather conditions may be a risk to the painter as well. Good maintenance of scaffolds, proper use of basic safety equipment, such as properly installed guards, steel-toed shoes, and eye protection, and strict enforcement of safety practices are important to prevent claims.  Another serious exposure is the removal of old paint. Lack of a procedure to determine if the paint to be removed is lead based, or lack of procedures for safe clean-up and disposal of chips and the solvents used to remove lead, adds significantly to the potential for claims.

 

 

 

Common classification codes that are used by Painters.

•   5037- Painting Contractor- Metal Structures Above 2 Stories

•   9501- Painters- Shop Only

•   5474- Painters and Painting Contractors

•   6874- Federal Code- Painting Ship Hulls