Oil & Gas Businesses Earn Workers’ Comp Dividends

Texas Mutual Insurance Company recently paid a $1.8 million dividend to the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TxOGA) safety group. The workers’ compensation dividend was based largely on the group’s overall loss ratio.  TxOGA members have shared in $18 million in Texas Mutual dividends since 2001.

In addition to potential dividends, TxOGA members get a discount on their workers’ compensation premiums. They also have access to industry-specific workplace safety training materials in Texas Mutual’s Safety Resource Center.

Other employers interested in Oil & Gas safety should check out Texas Mutual’s Oil & Gas Safety Roundtable web page.

Any licensed Texas agent can submit qualifying clients for consideration in the TxOGA safety group. For more information, including qualifying class codes, visit texasmutual.com/agents/pr_txoga.shtm.

Past dividends are not a guarantee of future dividends. The Texas Department of Insurance must approve all dividends.

Staying Safe in the Heat

In some states, summer weather can be a little uncomfortable. In Texas, it can be downright dangerous.

Scorching temperatures and suffocating humidity make our summers exceptionally brutal. If you have employees who work outside, share this article with them. By learning the basics and taking a few simple precautions, they can steer clear of heat-related illnesses this summer.

Get help. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you think you or a co-worker need medical attention for a heat-related illness.

Take it slowly. Condition yourself for working in hot environments. Start slowly, and build up to more physical work. Allow your body a few days to adjust.

Drink up. Drink plenty of liquid before and during heat exposure. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. By then, you’re probably on your way to being dehydrated.

Cool water, fruit juice and sports beverages are good choices. Never drink alcohol, and avoid drinks with large amounts of sugar, as well as caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and soda. They cause the body to lose fluids. Also, avoid very cold drinks. They can cause stomach cramps.

If you are on a salt-restricted diet or taking water pills, ask your doctor how much and what type of fluid you should drink.

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The ABCs of New Employee Safety

Who is a new employee? Sounds simple—it is the newly hired employee starting work at a new company, right? That’s right, but it’s not a complete answer. New employees include people who transfer to a new position, return to work after an extended absence, operate a new piece of equipment or implement a new procedure.

Approximately 27 percent of job-related fatalities involve employees who have been on a new job for less than 90 days, according to a recent Texas Mutual claim analysis. Similarly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Office of Statistics says 40 percent of employees injured at work have been on the job less than one year. New employees need to be made aware of how serious safety training is from their first day at a new job.

There are many reasons new employees are more likely to get injured than experienced workers. For one, management frequently assumes new employees have more knowledge pertaining to the job than they actually do. In turn, employers may not provide thorough and complete training for new employees. New employees may also put themselves at risk because they hesitate to ask questions for fear of appearing incapable in front of peers or supervisors.

Here are a few tips on safety education for new employees, which may help your company avoid adding to the statistics.

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Do Not Disturb the Drivers

The risk of roadway crashes associated with on-the-job operation of motor vehicles affects millions of U.S. workers. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in 2008, nearly 3.9 million workers in the United States were classified as motor vehicle operators. Most of the vehicular accidents involve companies’ employees who are in non-Department of Transportation regulated vehicles and conducting incidental activities.

Whether running a bank errand or driving a company truck to a service call, employees perform multiple work-related activities in a moving vehicle. Think about how many times a day you see an inattentive driver talking on a cell phone or attempting to send a text message or email. A survey conducted in 2010 found that 71 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 admit they text or talk on the phone while driving. Unfortunately, these tasks can often end in tragedy and affect the bottom line of your business.

Talking on the cell phone while driving. Many companies have field employees whose primary communication tool is a cell phone. Employers should consider whether or not the company’s driver policy addresses cell phone use while driving. In some accidents, lawsuits have been filed with the employer being held responsible. Whether it is a company vehicle or not, as long as the employee is on company business and the employer has either required or understood that the employee talks on the cell phone while handling business, the company could be held liable. Research has shown that even the use of a hands-free device is still a significant distraction. To be safe, turn off your cell phone and put it away so you won’t be tempted to answer a phone call.

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