Regulatory Roundup, July 28

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA abandons combustible dust, noise and backing regulations

OSHA recently released its spring regulatory agenda, which includes abandoning efforts to regulate combustible dust exposure, noise exposure for the construction industry and vehicles backing up in factories and construction sites. The agency cited resource constraints and competing priorities as reasons for its decision…MORE

New webpage promotes HAZWOPER safety

OSHA created a webpage to help construction and general industry businesses with the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard. The page includes resources for general businesses, worker preparedness and training…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

NTSB presents recommendations for speeding

More than 112,500 people died in speed-related crashes from 2005 to 2014, but according to the National Transportation Safety Board, not enough attention is given to the issue. At a board meeting this week, the NTSB presented 19 recommendations  to reduce speeding. They involve speed limits, camera enforcement, GPS and other types of sensors…MORE

NSC releases report on fatigue

The first report in a new series from the National Safety Council estimates that 97 percent of workers have at least one workplace fatigue risk factor and 80 percent have more than one. Research shows that the potential for injuries on the job increases with more than one risk factor, and furthermore, about 13 percent of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue…MORE

Window cleaning industry group releases safety guide

The International Window Cleaning Association released a safety guide outlining the hazards and best practices for window cleaners in residential, commercial and construction work. The guide is intended to help workers identify and avoid common hazards and it also provides requirements for personal protective equipment under the walking-working surfaces standard…MORE

Celebrating this year’s dividend payout

This year, Texas Mutual awarded almost 50,000 business owners with dividend checks in a company-record $260 million dividend payout. Dividends are a way for us to reward safety-conscious employers, and we’re proud to have done so for 19 consecutive years. Take a look at some of this year’s dividend recipients in the slideshow below.

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Dividends can be used to help offset workers’ comp costs, re-invest into safety equipment and training, or just give a boost to your bottom line. However you choose to utilize your dividend, we love hearing your dividend stories. Be sure to share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and use #TXMDividends.

Qualifying policyholders are rewarded dividends based on two components: safety and loyalty. Take a look at the dividend video below to see how the dividend process works.

Safety in your workplace is where you have the greatest opportunity to make an impact when it comes to dividends. Texas Mutual offers thousands of free resources, including our new e-learning online training modules, to help you launch safety programs, educate employees, and maintain safe environments. Visit the safety resource center of your account. Our safety services support center is also available at 844-WORKSAFE Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help you identify the best resources for your business or connect you with a safety services consultant.

Another way to improve your chance of receiving a dividend is to have a solid return-to-work program in place so that when accidents do occur, you have a plan for minimizing losses and getting workers back on the job. Texas Mutual has a number of resources to help with this, and our recent post on creating a return-to-work program from our Your Claims Questions Answered series is a great place to start.

These resources and plans may seem like small steps, but they could add up to a dividend for your business. Find out more about Texas Mutual’s dividend program by clicking here.

Control your costs by controlling your e-mod

Unless you’re an insurance agent or work in the industry, insurance terminology can seem confusing or full of jargon. Your experience modification rate, also known as an e-mod, EMR, or experience modifier, is a good example. Put simply, your e-mod represents the workplace safety record, but there is a lot that goes into calculating it.

We discussed e-mods, how they are calculated, how they affect your premium, and what they mean for your business in our July webinar. These monthly webinars are one of the ways we cut through insurance industry jargon to help you understand workers’ compensation. They take place on the first Friday of every month. Watch the presentation and see what you can do to keep control your e-mod, or read on for our key takeaways.

Experience Modifiers

Click to watch the presentation

What is an e-mod and what is its purpose?

An e-mod is a numerical factor that reflects a company’s historical cost of injuries and future risks. It is used to calculate premium.

E-mods serve two main purposes. The first is for comparative analysis. An e-mod reflects the past loss experience of a company compared against other employers in the same industry. This comparison generates the e-mod, which is used to adjust the workers’ compensation premium up or down. The second purpose is to create incentive in the workplace for employers to maintain a safe work environment by preventing hazards and properly training employees.

Loss experience is a more reliable predictor of future losses for larger premium, so we do not apply an e-mod to employers who have less than $5,000 in premium.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that while e-mods are used to calculate premium, they aren’t a great measure of how safe a company actually is. We explain this in greater detail in There’s Nothing Wrong with a 1.0 and 10 Reasons to Stop Using E-mods to Evaluate Safety.

How your e-mod is calculated

An e-mod compares an employer’s actual losses (experience rating) against the expected losses for their industry as a whole. To determine your company’s expected losses, your company’s payroll and class codes are taken into consideration.  A simple explanation of how your e-mod is calculated is actual losses divided by expected losses for the industry.

E-mod calculation

Your current e-mod takes into account claims data from the most recent three-year period. The image below is a representation of how your losses can affect your e-mod and illustrates how losses can fall outside the three-year window. Because three full years of data is needed to determine your e-mod, losses don’t immediately affect it and they eventually drop off.

3 years of data

How your e-mod affects your premium

E-mod ratings are determined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Most states, including Texas, use the NCCI to calculate experience modifiers. A score of 1.0 represents an average risk and means the company should perform as expected for the industry. A multiplier of less than 1.00 is a credit mod and indicates a company is safer than average within its industry. A multiplier greater than 1.00 is a debit mod and indicates a company that is less safe than average. The chart below shows examples of how your experience modification factor can affect your premium.

Credit debit e-mod

What you can do to control your e-mod

Although accidents happen, there are steps you can take to keep your e-mod under control. Encouraging safe practices in your workplace and implementing return-to-work programs can help. Read our tips below:

  • Create a culture of safety. A positive safety culture starts at the top.
  • Report injuries early. Allow adjusters and doctors to address the injury as soon as possible. This helps to ensure the injured worker gets the necessary medical attention, so that an injury doesn’t become more serious.
  • Implement an injury and illness program. Visit the safety resource center in your Texas Mutual Online account to take a safety program assessment. You’ll answer a few questions about your company’s operations and potential hazards, and receive a sample safety program.
  • Train employees on safety topics. Provide a new employee orientation, refresher training, and remedial training as needed. Our safety resource center offers 2,000 free resources, including more than 200 e-Learning online training modules. Make sure to keep safety training records for OSHA reporting.
  • Investigate accidents and near misses. Accident investigations can prevent safety incidents from occurring again. Attend our August webinar to learn how to conduct job safety analysis to identify hazards.

If you still have questions about e-mods

We encourage you to talk to your agent, utilize NCCI resources, or view our recent blog on experience modifiers from our Your Claims Questions Answered video series.

Regulatory Roundup, July 21

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA releases more information on electronic submission ruling for injury data

Last month, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the deadline for electronic submissions of Form 300A to December 1, 2017. Now the administration has announced that the Injury Tracking Application will be accessible to employers on August 1…MORE

New compliance guide available for silica standard

OSHA released a compliance guide for the respirable crystalline silica standard geared toward small entities in the general and maritime industries. The guide describes employer requirements in relation to the hazards associated with silica exposure. Enforcement of the new rule is scheduled to begin in June 2018…MORE

Applications are open for the Susan Harwood Training Grant

OSHA announced $10.5 million in funding for its Susan Harwood Training Grants Program, which is available to nonprofit organizations. Grants provide training programs on workplace safety hazards, including employees rights and employer responsibilities. Applications are being accepted until August 28…MORE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC awards $12 million to fight opioid abuse

The CDC announced an award of over $12 million to 23 states and Washington, D.C. in the fight against the opioid overdose epidemic. The funds will go toward prevention efforts and better tracking of opioid-related overdoses. CDC also expects to announce more funding later this summer…MORE

Federal Highway Administration

New report tracks highway construction cost inflation

The FHWA released its latest National Highway Construction Cost Index showing the rising cost of highway construction and maintenance over time. It’s the first revision since 2007 and provides important information to decision-makers in infrastructure. The latest data shows that highway construction costs are up by about 68 percent over the past 13 years…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Study finds links between job type and vitamin D deficiency

A recent study analyzed people in the northern and southern hemispheres and found the highest vitamin D deficiencies in shift workers (80 percent) and indoor workers (77 percent). Only 48 percent of outdoor workers had a vitamin D deficiency. Results suggest that occupation is a major factor in vitamin D levels and regular screenings for those in at-risk groups could prevent possible negative health effects…MORE


What is workers’ compensation?

From your property to your pets, there are many reasons to buy insurance. For a business owner, workers’ compensation insurance provides protection against the serious consequences of workplace injuries. Watch the video below from our Workers’ Comp Expert Minute Series to get a better understanding of workers’ comp.

As the video explains, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that a business owner buys to pay for medical care and lost wages for an employee hurt on the job. It provides peace of mind because without workers’ comp coverage, employers have few financial protections if an injury occurs in their business. With a workers’ compensation provider like Texas Mutual Insurance Company, we are committed to helping you keep your employees safe and we work hard to get your employees back to a productive life after an injury.

Workers’ compensation also provides important protection for employees. In the insurance world, the services and payments a claimant (in this case, the injured worker) receives are known as benefits, and in workers’ comp, there are a few different types of benefits. Benefits are based on the wages the injured worker was not able to earn as a result of the injury he or she experienced and the severity of the injury. Below is a brief overview of the types of benefits an injured worker could receive.

  • Income benefits, also known as indemnity or lost wages benefits, replace a portion of the wages that are lost because of the work-related injury. For more information on the types of income benefits, click here.
  • Medical benefits cover the costs of medical care and treatment for a worker’s compensable injury or illness.
  • Death benefits are provided to an injured worker’s surviving family in the event of a fatality.

Workers’ compensation insurance protects businesses from the serious consequences that can result from workplace injuries. Texas Mutual also goes the extra mile and not only protects your business financially but also works hard to help you keep your workforce safe. We are your partner in preventing the injuries from happening in the first place. With more than 2,000 resources in our safety resource center including 200 e-Learning courses, we give you the resources you need to keep your employees safe on the job.

If you are interested in purchasing workers’ compensation coverage, speak to your agent. You can retrieve a list of agents in your area by visiting the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas website.

Regulatory Roundup, July 14

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Texas Mutual Insurance Company News

Safety and wellness grants available now

This week, Texas Mutual began accepting applications for the 2017 safety and wellness grant program. There are two types of grants available to Texas Mutual policyholders: safety grant recipients will receive reimbursement of up to $1,500 toward the purchase of safety equipment and wellness grant recipients will receive a one-year workplace wellness program…MORE                

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA releases new fact sheet for residential construction

OSHA released a new fact sheet aimed at protecting residential construction workers who work in confined spaces such as attics, basements and crawl spaces. The fact sheet explains that employers need to ensure that a competent person identifies the types of confined spaces before each project and includes information about employer obligations regarding personal protective equipment, training, and rescue plans…MORE

Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)

Regional safety summit comes to Austin

The Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation is hosting a series of regional safety summits that provide information on preventable injuries in the workplace as well as upcoming regulations. The summit will be offered in Austin on July 18 and includes presentations on forklift training programs, occupational driving safety programs, OSHA recordkeeping and avoiding maintenance hazards …MORE

TDI provides tire blowout tips

Tire blowouts can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and be involved in serious accidents. To help drivers understand how to handle a blowout, TDI released a quick training resource containing five tips…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

The CSB continues the fight to avoid elimination

The Chemical Safety Board is continuing its fight to avoid elimination from a loss of funding. On July 11, the House Appropriations Committee allocated $11 million for the agency for fiscal year 2018, matching its funding for fiscal year 2017. The bill was approved by the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittees, but still needs approval from the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees as well as both chambers of Congress…MORE

Safe driving kits from the NSC

According to the National Safety Council, someone is injured in a car crash every 15 minutes. In response, the NSC is offering a free, downloadable online safe driving kit to help employers protect their workers. It contains numerous resources for teaching employees about driving safely, including videos, fact sheets and activities…MORE

Tips for preventing common oil and gas injuries

Oilman magazine recently released an article that covers injury prevention for the oil and gas industry. The article details common injuries – struck-by, driving and welding flash burns – and provides recommendations for protecting against them…MORE

CVSA releases brake safety data

Earlier this week, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced results from its May 3 unannounced brake safety enforcement event. Results showed that 79 percent of vehicles did not have any critical item vehicle violations, but 12 percent of inspections resulted in a vehicle being pulled out of service for brake-related violations. The alliance is holding another brake safety enforcement event on September 7, 2017…MORE

Apply for a Texas Mutual safety or wellness grant

Safety and wellness programs are proving their value in the workplace, and as a business owner, your employees are looking to you. At Texas Mutual, we want to make it easier for you to invest in safety and wellness, and our new safety and wellness grants do just that. This opportunity is exclusively for our Texas Mutual policyholders, and we encourage you to apply by July 21 for the best chance at receiving a grant. These programs are designed to help make your business a healthier, safer place to work. See the details below on how you can get funding to buy safety equipment or start a wellness program in your workplace.

Start a wellness program with a wellness grantdumbbell and apple with measuring tape

Healthier employees save you money on workers’ comp claims, health care costs, missed work days and so much more. Wellness grant recipients will get a one-year workplace wellness program, which includes health screenings for employees, ongoing support, wellness challenge ideas, helpful webinars and more. A program like this could transform the health of your employees. Click here for more information on the wellness grants.

Get new safety equipment with a safety grantProtective clothes

Safety grant recipients will receive reimbursement of up to $1,500 for the purchase of ergonomic, safety or industrial hygiene equipment to reduce and prevent workplace injuries. If you are awarded a safety grant, you’ll have 60 days to purchase the equipment and submit a form for reimbursement. Click here for more information on the safety grants.

How to apply

You could be one of the hundreds of policyholders awarded through our Safety and Wellness Grant Program. If you are ready to apply, log in to and click the Safety menu option. Then, click the orange Safety and Wellness Grants button. See the steps below for more information.

Applying for Safety and Wellness Grants

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Safety Services Support Center at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723). We look forward to seeing the health and safety improvements this program will bring to Texas businesses.

Your Claims Questions Answered – What can the Texas Star Network do for my business?

Texas Mutual offers a workers’ compensation heath care option called the Texas Star Network. Comprised of medical professionals with the return-to-work goal in mind, our network is one of the many ways we save you money.

Watch our next video in the Your Claims Questions Answered series on what the Texas Star Network can do for your business and take a look at the key benefits below.

Benefits of the Texas Star Network:

  • Policyholders receive a discount of up to 12 percent off their premium
  • Patients treated by an in-network doctor return to work eight days sooner on average
  • Injured workers receive top quality medical care with lower than average costs
  • It’s easy to find in-network providers through the network app or online directory
  • You can reduce your premium by lowering claim costs

We encourage you to consult your agent to determine if the network is the right choice for your business, but keep in mind you do not have to wait until your policy renews to enroll. The network comes with responsibilities for you and your employees.

Visit for information on how to enroll in the network, and to find other network tools.

Your Claims Questions Answered is a six-part video series covering the most commonly asked claims questions. We’ve featured each episode on the blog with our key takeaways. You can watch the full series here or visit our recent posts about return-to-work programs, e-mods, the claims process, and reporting an injury.

Regulatory Roundup, July 7

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA issues temporary enforcement policy for monorail hoists in construction
OSHA has found that current safety standards do not fully address monorail hoists. As a result, OSHA announced that it will determine safety standards for monorail hoists in construction operations. Until then, OSHA will not cite employers as long as certain standards are followed…MORE.

National Safety Council (NSC)

Music video reminds drivers to reduce distractions behind the wheel
The NSC released a music video, Everybody Just Drive Tonight, Everybody Get Home Tonight, in its recent campaign for safe driving. The song is set to the catchy beat of “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung and shows drivers multitasking behind the wheel…MORE.


NSC grades each state on safety
The NSC released a State of Safety report to bring awareness to the number of preventable deaths in the United States. Each state is graded based on safety policies and legislation in place to help reduce preventable deaths. See how each state ranked…MORE.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Opioid prescriptions falling, but remain high
The CDC reported an overall decline in the amount of opioids prescribed in the United States, but the amount of opioids being prescribed remains very high. A new fact sheet illustrates opioid prescription rates across the country, offers solutions for safer opioid prescription, and provides alternative options for pain management…MORE.

Studies, resources, trends, news

Survey finds workers not trained in first aid and CPR

A recent survey from the American Heart Association found that more than half of workers are not trained in CPR or first aid, and about half did not know where to find the company’s AED. Additionally, more than 90 percent of workers would take training if it was offered by their employer…MORE.

Texas Mutual’s Day of Giving for the Cub Scouts

Texas heat can be overwhelming but with school out for the summer, plenty of children will be playing outdoors. Heat safety precautions are important, which is why Texas Mutual employees put together 4,500 summer safety kits last week for Cub Scouts in Texas. Each one contains bottled water, sunscreen and lip balm to ensure that the scouts can have a safe and fun time at summer camp. Each of our offices, in Lubbock, Austin, Houston and Dallas contributed, so the kits will reach Scouts all over the state.

“Safety is really important to us,” said Joel Rice, director of development for the Capitol Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. “We follow some pretty strict safety guidelines that are approved by our national organization because we care about keeping kids healthy.

“It seems like the most basic summer safety rules are the ones that young kids struggle with the most: use sunscreen, stay hydrated, don’t over-exert yourself. These kits will help them stay cool, safe and hydrated and still have fun in the sun.”

Putting together these safety kits was part of Texas Mutual’s first ever Day of Giving, in which all of our employees had the opportunity to work on a single community service project on the same day. Employees donated a part of their workday to assemble the summer safety kits. They will reach scouts at the Capitol Area Council in Central Texas, the South Plains Council in the Lubbock area, Dallas’ Circle Ten Council, and the Sam Houston Area Council in Houston.

Texas Mutual employees visiting the Capitol Area Council to deliver completed safety kits. Joel Rice is on the far right and Jon Yates, scout executive of the Capitol Area Council, is on the left in uniform.

The Cub Scouts will be swimming, hiking, playing sports, making arts and crafts, and learning skills like orienteering and leather work during day camps and longer stays. Most are aged between seven and 14. Consider these heat safety tips for kids and teens from the National Weather Service, and for your workplace, take a look at our recent post on keeping your employees safe in the Texas heat.

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