Restoration Insurance Tips: Disaster Planning Mistakes

As a restoration contractor you specialize in repairing disasters that occur to others.   What happens, though, if a disaster finds your company ill-equipped and unprepared for a calamity that happens to your own company?

We’ve put together a list of the most common disaster planning mistakes restoration contractors make and tips on what your company can do to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Failing to Properly Inform Employees

In our experience of working with restoration contractors on developing risk management and disaster plans, we have found that many companies have at least started on a plan or even have a basic one in place.   However, many of those same companies fail to inform their employees of their disaster plan or share what they should do in an emergency.
Tip: Be sure to inform all current employees of your disaster plans and integrate your plan into your new hire training so all employees will understand.

Mistake #2: Failing to Prepare Employees

While many companies will address what their employees should do when they’re at the office and a disaster strikes, very few companies address what to do if their employees are at home.   For example, does your company have a way for employees to work from home if necessary?
Or, if you have critical employees, like executives, do you know if they have a plan to meet with the other executives in an emergency?   Key employees, including executives, should have a way to access company files if stranded at home.   Additionally, you may want to consider have those employees store extra gasoline at their home to ensure they can make it to any meeting where you need them.

Mistake #3: Failing to Adequately Address IT Needs

Most companies will have some sort of data backup to prepare for a disaster, but how many have addressed how they’re going to use that backup to get their systems up and running again?  Do you know if you have the IT staff in place to get you back up and running quickly?  Or, if you use a 3rd party systems administrator do you know how they will respond to your company in an emergency.
Tip: Communicate openly and regularly with your IT Department to ensure all parties are of the same understanding prior to any claim.  If you use a 3rd party company for your IT needs, make sure you know how they will get you back up and running.

Mistake #4: Over-Reliance on 3rd Party Information

When disasters strikes most people have a tendency to rely too much on external information to make decisions on getting back up and running.  For example, do you know when the power and utilities will return? Or when will you gain access back to your property?
Tip: Your disaster plan should include information on how your business can sustain itself for at least 72 hours without power or access to your office.



Restoration Insurance Tips: Workers Compensation and Fall Protection

One of the most frequent workers compensation claims associated with restoration contractors is falls.   Employees falling off of ladders, scaffolding, or even roofs is a serious issue and a single claim can dramatically affect your insurance premiums.

Every company should have a Fall Protection Plan that addresses the use of conventional fall protection at a number of areas on the project, as well as identifies specific activities that require non-conventional means of fall protection.  During the construction of commercial and residential buildings under 48 feet in height, it is sometimes infeasible or it creates greater hazard to use conventional fall protection systems at specific areas or for specific tasks.  The areas or tasks may include, but are not limited to:

a. Setting and bracing of roof trusses and rafters:

b. Installation of floor sheathing and joists.

c. Roof sheathing operations; and

d. Erecting exterior walls.

In these cases, conventional fall protection systems may not be the safest choice for builders.  This is why your plan should be designed to enable supervisors and employees to recognize the fall hazards associated with this job and to establish the safest procedures that are to be followed in order to prevent falls to lower levels.

Each employee should  be trained in all procedures and they should strictly adhere to them except when doing so would expose the employee to a greater hazard.  If, in the employee’s opinion, this is the case, the employee is to notify the competent person of their concern and have the concern addressed before proceeding.

It is the responsibility of the Safety Director to implement this Fall Protection Plan.  Continual observation safety checks of work operations and the enforcement of the safety policy and procedures shall be regularly enforced.  The crew supervisor or foreman is responsible for correcting any unsafe practices or conditions immediately.

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that all employees understand and adhere to the procedures of this plan and to follow the instructions of the crew supervisor.  It is also the responsibility of the employee to bring to management’s attention any unsafe or hazardous conditions or practices that may cause injury to either themselves or any other employees.  Any changes to the Fall Protection Plan must be approved by the Safety Director.