Avoid Heat Illnesses This Summer With These 7 Important Tips

Heat Illnesses

Extreme summer temperatures are not only uncomfortable, they are also dangerous for your health. This is particularly true for older adults and children, who are more susceptible to illness. When it is hot outside, your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels. Normally, your body cools itself through sweating. However, in hot and humid weather, sweating is not enough and the result can heat illnesses.

Avoiding Heat Illnesses

Here are some tips for staying safe when you’re out in the heat:

  1. Wear loose, light-colored clothing so your skin gets air exposure.
  2. Shield your head and face from direct sunlight by wearing a hat and sunglasses.
  3. Avoid spending time outdoors during the middle of the day, when temperatures are highest and the sun is directly overhead.
  4. Take regular breaks in a shaded area if you’re involved in a strenuous activity.
  5. Drink water frequently, even if you aren’t thirsty. Experts recommend drinking at least 8 ounces every 20 to 30 minutes to stay hydrated. Stick to water, fruit juice and sport drinks while avoiding caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, which can dehydrate you.
  6. Monitor children and seniors carefully, since they can get dehydrated more easily.
  7. Call 911 if someone exhibits symptoms of heat stroke, such as flushed skin, rapid breathing, a throbbing headache or confusion.

Providing Treatment for Heat Illnesses

It is essential to treat heat illness as soon as possible. If you are feeling any of the above symptoms, inform a co-worker and ask for help. If you suspect that a fellow worker has any of these conditions, follow the first-aid suggestions below:

  • Heat Cramps – Move the victim to a cooler area and provide them with water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Follow up with a medical examination.
  • Heat Exhaustion – Move the victim to a cooler area and keep them lying down with their legs slightly elevated. Cool their body by fanning and applying cool, wet towels. Have them drink approximately six ounces of water every 15 minutes. Follow up with a medical examination.
  • Heat Stroke – You or a bystander should immediately call an ambulance. Meanwhile, move the victim to a cooler area, remove their outer clothing, immerse them in cool water or apply cool, wet towels or cloths to the body. If the person is awake and able to swallow, give them small amounts of cool water to drink. If medical help is delayed, call the hospital for further instructions while waiting. Heat stroke is life-threatening, so it’s important to move quickly!

Stay Safe

The risk of heat illness increases with age, poor diet, being overweight, insufficient liquid intake, poor physical condition and/or when taking medication. Never take salt tablets without your doctor’s approval. Be aware of weather conditions when you will be working outside so that you can be prepared with appropriate clothing and beverages. If you are working outside and start to feel any adverse symptoms,  let someone know and take a break.

Click here to read more Heat Illness Safety Tips from the CDC

9 Insurance Risks For Roofing Contractors To Be Aware Of

Roofing Contractors

Roofing ContractorsRoofing can be a competitive and rewarding field, and years of hard work can help contractors establish a strong customer base and reputation. Roofing contractors invest their expertise, time and energy to build or repair roofs that will stand the test of time. However, owning a roofing contractor business can be physically and mentally demanding. And it’s a constant challenge to deliver exceptional service while maintaining profitability.

These challenges are magnified when you consider that risks related to property damage, equipment breakdowns, environmental factors, inland marine and crime must also be addressed. The list below provides an overview of these risks and more. This can help you identify potential blind spots in your risk management and insurance programs.

Property Exposures

While most incidents that occur on a customer’s property would be covered under a general liability policy, property exposures are still present at the contractor’s office and workshop. Exposures can come from malfunctioning electrical equipment, flammable materials, weather and natural disasters. Fire damage may be a particular concern if the contractor stores roofing materials or heats bitumen on the premises.

Bodily Injury Exposures

No matter how careful your employees are, accidents can and do happen. These accidents create a significant bodily injury exposure. Slips, trips and falls are common hazards in roofing operations. What’s more, because roofers work at heights with tools, people below are at risk of injury from falling objects. In the event of a bodily injury to an employee, client or third party, a roofing contractor could be forced to pay for medical costs, emergency care, doctor’s visits and legal expenses.

Automobile Exposures

The vast majority of roofing contractors depend on employees to operate vehicles for the company, creating automobile exposures in the process. While important for daily operations (e.g., driving from job site to job site or transporting tools), the use of a vehicle can lead to potential accidents and major insurance claims. And, if you allow employees to use their own vehicles for work, standard commercial auto policies are often not enough.

Completed Operations Exposures

Once a job has been completed, roofing contractors can be held liable if their work product causes bodily injury or property damage. While claims of smaller problems can often be resolved with a repair, larger issues may result in legal action. Completed operations coverage can help protect a contractor in the event of such a claim. 

Equipment Breakdown Exposures

Roofing contractors depend on a variety of different equipment to complete work on a roof. Potentially creating significant equipment breakdown exposures as a result. Moreover, roofing contractors can experience business interruptions or even lose contracts as a result of an equipment breakdown.

Inland Marine Exposures

Roofing contractors regularly transport equipment, tools and supplies to and from worksites. As such, any property that’s unique or valuable in transit, in your temporary care, stored at fixed (but movable) locations or used to transfer information represents inland marine exposures. Materials and tools can be damaged in transit from shifting loads or traffic collisions; at the worksite from collision, being dropped or poor weather conditions; or lost from theft, potentially creating costly losses.

Environmental Liabilities

The disposal of old roofing materials, waste bitumen and other hazardous materials presents potential environmental liabilities, as these materials can create pollution. Environmental incidents are particularly concerning because they can cause harm to the surrounding community, involve costly cleanup and often cause damage to a business’s reputation.

Business Interruption

Continuity is critical for any business. And there are few things more important than continuous revenue and a steady cash flow. A single business interruption can be costly for roofing contractors and may even lead to serious reputation damage or long-term closures. Common interruptions for roofing contractors stem from natural disasters, fires, equipment breakdown and loss of materials.

Crime Exposures

Roofing contractors face several crime exposures. Particularly if valuable equipment or tools are left unattended at the worksite, which may attract thieves or vandals. Thieves (including your employees) can rob an office or worksite at any time, targeting cash or valuable supplies. What’s more, with worksite locations changing on a regular basis, the level of risk a roofing contractor faces is in constant flux.

Workers’ Compensation

Any time an employee is injured on the job, your organization could be subjected to expensive workers’ compensation claims. Common sources of on-the-job accidents for roofing contractors include:

  • falls from heights (e.g., roofs and scaffolds)
  • heat stress
  • injuries related to equipment use
  • slips, trips, falls
  • musculoskeletal injuries caused by repetitive tasks.

Normal, everyday tasks related to laying shingles or climbing ladders can lead to accidents and, in turn, increased costs for your business.

For More Information

While the proper risk management practices can reduce certain exposures, no system is 100% effective in ensuring an incident-free workplace. As a result, it’s all the more crucial to work with a qualified insurance broker to not only assess you exposures, but secure the appropriate coverage as well. To learn more, contact Rinehart, Walters & Danner today.

Click Here to learn more about business insurance. 

Firework Safety Tips You Need To Know This 4th of July

Firework Safety

Firework SafetyFireworks are a staple of many Fourth of July and other celebrations, but remember to take precautions to ensure your special event is safe and accident-free. Firework safety is crucial to ensure you and you family have a great 4th of July holiday.  

The Risks

Unfortunately, many people do not realize just how dangerous fireworks and sparklers can be—which is a primary reason that injuries occur. Fireworks can not only injure the users, but can also affect bystanders.

Bottle rockets and firecrackers can fly in any direction and may explode on or near someone instead of up in the air. Sparklers are also a huge risk, as they burn at very high temperatures and are often given to children too young to use them safely. All fireworks pose potential risks of burn, blindness and other injury.

Firework Safety Tips for Safe Use

When using fireworks, always plan carefully in advance for who will shoot them and what safety precautions you will have in place. Here are some suggestions to ensure safety and avoid accidents:

  • Use fireworks and sparklers outdoors only.
  • Always have a hose or water bucket handy.
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Do not alter or combine them, and do not use homemade fireworks.
  • Keep spectators a safe distance away.
  • Never give sparklers to young children.
  • Wear safety goggles when handling or shooting off fireworks.
  • Do not shoot fireworks off if under the influence of alcohol.
  • Show children how to properly hold sparklers, how to stay far enough away from other children and what not to do (throw, run or fight with sparkler in hand)—but supervise closely, regardless.
  • Point fireworks away from people, homes, trees, etc.
  • Never try to relight a dud (a firework that didn’t properly ignite).
  • Soak all firework debris in water before throwing it away.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them from metal or glass containers.

Protection for Your Pets

Like thunderstorms or the vacuum cleaner, fireworks may frighten your family pets. To protect your pets from becoming stressed as a result of loud noises from fireworks:

  • Keep pets indoors away from loud noises in a place that is comfortable to them.
  • Allow pets to go to the bathroom before beginning your fireworks show to prevent accidents.

 

 

How To Set The Mirrors On Your Car

How to set the mirrors on your car

Mirrors are on your car to prevent blind spots. Knowing how to set outside mirrors to eliminate blind spots is a crucial part of being a defensive driver. While almost all vehicles come equipped with two outside mirrors, many drivers do not set the properly, making it almost like the vehicle has no mirrors at all. We have a few pointers on how to set the mirrors on your car.

Mirrors - Rinehart InsurancePosition Your Mirrors

The following procedures for correctly positioning mirrors will help you eliminate blind spots and avoid potential vehicle accidents.

To start, park your vehicle and place your head against the driver’s side window. Set the mirror so you can just see the side of the car. For the passenger’s side mirror, position your head at the middle of your vehicle. Again, set the mirror so you can just see the side of the car.

Checking Your Blind Spot

This method should ensure that the mirrors are positioned outward enough to eliminate blind spots, but you should also double-check to be 100% sure. To do this, sit in a normal driving position and watch the mirrors as a vehicle passes by. It should appear in the outside mirror before it leaves the inside mirror. And it should appear in your peripheral vision before leaving the outside mirror.

In addition to using your mirrors, you should also physically turn your head over the appropriate shoulder to double-check your blind spot prior to changing lanes. We do more than help you avoid claims and arrive at your destination safely. 

Click here to learn about auto insurance.

 

What You Need To Know To Keep Water Out Of Your Home

keep water out

keep water outRain, Rain, will you ever go away? Ohio seems to be stuck in a rainy season so far this summer. In addition to not going swimming or having outside cookouts and ball games, we have to deal with lots and lots of water. Road closures, washed out ditches and the dreaded wet basement. What can you do to keep water out of your home? 

Did you know? The primary reason your basement and home flood during a rainstorm is due to poor or blocked drainage. To keep water out and from seeping into places it’s not wanted, we have a few precautionary measure to share. 

Flooding Due To Surface Water

To protect your home and it’s belongings from flooding due to surface water, use these simple precautions. 

  • Make sure that the ground area within 10 feet of your home slopes away from your home’s foundation.
  • Extend downspouts at least 10 feet from your home.
  • Direct water flow from downspouts away from your home, being careful not to discharge the water too close to adjacent property.
  • Preventive landscaping can also help reduce the chance of a mudslide or flooding.
  • Clean the gutters and the drainage downspouts attached to your roof at least twice a year.
  • Have your roof carefully inspected at least once a year by a capable person to check the roof thoroughly.
  • If your house or commercial lot is at risk of flooding from a higher neighboring property, consider building a solid wall masonry fence on the water-vulnerable boundaries of your property.
  • Be vigilant for warning signs of an impending water flood problem.

Plan Ahead

As for any emergency or disaster, planning ahead is key. In the event that you end up with water in your home you should be familiar with how to shut off electricity, gas and water at the main switches and valves. Knowing this ahead of time will help you react quickly and minimize potential damage. Also understanding your insurance policy is key. Knowing what is and is not covered ahead of time will help eliminate any stress and unexpected financial burden. Are  you covered if you have sewer back up? If your basement floods? If your property is flooded and enters your house? Contact your agent today to review your policy and get the answers to those questions. 

Click here to read a past post regarding Flood Insurance

 

Father’s Day Is The Day To Celebrate Dad

Father's Day

Father's DayDad’s get a bad rep of not being sentimental and showing their feelings. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Father’s Day is a day to celebrate dad and show him how much he means to you. He taught you how to ride a bike, built your swing set, and made you feel safe when you were scared. Dad is always there and we often don’t show him how much we appreciate him. Sunday June 17, 2018 is Father’s Day. What a perfect time to celebrate dad! 

How to Celebrate

Every family celebrate’s dad differently. Many families choose to celebrate with cookouts or dinner, outdoor activities, and maybe gifts. Most dad’s simply want to spend time with their loved ones. It’s not about the gifts but about the memories made and love they receive. 

Want to learn more about Father’s Day history? Click here

What You Need To Know For Summer Cook Out Safety

Cook Out

Cook OutIt’s getting warmer and you know what that means? It’s time to get out the grills and cook out! As soon as the weather get nice, most families take the cooking duties outdoors. From dinner to family cookouts, fun in the sun includes the gas or charcoal grill. In spite of how great grilled foods taste, gas and charcoal grills account for an average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $40 million in property loss each year! (According to the United States Fire Administration). 

We want you to have a great time with your outdoor cook out, but also be safe. Keep reading for some important safety tips. 

Food Safety

  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw and cooked foods separate by not using the same platters or utensils. 
  • Cook your food thoroughly. Cooking on a grill often results in quicker browning of the meat on the outside, but the inside typically remains raw. Use a food thermometer to ensure your meat is cooked properly. 
    • All raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F. 
    • All ground beef, pork, lamb and veal should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 F. 
    • Poultry should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. 

Avoid Grilling Mishaps

  • Don’t let children and pets play near the grilling area when cooking until the grill is completely cool. 
  • Place your grill at least three feet away from other objects including your home, trees and outdoor seating. 
  • Use starter fluid for barbecue grills that use charcoal only. Do not use starter fluid for gas grills. 
  • Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to make sure it is not leaking and is working properly before using a gas grill. 
  • If you suspect that your gas grill is leaking, turn off the gas and get the unit fixed before lighting. Never use a match to check for leaks.
  • Do not bring your grill into an unventilated or enclosed space such as the garage or inside of your home. This is not only a major fire hazard; it is also a carbon monoxide hazard. 

Cook Out Carefully To Prevent Fires

  • Wear tight-fitting clothing that cannot drape over flames or into pans.
  • If you have long hair, tie it back.
  • Do not place oven mitts, hand towels or hot pads on or near the range.
  • When you are done cooking a meal, double-check to make sure that all appliances are turned off.
  • Unplug portable appliances when they are not in use.
  • When cooking on your range, turn on the vent hood fan to minimize any smoking. 
  • If your gas range does not light on its own, be extremely careful when lighting it.

           If The Event Of A Fire:

  • Turn off the gas or electrical appliance that is fueling the flames, if possible.
  • If the fire is in a pan on your range, cover the pan with its lid or a baking sheet. If this does not work, use a fire extinguisher or sprinkle baking soda on the pan.
  • In the event you are cooking with oil and it catches fire, DO NOT pour water on the flaming pan. This will make the fire worse.

We hope that you take the time to use these simple safety tips to have a great summer cook out season with your friends and family! 

How To Promote Safe Teen Driving

With graduation season kicking off, now is the perfect time to remind your children and loved ones about safe teen driving. They have a 3 ton (or heavier) hunk of steel going 55 mph down the road. Make sure they think of their safety, and the safety of those around, them every time they get in the car. Below are a few talking points to go over with them.

Safe Teen Driving Tips

  • Safe teen drivingAlways use your seat belt, even if you’re just going for a short drive down the block – it’s the law!
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Remember that prescription medications can impact your driving too.
  • Avoid driving at night if you don’t have much experience behind the wheel.
  • Watch the forecast to avoid any inclement weather.
  • Always try to stay at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. This can help give you more reaction time in the event of an emergency. Never use your cellphone in your car.
  • Never talk or text while driving, it can wait.
  • If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the road, pull over somewhere safe.
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Never reach for something in the car while driving, a lot can happen in the few seconds your eyes are away from the road.

One more thing, many auto insurance companies also offer discount for good grades. It’s as simple as providing your insurance agent with a copy of your kid’s grade card. Stop by our office and review your auto insurance policy with your agent today to make sure you are receiving all available discounts. (Click here for more information about auto insurance)

The best way to ensure child is practicing safe driving is to practice safe driving yourself and to talk to them.

Remember Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks!

The History Of Memorial Day And Why We Observe It

Memorial Day

Memorial DayMonday May 27, 2019 is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is an American holiday honoring those who died while serving in the US Military. It was originally known as Decoration day, and started after the Civil War. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971 and has sparked many traditions. 

Everyone has a different tradition for Memorial Day. Parades, visiting cemeteries and family gatherings are a few of the top choices. Memorial Day has become the unofficial kick off to summer. Many families will have BBQs, go on a trip, or even spend some time on the water. Regardless of your choice of observation, make sure to take a moment and remember the meaning of the day. 

Our office will be closed in observation. From our family to yours, have a great and safe Memorial Day. 

7 Ways Conservation Can Save Your Business Money

conservation

conservationEmbracing conservation can be advantageous for your business. Not only does it benefit the environment, it also can save your company money, increase employee productivity, enhance a company’s reputation and make it more attractive to environmentally conscious employees and applicants.

Reduce Energy Usage

Here are some tips to make your organization more environmentally friendly:

  • Employees should turn off lights if they plan to leave a room for more than 15 minutes.
  • Purchase Energy Star-rated light fixtures and bulbs, which use two-thirds less energy than normal lighting. Visit www.energystar.gov for more information.
  • Install timers or motion sensors that shut off lights when no one is present.
  • Purchase LED desk lamps that use minimal energy.
  • Arrange your workspace so more employees have access to natural light. This is proven to increase productivity and job satisfaction as well as use less electricity.

Use Computers Efficiently

Computers waste an enormous amount of electricity each year, particularly in the business sector.

  • Employees should turn off their computers and power strips they are plugged into (if applicable) before leaving work each day.
  • Employees should set their computers to “go to sleep” when they are away for a short period of time since sleep mode uses 70 percent less energy than a normal screen. This is not the same as using screensavers and standby settings, which still draw power even when the machine is not in use.
  • Invest in energy-saving computers, monitors and printers when purchasing new materials for the company.
  • Recycle electronic equipment properly when the company has no more need for it. Visit www.epa.gov for more information on recycling electronic waste safely. Or, donate electronics that are less than five years old to a charity such as www.techsoup.org. Tax deductions generally apply to these donations.

Print with Care

On average, an office worker uses 10,000 sheets of printer and copy paper per year.

  • Instruct employees to print on both sides of the page or use the back of old faxes, scrap paper or drafts to make new copies.
  • Print in draft mode versus regular mode and avoid using colored ink whenever possible.
  • Purchase remanufactured toner and ink cartridges, and recycle the old ones.
  • Request 100 percent recycled paper when using a print company to make copies or print materials for your company.
  • Ask that employees reduce font sizes, use narrower fonts, decrease line spacing and decrease margins when feasible, to use less paper when printing.
  • Purchase chlorine-free paper made from a high percentage of recycled materials. Be wary that not all paper labeled “recycled” is truly made from recycled materials. In fact, some paper simply contains the trim waste from the production process which reduces costs for the manufacturer but does not necessary help the environment. Instead, purchase post-consumer recycled (PCR) or post-consumer waste (PCW) paper. This is still high quality and can be used in inkjet and laser printers. Also consider paper made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton or kenaf as an alternative.

Reduce the Paper Trail

The following strategies can be used to help cut back on paper usage:

  • Request that employees stop receiving unnecessary industry newsletters, magazines and junk mailings. Instead, sign up for emails on industry-related topics and information, or check if various publications have an e-newsletter as an alternative to receiving a print version.
  • Post employee manuals and policies online versus printing out paper copies of these documents. This makes updating policies and procedures easier and more efficient too.
  • Store documents electronically instead of using a filing cabinet, write emails versus sending paper letters and review documents as a PDF versus printing.
  • Make use of a company intranet to cut down on printed materials. Post or distribute an e-newsletter (instead of mailing out a printed company newsletter), host an online bulletin board, and provide materials and communications online rather than in printed form.

Recycle

Considering the following recycling tactics to assist with conservation efforts:

  • Post employee manuals and policies online versus printing out paper
    Recycle paper from faxes, envelopes and junk mail company-wide.
  • Visit www.epa.gov to learn more about recycling employee electronics such as cellular phones and PDAs.
  • Make recycling bins easily accessible to employees by placing them in high traffic areas and post information (electronically) about what can and should be recycled on a daily basis.
  • Reuse shipping boxes and use shredded paper as packing material.
  • Purchase office furniture and supplies made from recycled materials. Visit www.conservatree.org or www.thegreenoffice.com for more information on how to purchase these products.

Look for office products that do not contain harmful materials. These items are certified by The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and The Rainforest Alliance and are made from wood from sustainable harvested forests.

Eat with the Environment in Mind

Being mindful of the environment when purchasing and eating food can go a long way in helping reduce waste:

  • Ask that employees bring their own reusable dishes, utensils and glassware to work for eating meals, rather than items made of plastic or foam. Also suggest that employees bring food in a reusable lunch sack or container.
  • Purchase organic coffee or tea for employees, and organic and local foods for company parties and events.
  • Provide filtered drinking water devices to deter employees from drinking bottled water.
  • Suggest that when employees place food orders, they do so with others to eliminate added waste from individual orders.
  • Recommend that employees bike or walk when going out to eat for lunch.

Maintain a Healthy Environment

To promote a healthier workplace, consider the strategies outlined below:

  • Use nontoxic cleaning materials, biodegradable soaps, and recycled paper or cloth towels.
  • Buy cleaning materials in bulk and recycle their containers.
  • Suggest that employees bring a plant into work for their desks to absorb indoor pollution.
  • Purchase furniture, carpeting and paints that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).