Safe Solutions

Correcting loss-control problems

Joe Black was ready to celebrate. He had just received the best news a roofing contractor could expect from his insurance company. After a recent job-site inspection, Joe's company, Black Roofing, was deemed by its insurance company to be taking the necessary steps to correct loss-control problems. Jerry, the loss-control representative, stated in a report that a perceptible improvement had occurred in Black Roofing's field operations.

Joe went on to read in the report that adherence to standard safety practices was notably more stringent than in previous surveys. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was being used; proper clothing was being worn; ladders were being set up properly; and fall protection and perimeter protection were in force. Crews apparently were more aware of what was expected of them in terms of safety practices—there seemed to be less hesitation to use safety gear and work safely. Joe was most pleased to read Jerry thought Black Roofing's crews worked exceptionally well as a team.

A few months ago, Black Roofing was on the verge of not being renewed by its insurance company because of a poor loss ratio caused by two severe workers' compensation losses during a three-month period.

In the first loss, an employee fell 40 feet (12 m) to his death even though a safety perimeter warning line was set up. The employee had gone beyond the perimeter line and apparently stepped off the roof. Black Roofing's insurer paid $330,000 for this loss. The second loss occurred when an employee slipped and fell 30 feet (9 m) while descending a ladder. The employee was in a coma, and the insurer incurred $775,000 from this loss.