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How Employee Mental Health Can Help The Construction Labor Shortage

I want to share three quick facts with you and make a suggestion that could have a significant positive impact on your company’s ability to attract and retain workers.

  1. Construction workers are more likely to die by suicide than by all other job site hazards, combined
  2. The number one cause of their depression, leading up to their decision to take their own life, is a toxic work environment
  3. Toxic company culture is also the number one reason construction workers quit their jobs

The good news is, you can turn it all around by putting a focus on the mental health of your employees. There are two proven ways to do that:

  • Incorporate mental health into your health and safety program
  • Make some improvements to your company culture

I have outlined exactly how to accomplish these two tasks and the resources you need to be successful in a Construction Mental Health Toolkit.

The toolkit contains:

– a template letter to management outlining the issue and the reasons taking action makes smart business sense

– a step by step guide to improving the mental health at your company

– the top toxic company culture factors found in the industry and ways to eliminate them

warning signs and appropriate ways to respond

– a mental health wellness check to offer your employees for self-screening

– questions to ask during a supervisor check-in, and how to respond

– three mental health toolbox talks with Spanish translations

Making the changes outlined in the toolkit is sure to:

  • Improve the atmosphere at work
  • Help retain workers
  • Attract new workers
  • Save lives

As a leader in the construction health and safety industry, Harness Software has a moral obligation to help fight this epidemic in every way possible. That is why we are offering the toolkit to you, absolutely free with no obligation.

We’ve done all the legwork for you, all you need to do is implement it. Start by downloading the toolkit below.

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Most Popular News Reaction Safety Best Practice Safety News

Harness Launches New Features In Response To OHSA Emergency Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. The ETS establishes binding requirements to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers (100 or more employees) from the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.  

Many employers are struggling to find ways to comply with the ETS.  Harness will make this easier for contractors through the addition of several new features to its safety management platform.  The features that are detailed below are available immediately as a paid add-on for existing Harness clients.  Companies that don’t currently use Harness can purchase the ETS-related features via a special promotional plan starting January 3rd, 2022.

What do employers need to do?

Under the ETS, applicable employers are required to adhere to several requirements.  The most notable of these are as follows:

  • Develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead establish, implement, and enforce a policy allowing employees to elect either to get vaccinated or to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at the workplace.
  • Determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination from vaccinated employees, maintain records of each employee’s vaccination status, and maintain a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
  • Ensure that each employee who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if away from the workplace for a week or longer).
  • Provide each employee with information, in a language and at a literacy level the employee understands, about the requirements of the ETS and workplace policies and procedures established to implement the ETS.
  • Make certain records available for examination and copying to an employee (and to anyone having written authorized consent of that employee) or an employee representative.

When does the OSHA ETS take effect?

  • Employers must comply with most provisions by January 10, 2022.
  • Employers must comply with the testing requirement by February 9, 2022.

There are pending legal challenges to the ETS via the United States Supreme Court but employers are strongly encouraged to begin complying immediately as a favourable ruling is not assured.  Employers face steep fines for non-compliance and may also have issues due to changing workplace conditions on existing jobs. Employers may also find winning new bids becomes difficult if they are not in compliance with the ETS.

How will Harness help?

In order to help employers more easily comply with the OSHA ETS, Harness has developed several new features including:

  • New toolbox talks & training lessons to help supervisors and regular field workers understand the ETS and to help employers meet the educational aspects of the standard.
  • A form to collect workers’ vaccination status.  The status is stored on the worker’s profile.  Administrators can view, update & share the worker vaccination roster easily.
  • A form used to document weekly test results for unvaccinated workers.  Workers can upload their own results or they can be uploaded by a Harness administrator.
  • Weekly text and email reminders for unvaccinated workers that they must submit their test results or provide them to a company representative.

Additionally, Harness will provide its clients with templates for a COVID-19 Vaccination & Testing policy as well as copies of all relevant OSHA ETS materials within the app so they can be reviewed anytime, anywhere, on any device.

These new features come as a welcome relief to contractors frustrated by the burden of performing the tasks required under the ETS.  They will help them avoid unnecessary citations with minimal disruption to their business.

What will these features cost?

Existing Harness customers can have these new ETS features enabled as a premium add-on.  The cost will vary depending on their existing Harness billing plan.  

Companies that don’t currently use Harness can purchase the ETS compliance features a-la-carte for a one-time setup fee and monthly subscription based on their number of employees.

One Time Setup Fee

$0 for existing clients. 

For All New Clients Deploying ETS Features:  $1000

Monthly Subscription For ETS Features Only:

100-200 Employees – $179

200-300 Employees – $299

300-400 Employees – $399

400+ Employees – Contact Us 

Webinar On ETS Features

Harness will be holding a webinar on Friday, January 7th at 1 pm EST to showcase the new ETS features and answer employers’ questions.   

To register for the webinar click here

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Cost & Pricing Most Popular

Why We’re Offering Our Harness Safety App For FREE Starting Today

There have always been barriers to having a strong construction health & safety program. Some of those include the attitude of management & workers, a lack of understanding what exactly “strong” means, and probably the biggest obstacle, administrative burden.

Who’s going to spend time creating, distributing, collecting, and analyzing safety program information? If you don’t have dedicated safety personnel, those tasks often fall to employees that are compensated on other tasks so safety stuff will often take a back seat.

If you do have a dedicated safety person or team, the time spent on administration means those people aren’t in the field doing what they’re supposed to be doing: keeping workers safe.

We founded Harness Software on the belief that if we could make safety tasks easy, they would get done more often. When safety is top of mind, less incidents will occur, companies will suffer less disruption and benefit from lower costs.

The very first feature we built into our construction safety app was the ability to send relevant safety meeting topics to field staff, have them easily conduct these “toolbox talks” and document them in seconds.

Since 2017, the Harness safety app has been used to conduct over 25,000 safety meetings. Companies send their workers topics from our meeting guide catalog and workers in the field conduct a meeting with their crew and document it on any smartphone or tablet.

Today we’re making the toolbox talk features of Harness FREE to contractors of any size.

Why Are We Offering Free Toolbox Talks?

  • Toolbox talks, when regularly conducted with the appropriate information are an effective way to keep workers safe
  • A proper toolbox talk should take no more than 10-15 mins
  • The majority of construction firms we surveyed found it difficult to obtain & distribute meeting materials
  • Most construction firms do a poor job at documenting meetings they do hold

What’s Included in the Free Plan?

  • Access to our standard toolbox talk catalog. Over 100 meeting guides on a variety of topics. Available in English & Spanish.
  • Send reminder notifications to workers at any time
  • Easily record meeting attendance on any smartphone or tablet
  • A PDF documenting the talk and attendance, automatically emailed to you
  • 14 days of reporting history
  • Access for as long as required (not a trial)

How Do I Learn More Or Sign Up?

Read more about the Free Plan or click the button below to sign up for it now.

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Leadership & Culture Most Popular Safety Best Practice

How KPost Solved Its Labor Problem With Technology

 

KPOST Roofing & Waterproofing is one of the most successful roofing contractors in the U.S.   They’re also one of the most forward-looking.  They were an early adopter of Harness because they wanted to better manage their safety program so they could improve the lives of their workers while also saving time & money.  They’ve continued to search for tech-based solutions to other urgent business problems.

The Labor Issue.

Even KPOST isn’t immune to the problem of finding enough skilled workers. So, when they were awarded the contract to build the 8000 square-foot roof for Facebook’s new data center in Fort Worth, Texas they were excited and concerned at the same time. If the project didn’t keep to the bid schedule, how would they allocate the workers the job required without a negative effect on their other projects?

Technology to the rescue.

Steve Little, a KPOST founder who calls himself “Head Coach” and his staff began discussions with manufacturers of modified bitumen for tools that could reduce the labor required on the rooftop. They found a tool that was primarily being used in Europe and Canada that can apply roofing membrane in a way similar to how a paver applies asphalt to a road. The machine is called a Mini-Macaden® and it’s manufactured by SOPREMA®.

The type of system being applied at Facebook’s data center would ordinarily take a crew of ten people. The Mini-Macaden that KPOST would employ reduced that number to six people. That’s a 40% labor savings!!!

Additionally, this new technology reduced the amount of material waste, propane used and increased safety on the site because there were fewer open flames.

With fewer workers on the job, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume that the job might take longer. But that’s not the case. The Mini-Macaden used by KPOST was actually able to apply the roof system faster so the job is currently ahead of the roofing production schedule.

Doing more with less.

According to SOPREMA’s website, with traditional welding techniques, a crew can average between 5 to 9 rolls per hour. SOPREMA predicted that a four-member team using the Mini Macaden could be expected to install over 20 rolls per hour. KPost is getting more like 16-17 on this Facebook project in the side open areas. Still an amazing improvement.

“Completing our projects much faster allows KPOST to move our crews to the next job quicker, maximizing our revenue potential during the construction season,” says Little.

With a huge segment of the workforce nearing retirement and fewer younger workers entering the construction trades, technology can be the silver bullet. Companies like KPOST have realized this and it’s given them an advantage.

Will your company follow their lead or will you fall behind?

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Cost & Pricing Definitions Leadership & Culture Most Popular Safety Best Practice

Your Ultimate Guide To Experience Modification Ratings (EMR)

After labor and materials, insurance is the third highest cost for a construction company.  That’s why it’s important to understand — and monitor — your experience modification rating (EMR).   EMR has a direct correlation to how much you pay in Workers’ Compensation Premiums. The lower your EMR, the less you pay in premiums.

But to be able to use your EMR to effectively control costs, you must first understand how it works.

What is an EMR?

In a nutshell, your EMR compares your workers’ compensation claims experience to other employers of similar size operating in the same type of business.

It’s the method for tailoring the cost of insurance to the characteristics of a specific business, but it also gives that business the opportunity to manage its own costs through measurable cost-saving programs.

How is EMR Calculated?

The actual process of calculating the EMR is sometimes complex, but the purpose of the formula is pretty straightforward. Here’s how it works: your company’s actual losses are compared to its expected losses by industry type. Factors taken into consideration are company size, unexpected large losses and the difference between loss frequency and loss severity.

EMR usually takes into account three years of claims history, excluding the most recent policy year. For example, the EMR for a policy period beginning January 1, 2018, includes claim costs for the policy periods beginning:

  • January 1, 2014
  • January 1, 2015
  • January 1, 2016

Who Gets Assigned an EMR?

Not every business is large enough to have an EMR.  Your workers’ compensation premium has to be above a certain dollar threshold specified by your state before your organization will be assigned an EMR. This minimum premium amount is usually around $3,000-$7,000.

What are EMR Classifications?

A workers compensation classification represents a group of employers that conduct similar types of businesses.  Classifications are usually represented by four-digit codes.   Examples of classifications are Roofing (5150) and Plumbing (5183).  All employers assigned to the same classification pay an identical rate (if they are located in the same state).

Classification systems are based on the idea that workers employed by similar businesses are prone to similar types of injuries. For example, employees who install roofs are subject to injuries caused by falls, burns, sun exposure, and lifting heavy objects. The types of injuries these workers sustain are relatively consistent from one roofer to another. Thus, all employers whose business consists of roofing installation are assigned to the same workers compensation classification.

Who Calculates Your EMR?

Your EMR is calculated by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) or in some states, by an independent agency.

When the NCCI or a state bureau issues an experience modifier, the agency provides an experience rating worksheet. The worksheet shows how your modifier was calculated. It lists the relevant class codes and applicable payrolls, claim numbers and losses used in the calculations. Note that if you have incurred a large loss, only a portion of that loss is typically included in the calculation of your modifier. If you have incurred several small losses, all of those losses might be included in the calculation.

Pro Tip: Your modifier is generally more adversely affected if you have incurred numerous small losses rather than one large one.

How Does My EMR Affect my Premiums?

Your EMR represents either a credit or debit that’s applied to your workers’ compensation premium. An EMR of 1.0 is considered to be the industry average. While an EMR of more than 1.0 is a Debit Mod, which means your losses are worse than expected and a surcharge will be added to your premium. An EMR under 1.0 is a Credit Mod, which means losses are better than expected, resulting in a premium discount.

Here’s an example of how this works:

Premium

EMR

Modified Premium

$100,000

.75

$75,000

$100,000

1.00

$100,000

$100,000

1.25

$125,000

As you can see, an EMR of 1.25 would mean that insurance premiums could be as high as 25% more than a company with an EMR of 1.0.

How Can You Achieve & Maintain a Low EMR?

Of course, this is the question every business owner wants to know the answer to. So here is a list of things you can do to be more proactive when it comes to lowering your EMR:

  • Contact your insurance agent or review your policy documents to verify your current EMR is accurate. You might be paying more (or less) than you should due to incorrect or incomplete data.
  • Remember that EMR is influenced more by small, frequent losses than by large, infrequent ones. So the fewer losses you have, the better.
  • Create a strong, well-documented safety program that incorporates best practices such as toolbox talks, daily safety analysis, frequent site inspections, and safety training.
  • Use analytics to determine ways you can be proactive about injury prevention.
  • Also create or improve an effective return to work program to help lower your EMR.
  • Make sure that all injuries are reported promptly. Studies reveal that prompt injury reporting reduces the cost of claims.
  • Implement an active claims management program to manage outstanding reserves and focus on efficiently resolving open claims.
  • Train front-line supervisors and managers how to manage injured employees. Supervisors play a key role in managing the injury and recovery process. When there’s a good relationship between the injured employee and the supervisor, chances are you’ll get better results.
  • Practice due diligence during the hiring process. Hiring an employee who is not fit for the essential functions of the job will increase the risk of an injury. Of course, you’ll want to take the appropriate, and legal, steps in your “screening” process.

Harness Can Help Your Company Lower Your EMR & Save Money

If you want a stronger health and safety program with better documentation and more efficient workflows, Harness is your answer.