Pre-Employment Testing For New Hires

When it comes to hiring the right employees, you are likely investing a good amount of time and money into the process. Workers compensation costs can be a major expense in the moving and storage industry when hiring new employees. In Massachusetts, it is required that all employers provide workers compensation benefits to their employees. Depending on factors such as experience mods, rates and premiums, the cost can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly.

As an employer in an industry so dependent on an employee’s ability to lift and perform physical tasks, you cannot help but worry about the risk you face with regards to workers’ compensation claims. Surely you have heard the stories before: a company hires and employee and a few weeks later that employee becomes injured – and the moving and storage company has to pay. Between the risk of increased movers insurance rates and experience mods, as well as the loss of productivity for the company after losing the worker to injury, this can be a detrimental experience should you have to face it.

Although privacy laws and the ADA limit the types of questions you can ask potential hires, it does allow you to ask about the candidate’s capabilities with regards to the job. Additionally, pre-employment testing such as DOT physicals is acceptable and necessary in this industry.

Unfortunately, the rejection rate of those type of pre-employment tests are less than 1% – meaning many employees are hired and not fit for the job. One way that moving and storage industry can get around that is with pre-employment strength testing, also known as Isokinetic Testing.

What is Isokinetic Testing?
• A pre-employment physical test, usually involving three parts: the initial assessment, examination and evaluation
• The examination has three parts: history, systems review and tests/measures
• The evaluation focuses on key areas, such as: ability, activity, capacity, impairments, activity limitation, and job analysis

More details about the specifics of each type of test and measure performed during Isokinetic Testing can be found here. With a focus on all parts of the body and how they respond to work as it relates to the job function, it can provide a more in-depth analysis of a candidate’s ability to perform a job. In an industry such as the moving and storage industry, where physical ability is so imperative, this could be a great idea for your company.

Remember, no matter how much safety and training procedures you have in place, hiring an unfit employee can result in claims on your movers insurance. At Wolpert Insurance, we want to help you avoid that cost. Call us today and find out how you can utilize Isokinetic Strength Testing to avoid unnecessary claims.
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Who Am I Responsible For Covering Under My Workers’ Compensation Policy?

As an employer, not matter what industry your company is in, you have a responsibility to your employees. Protecting them is part of your role. In the moving and storage industry, sometimes it may feel as if there are more risks than you are able to protect against. Fortunately, workers compensation exists to take care of everything and ease your fears.

In general, employers are responsible for protecting and providing workers’ compensation benefits to three different types of employees:

1. Direct employees – A person hired to perform services or tasks under the direct control of another.
2. Employees of uninsured subcontractors – While these types of employees are not limited to the construction industry, this is typically a contractor/subcontractor relationship. Three parties are involved: (1)the owner, who hires (2)the independent contractor to complete work and (3)the subcontractor hired by the independent contractor.
3. DeFacto employees – Despite being an independent contractor, the IRS may still consider this employee an “employee-in-fact”.

In Massachusetts, there are certain circumstances were contractor and subcontractor rules apply.

• Massachusetts Workers Compensation system protects workers from injury or work-related illness
• Massachusetts General Laws c. 152, § 25A mandates that all employers provide this coverage to their employees

Additionally, the state mandates that all employers provide workers compensation insurance. Fortunately, the moving and storage industry can bundle that type of protection under their movers insurance. Remember: all moving companies are required to carry worker’s compensation. In the event an employee is injured while moving someone else’s belongings, workers compensation protects both the employee and the employer. Injury can result in a lawsuit, especially without the proper insurance in place.

With workers compensation insurance as part of your moving company’s protection, you can have a legal process for handling any injury. It is no secret that there is risk involved in what  you do every day, so having a plan in place is essential to avoid lawsuits and claims, and keep your business running effectively.

The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) handles worker’s compensation law in Massachusetts.  However, at Wolpert Insurance, our agents can help you distinguish the amount of risk your moving and storage company faces and obtain the adequate amount of workers compensation insurance to protect you and keep you in line with legal requirements. We can talk about employer obligations and employee requirements. Whether you have questions about experience modification factors, workers compensation insurance for the moving and storage industry, or need assistance with existing claims, we can help! All you have to do is give us a call – we can’t wait to be of assistance.

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Tire Maintenance For Your Truck: Safety

Did you know that only 9-percent of the vehicles on the road have properly inflated tires? It’s true. According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) an astounding 11-percent of vehicles have at least one bald tire as well. This is pretty scary to think about, especially when you consider how important tires are to safety on the road.

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, tire maintenance is one of the most important things you can keep on top of. In the moving and storage industry, this is surely no different. Commercial trucks and vans handle a lot of cargo and are the foundation of your business. With that in mind, last week, we discussed tire regulations as they pertain to commercial vehicles. Once you have the regulations in check however, you need to make sure your tires are consistently operating at their safest – tire checks are essential to that.

When it comes to monitoring and maintaining your tires, you want to keep two things in mind:

1. Tire pressure
2. Tire wear

Checking the tire pressure on your vehicle is easy, too. Monthly, check to be sure the tires are inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. To be safe, cross-reference that number with the number we told you about last week that the Department of Transportation recommends, too. The best time to do this is when the tires are cold – before a job is an ideal time.

Remember, changes in temperature will later the tire pressure. If you find that there are some differentiations, check for any punctures, but keep in mind that New England weather can alter tire pressure fairly easily.

Next, check for tire wear. You can do this when you are checking tire pressure, for consistency. You want to watch for three important things.

• A tire that is worn on the inside or outside edge – this could signal a problem with your tires’ alignment
• Wear in the center of the thread – this could be you have an overinflated tire which could result in poor handling
• Wear in both the inside and outside edges – this usually signals low tire pressure

Driving with tires that are improperly inflated or worn can result in blowouts, tread separation, poor handling and even increased fuel consumption. Additionally, any of these instances can cause an accident and result in a costly claim on your movers insurance.

At Wolpert Insurance, we strive to provide you as many resources as possible for the safety and success of your moving business. If you want a second opinion on the maintenance of your tires, we can certainly recommend some reputable auto repair shops in the New England area – all you have to do is give us a call!

Tire Maintenance For Your Truck: Regulations

In the moving and storage industry, your worries span beyond the cargo you carry. In order to keep you, your employees and your cargo safe and secure, you also need to worry about the condition of your trucks. One of the best ways to keep on top of that is with routine maintenance checks. On the top of your list, we recommend you put tire maintenance.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? The tires of your trucks and vans are some of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Without their safe maintenance, you could find yourself stranded, or worse, involved in an accident!

We’re going to talk about tire maintenance in two parts. This week, we’ll talk about the regulations and requirements as they are set forth by the U.S. Department Of Transportation – in this industry, you always want to be sure you are obeying the rules. And next week, we’ll talk about how to monitor and maintain your tires for safety.

As of April 2013, § 393.75 as it relates to tires lists all of the regulations for tires on commercial vehicles as well as restrictions, tire inflation rules and any other information you could want. At Wolpert Insurance, we want safety to be the top priority for your business, so allow us to break down some of the basics when it comes to tire safety regulations.

If your tires have:
• Ply or belt material exposed
• Tread
• Sidewalk separation
• Any cut
• Leaks

Then you cannot operate the vehicle and should repair or replace your tires.

Tread should be something you check on and maintain frequently. Any fire on the front wheels of a truck should have a tread groove depth of at least 4/32 of an inch. The front wheels are imperative to safety and no truck should be operated with retreaded tires on the front wheels.

Additionally, no commercial truck should be considered safe and operable if the tire inflation pressure is not at regulation. Checking on the tire inflation pressure is quick and simple and should be done regularly for safety. Depending on the size of the load, the tire inflation pressure requirements differ. The DOT recommends that if the average speed of the vehicle is between 41 and 55 mph, the minimum inflation pressure buildup should be 5 psi.

Just as not all trucks are created equal, neither are all tires. As part of our expertise when it comes to movers insurance, Wolpert Insurance is committed to being experts on the safety and regulatory facets of the moving and storage industry. If you need assistance with any regulation, you can always give the agency a call and someone will be more than happy to help!