Sometimes injury numbers don’t tell the story

Organizations with low numbers of on-the-job injuries can be proud of their record.

But number of injuries alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

Safety expert Don Groover, writing in Safety and Health Magazine, points out that, in dangerous situations, luck plays a part.

Groover gives this example: An observer stands below a worker on a high platform. The worker is using a hammer. The hammer falls and misses the observer. There are zero injuries on the job that day but, the fact is, the observer was lucky, not safe. The exposure to danger was still there.

The key is creating a work environment and a safety culture that recognizes exposure, not just injury.

In that example, you could say that the workers were in error, either because of the way the hammer was used or because of the position of the observer. While that might be true, Groover points out that the pool of exposure points is more important.

“A focus on exposures is a radical departure from a focus on hazards or unsafe actions,” Groover writes.

The key is focusing on the factors that cause vulnerability to dangerous situations before the injuries occur or, with luck, don’t occur.

“When a person is exposed, the outcome is out of their control,” Groover says. They could have good luck — or bad.

The significance of safety exposures becomes clearer when seen over time.

Groover gives the example of a worker who climbs on a unit to install a strap on a shipping container. When he steps back, he stumbles and falls five feet. He is uninjured.

He is lucky, and the company has zero injuries but their exposure, when considered across the system, is huge: An employee climbs up twice for each unit loaded. About 25,000 units are loaded per day, equaling 50,000 exposures per day or 18 million exposures per year.

Given this immense number of possible falls, relying on perfect execution each time from employees reveals a much bigger risk than merely calculating injuries per day.

Common ways to save money on homeowner’s insurance

Although homeowner’s insurance is a necessary expense, there are several ways to reduce these costs with or without spending money on improvements, according to Nerd Wallet.

Some of the simplest reductions, such as bundling the home insurance with auto insurance through the same company or improving your credit score, won’t cost a penny and will likely only require a short phone call. Similarly, raising the amount of the deductible on a policy or lowering the maximum payout for possessions can reduce the rate without any upfront cost. According to Bankrate, you can also receive discounts between 1-20 percent for being a nonsmoker, over the age of 55, part of a homeowner’s association, and not having filed a claim in many years.

For those looking to spend money on home upgrades and renovations, there may be discounts available to help offset some of that spending if the changes make the home safer or more durable.

Many older homes, for instance, have older wiring that poses a much more significant risk of catching fire and causing property damage that insurance companies will often grant a 10 percent reduction in premiums to avoid the potential payoff. In fact, home electrical fires cause an average of $659 million in losses each year while a wiring-related issue causes more than half of those reported. Meanwhile, wind and hail caused by powerful weather can wreak havoc on an unprepared or deteriorated roof, and discounts of 5-10 percent can be had for installing newer, impact-resistant roofing material.

Why It May Be a Good Time to Update Your Home Insurance

Many times, people get home insurance when they first move into a home and forget about it. However, it may be a good time to update your insurance, especially as we get into the winter months in Cypress, TX. It’s important to review your policy when you make changes to your home and your lifestyle, and if you aren’t making a lot of changes, at least review it once a year. If it’s been a while since you reviewed and have made these changes, take out your policy and contact an agent at InsureUS to make sure you are adequately covered.

Home Remodeling: Major remodeling can increase the value of your home, which would mean that you need more coverage.

Big Ticket Items: If you have big-ticket items, such as artwork, electronics, or jewelry, they may not be covered under your insurance. You want to make sure you have enough insurance to cover those items should anything happen.

You Have Stopped Smoking: Smoking can raise your premiums because the chance of a fire is greater. If you have stopped smoking, you may be able to get a break on insurance premiums.

You Have Retired: Retirement might come with an insurance discount because retirees spend more time at home and can spot the signs of a fire more quickly. Retirees also are less likely to be burglarized and can spend more time maintaining their homes.

You Have Installed an Alarm System: An alarm can make it less likely a thief will break in, which may lower your premium.

You Have a New Pet: It’s not good to keep your pet a secret, even if you are worried that your rates may go up, because you want to make sure you are covered if your dog bites someone on the property.

You Have Added a Swimming Pool: A swimming pool can increase your liability risk, so it’s necessary to make sure that you are covered and maybe add some additional insurance.

Contact InsureUS, serving Cypress, TX, to get a quote on homeowners insurance. 

 

The pros and cons of buying into a franchise

Buying into a franchise business of any kind allows the owner to go into business for themselves while providing the benefit of a proven business model, but it can come with a substantial cost, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. For those that have never owned a business, franchises can take much guesswork out of the equation because they will automatically receive the brand recognition, marketing, training, and all other resources that the corporate headquarters will provide.

Another benefit of being a franchisee is that they won’t have to worry about new product development, design, or even the financial systems necessary to keep the business fresh and their territory will be protected within their market. According to The Balance, they also typically benefit from the economies of scale that a large corporation enjoys so their inventory will be cheaper, and they will have better access to employee recruitment. Essentially, a franchise owner is purchasing a turnkey business with a much higher success rate than a startup.

Unfortunately, companies understand the value that their franchises can provide to investors, and it often requires a substantial fee to get started as well as paying ongoing fees or royalties to continue using the brand each year. Operating a unit within another person’s company also means that the franchisee must conform to someone else’s idea of how the business should be run and there won’t be much room to change things or add a personal touch. Successful operators must also worry about how their peers are performing in units of their own as a product or human resources scandal in one location could have implications far outside of their local area.

Facebook ads can work for small business

Facebook is the new media driving small business sales, marketing experts say.

According to Content Marketing Institute, a full 97 percent of all business-to-consumer marketers that use social media are using Facebook ads as part of their advertising strategy and 88 percent of those using it feel as though it is their most effective platform for reaching customers and converting sales. With 1.37 billion daily active users and 2 billion monthly users, Facebook has a massive audience, but it is the targeted nature of their ads that make them so useful, according to USA Today.

A local restaurant, for instance, could decide on Tuesday morning that they want to advertise a special on oysters that night and turn to a Facebook ad to drive traffic to the promotion. With a few clicks, the owner can target an advertisement to users in their zip code that like oysters and eating out and are over 21 so they can buy drinks. The cost of such an ad could easily be under $100.

Meanwhile, traditional ad campaigns in print or radio would require significantly more planning time and cost.

Another feature, lookalike audiences, allow a business owner to automatically find people with traits similar to those who are already following their Facebook pages, according to Inc. Magazine. This approach generated $5 for every dollar spent on this type of ad.

The ability for small businesses to create inexpensive, targeted ads whenever they want creates a fantastic opportunity to market-test new promotions, sales, and other initiatives. They even have a Lead Ads service that lets companies without a website gather email addresses from potential customers that have shown interest in their ads.