Safety Matters: Ice, Ice Baby

Provided by Accident Fund

When it comes to preventing slips and falls during the winter, a little effort can make a big impact. By using ice-melt on sidewalks, parking lots and other frequently traveled areas, you can help protect your employees even on the most blustery of winter days.
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when it comes to salt, ice-melt and preventing slips on ice:

  1. There’s a science to ice-melt compounds: Throwing more on ice won’t necessarily help it melt faster.
  2. Watch the temperature: Ice-melt compounds are only effective down to specific temperature limits that vary by product. The temperature of the air, pavement and type of product used will affect the rate at which ice melts.
  3. Easy access to salt: Place salt buckets or containers near main entrances so these high-traffic areas can remain less susceptible to falls.
  4. Black ice warning: As snow melts during the day, it can refreeze into a micro-thin sheet of ice nearly invisible to the eye.
  5. Go slow on ice and snow: The short walk to and from the building may provide a false sense of security. Freezing rain and black ice can make outdoor walking conditions precarious.
  6. Snow can be sneaky: Light, fluffy snow may weigh as little as five pounds per cubic foot, but compact, wet snow can weigh as much as 20 pounds.
  7. Stretch out: Before shoveling or salting, stretch your lower back, arms, legs, hamstrings and shoulder muscles to help avoid strains.
  8. Form matters: When shoveling or lifting salt containers, keep your back straight and bend your knees, keeping them shoulder-width apart and lift with the legs, not your back.
  9. Footwear: Boots with deep treads are preferred over shoes with smooth, non-treaded leather or hard plastic soles and those with high heels.
  10. Change of shoes: Wear winter footwear that provides adequate slip resistance outdoors, then change into regular footwear once indoors.
Posted in 2024, February 2024, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Safety Matters: Ice, Ice Baby

Advocacy Update


FHFA Releases Comment Report On Tenant Protections

Forrest Wall March 2021The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) kicked off 2024 with the release of a report which summarized the comments the agency received from their 2023 “Request For Input” (RFI) on possible tenant protections. The original request was released on May 30, 2023, and the comment period closed on July 31, 2023. The new report, titled “Resident-Centered Practices At Multifamily Properties Backed By Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac” divided the responses into five topical areas, with some of the comments/proposals under each topical area as follows:

  • Access/Barriers to Housing
    . Ban source of income discrimination/require owners to participate in Section 8
    . Housing Choice Voucher Program
    . Enterprise support of Fair Housing Laws and certified compliance with design and
    construction standards
    . Limit use of credit and criminal background screening and propose uniform screening criteria
  • Access to Information.
    . Potential model leases
    . Rental registry where property ownership and contact information are required
    . Provide a renter resource website
  • Tenant Stability
    . Rent Control
    . Eviction reduction initiatives, including just-cause eviction requirement, diversion
    programs, right to counsel
    . New housing habitability standards
  • Data & Research
    . Enterprise research and analysis of resident-centered management practices
    . Tracking of tenant protection outcomes
  • Risk Management
    . Assess policies/programs as to whether housing market stability, liquidity and affordability are advanced
    . Assess market risks of tenant protections

The report comes as the Biden Administration pursues multiple tracks for possible federal landlord-tenant regulations. These initiatives began with the January 2023 release of the “White House Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights” which called on a number of federal agencies (HUD, FHFA, FTC, DOJ, etc.) to engage in this process.

Posted in 2024, February 2024 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Safety Matters: Avoid Winter Slip-Ups

Provided By Peabody Insurance Agency

Winter months present additional hazards that are typically not factors for employees during warmer weather – specifically, slip and fall concerns. With snow and ice-covered conditions, you run the risk of taking major falls, which can lead to serious injuries.

Education is essential in preventing winter weather-related injuries. Consider the following recommendations to prevent slip and fall injuries during the winter months:
Wear the proper footwear that provides traction on snow and ice. Footwear should be made of anti-slip material; avoid plastic and leather-soled shoes or boots.

Exercise caution when entering and exiting vehicles, and use the vehicle for balance and support.

Try to walk only in designated areas that are safe for foot traffic. If you notice that a walkway is covered in ice, walk on the grass next to the sidewalk, which will have more traction.

Avoid inclines that are typically difficult to walk up or down as they may be more treacherous in winter conditions.

Take small steps to maintain your center of balance, walk slowly and never run. When possible, walk with your hands free to maintain your balance. And despite the cold temperatures, avoid putting your hands in your pockets. This will help you better maintain your balance and allow you to break a fall should you slip.

Use handrails, walls or anything stationary to assist in steadying your feet.

Look ahead to the path in front of you to avoid hazards.

Test a potentially slippery area before stepping on it by tapping your foot on the surface first.

Remove debris, water and ice from all working walkways.

Steer clear of roof edges, floor openings and other drop-offs to avoid slipping hazards.

Sand or salt surfaces covered by ice or snow to provide traction.

Dry your shoes or boots on floor mats when entering a building.

Report trip and fall hazards immediately to your supervisor.

Seek shelter immediately in the event of severe weather conditions.

If You Begin to Slip…
Twist your body and roll backward to avoid falling forward and injuring your face.

Try to relax your body when you start to feel your legs give way.

If you are carrying a load, throw it off to the side so it does not land on you when you fall.

This will also free your arms to help break your fall.

Posted in 2024, JANUARY 2024 | Comments Off on Safety Matters: Avoid Winter Slip-Ups

Advocacy Update


Legislation Defining Rent Proposed In Michigan Senate
New legislation was introduced in the Michigan Senate just prior to the mid-November adjournment of the legislature.Senate Bill 661, sponsored by Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-13th District), proposes amendments to the Truth In Renting Act to define the term “rent” and add to the list of items which may not be included in a rental agreement. The proposed definition of rent is as follows:
“Rent” means the amount paid under a rental agreement for the use or occupancy of a rental unit. Beginning on the effective date of the amendatory act that added this subdivision, rent includes the cost of providing essential services to a tenant that are necessary for the use or occupancy of a rental unit. For purposes of this subdivision, essential services that are necessary for use and occupancy of a rental unit include heat, safe and clean hot and cold running water, sewer, electric, gas service, safe and operable plumbing and sewerage systems, ventilation, electrical, drainage, roofing systems, trash removal, pest and vermin control, snow removal, lawn care, locks for exterior doors, latches for windows, and cooking appliances or a refrigerator that is supplied by the landlord and is in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local safety standards.”

The bill proposes to ban the imposition of a charge or fee that is any of the following:

• Not reasonable
• Not connected to any of the following:
– A nonessential service that is provided to the tenant at the tenant’s option and is directly and primarily beneficial to
the tenant.
–  The tenant’s failure to meet a lawful obligation under the rental agreement.
• Connected to a service provided to a tenant by a third party
•  For a tenant’s failure to provide notice of nonrenewal of a rental agreement that is greater than 1 month.
•  For a tenant’s payment of rent after its due date and any grace period that exceeds the lesser of $30.00 or 3 percent of the rent.
• For a lawful method a tenant uses to pay rent or other charges or fees.

The bill goes on to ban any rental agreement provision which:
• Imposes a charge or fee to the length of tenancy after the initial term.
• Applies a tenant’s payment to the tenant’s rental obligation only after it is applied to other charges or fees.
• Requires arbitration of any existing or subsequent controversy or dispute that arises under the rental agreement.
• Prohibits a tenant from paying rent or other charges or fees by a lawful method.

A final proposal in the legislation allows a rental property owner to require a tenant to arrange and pay for a service of a public utility, but not impose any additional cost for that service.

The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Housing and Human Services for consideration.

Posted in 2024, JANUARY 2024 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Importance Of A Safety Role


Whether you are a top-tier local contractor, a small landscaping company or a property manager, the importance of a safety role cannot be understated. While not every company is able to justify a full-time safety specialist, ensuring that at least one person has the responsibilities for your company’s safety is essential. Having an individual on staff who ensures your company is within compliance and minimizes injuries and accidents is one of the best return-on-investments you can make when looking at support staff.

Who is actively reviewing your bloodborne pathogen exposure program, electrical safety-related work practices, emergency action plans, hearing conservation programs or any of the other safety programs that your company has? What are the chances of even having any of these programs implemented in the first place? Going beyond “just complying with OSHA and MIOSHA” and having these programs both implemented and effective is critical to minimizing your workers’ compensation costs, improving morale, ensuring employee retention and minimizing down-time. If at any given time within the past calendar year you had more than 10 employees, you are required to fill out an OSHA log. Your OSHA 300 and 301 logs are essentially a living document and need to be updated within 7 calendar days of a recordable event. When no one oversees safety, these documents and logs can very easily become ignored or forgotten about, putting your company at risk for citations.

When an accident occurs, are you aware of the responsibility to investigate the accident? Are you aware of the requirements to fill out a 301 log or a similar report and to keep it for 5 years after the incident? Are you aware of the reporting requirements of when you need to submit an incident to OSHA? All of these are job duties that can very easily be managed by someone with a safety role. Many companies turn a blind eye to safety duties, even when they are requirements enforced through government agencies and could lead to citations, arrests, and litigation. OSHA and MIOSHA do not accept ignorance as an excuse when it comes to responsibilities and safety.

What are your company’s risks? What is the most significant hazard? What is the most likely cause of injury for your staff? The average cost for workers’ compensation claims, per injury, is about $41,000 according to the National Safety Council. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who work in residential construction have a safety incident rate of 2.9. Which means for every 200,000 hours worked, on average 2.9 people will have a recordable injury. This translates to about 1 in every 35 people in construction will have a serious injury every year. When your staff meets or exceeds 35 people, your chance of having an injury that costs at least $40,000 or more on an injury every year is extremely likely, especially without a safety professional in your company. The average profit margin in construction is around 6%, which means that your company needs to make nearly $700,000 in sales to offset this cost if you are self-insured. Managing risk, hazards, and safety is the best way to avoid these unnecessary costs that could bankrupt any company.

A safety role in your company should be a qualified and competent person. At the very minimum, the individual who oversees your company’s safety should have an OSHA 30-hour card or similar training, a complete understanding of who OSHA and MIOSHA are and where they can find applicable standards, the ability to recognize risks, know how to mitigate hazards, the authority to make safety decisions and to stop work if a safety concern arises. While the decision may be hard to determine the need and expense to have a dedicated safety role, or to split someone’s role and add safety to their duties, the opportunity to mitigate risk and ensure employee safety makes it easy to decide. Take time today to ensure your company has a safety role.

Posted in 2023, NOVEMBER 2023 | Comments Off on Importance Of A Safety Role