EWI and Afterburner Partnership

EWI is thrilled to announce a new alliance with Afterburner (www.afterburner.com). To compliment the economic and safety results EWI strives to bring clients – Afterburner can improve your organization’s overall operational performance through its Flawless Execution leadership tools. Who better to teach your organization Flawless Execution than former fighter pilots! Learn more about the benefits the combination of EWI and Afterburner can bring to your company at the 44th annual Offshore Technology Conference beginning on May 6, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Click here to read more details EWI Afterburner Partnership from Houston Chronicle.

EWI Newsletter – Focus on National Tornado Summit

EWI recently participated in the National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and has made this the subject of its most recent newsletter. The National Tornado Summit brought together people from around the world and with varying interests in tornadoes and other catastrophes to discuss trends, lessons learned, and research all with the goal of improving preparedness. EWI’s Steve McElhiney and Lynn Sheils both presented at the Summit, speaking on diverse topics. A recap of their presentations is in the EWI Newsletter, click the following to read more EWI Newsletter – Tornado Summit

EWI’s Glenn Peterson authors insightful article on the use of temp labor firm for Rough Notes

Does your company use temporary labor firms? Have you considered the possible exposures to your company in using temporary labor firms? EWI’s Glenn Peterson offers some insightful considerations on possible exposures and possible fixes! Click the following link: Rough Notes – Considerations with Temporary Labor Firm Contracts

Terrorism Risk Assessment from EWI’s VP of Loss Control

- by Michael McKee

2011 includes the 10 year anniversary of the tragic 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. This milestone should be viewed by Risk Managers as an opportunity to remind your business units to be vigilant against terrorism threats and discuss ways to assist authorities in the recognition of threats to facilities. Terrorism may not be actively portrayed in the news media, but the threat is always among us (thus the reason this type of threat is called terrorism). In the US alone since 9/11, there have been multiple terrorism activities either thwarted by the authorities or which did occur and are publically known, including:

2003: American charged with plotting to use blowtorches to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge
2004: Plan to plant a bomb at NYC Penn Station during the Republican National Convention
2005: Los Angeles terrorists plot to attack National Guard, LAX, two synagogues and the Israeli consulate
2005: Plot to blow up natural gas refinery in Wyoming, the Transcontinental Pipeline, and a refinery in New Jersey
2006: Liquid Explosives Plot: Thwarted plot to explode 10 airliners over the US
2007: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: confessed in court in March 2007 to planning to destroy skyscrapers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago
2007: JFK Plot: Four men accused of plotting to blow up fuel arteries running through residential neighborhoods at JFK Airport in New York
2009: Radicalized Muslim US Army officer commits the worst act of terror on American soil since 9/11 at Ft Hood, TX
2009: Nigerian man who claimed ties to al-Qaida attempts to destroy a Detroit-bound airliner
2010: Plot to detonate explosive device – Times Square, NY
2011: Khalid Aldawsari – plotted to blow up hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants.
2011: Killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan

Terrorist groups cannot be viewed strictly as political extremists. Other types of groups use terror as a means to compel target businesses to change their operations or philosophies. Terrorist groups are generally subtyped as politically, economically or socially motivated. Politically motivated terrorists will try to cause as much direct and collateral damage as possible on a target to sensationalize their aims. This includes injury to physical assets, to people and to the environment.

Economic terrorism is waged by groups who want to destabilize the economic and financial stability of individuals, organizations, societies or states. Many tend to view wealth as a communal asset which should be shared. Therefore, any individual ownership of wealth or business success can be a target.

With eco-terrorism (environmental), the picture is not so clear. Eco-terrorism exists in many forms. The US Federal Bureau of Investigations defines eco-terrorism as the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against people or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature. The intent of the group may be to cause direct property damage, but no resulting pollution or collateral damage to people or property. The theory being that the terrorists wish to punish a specific target organization, but not punish or harm unrelated businesses, or cause pollution that impacts the general public. These types of eco-terrorists seek to strike at night or on weekends or when there is minimal staff at the target location.

At the other end of the eco-terrorism spectrum is the radical group that seeks to cause as much direct and collateral damage as possible to both people and property. Their goals include sensationalizing what they perceive to be the evils of the target organization/location. Eco-groups may sabotage new construction or disrupt operations which are contrary to their cause. A classic example is tree spiking; utilized to injure employees of timber harvesting companies. Eco-terrorist groups may also employ tactics to deny businesses the resources they need to operate. This could involve picketing to keep employees from entering work-sites, or the erection of physical or human blockades at points of entry to interrupt the supply chain. Acts of eco-terrorist groups could involve blockades or industrial sabotage against third parties in order to secondarily impact your operations.

A major difference between the types of terrorist groups is that certain politically motivated terrorists are willing to die for their cause. Notwithstanding, in terms of potential damage to business, the radical eco-terrorist could be as disruptive and destructive as a political based terrorist. Accordingly, it should be assumed that either type of terrorist could cause significant damage. It should also be assumed that they are as well organized, sophisticated, and equipped as politically motivated terrorists. Under these guises, many facilities could be viewed as attractive or are near such targets due to the raw materials, process intermediates, or end products manufactured. Everyone should be vigilant to recognize this potential threat and look at existing and possible future actions that can be taken to minimize the risk. The US Department of Homeland Securities current awareness campaign is relevant to vigilance – “If You See Something, Say Something”. All it may take to avert a terrorist event is the observation of suspicious activity and to alert authorities to it.

Terrorist acts may take many forms. Risk Managers should take the time to review their organization’s particular situational exposures and contemplate controls that could be instituted to minimize the threat or the results of a terrorist attack. Some areas of specific analysis could include:
• Airborne pollution potential
• Onsite pollution potential
• Water pollution potential
• Population proximity and density in relation to your facility
• Risks associated with facility profile
• Property-collateral damage potential
• Facility vulnerability and security
• Emergency response planning and assessments
• Situational responses to outside events (what is the response the attacks on nearby facilities).
• Review of the vetting process for third party security providers
• Review of how local emergency response units (fire, police, etc) would respond to various types of terrorist events and how site specific plans could best dovetail with same.

Remember – “If You See Something, Say Something” (US Dept. of Homeland Security)

Is your business remembering to considered – Monopolistic Jurisdictions for Workers’ Compensation?

by Glenn Peterson, Senior Vice Presdient – Risk Managment at EWI

There are cetain states and United States protectorates where you must purchase your Workers’ Compesnation coverage directly from the approriate governmental authority. As an example, if you have opertations in Ohio and are not a qualified self insurer, you must arrrange to purchase your Workers’ Compensation covearge through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

The monopolistic states are Ohio, Washington, North Dakota and Wyoming. The monopolistic protectorates are the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.

It is very important to note that monopolistic jurisdiction policies DO NOT provide Employer’s Liability coverage. In order for a business to secure EL coverage for monopolistic jurisdictions, they must arrange for what is known as “stop gap” coverage. Stop gap coverage may be added by endorsement to non-monopolistic Workers’ Compensation and Employers, Liability, or Commercial General Liability, insurance policies. Consult with your insurer to determine what underwriting information they will need in order to provide this important coverage.

Loss Control of Vacant Building by Glenn Peterson

As we continue to conduct business in these difficult economic times, it may be necessary to temporarily shutter or close down certain operations/buildings. When doing so, there are a number of things you should consider:
· Businesses should consider using the services of a watchperson or security service. Any such persons should be trained in emergency procedures including knowing how to notify the local fire department, the locations and operation of existing portable fire extinguishers and, if applicable, the locations of sprinkler system water supply control valves.
· Vacant facilities should be checked after any severe weather events.
· Limit access to those employees who have a business need to visit the premises. Notify watchpersons, if any, when entering and leaving the premises.
· If possible, existing automatic sprinkler protection systems should remain in service. Sufficient building heat should be maintained during cold weather periods to prevent freezing of the sprinkler systems. An alternative would be to convert wet systems to dry systems.
· It may be advisable to remove combustible storage, flammable liquids and hazardous chemicals (if any) from the buildings and drain/cap-off flammable liquid piping. If combustible materials and idle production equipment will remain, they should be located in secured areas. Also, consider removing all outside combustible storage (idle wooden pallets, etc.) and flammable materials.
· All sprinkler system water supply control valves should be maintained in the full-open position using hard shackle locks.
· A management level employee should make regular inspections of the buildings and visual checks of the sprinkler system water supply control valves.
· The facility should be kept in repair and grounds maintained so the buildings do not become targets for vandals.
· Regular self-inspections of the sprinkler systems, water supply control valves, fire extinguishers and building conditions should be conducted.
· All unnecessary electrical equipment and gas-fired appliances should be shut down at the main disconnect points. Outside supply lines should be shut in, as appropriate.
· Cutting and welding operations should be conducted only when absolutely necessary, should be strictly supervised, and should be conducted under the terms and conditions of hot work permits/programs.
· Smoking should be prohibited throughout the buildings.
· All existing fire doors should be maintained in their closed positions.
· Attractive nuisance issues should be addressed.
· Those responsible for insuring the building(s) should review their policies to determine when, and what types of notices, must be given to their insurers relative to vacancy. Many property insurance policies contain such notice requirements. Also of note is that insurance coverage for vacant buildings may be reduced or restricted; refer to your specific policy for details.

Ladder Safety Tips from EWI Risk Management

- by Michael McKee
The holiday season ushers in wonderful celebrations and events. The joy of gift exchanges, parties, company events and family reunions make the season special. Many of us (especially me) look forward to the time of year when we can express our inner Clark Griswold and turn our houses into a twinkling light show! However, every year these happy times are ruined for thousands of individuals and families by injuries and deaths caused by unsafe ladder practices. Most of us don’t use ladders on a regular basis and certainly not at heights required to string our merriment. We should appreciate the risk of working at heights and take appropriate steps to negate and manage that risk while hanging and taking down that electronic holiday cheer. Here are some tried and true safety tips for working on ladders:

o Climb slowly and steadily while always facing the ladder. Many people are hurt falling when they are distracted or make sudden movements.

o Don’t lean off to the side to reach something. The ladder’s center of gravity will move with you as you move up in height. Leaning to the side dramatically affects this and can cause the ladder to shift and fall. The ladder should have four points of contact with the working surface and downward pressure on each leg should be proportional.

o Ladder should always be based on a level surface. Never stack ladders or prop a ladder on top of another object.

o Wear rubber soled shoes and be mindful of slippery rungs and footwear.

o Don’t try and carry heavy or bulky items when you climb. You should always maintain three points of contact with the ladder (two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot). Tow loads on a tow line or have it handed up once in position. If using fall protection equipment such as lifelines, lanyards, and harnesses, seek proper training in the use and selection of that equipment. It must be assembled properly to work properly.

o All ladders are not equal. Differing construction defines its weight and working height capacities. If you have a ladder rated for 200 lbs and you weigh 260, get a different ladder or hire a pro to hang the lights for you (you can go on a diet next year).

o If using a ladder around electrical lines it should be wood or fiberglass. Aluminum is a wonderful electrical conduit and will flow energy to the nearest grounding source (you).

o Be mindful of weather conditions. Winds blow harder the higher you are from the ground so what seems like a light breeze on your porch may be very unnerving at 20-feet. Your vision should be clear so clear sunny days are a must.

o Don’t drink and climb! This may seem silly to say but many people are injured each year when they have a couple of drinks and decide to adjust a light bulb. Alcohol and drugs not only affects your decision making but also your balance and vision. If you need a drink to get the courage to hang the lights, then hire a professional to do your light work!

Winter tips from the EWI Risk Management Department

We are getting into the time of year where northern locations need to start thinking about issues associated with Ice and Snow.  Below are some ideas and tips related to the protection of commercial property:

  • The weight of ice, snow, and accumulated water on a building’s roof can be tremendous.  A contributing factor to roof collapse is the rapid freeze and thaw cycles that often occur throughout the winter.  Ice can quickly accumulate in roof drains preventing water from properly draining.  The following loss control guidelines will help prevent a roof collapse.
  • Verify that drains are clear to allow melting, or heavy rains, to run-off. If the roof is pitched and without drains, open paths to the eaves to ensure drainage and prevent “ponding”.
  • If a roof is susceptible to large snow drifts, is in an area with heavy snowfall, or is difficult or hazardous to access, initiate a formal snow removal program with a local contractor qualified for roof snow removal with trained staff and proper equipment (shovels, snow blowers) and the appropriate safety planning for those workers/contractors. Equipment that can damage a roof, e.g., ice chopper, blowtorch (a fire hazard!), should never be used.  Keep an updated winter emergency response plan in effect, especially for snow removal. Include emergency contact numbers for qualified contractors and the building landlord (if leasing the building).
  • If snow loads are already at a dangerous level, and qualified contractors are not available, remove snow from the roof in increments – if you deem it safe to do so. This is critical in areas where snowdrift potential  exists, including:
  • 1) Roof elevation changes;

    2) Moderate- or low- sloped, peaked, or curved roofs where winds cause drifting;

    3) Valleys formed by multiple-gable or multiple peak roofs;

    4) Roofs with multiple projections (parapets, etc.);

    5) For standing seam metal roofs, remove snow in strips starting at the peak and ending at the eaves, alternating side to side to assure the roof load is maintained in balance; and

    6) Identify loads added to the building since it was constructed; such as equipment hung from the roof, or roof mounted equipment.  Additional bracing may be needed.  Ensure that any additional internal bracing does not interfere with the effectiveness or operation of automatic sprinkler systems.

  • Regularly inspect drains and remove any debris, which could prevent flow. Make sure exterior down spouts are clear of snow or ice at outlets.
  • Be alert for the beginning of ponding-deflection cycles. As snow compresses and absorbs rainwater, the increased weight on the roof will result in areas of depressions that will not drain. Once this condition begins it only gets worse and eventually the roof could collapse.
  • For new construction, ensure that the roof is properly designed to meet snow load calculations and the adequate number and size of roof drains is provided.  
  • Ensure that wet type sprinkler systems are adequately heated so that system does not freeze.  
  •  Large amounts of water, ice and snow can accumulate in containment dikes and protective berms.  Facilities should be aware of this exposure and take steps to reduce the volume of such accumulations, as appropriate, so that the dikes/berms have enough available volume to contain spills.  Care should be taken to avoid pollution when removing ice, snow or water.

     Cleared drives and parking areas allow easier site access for emergency response vehicles and personnel.