For some time now I have been a Massachusetts Licensed Public Adjuster helping homeowners who have low ball estimates from insurance companies adjusters. I also help contractors who have clients that have sustained property damage by assisting them with insurance estimating services.Read More
The Contractor Coaching Partnership Blog
Ask residential contractors if they are required to provide OSHA 10 training for their employees and you will hear varied responses.Read More
As hurricanes Harvey and Irma wind down and Jose approaches New England, thousands of homeowners will soon face the prospects of dealing with insurance adjusters who write scope and price deficient repair estimates on the clandestine software known as Xactimate. The vast majority of insurance companies have adopted this one software program that is confusing to homeowners and contractors alike. Over 80% of all repair estimates will be written on this program. In lieu of Xactimate we recommend using Excel workbooks and the critical path method for figuring damage claims.Read More
Why do insurance companies continually short homeowners on claim estimates when obvious damage is in clear site?Read More
OSHA fines were increased in August of 2016, jumping 78% over 1990 levels. We are starting to see the increases on contractors fined for violations after August of last year. In March a contractor from Massachusetts received fines totaling $159,343. Luis Quindi from Lowell, Massachusetts received 3 Serious, 2 Willful and 3 Repeat violations. The OSHA standards violated are Subpart M (Duty to have fall protection) Subpart X (Ladders) and Subpart L (Scaffolding).The list published on the OSHA website follows. The first table shows the violations. The second table has a link to the OSHA citation and the standard cited.
This information is often viewed by underwriters who work for insurance companies, general contractors who hire subtrades and sometimes consumers looking to check out their contractor. In any case this public listing, will not help a contractor looking for General Liability and Workmens Compensation Insurance. If he can get WC his rate will be sky high.
In this picture from a jobsite on Beacon St. in Newton, Mass you can see workers have no fall protection on scaffolding 12-16 feet above the ground. Also they are using framing lumber for planks, have a man made basket on the lull and no guard rails in the opening.
To keep your workers safe OSHA requires that contractors provide fall protection training before they are exposed to fall hazards. Remember that OSHA also holds General Contractors responsible for the safety of their subcontractors. It is wise to make sure all sub trades work safe on your projects as OSHA can fine the unsafe subcontractor with you the General Contractor.
OSHA will continue its' targeted focus and enforcement on residential contractors in 2017. Injuries, deaths, fines, little or no safety training and lack of OSHA required safety programs still plaque the residential construction industry. In response OSHA, has renewed ongoing Local Emphasis Programs designed to instruct OSHA inspectors to prioritize audits on residential job sites targeting builders, remodelers and trades. In addition, there are numerous other OSHA changes aimed at exposing prime contractor employers who do not provide safety training and programs to protect their employees and require that sub-contractors work safe on their job sites.Read More
OSHA fines increased by 78% on August 1 and they are hitting contractors' where it hurts; their wallets. We are seeing an increase in Serious fines and an alarming amount of Willful and Repeat penalties. Serious fines have increased from up to $7,000.00 to $12,471.00 Willful and Repeat fines have increased from up to $70,000.00 to $124,600.00. Some businesses will never recover form these fines.Read More
In 2015 a Boston area remodeler was approached by a homeowner who was the recipient of a low ball insurance claim estimate. The first offer from the insurance company was $40,000.00. After the remodeler took our Insurance Claim Workshop and used the tools learned in the class, the claim was settled for the right scope of work and price of $Read More
When do you get paid for change orders on your remodeling projects, before you do them or after they are completed?Read More
Looming OSHA fine increases will hit residential contractors more than any other sector. On 8/1/2016 OSHA fines will increase 78%. Top Serious fines go from $7,000 to $12,471 and Willful and Repeat fines increase from $70,000 to $125,000. OSHA will continue to focus on industries that year after year lead the nation in injuries, deaths and non-compliance.
As the date approaches we are getting calls from contractors concerned about the new increase in OSHA fines. Most of the inquiries are from companies who do not have safety program and are not up to date on training their personnel especially on fall protection. In true contractor fashion, a government announcement that penalties and fines are increasing is causing companies to pay attention and act now. Inquiries include requests for Safety Manuals, OSHA 10 and 30 Certification training, Fall Protection training and advise on where to get started.
Pro-active versus Reactive
I remember 2010 when the EPA RRP Rule said contractors would be fined $37,500 per violation if they did not get certified by 4/22/2010. Thousand of contractors sought and obtained training because of the fear of being fined. This reactive approach is very common with residential contractors. I suspect that we will see a similar response on OSHA training and compliance over the course of the next 6 months.Read More