As we end summer it’s getting time to go back to work…. as we get everything back in shape for another year. We here at CHAPP are getting ready for another year and thought we would send out some thoughts as we all prepare for the coming season…….

Heat and humidity is wicked this time of year! As the heat index rises with the dog-days of August, please remind your supervisors to monitor all workers and make sure that adequate water is available for drinking. We have hand-outs here at CHAPP in English and Spanish that describe symptoms and treatment of the different levels of heat illness – please call our office if you would like copies for your employees.

A new workers’ compensation law change brings increased fines! The new law change that was passed this summer brings with it an increase in the fines for late reporting of an injury by the employer to the carrier / state. In the past, the State Division of Workers’ Comp could charge up to $500 for not reporting a claim within 7 days of the accident. This claim reporting period also includes claims that are medical only (no lost time). On October 1, 2003 this figure will rise to $1,000 per claim – and can be extended to $2,000 per accident if 10% or more of your workers’ comp claims in a calendar year are reported late! The State has already started to issue fines on ALL claims that are reported late (after 7 days from the date of accident). The fines will also go out on claims that you initially intended to pay, but then decided to report to the carrier as additional medical treatment becomes necessary – unless you report the claim within the initial 7 days after the accident. It is very important that you inform all of your supervisors and managers of the importance of timely claim reporting, and train ALL office staff in the means of reporting a workers’ compensation claim. ALL claims should be reported, even if you intend to pay the bill(s) as you expect the injuries to be medical only – that way if it later develops into more treatment, you will at least avoid the late reporting fine! Please pay attention to this change – and call our claims staff with any questions!

Fires in the grove and field can consume crops and equipment! A threat to our safety and livelihood that goes unnoticed in the field is fire. We had several instances last year of equipment starting fires and goats being totally destroyed due to fires that were not contained. Most fires can be put out with a fire extinguisher if the extinguisher is readily at hand when the fire starts. Critical moments are lost trying to find an extinguisher allowing the fire to grow past the capacity of the fire extinguisher when found. CHAPP would like to encourage all equipment operators to attach a fire extinguisher to each mobile piece of equipment, have one in every field vehicle, and train ALL personnel in the proper use of fire extinguishers. Only YOU can prevent fires from spreading – and the increased cost from equipment down time or injuries. Not to mention your business liability if the fire gets away and destroys grove or farm acreage! Please call our loss control specialists with any questions you have concerning fire safety!

The Southwest Florida Citrus Expo is next week at the Lee County Convention Center in Ft. Myers. The seminars and trade show are Wednesday, August 27th and Thursday, August 28th. Come by booth 301 and visit us there!

We would appreciate any ideas for topics, comments on our information, and any questions you may have! Please call us at (800)242-7898 or e-mail us at wwurth@chappinc.com . Remember: working safely pays!