The 2006 – 2007 Season is headed around the last turn… and all of us here at CHAPP and Citrus Insurance Services want to thank you for helping us make it through another year. We have been truly blessed and we thank you for putting your confidence in us!

Goat accidents are on the rise and we all need to review our vehicle safety training and management follow-up on compliance. So far this season, we have had several bad accidents in the groves. CHAPP crews have incurred one fatality and one very serious injury from un-authorized persons riding on the goat trucks. In both of the rider accidents, the worker riding the goat fell off and was then run over by the rear wheels of the vehicle. In two other recent goat related accidents, workers walking in the grove were run over by the goat, resulting in yet another fatality and very serious injury. Sadly, these all were preventable accidents, providing there had been proper driver and worker training and sustained follow-up by field supervision staff with safety enforcement. Our research has indicated that the drivers in use today are younger and have less experience than in any other past season. This change requires management to be more sensitive to worker training needs and follow-up by supervision than may have been required in past years. The lack of driving experience with an influx of new harvesting workers unaccustomed to working in a field environment with moving equipment, and the lack of training has increased accident rates. CHAPP has available training handouts in English and Spanish for goat drivers as well as stickers for your goat trucks and farm tractors in both languages indicating “No Riders.” Please call our office to receive these safety materials or arrange a training day with our staff!

Injury Reporting is the most important part of every claim! We know you get tired of hearing about the importance of timely and proper claims reporting but it still is one of our main problems here at CHAPP. It is very important that you advise your employees to notify you immediately of any injury. If your company has written work rules we would appreciate you adding a company policy of reporting all injuries within 24 hours to their supervisor. Training then must follow for all your supervisors/crew leaders and office staff to understand the importance of timely reporting of injuries. Reporting a claim late can result in fines and penalties that are assessed by the State of Florida to you, the employer, and are required to be paid directly to the injured employee by you – not paid by your insurance carrier. With the state looking for new sources of revenue, they have become very proficient at issuing fines! A claim is troubling enough without finding out weeks later that a supervisor / crew leader knew about the accident but “forgot to tell you.” Florida now says you must pay the injured employee extra monies for this error in performance. We would also appreciate you having all the claim information ready when you call in an accident; we must have the name, date of birth, date of injury, what is injured, and social security number to properly authorize a clinic or doctor to treat an employee. Please call our claims staff with any questions!

With summer comes time to re-group before another season starts – time to clean, inspect, and repair equipment. This should also be a time for reviewing company policies and procedures. We have sample crew leader contracts, vehicle driver responsibilities, incentive plans, written safety programs, sample driver and vehicle files – all the things necessary to help you with your business. Please feel free to contact our loss control staff with any areas of your operation on which you would like some information!

We wish to again extend our thanks for having the confidence in us to allow CHAPP to handle your insurance needs. Please feel free to call us with any questions you may have! We can be reached at (800)242-7898 or e-mail us at info@chappinc.com. Remember: The hotter it gets on the outside of you, the more water you need inside of you!