PestSure Blog

12 August 2022
PestSure Blog
Have you experienced an aggressive driving experience, or unintentionally been an aggressive driver yourself? It’s far more common than you may think, and the consequences of aggressive driving behaviors including tailgating and abrupt turns - can be...
12 July 2022
PestSure Blog
What is a catalytic converter? An integral part of all modern gasoline powered automotive engines, the catalytic converter's job is to reduce tailpipe emissions by catalyzing exhaust gasses into compounds that are safer for the environment. Hope...
09 July 2022
PestSure Blog
It may not be the dog days of summer yet, but you would never know it. The climate outlook for the month of July, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, is that temperatures will be well above average across much of the country, spanning the ...
08 June 2022
PestSure Blog
As a driver or passenger in a vehicle that is involved in the violence of a crash, you are protected by layers of metal, airbags, seatbelts, and headrests. Imagine how much more likely you are to sustain serious injuries if you are involved in a cras...
06 May 2022
PestSure Blog
Did you know there are more than 2,000 ladder-related injuries every day across the United States and that most ladder falls happen between 6 and 10 ft. off the ground? Pest management professionals frequently climb ladders to perform inspections and...
Aug
12

Tips to Avoiding Aggressive Driving

Have you experienced an aggressive driving experience, or unintentionally been an aggressive driver yourself? It’s far more common than you may think, and the consequences of aggressive driving behaviors including tailgating and abrupt turns - can be devastating.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 66 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has reported that nearly 80 percent all drivers affirmed that they had experienced extreme anger, aggression, or road rage while driving. And roughly 78 percent of drivers admit to engaging in aggressive behavior themselves.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

Aggressive driving behaviors include tailgating, intentional quick stops, abrupt lane changes, offensive hand gestures, failing to yield the right-of-way, inappropriate high beam use, speeding to overcome a vehicle and cutting another driver off. This blog will focus on the avoidance of aggressive driving as both the source and the recipient.

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Jul
12

Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise

What is a catalytic converter?

An integral part of all modern gasoline powered automotive engines, the catalytic converter's job is to reduce tailpipe emissions by catalyzing exhaust gasses into compounds that are safer for the environment. Hopefully everyone remembers Chem 101.

Why is it valuable? 

Catalytic converters for gasoline-powered auto engines contain precious metals: platinum, rhodium, and palladium. A catalytic converter contains just a few grams of each, but that is all it takes to drive up the value from $300 to $1500+ depending on age and what vehicle the catalytic converter was taken from. An experienced thief only needs minutes to perform the necessary work to steal the converter and the return can be quite lucrative. However, the value can plummet to less than $100 if the thief can't sell the catalytic converter to a legitimate recycling company and instead has to sell as scrap metal. This typically happens when legitimate recyclers detect the catalytic converter was stolen and refuse to buy for fear of knowingly buying stolen goods.

Although modern diesel engines also use a catalytic converter, they do not use the same precious metals that are required by gasoline engines. These vehicles are much less susceptible to catalytic converter theft.

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Jul
09

The Heat Is On For Summer Safety

It may not be the dog days of summer yet, but you would never know it. The climate outlook for the month of July, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, is that temperatures will be well above average across much of the country, spanning the Mountain West to the East Coast.

For service technicians, summer not only means dealing with increased pest pressure and full routes but dealing with the heat found in crawlspaces and attics. Knowing the signs of heat-related illnesses and training employees on ways to reduce their exposure to excessive heat can head off problems.

Heat Related Illnesses

Problems develop when the body’s cooling mechanisms do not work properly. For example, when the air temperature exceeds body temperature, the body cannot easily cool itself. If the air is humid, sweat also does not evaporate quickly. Sweat also does not evaporate from a person wearing protective gear making heat-related illness a concern in any weather, anywhere.

Heat-related illness takes several forms. Heat rash occurs when sweat ducts become clogged. Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms caused by the loss of electrolytes from heavy sweating. If you develop these conditions, immediately get out of the heat so you can rest.

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Jun
08

Tips for Safely Sharing the Road With Pedestrians and Bicyclists

As a driver or passenger in a vehicle that is involved in the violence of a crash, you are protected by layers of metal, airbags, seatbelts, and headrests. Imagine how much more likely you are to sustain serious injuries if you are involved in a crash with a motor vehicle as a pedestrian or bicyclist?

Employees at pest control companies operating in densely populated urban areas are used to avoiding food delivery people or messengers on bikes zipping along city streets. Combine that with more cities adding dedicated bike lanes for commuters and recreation enthusiasts, and the odds of an unwanted encounter between service vehicle and pedestrian and bicyclist increase.

When we accept the responsibility of operating a vehicle, we also accept responsibility for pedestrian and bicyclist safety when we share the road. As drivers, we should always keep in mind that a pedestrian or bicyclist could be in our vicinity and here are a few areas that require special precautions.

School Zones

Although it’s more common to encounter children walking to school in urban areas than rural, the concentration of pedestrian traffic is always high around schools. This zone has a reduced speed limit and increased fine amount for traffic citations to encourage drivers to slow down and be hyper aware of their surroundings.

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May
06

Prevent Workplace Falls With Good Ladder Safety

Did you know there are more than 2,000 ladder-related injuries every day across the United States and that most ladder falls happen between 6 and 10 ft. off the ground?

Pest management professionals frequently climb ladders to perform inspections and services for a variety of pest issues from termites and occasional invaders to birds and nuisance wildlife.

Knowing how to safely use a ladder is necessary for technicians and providing regular and detailed ladder safety training is a responsibility of company owners and managers.

Planning for Ladder Safety

When a service call requires working on a ladder or at any elevation, there are variables that must be considered. These include the length of time the job will require; the materials and tools required to complete the job, and the worksite setup.

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Apr
07

Animal Bites, Cuts, Punctures and Scrapes and Slip/Fall Injuries On the Rise

From animal bites to slips and falls, workplace injuries in the pest management industry can occur on any job, making workplace safety a top concern for both employees and managers.

PestSure compared worker injury claims of its insureds between 2021 and 2020 and discovered that animal bites; cuts, punctures and scrapes; lifting and slips/falls from a different level all increased.

  • Bitten by Animal - 13% (2021) vs. 11% (2020) +2 %
  • Cuts, Punctures, Scrapes – 11% (2021) vs. 9% (2020) +2%
  • Lifting – 8% (2021) vs. 7% (2020) +1%
  • Falls/Slips From a Different Level – 7% (2021) vs. 6% (2020) +1%

worker injury 2Linda Midyett, vice president and loss control director for PestSure, attributes the increases to several factors including inconsistent training and technicians becoming complacent with safety procedures as well as the lack of familiarity with new accounts.

“Animal bites are preventable with consistent training and good communication,” says Midyett. “Slips and falls are common but increase when technicians get lax about their surroundings or are not familiar with the account.”

Midyett encouraged technicians to take a few minutes to walk around the property before starting service to perform a safety assessment.

“Whether it is a new account or a home or business you serviced for years, take the time to look for hazards that may have been introduced since the previous visit,” says Midyett.

What red flags should technicians look when doing a safety assessment?

  • Barking dogs, ‘beware of dog’ signs and unsecured fenced in backyards should raise a red flag with technicians. Midyett recalled an example of a dog’s unpredictability when a dog that appeared friendly approached a technician as he exited his vehicle but bit the technician a half hour later.
  • Before conducting perimeter or lawn care treatments take a 3D view of the property. Look for air conditioning units sticking out of windows, low hanging branches, rocks hidden under shrubs or brush, unrolled hoses and depressions in lawns that can lead to head injuries or slips and falls.
  • Slick surfaces can form on stone patios and paths and decks and stairs following a rain shower, and if the technician is not wearing the right shoes – ones with gripping soles – the chances increase for a slip and fall incident.
  • Over filling backpack sprayers and trying to lift them out of a truck bed, pulling sprayer hoses across a lawn or lifting ladders on or off a truck can all lead to injury
  • Taking a shortcut across a lawn or icy parking lot vs. walking on the sidewalk can lead to an unexpected slip and fall incident if you come across a depression or hidden object. Choose the safest path rather than the quickest.
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Apr
06

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents

One in four vehicle crashes involve distracted driving, according to statistics compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC). Additional research from the NSC revealed that the top distracted driving behaviors included texting or talking on the phone, eating, drinking, and smoking.

The pest management industry sends thousands of technicians, inspectors and sales representatives out in a wide array of service vehicles every day to service customers. With every turn, stop or backing out of a driveway, there is a risk for an accident to occur. Therefore, it is vital for companies to develop and follow protocols for safe driving practices.  Distracted Driving

Distracted driving accidents claim roughly 3,500 lives annually – an average of eight each day – and PestSure, a leader in driver safety training for pest management professionals, is committed to assisting companies create a safe driving culture.

“Statistics show that drivers using hands-free or handheld devices can fail to see 50 percent of their surroundings, and that can lead to a higher probability of a distracted driving crash,” said Linda Midyett, vice president and loss control director for PestSure. “Creating a plan for and providing regular training on driving safety best practices is critical to keeping employees, customers and the public safe and reducing claims.”

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and staying focused behind the wheel is essential to becoming a safe driver. Midyett offers the following five tips to reduce distracted driving accidents:

1.         Direct your attention to driving – nothing else.

2.         Stow and silence phones and electronic devices.

3.         Focus on positive driving behaviors.

4.         Prepare your vehicle settings before you depart.

5.         Give yourself enough time between appointments.

“We want to see employees safely return to their families each night,” added Midyett. “Becoming a more aware driver starts with having a plan and following that plan with consistent training and reinforcement.”

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Apr
13

OSHA Allows Suspension of Annual Respirator Fit Testing

On March 14th, OSHA released a memo allowing employers to suspend Annual Respriator Fit testing due to a shortage of fit-testing kits and masks themselves. Until further notice the following guidance has been given by OSHA:

OSHA field offices shall exercise enforcement discretion concerning the annual fit testing requirement, 29 CFR § 1910.134(f)(2), as long as employers:
 
◾  Make a good-faith effort to comply with 29 CFR § 1910.134;
◾  Use only NIOSH-certified respirators;
◾  Implement CDC and OSHA strategies for optimizing the supply of N95 filtering facepiece respirators and prioritizing their use, as discussed above;
◾  Perform initial fit tests for each HCP with the same model, style, and size respirator that the worker will be required to wear for protection against COVID-19 (initial fit testing is essential to determine if the respirator properly fits the worker and is capable of providing the expected level of protection);
◾  Inform workers that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 filtering facepiece respirators to preserve and prioritize the supply of respirators for use in situations where they are required to be worn;
◾  Explain to workers the importance of performing a user seal check (i.e., a fit check) at each donning to make sure they are getting an adequate seal from their respirator, in accordance with the procedures outlined in 29 CFR § 1910.134
◾  Conduct a fit test if they observe visual changes in the employee’s physical condition that could affect respirator fit (e.g., facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or obvious changes in body weight) and explain to workers that, if their face shape has changed since their last fit test, they may no longer be getting a good facial seal withthe respirator and, thus, are not being adequately protected;
 and,  
◾  Remind workers that they should inform their supervisor or their respirator program administrator if the integrity and/or fit of their N95 filtering facepiece respirator is compromised.

There are other changes highlighted in this articles by Safety and Health MagazineOSHA allowing all employers to suspend annual respirator fit testing

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Mar
11

Ladder Safety Month - Week 4

The most important part of ladder safety education is giving our ladder users the tools they need on the jobsite to make certain they can climb safely if the task requires that they climb at all. There is a free ladder safety application for mobile phones that will put many ladder safety practices in the hands of your employees in the place they need them most; On The Job.

This week, take time to discuss the use of this application, communicate with your ladder users on how to use this tool and review your program and practices surrounding site-specific ladder safety.  Have each ladder user in your company download the app to their mobile phone and practice using the safety components it provides such as ladder selection, ladder inspection, ladder set up and proper use reminders.

NIOSH - Informational PDF

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Mar
05

Ladder Safety Month - Week 3

Within our industry there are some common mistakes that occur that result in injuries to our people.  Here is a list of some of the most common mistakes so that you can discuss these with your team.  Below  the list of common mistakes is an example of a very good reason to always be diligent about safety when using a ladder.  

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Feb
27

Ladder Safety Month - Week 2

Every year, more than 300 people die in ladder-related accidents, and thousands suffer disabling and/or debilitating injuries. Without better training and continuous innovation in safety planning and product design, we will continue to see far too many fatalities. National Ladder Safety Month will heighten awareness of safe ladder use, reinforce safety training and educate homeowners and working professionals. The American Ladder Institute shares these ladder safety tips during week 2 of National Ladder Safety Month.  Please share these resources with your team.  Every year, more than 300 people die in ladder-related accidents, and thousands suffer disabling and/or debilitating injuries. Without better training and continuous innovation in safety planning and product design, we will continue to see far too many fatalities. National Ladder Safety Month will heighten awareness of safe ladder use, reinforce safety training and educate homeowners and working professionals.

Main Ladder Safety Tips:

  • Three points of contact: Always maintain three points of contact when using a ladder. Keep either two feet and one hand or one foot and two hands on the ladder as you are descending or ascending. When working, in addition to your having both feet supported on a step or rung, brace yourself into the ladder.
  • Climb slowly: Climbing slowly and deliberately ensures you don't make any sudden movements that could contribute to a fall.
  • Maintain a center of gravity: Keep the center of your belt buckle/stomach between the ladder's side rails when climbing and working. Do not overreach.
  • Pay attention throughout the entire climb: Devote your full attention to the climb and descent until you are safely off the ladder. Simple mistakes and oversight can have severe consequences.Here is a video from American Ladder Institute on Ladder Selection, set-up, and common mistakes.

Below is a video from the American Ladder Institute on Ladder Selection, set-up, and common mistakes:

 

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Feb
21

Ladder Safety Month - What is Ladder Safety?

In the next four weeks we will be posting about ladder safety includeing reminders, tools, and topics to help you focus on both work and home safe ladder use, with your teams.  Please join us by sharing the information we send and bring focus to this important topic.https://www.laddersafetytraining.org/
 
Are you using ladders safely?
 
This free ladder safety training is a tool for the proper selection, care and safe use of all ladders, including stepladders, single and extension ladders, articulated ladders, and mobile ladders. Provided by the American Ladder Institute, this training outlines safe ladder practices in all applications, such as construction/painting, building and custodial services, warehousing, power, manufacturing, chemical and petrochemical, oil and gas, and at home.
  1. Register for FREE! The ladder safety training is 100% free. If you are a Training Manager you can register employees within your organization as well.
  2. Select A Ladder Type Choose from the American Ladder Institute’s library of safety training modules. Take a pretest to see what you know.
  3. Watch and Learn Watch media-rich training videos that demonstrate safe ladder practices.
  4. Take the Safety Test Successfully complete the final safety test to earn your certificate of completion. Share your scores with your friends or Training Manager.

Please see video below regarding ladder safety from the American Ladder Institute:


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Feb
19

Submit your 2019 injury data by March 2, 2020

Establishments covered by the OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping requirements must submit their completed 2019 Form 300A using OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) by Monday, March 2, 2020.  Here is a link to find the Tracking Application. 

https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/

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Sep
20

2019 Safety and Loss Prevention Meeting

PestSure's Loss Prevention team conducted our 2019 meeting last week in Tucson, Arizona. With over 100 guests and 50 PestSure companies represented, it was a great time to learn about the latest safety topics in the pest control industry. If you weren't able to make it this year, you can find the presentations in the Members Only section of the website. 

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Jun
22

Gree Recalls 13 Brands of Dehumidifiers Due to Serious Fire and Burn Hazards

Fire-Damage1LARGE_0 Dehumidifier Fire Damage

Gree Reannounces Dehumidifier Recall Due to Serious Fire and Burn Hazards; More Fires and Property Damage Reported

On September 12, 2013, Gree, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, announced a recall on dehumidifiers manufactured by Gree Electric Appliances of China and were sold from January 2005 through August 2013. The dehumidifiers can overheat, smoke and catch fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.

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May
18

Welcome to PestSure’s Inaugural Blog Post

What is PestSure?

PestSure is an insurance company that is wholly owned by its members, pest control operators, also known as a captive. Headquartered in Dallas, TX, the PestSure team consists of insurance experts, a dedicated claims unit, and loss prevention services that all specialize exclusively in the pest control industry.

What is a captive?

A captive is an alternative insurance model that exists as an insurance company dedicated to providing coverage for itself. The captive members all pay their fair share of the insurance premiums and the captive pays out claims like any other insurance company.

So how is that better than a standard insurance carrier?

The captive’s main priority is to serve the captive members, not shareholders! PestSure is also able to focus our expertise on one type of business, not the diverse businesses that typical insurance carriers have to worry about. This means better coverage and claims handling than you’ll find anywhere else.

What will this blog provide for its readers?

Throughout the year, the PestSure blog team will be providing the following to its readership:

  • Loss Prevention/Safety Tips
  • Important happenings in the industry
  • Highlights of events that PestSure is a part of
  • Insurance changes relevant to pest control companies
  • Any topics requested from readers like you!

- The PestSure Blog Team

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