An educational blog devoted to Florida contruction law topics by Florida Bar Board Certified Construction Lawyer, Trenton "Trent" Cotney. Please visit www.trentcotney.com for more information. Disclaimer below.
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A Vehicle Policy is a Must for Company-owned Vehicle Operation
Contractors have many options when it comes to establishing vehicle policies for their business. They may choose to allow employees to take vehicles home or they may decide that vehicles are for business use only and must be locked in at the office each night.
There is not one set policy that works for every roofing contractor, but no matter which type of policy you choose to implement, it’s important to have one in place. Your business can be legally liable if you allow a bad driver on the road. If you fail to take reasonable steps to determine that the driver is qualified to drive one of your vehicles and he or she causes an accident, you could be liable under negligent entrustment. A negligent driver may also damage the company vehicle or incur a ticket, fine, or penalty that costs your business money and/or increases your insurance premiums.
Get started by spelling out the basics of your policy, which might include:
Requiring employees to have a valid driver’s license and performing a driving record check
Addressing safety such as making seatbelt use mandatory and creating a cell phone policy
Establishing who can ride in a company vehicle
Detailing out exact uses of company vehicles, for instance, can it be taken home or used for personal use?
Is smoking permitted in the vehicle?
The next step is to consider and address liability concerns. Meet with your insurance provider to review coverages. If your policy allows employees to take company vehicles home, be sure that your insurance policy has the appropriate coverages for the many different scenarios. Ask your attorney to review the policy to be sure your business and your employees’ interests are adequately addressed by the policy and insurance.
Include a section in your vehicle policy on what to do if the driver and vehicle is involved in an accident. Clearly state the steps the driver should take in this situation and be sure each vehicle is equipped with an accident-reporting packet.
Be certain that your Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) are being completed as required. These requirements can vary for each state so you will want to verify with your state’s department of transportation. The federal requirements for DVIRs require that at a minimum the following items are included:
Service brakes including trailer brake connections
Lighting devices and reflectors
Rear vision mirrors
Wheels and rims
You may also want your vehicle policy to permit your company to reduce a negligent employee’s wages to offset the cost of a damaged, impounded, or stolen vehicle (including any company tools or equipment within the vehicle). However, such provisions have to be properly written so that they do not violate federal or state wage and hour laws.
In addition to having your policy written out and signed by each employee who has access or reason to operate a company vehicle, it’s a good idea to make this the topic of one of your regular safety meetings – at least on an annual basis. You may have employees who just skimmed the document or may have trouble reading. By presenting the information visually and verbally you are ensuring that everyone receives and understands the message.
Which health and safety
violations occur most often on the job site today? With construction accounting
for one in five workplace deaths in 2014, higher penalty payouts in place and
new rules for tracking and recording violations looming, we asked the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration which rules are broken most often on
construction-related projects. As it turns out, the
worst offenses have largely stayed the same over
time. It should come as little surprise that fall-protection mishaps top
the list. With more than 20,000 incidents reported in the last four years, it
remains the leading cause of death in
construction. Following close behind are faulty ladders and
inefficient eye and face and head protection. This summer, OSHA
announce its interim rule raising maximum civil penalties by
78% to meet the requirements of a federally mandated increase
designed to ensure that the fines reflect inflation. The rule went into effect
on Aug. 1, bumping the maximum fee for serious vio…
Need a new roof? Why not one that can generate energy?
Solar company SolarCity, which is in the process of being acquired by electric car maker Tesla, plans to show off a new product, a roof integrated with solar panels, at an event on October 28 in San Francisco.
Tesla CEO and SolarCity chairman, Elon Musk, made the announcement on Twitter on Thursday morning, and said the combined company would unveil a solar roof with an integrated battery and a Tesla charger.
While SolarCity SCTY3.07% has offices in San Mateo, Calif., Tesla has its factory in Fremont, Calif., and a new retail outlet in downtown San Francisco. The companies’ merger is expected to close in the coming months, but it could also be delayed by aseries of shareholder lawsuits.
Musk announced plans for SolarCity’s new roof product in early August, on one of SolarCity’s earnings calls. It was the first call Musk had joinedsince he announced earlier in the summer that Tesla planned to purchase the solar installer.
The historic First Presbyterian Church at 2 North Court St. was completed in 1903, and its church office building, known as the Rufus Putnam House — just around the corner, at 9 North College St. — was completed at about the same time.
But the church office porch, which was enclosed and had a metal roof, had deteriorated over the decades and suffered from leaks. The staircase was also breaking up a bit, said Keith Morrow, a member of the First Presbyterian Church property committee.
“There was no heat or air conditioning, so the space wasn’t very usable,” Morrow said. “It was too hot in the summer and cold in the winter.”
So about a month ago, the congregation leadership decided to take action.
“We decided to put it (the porch) back to the way it was originally,” he said, adding that RVC Architects of Athens took on that task.
The results are striking, and getting positive comments from passersby. A new, unenclosed wooden porch is being constructed, which as of Thursday, had workers …