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Federated Insurance October Risk Management Corner

Posted October 9, 2017 

Don’t Let Your Business Go Up In Smoke

Fires that hit businesses come in all sizes. They can occur anytime, anywhere, and from a variety of causes. They don’t discriminate. Spontaneous combustion, heating and electrical systems, smoking, poor housekeeping, the storage of flammables, and mechanical equipment failure continue to be the most frequent fire causes across all industries, and are often the result of missed opportunities to recognize and remove the hazard. But sometimes, hazards can be easy to miss:

  • A company employee was doing some cleaning with a mop and cleaning chemicals. Those two things in combination spontaneously combusted.

The point is, business owners need to be ready for almost anything. There’s no doubt that fires are devastating and have implications far beyond property damage.

Fires create chaos

Businesses are vital to a community’s well-being and survival. A fire at a business leaves the community wondering if the company will survive.

Fires create uncertainty

Employees are a business’s most valuable asset, and a fire can leave them with a lot of questions: Do I still have a job or do I need to move on? Will I get a paycheck—even for the short-term? What can I do to help? If the company shuts down, then what?

Fires create stress

Customers rely on businesses to be operational to fulfill their needs. When customers see a business destroyed, they can’t help but wonder how it will affect them. How will their needs be met? Today’s just-in-time business transactions may require customers to go elsewhere to get the products and services previously provided them by the damaged supplier. Will that be short- or long-term?

Fire prevention is an important enough topic to take the proper time and effort to put into action. It’s not just a “one and done” risk management activity; it should be done at least daily. Investigations reveal that most fires can be prevented if businesses consciously pay attention to a few, very specific hazards. Federated provides an industry- and business-specific, customizable fire risk evaluation checklist to use during facility inspections.

The sample checklists are intended to help employees, supervisors, or managers recognize potential fire hazards so they can fix the problem. However, checklists can do only so much. Employee training and proper fire prevention safeguards, procedures, and equipment may help prevent a fire from taking over control of your company.

Click Here for More Information on the Checklist and Employee Training

This article is intended to provide general information and recommendations regarding risk prevention only. There is no guarantee that following these guidelines will result in reduced losses or eliminate any risks. This information may be subject to regulations and restrictions in your state and should not be considered legal advice. Qualified counsel should be sought regarding questions specific to your circumstances and applicable state laws. Copyright © 2017 Federated Insurance. All rights reserved. 


Enquiron October HR Question of the Month

Posted: October 2, 2017 

Employee Dying to Make Our Workplace More Colorful


We have a staff member who has dyed her hair bright blue, purple, red, yellow (up to and including her eyebrows). How acceptable is this in the work place?


Whether or not "rainbow-colored" hair and eyebrows are acceptable in the workplace is generally a matter of individual employer preference. For some more casual employers, different-colored dyed hair may not be an issue, particularly if employees do not interface with the public at large and/or if it is otherwise not a distraction. Other employers, however, may not find such styles to be compatible with, or suitable for, their professional image. Employers generally have the right to establish reasonable grooming and dress codes for employees, including reasonable rules on hairstyles, though nothing in the dress code should impose a greater burden on a protected class, such as a particular race, gender, etc. And while there is nothing expressly prohibiting an employer from banning outlandish hair coloring in particular, keep in mind that some employees wear or style their hair a certain way for religious reasons. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are required to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs and practices of employees (including allowing shaved heads or long hair or changing grooming requirements, etc.), unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

If the employer wishes to address employees' or applicants' hair to be consistent with a company policy that requires employees to maintain a professional, neat, clean or similar appearance, the best practice is typically to provide more general guidelines in the policy, which gives the employer greater flexibility, rather than precluding a particular hair style or color. In other words, in this situation, we are not aware of any reason the employer could not simply inform the staff member of its standards with regard to professionalism and expectations when it comes to appearance and presentation of oneself, and that her hair and eyebrow color in its present state does not comport with the employer's expectations. In either case, the employer should address professionalism, appearance, and dress code issues, if any, in its Employee Handbook.


Disaster Relief Fund Activated to Support Members Disrupted by Hurricane Harvey

Posted: August 31, 2017

As a result of the current flooding in Texas and Louisiana, PHCC has activated its Disaster Relief Fund to provide immediate assistance to members in need. Donations will support members whose businesses have been disrupted by major disasters now and in the future. 

Please consider donating today!

PHCC members may use funds to offset costs to clean up flood damage, repair or replace equipment, etc.

All requests are confidential and will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis as funds become available. 




Posted: August 24, 2017

CONNECT 2017 heads to the shores of Lake Michigan, a city rich in history and culture. Whether you’re in service and repair or in new construction, plumbing or HVAC, open shop or signatory, make plans now to join us in Milwaukee!

October 3-6, 2017
Wisconsin Center
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Keynote Speakers

Chris Baldwin, President, Kitchen & Bath Americas from Kohler will join us to discuss the current state of the p-h-c industry and where we go from here.

White hat hackers Dr. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek will come together for a joint keynote on the Internet of Things (IoT) and security.

Technology is advancing quickly in the p-h-c industry. This year's keynote speakers are here to help you keep up!

Key Events

QSC Power Meeting: 
Special Edition

Join QSC and PHCC for a special event tailored for p-h-c service and maintenance businesses.

Learn More ...

Product & Technology Showcase
Oct. 5-6 

Access the latest technologies and business strategies from the best in the business.

Learn More ...

Education Sessions
Oct. 4-6

Attend over 20 education sessions to help you and your business grow.

Learn More ...


PHCC Installation and Closing Event at Harley-Davidson Museum

Industry Partner Tours of Milwaukee Tool and Kohler Co.

... and more!

Click Here for More Information

House Passes "Perkins Act" Reauthorization

Posted: June 29, 2017

Last week, the House passed PHCC-supported HR 2353 – the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act(reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act). Though Congress has funded the bill at the same level (approx.. $1.125 billion) over the last few years, the recently passed House version reflects an increase in funding to approx. $1.133 billion (the bill also continues to increase funding in small increments through fiscal 2023). Read more here.

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