Workman’s Compensation Coverage Very Important

Workman’s Compensation Statement

Most tree companies tell you we have insurance!  Well that may be true, but do they have only liability insurance or are they only protecting your homes and not their workers, his business and sometimes even your life’s savings.  Honestly, liability insurance will pay for your house if a tree falls and hits your roof but if something goes wrong and an employee gets injured, Workman’s Compensation is the only thing protecting you from picking up the bill.  This is the most important and the most expensive insurance a tree company needs to purchase due to the danger involved in the job.  So be sure and verify your tree company not only protects your home, it also protects your life’s savings!

Watch Out For Those Workman’s Comp Scams/Tricks

When a tree company tells you, they don’t need it because they don’t have four or more non-exempt employees it is true that the law does not require a non-construction business with less than four non-exempt employees to carry Workman’s Compensation.  But that tree company doesn’t have any coverage for their employees and when you see the breakdown of fatal tree care accidents you know it is necessary.  Check out these stats released by the TCIA – Tree Care Industry Association in 2014:

Another excuse not to carry Workman’s Compensation is that they only have one employee, the owner or they may have one employee and the owner who is exempt from Workman’s Compensation.  Remember if he is working on the job and climbing, he is at just as much risk as anyone else so if he does get hurt, he has no coverage.  When you get hurt the first question the doctor ask you is, “Did this happen at work?”.  So, to sum it up he gets hurt and can’t pay you will be liable.  Do you really want to risk that?

Another trick by some companies is to carry Workman’s Compensation on only one employee who works at least 20 hours a week.  This will save the company a lot of money.  You see Workman’s Compensation is based on the pay role, so if most of the employees are paid under the table an insurance certificate is useless.

If one of the tree company’s employee’s is injured on your property and the company does not have workman compensation your homeowner’s insurance will be liable and your insurance company will turn around and sue the tree company for the medical care for the injured worker.  Now if the tree company’s money runs out, and we all know how costly health care is today, it will revert to your home owner’s insurance.  Of course, you can sue again but, in the meantime,  you would be liable for the worker’s care.

Remember you can ask your tree company to supply you with a certificate of insurance, anyone can print “insured” on their business card or truck.  You can always check this website to verify that the company has Workman’s Compensation: https://apps8.fldfs.com/proofofcoverage/search.aspx.   You will need to put in the owner’s name and the county of residence.

Other Things To Ask Or Check Out When Hiring a Tree Company

1) Always, start out by checking the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Google Business Listing, and the company’s website.  Get an idea of what other people say about the company and what accreditation’s they have and how long they have been in business.

2) Do you have employees that are Certified Tree Care Safety Professionals (CTSP)?

A CTSP is an employee that is trained and certified by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) in tree care safety.  This certification empowers and encourages a culture of safety within a company.   We offer our employees cash incentives to complete safety programs thru TCIA that our CTSP administers.  We have found these programs along with the cash incentive have made a huge difference in the safety attitude of all our employees.  We also conduct safety meetings every week as safety of our employees of the most importance to us!

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3) Is the company TCIA Accredited?

If you want to hire an expert you want to hire a tree company that is Accredited thru the Tree Care Industry Association.  TCIA Accredited companies are required to meet stringent criteria for professionalism, employee training, state and federal regulations, business ethics and consumer satisfaction.  All companies with TCIA Accreditation have undergone a comprehensive on-site audit of professional and business practices, aimed at safeguarding consumers.  Check this website to find an Accredited company in your area www.TCIA.org 

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4) Do the employees wear identifying uniforms to let you know who should be on the property?

Shirt’s with the logo, trucks with the logo’s clearly marked on the doors or sides of the truck beds.

5) Does the company require their employees to stick to the ANSI A300 pruning standards?   If you ask for a copy, can they supply you with one?  

Do they require payment up front?  Never pay up front!

6) Do the crews show evidence of the proper safety attire to where as they work high up in the trees or down on the ground?

Are the employees wearing tennis shoes or shorts?  This is a big red flag.  It is so very important that the employees utilize the proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).  It is imperative that they utilize hearing protection, hard hats, chaps, work boots with steel toes, gloves, and eye protection.   Chaps can be the difference between losing your leg or just needing a new pair of chaps when using a chainsaw.  There are pictures to prove this fact, but I won’t horrify you with that picture.