Summer Safety Tips

With summer in full swing, many of us are spending a lot of time outdoors: swimming, hiking, biking, grilling, and just having fun with friends and family. With all the outdoor activity, it’s important to review some tips to keep you safe this summer. One of the most basic tips to keep in mind while you’re out and about enjoying the warm weather is to wear sunscreen, and not just when you’re swimming at the pool! With temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s most days, it’s important to always make sure you’re protecting your skin. I know that it’s a pain to put on and can feel sticky on your skin, but the truth is that it really only takes a few extra minutes to get on and with so many brands of sunscreen now available, you are sure to find one that feels good on your skin. It’s especially important for parents to make sure they adequately cover their children’s skin with sunscreen as well. Remember, kids are relying on you to keep them safe and part of that is ensuring they don’t end up with painful sunburns after a fun day spent outside. And while you are already thinking about protecting your skin, remember to always wear a hat when in the sun too, which will not only keep your face and scalp covered, but will help you stay cool as well!

Staying hydrated while out in the sun is also important. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be especially dangerous, but are easily prevented by continuously taking in fluids and making sure to take a break from the sun after extended periods of time spent outside. Many of us enjoy swimming all day, hiking, or taking a long bike ride and it’s important when doing these activities to always be aware of your surroundings, particularly if you are in a mountainous area. In Colorado, it’s wonderful to be so close to many amazing reservoirs and hiking and biking trails, but with that comes potentially dangerous wildlife and plants. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what poison ivy and oak look like so that you are best able to avoid these plants if you come across them on a ride or hike. You should also routinely check your body for ticks and be aware of what to do in the event of you find one. Spider bites and bee stings for certain people can be potentially fatal so if you know you have any specific allergies, make sure you always have your Benedryl and Epipen with you in the event of an emergency.

For those of you who spend their summer days and nights at the grill, be sure to keep the grill at least 10 feet from your house and always keep a fire extinguisher handy to prevent any large flames for getting out of control. Of course, never use your grill indoors or turn on the gas to the grill when the lid is closed. As for what kind of food you choose to grill, that’s your choice, just be sure to keep any raw meats separate from your cooked food and refrigerate leftovers to keep them fresh.

Happy Summer!

Under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act, any sole proprietor actively engaged in the business may elect to be included by endorsement as an employee of the insured and shall be entitled to elect coverage regardless of whether such sole proprietor employs any other person under any contract of hire. Thus, while workers’ compensation insurance for a sole proprietor is not required, the Act enables sole proprietors to obtain coverage for themselves.  In an effort to save money, many sole proprietors choose to forego workers’ compensation insurance, likely assuming that if they are injured on the job, the party who contracted for their services will be monetarily liable for their injuries.  However, foregoing such coverage puts a sole proprietor at risk of being limited in the amount of recoverable damages in a third-party action.

In fact, the Court in Calveri v. Anderson, 2012 COA 122, recently held that a sole proprietor contractor who was injured on the property where he was performing tilling work was statutorily limited to $15,000 from the homeowners.  This is because under Colorado statute, homeowners are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance covering a contractor performing maintenance or repair at their home.  The purpose of this is to encourage participation in the workers’ compensation system and limit the exposure to those who have lawsuits or claims brought against them by uncovered contractors who are injured on the job.

Essentially, if you are a sole proprietor and you choose to opt out of workers’ compensation coverage to save money on premiums, you cannot then make up for it on the back end by suing the employer under common law for your work related injury.  If you are a sole proprietor and want to protect yourself and ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries, the best thing to do is obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for yourself.

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