In this newsletter, we'll be covering topics such as Food & Agriculture industry update, silage harvest accident prevention, Worker Protection Standard (WPS), and contingent business income coverage.

We Were Built for a Time Like This

Author: Glenn Drees CSP, CPCU

On January 1st of this year, most of us did not envision a global pandemic like COVID-19 and the myriad of effects that it has brought.  We were also unfamiliar with the destructive windstorm term, derecho. 
We were discussing the increase of nuclear jury verdicts, cyberattacks, the growth in wildfires, a surge in weather-related losses, and the effects of more complex supply chains on business interruption losses. We were talking about aging workforces and workplace safety. We were discussing enterprise risk management and business continuity.

Whether the events of this year were easily predicted or not, our job has remained unchanged. Our goal is to use risk management techniques including insurance coverages to help food companies, agricultural businesses and grocers survive any event that comes their way.  

While we will never be able to see with clarity every event, we can help your prepare for expected and unexpected loss by bringing food & agribusiness subject matter experts to you, having an a deep understanding of your business, engaging loss reduction strategies and providing insurance policies with broad coverage.  

We were built for a time like this.  When there is more uncertainty; communication, expertise and planning become more crucial. Gallagher Food and Agriculture is here to meet that need. 

Silage Harvest Accident Prevention

Author: Gallagher National Risk Control

Not long ago, vertical silos and cobalt blue harvesters used to be as common as windmills, but today many of these iconic structures are symbolic, serving only as reminders of the way we used to do things. Growing demand to feed large numbers of dairy and beef cattle efficiently has brought about many changes in the way we produce, store, process and deliver feed across the country. In many cases, these improvements in efficiency also improved safety; however, in some cases, these changes have simply exchanged one set of hazards for another. With silage harvest getting underway, now is the time to keep in mind that there are significant hazards involving harvesting, packing and covering silage, and to review your safety protocols. 

Ask yourself: Are your silage operations as safe as they can be? In order to make sure that your silage operations are being performed safely, take a few minutes to conduct a hazard assessment. A basic hazard assessment requires answering a few basic questions regarding each part of your current silage operation. 

Hazard assessment questions 

  • What hazards exist? 
  • What silage operation risks exist because of these hazards?
  • What measures can be taken to eliminate the hazard and/or reduce the risks? 

There are four critical functions that exist in silage bunker operations. Each function should be examined to determine the hazards, associated risks and appropriate measures that can be employed to reduce or eliminate the risk to those working around silage bunkers. 

1. Pre-harvest inspection

  • Inspect the side walls for signs of deterioration, cracks or settling.
  • Inspect the floor surface for holes and pockets that might hold water or show signs of undermining.

2. Filling and packing the silage bunker 

  • Keep wagons and trucks off silage pile, if possible. Instead, use tractors to push the silage up from the delivery point. 
  • Keep foot traffic and all other silage equipment not involved in filling or packing away from the area. 
  • Tractors should have a wide stance and a low profile, and they must be equipped with rollover protection (ROPS) and seat belts. Tractor rollovers account for about 50% of the estimated 200 tractor-related fatalities each year. Seat belts used in conjunction with ROPS are considered to be 99% effective in preventing serious injury or death in the event of a rollover. 
  • Examine the sloping process. When packing silage from the face, a three-to-one wedge slope should be used to reduce the possibility of rollover. The wedge slope will create one foot of vertical rise to every three feet of horizontal run. Drive-over piles should have the same wedge slope. 
  • Develop and maintain a traffic control pattern using portable barricades and flags to eliminate cross-traffic.
  • All employees should wear high visibility clothing. If working in low light conditions, all workers should wear headlamps and reflective vests. 

3. Covering and uncovering the silage bunker

  • If the silage bunker has sidewalls higher than four feet, fall prevention should be in place to protect workers from falling over the edge. Pulling up plastic sheets while walking on sloped piles can be awkward, and wind can cause further issues when handling plastic covers. Guardrails installed at the top of the wall provide the best defense, and are less complicated than using harnesses, connecting devices and anchors. Guardrails also provide a visual reference for the tractor operators when working near the edge. 
  • When placing tarps and tires, workers on top of the bunker should maintain a safe distance of at least 15 feet from the face. If a safe distance cannot be maintained, the workers should have fall protection, including a full-body harness, connecting devices such as a lanyard and lifeline, and a secure anchor point.
  • For drive-over horizontal silage bunkers, consider tying the tires together in vertical rows everywhere except for the top. The plastic should be cut at a safe distance back from the face, then the tires can be pulled off the side slope with a tractor, eliminating the need to have workers on the pile removing tires near the face. 

4. Feed out

  • Undercutting the silage face greatly increases the chance of collapse. In some cases, the overhang destabilizes larger sections of the silage, creating an even larger collapse. In a large collapse, even an enclosed cab may not offer full protection from the weight of the silage. Keep in mind that one cubic yard of silage weighs more than 1,000 pounds. Silage defacers reduce the hazards of undercutting by maintaining a vertical face and improve feed quality by reducing the amount of exposed surface area. 
  • Because silage material will always seek its angle of repose, even properly faced silage may collapse. The collapse hazard zone is horizontal distance of three times the vertical height of the face. Only authorized and properly trained individuals should be allowed inside the collapse hazard zone perimeter. To safely enter the zone, workers should be inside a feed truck, tractor or loader with a ROPS-protected cab. Feed samples should be collected with the loader bucket and delivered to an area outside of the hazard area. The collapse hazard zone should be adjusted based on the feeding face height and surface area. Signs, traffic cones or barricades should be used to identify the collapse hazard zone perimeter. 


All silage operations workers should be trained in the general hazards associated with horizontal silos. Those employees that are directly involved in silage operations should be trained by companies; knowledge of horizontal silo standard operating procedures, specific hazards, and proper use of all tools and equipment should be required to perform their assigned tasks. 

By identifying the hazards, implementing appropriate standard operating procedures and training everyone involved, we can greatly reduce the risks of injury in horizontal silo operations. Contact a member of Gallagher’s National Risk Control team for more information.

Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Overview 

Author: Scott Bills

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Worker Protection Standard (WPS) intends to prevent unreasonable adverse health effects from occupational exposures to pesticides among agricultural workers, pesticide handlers and bystanders who may be on or near agricultural establishments. 

Who is covered by WPS?

The WPS covers farm, forestry, greenhouse and nursery workers, including anyone involved in picking, cutting, weeding and inspecting.

WPS covers two types of employees:

  • Agricultural workers which can include anyone employed for any type of compensation (including self-employed) related to the cultivation and harvesting of plants. Agricultural workers do not include office employees, truck drivers, mechanics and any other workers not engaged in worker or handler activities.
  • Pesticide handlers who mix, load or apply agricultural pesticides; clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or assist with the application of pesticides in any way.

WPS requirements

For the employers of agricultural workers:

  • Training
  • Establishment specific information
  • Entry restrictions during pesticide applications
  • Entry restrictions after pesticide applications
  • Oral and posted notifications or entry restrictions
  • Decontamination supplies

And for the employers of pesticide handlers:

  • Training
  • Knowledge of labeling, application-specific and establishment-specific information for handlers
  • Requirements during applications to protect handlers, workers and bystanders
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Decontamination and eye flushing supplies for handlers

Employers of pesticide handlers are also required to take precautions to ensure the public is not exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals.

In a November 2015 revision to the WPS, areas of the standard that were strengthened include training, notification, pesticide safety and hazard communication information, use of PPE and the providing of supplies for routine washing and emergency decontamination.

For more information, contact a member of your Gallagher team. 

Contingent Business Income Coverage 

Author: Drew Ahrold

Within your current insurance program, you may have business income and extra expense coverage when one of your facilities is struck by a covered cause of loss. It’s important that you know what will happen if your customers, specifically those customers that you provide livestock feed, are impacted by a pandemic such as African swine fever, avian flu or other named diseases on the policy at time of binding. 

One of the perils that is typically not covered by a standard business/farm policy is communicable disease or government shutdown. 

In this environment, when pandemics pose a real threat, concerns exist about diseases or infectious agents that affect the health of animals, which may impact the productivity of your food and agribusiness company. 
Contingent business income insurance may protect your company’s revenue when your livestock or your clients’ livestock base is hit with a disease (that is specifically named on a policy) that results in a financial loss to your business. This key coverage can be used to replace gross revenue, net income or loss of profit based on your desire at binding. 

Gallagher has partnered with specialty insurance underwriters that have experience with contingent business income exposures in the food and agriculture industry. We have food and agriculture insurance coverage plans to protect your contingent business loss if such an outbreak were to occur to a key client. Our team can assist in evaluating the limit and your organization’s exposure to contingent business income losses based on the financial impact that may be incurred as a result of a pandemic risk affecting a key customer or supplier. You may find that the potential financial impact is very different from your turnover and/or gross profit. 

The indemnity period will be for a described or stated period of time (e.g., number of production cycles or a period stated in weeks—weeks are used over months to avoid the ambiguity over the length of a month and the application in a loss situation). The indemnity period should be formed in line with the ability of the business operation to survive financially during a covered loss. The indemnity period is determined by client based on submitted financial information, and has the flexibility to range from an annual term of 12 months from the start of a covered cause of loss to up to 18 months. It can also be attributed to the number of production cycles. This coverage is specifically for livestock such as cattle, poultry and hogs, and not intended to cover loss of income due to an infectious disease’s impact on employees or workforce of the client. At this time, loss of income due to COVID-19 (or any other strain of coronavirus) is not available. 

Every business has individual needs, and our approach allows for the design of an insurance strategy specifically aligned with the business continuity and disaster and recovery plans of each particular business during a risk event. This indemnity period can start at any point you choose.

For more information, contact Drew Ahrold or your Gallagher representative. 

Featured On-Demand Webinars

Product Recall Losses: How to Maximize Your Recovery 

Replay Webinar

Join Gallagher’s Product Recall experts to identify the various types of losses/repercussions involved in product contamination incidents and to discuss the strategies involved in cost recovery available to Gallagher clients. In addition, we will review the necessary steps our team takes to help you efficiently navigate the claims process from directing/advising on claims to policy strategy to providing adjusters with appropriate documentation and substantiation of losses and more.

Ergonomics in Food Manufacturing, NRC 

Replay Webinar

Food and agriculture work is undeniably physically demanding. Join Gallagher’s National Risk Control Team for a discussion about:

  • How injuries resulting from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can impact your business
  • Ergonomic risk factors
  • Tips to prevent and mitigate MSDs

Author Information:


Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and consultation services for our clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/ or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance/risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general informational purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation.

Gallagher publications may contain links to non-Gallagher websites that are created and controlled by other organizations. We claim no responsibility for the content of any linked website, or any link contained therein. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by Gallagher, as we have no responsibility for information referenced in material owned and controlled by other parties. Gallagher strongly encourages you to review any separate terms of use and privacy policies governing use of these third party websites and resources.

Insurance brokerage and related services to be provided by Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc. (License No. 0D69293) and/or its affiliate Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Insurance Brokers of California, Inc. (License No. 0726293).