Office Building Employers Information for COVID-19

Office Building Employers Information for COVID-19

Office Building Employers Information for COVID-19

Office building employers, owners and managers can take proactive measures to create a safe and healthy workplace for employees, clients and other guests. This article shares COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings.

How Office Building Employers Can Protect Employees

Employers should consider the following steps to protect their employees and other building visitors, while slowing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Create a COVID-19 workplace health and safety plan by reviewing the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
  • Check the building for hazards associated with prolonged facility shutdown, ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase air circulation as much as possible.
  • Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work.
  • Develop hazard controls using the hierarchy of controls. Consider using a combination of engineering and administrative controls, explained further below.
Office Building Employers

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls isolate people from hazards. Consider the following example controls:

  • Modify seats, furniture and workstations.
  • Use methods to physically separate employees in the building, including work areas and common areas.
  • Improve building ventilation based on local environmental conditions (e.g., temperature and humidity).

Administrative Controls

Administrative controls change the way people work. Consider the following example controls:

  • Encourage employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 to notify their supervisor and stay home.
  • Stagger shifts, start times and break times to reduce the number of employees in common areas.
  • Post signs in parking areas and entrances that ask guests and visitors to wear cloth face coverings.
  • Post instructions and reminders at entrances and in other strategic places about hand hygiene, COVID-19 symptoms, and cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
Office Building Employers

Educate Employees

Employers should consider the following steps to educate employees and supervisors about how to protect themselves at work:

  • Develop communication and training that is easy to understand, in preferred languages spoken or read by the employees, and includes accurate and timely information. Suggested topics include signs and symptoms of infection, staying home when ill, social distancing, cloth face coverings, hand hygiene practices, and identifying and minimizing potential routes of transmission at work, at home and in the community.
  • Provide information and training on what actions employees should take when they are not feeling well (e.g., workplace leave policies, and local and state health department information).
  • Remind employees and clients that the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are hard to maintain. However, wearing a cloth face covering does not replace the need to practice social distancing.

The CDC has posters available for employers to download and print, some of which are translated into different languages.

Develop Special Considerations for Elevators and Escalators

Employers should implement special considerations if their building has elevators or escalators. Consider the following proactive measures:

  • Encourage occupants to take stairs when possible, especially when elevator lobbies are crowded or when only going a few flights.
  • Designate certain stairwells or sides of stairwells as “up” and “down” to better promote social distancing.
  • Use floor markings in elevator lobbies and near escalator entrances to reinforce social distancing. Place decals inside the elevator to identify where passengers should stand if needed.
  • Use stanchions in lobbies to mark pathways to help people travel in one direction and stay 6 feet apart.
  • Consider limiting the number of people in an elevator and leaving steps empty between passengers on escalators.
  • Post signs reminding occupants to minimize surface touching. They should use an object (such as a pen cap) or their knuckle to push elevator buttons.
  • Consider adding supplemental air ventilation or local air treatment devices infrequently used elevator cars.

For More Information

Read the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers for additional recommendations for creating new sick leave policies, and cleaning and developing employee communications to help protect employees and other building guests.

Contact us today for more COVID-19 guidance and resources to protect employees.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

As one of the fastest-growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more. The GDI team has developed an “insurance cost reduction” quoting plan, that provides you with the best coverage at the best rate!

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our clients know how much we value and appreciate their business.

Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive office insurance quote!

Source: CDC

FMCSA Record Compliance After COVID-19

FMCSA Record Compliance After COVID-19

FMCSA Record Compliance After COVID-19

Since March 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has provided emergency exemptions and waivers for regulations to support COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. The FMCSA has provided waivers and exemptions for hours-of-service rules, pre-employment drug testing, driving skills tests, and renewals for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), commercial learners’ permits (CLPs), and medical certifications. Read below to see the FMCSA Record Compliance After COVID-19.

During this time, employers that helped with national emergency efforts and used these waivers or exemptions for their drivers may not have kept up with the documentation necessary for their drivers’ files. It is important for employers to understand that, if they used any of these exemptions or waivers, it should be documented in their drivers’ files, and any paperwork or license updates should be completed as soon as possible.

FMCSA Record Compliance After COVID-19

Exemptions vs. Waivers

Under FMCSA emergency declarations, various exemptions and waivers can be issued. Each one has its own requirements. In general, an exemption is temporary regulatory relief from one or more of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) given to a person or class of persons who are subject to the regulations, or who intend to engage in an activity that would make them subject to the regulations. An exemption provides the person or class of persons with relief from the regulations for up to two years, but it may be renewed.

A waiver is temporary regulatory relief from one or more of the FMCSRs given to a person who is subject to the regulations or who intends to engage in an activity that would be subject to the regulations. A waiver can provide relief for up to three months, but it can continue to be extended.

The waivers under the emergency declaration by the FMCSA during COVID-19 provide relief from specific regulations or provide states with the option to permit waivers for their drivers, both of which are stated in the waiver.

Regulations Affected by Exemptions or Waivers

Parts 390-399 of the FMCSRs are the regulations that are often exempted or waived. Among these regulations are rules relating to hours of service, vehicle maintenance and inspections, and general driver qualifications. Unless otherwise noted, the following regulations are not exempted by emergency declarations:

  • Controlled substance and alcohol use and testing
  • CDL requirements
  • Minimum levels of financial responsibility
  • Hazardous materials

The FMCSA will send out a notice for exemptions or waivers to inform the public of the details concerning the exemption or waiver, what type of relief is provided and what regulations still must be followed by drivers.

FMCSA Record Compliance After COVID-19

FMCSA Record Compliance After COVID-19 Exemption Documentation

Motor carriers who used or continue to use the exemptions should document that they are using them. One of the regulations affected by the COVID-19 exemptions is the driver qualification file requirements. Documentation for driver qualification files, such as new hire documentation or documents that need regular updating, likely has not been completed by employers. This documentation can include, but is not limited to:

  • New hire driver applications
  • Initial and yearly motor vehicle record (MVR) checks
  • Road testing documents
  • Requests for safety performance history
  • Medical examiner certificates

All of these documents are required for new hires, and certain documents need to be updated annually. MVRs are updated annually, and medical examiner certificates must be updated every two years (unless noted otherwise by the physician).

Employers should review their drivers’ files to determine which documents are missing for drivers who were providing direct assistance during the emergency declaration. Once the missing documents are determined, the employer should update the files with the required forms and note the date the files were brought up to compliance. The forms should also explain that the reason for the delay was because the driver used the emergency declaration exemptions. The employer should also provide evidence to prove the driver qualified for the exemption in the file.

Waiver Documentation

Some waivers that have been issued by the FMCSA have included stipulations that drivers must meet for the waivers to apply, while other waivers have not included stipulations. Some examples of waivers with stipulations are for renewals of CDLs or CLPs for drivers whose licenses expired after a certain date. States are permitted, but not required, to extend the validity of CDLs or CLPs due for renewals on or after March 1, 2020. The FMCSA determined it was best to grant the waivers, as many CDL and CLP drivers were unable to renew their licenses or medical certifications due to state licensing agencies reducing their hours of operation or closing their offices.

If a waiver with stipulations for its use was implemented, the employer should document those stipulations in the driver’s file. The recordkeeping must show that the driver qualified for the waiver. For example, if a driver did not renew their CDL, but the state permitted it and the driver was within the parameters of the waiver to do so, then the employer should document that in the driver’s file. Drivers should have their licenses renewed and update any documentation required by the FMCSRs that has been waived. If a driver was able to at any point update any information necessary, they should have done so regardless of the waiver.

Employers should document all pertinent information in their drivers’ files. All conversations with doctors or facilities that provide the services the driver was unable to obtain should be documented to show good faith efforts made by the driver and employer.

Reason for Documenting

Providing as much information for using the waiver or exemption as possible is a best practice for a motor carrier. This information will be of significant use when a Department of Transportation (DOT) audit occurs. By providing this information in drivers’ files, the DOT auditor will understand the reason for the exemption or waivr use and see that the employer made a good faith effort in trying to stay compliant.

Employers must explain the specific waiver the driver used and show how the driver qualified to use that waiver. This information should stay in drivers’ files for as long as the documentation is required to be stored. Employers should refer to the FMCSA regulations for requirements on retention for specific documents.

It is important for employers to be proactive when it comes to FMCSA documentation compliance. If employers are not keeping accurate and complete records, this could lead to significant issues during a DOT audit. By documenting now, employers will be prepared when a DOT audit occurs.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

As one of the fastest-growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more. The GDI team has developed an “insurance cost reduction” quoting plan, that provides you with the best coverage at the best rate!

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our client’s know how much we value and appreciate their business.

Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive transportation insurance quote!

CNA Financial’s “Sophisticated Cyber-Attack”

CNA Financial’s “Sophisticated Cyber-Attack”

CNA Financial’s “Sophisticated Cyber-Attack

Commercial insurance carrier CNA was hit by a “sophisticated cyber-attack” that caused major havoc for certain systems, including email. Out of an abundance of caution, they contained the attack by proactively disconnecting their systems leveraging a methodical and carefully organized process. CNA is one of the biggest insurance companies in the U.S., with over 6,000 employees.

GDI Insurance Agency had a $250k+ premium account that most likely would have gone to them, but due to the system outage/failure they couldn’t get final pricing to us and lost the opportunity.  Having happened leading into 4/1 (the start of a new quarter was the WORST timing for an insurance company).  It’s murphy’s law, what can go wrong will (and when it does it’ll be at the worst possible time). If this happened with our agency, think of the losses they experience with other agencies as well.

CNA Insurance has been working around the clock for a week on the incident, and have just restored their enterprise email system, which is now safe. Adding additional security measures in place to protect their systems.

“The security of our data and that of our insureds’ and other stakeholders is of the utmost importance to us. Should we determine that this incident impacted our insureds’ or policyholders’ data, we’ll notify those parties directly,” the company said.

a sophisticated cyber-attack

How CNA Dealt With A Sophisticated Cyber-Attack

“Out of an abundance of caution, we contained the attack we sustained by proactively disconnecting our systems from our network. We are now in the restoration stage and are bringing back our systems leveraging a methodical and carefully organized process. As highlighted here and as an example of this ongoing process, we have restored email access and you can communicate with CNA employees safely and in the normal course of business.”

Download Your Cyber Risk Exposure Scorecard Today!

sophisticated cyber-attack

10 Cyber Security Resolutions to Reduce Your Data Exposures

Sophisticated cyber-attack, threats and trends can change year over year as technology continues to advance at alarming speeds. As such, it’s critical for organizations to reassess their data protection practices at the start of each new year and make achievable cybersecurity resolutions to help protect themselves from costly breaches. The following are resolutions your company can implement to ensure you don’t become the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack:

  1. Provide security training—Employees are your first line of defense when it comes to cyber threats. Even the most robust and expensive data protection solutions can be compromised should an employee click a malicious link or download fraudulent software. As such, it’s critical for organizations to thoroughly train personnel on common cyber threats and how to respond.

    Employees should understand the dangers of visiting harmful websites, leaving their devices unattended and oversharing personal information on social media. Your employees should also know your cybersecurity policies and know how to report suspicious activity.
  2. Install strong antivirus software and keep it updated—Outside of training your employees on the dangers of poor cybersecurity practices, strong antivirus software is one of the best ways to protect your data.
    Organizations should conduct thorough research to choose software that’s best for their needs. Once installed, antivirus programs should be kept up to date.
  3. Instill safe web browsing practices—Deceptive and malicious websites can easily infect your network, often leading to more serious cyber attacks. To protect your organization, employees should be trained on proper web usage and instructed to only interact with secured websites.

    For further protection, companies should consider blocking known threats and potentially malicious webpages outright.
  4. Create strong password policies—Ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your organization’s password-protected information. Effective password management protects the integrity, availability and confidentiality of an organization’s passwords.

    Above all, you’ll want to create a password policy that specifies all of the organization’s requirements related to password management. This policy should require employees to change their password on a regular basis, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and use special characters in their password.
  5. Use multi-factor authentication—While complex passwords can help deter cybercriminals, they can still be cracked. To further prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to employee accounts, multi-factor authentication is key. Multi-factor authentication adds a layer of security that allows companies to protect against compromised credentials.

    Through this method, users must confirm their identity by providing extra information (e.g., a phone number, unique security code) when attempting to access corporate applications, networks and servers.
  6. Get vulnerability assessments—The best way to evaluate your company’s data exposures is through a vulnerability assessment. Using a system of simulated attacks and stress tests, vulnerability assessments can help you uncover entry points into your system.

    Following these tests, security experts compile their findings and provide recommendations for improving network and data safety.
  7. Patch systems regularly and keep them updated—A common way cybercriminals gain entry into your system is by exploiting software vulnerabilities. To prevent this, it’s critical that you update applications, operating systems, security software and firmware on a regular basis.
  8. Back up your data—In the event that your system is compromised, it’s important to keep backup files. Failing to do so can result in the loss of critical business or proprietary data.
  9. Understand phishing threats and how to respond—In broad terms, phishing is a method cybercriminals use to gather personal information. In these scams, phishers send an email or direct users to fraudulent websites, asking victims to provide sensitive information.

    These emails and websites are designed to look legitimate and trick individuals into providing credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, usernames or other sensitive information.

    Phishing is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and it’s more important than ever to understand the different types of attacks, how to identify them and preventive measures you can implement to keep your organization safe.

    As such, it’s critical to train employees on common phishing scams and other cybersecurity concerns. Provide real-world examples during training to help them better understand what to look for.
  10. Create an incident response plan—Most organizations have some form of data protection in place. While these protections are critical for minimizing the damages caused by a breach, they don’t provide clear action steps following an attack.

    That’s where cyber incident response plans can help. While cybersecurity programs help secure an organization’s digital assets, cyber incident response plans provide clear steps for companies to follow when a cyber event occurs. Response plans allow organizations to notify impacted customers and partners quickly and efficiently, limiting financial and reputational damages.

For additional cyber risk management guidance and insurance solutions, contact us today.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

As one of the fastest-growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more. The GDI team has developed an “insurance cost reduction” quoting plan, that provides you with the best coverage at the best rate!

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our client’s know how much we value and appreciate their business.

Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive cyber liability insurance quote!

The Importance of Fire Doors

The Importance of Fire Doors

The Importance of Fire Doors

In the event that a fire occurs at your commercial property, having measures in place to slow the spread of the flames and minimize potential damages is crucial. That’s where fire doors can help. These doors are specifically designed to withstand the extreme heat of a fire for a period of time, temporarily blocking flames from traveling from one area of a building to another.

Considering that time is of the essence when it comes to keeping a fire under control, these doors can make all the difference in allowing additional building occupants to safely escape the premises and preventing property damage. Yet, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards—namely, NFPA 80—emphasize that fire doors must be routinely inspected and adequately maintained in order to be effective.

Review the following guidance to learn more about how fire doors work and best practices for keeping these doors fully operational.

Fire Doors

How Fire Doors Work

A fire door consists of multiple components—including the door, door frame, hinges, handle and additional hardware. Collectively, these parts are designed to withstand fire exposures for a set period of time, slowing the spread of flames and smoke throughout different sections of the affected property.

These doors can vary in size, materials and layout (e.g., a swinging, sliding, hinged or rolling door). These doors are typically utilized within the wall openings and stairwells of buildings. Installing fire doors in wall openings can help keep flames from spreading to additional areas on the same floor of a property. Implementing these doors in stairwells can deter a fire from traveling between different stories of a property and potentially allow additional building occupants to safely escape via the stairs. Fire doors can also provide firefighters with better access to the property overall, bolstering fire suppression efforts.

Each fire door is designed to meet the standards of its resistance rating, which represents how long the door can actually withstand fire exposures before eventually succumbing to the heat and smoke. This rating is determined through various testing procedures, and applies not only to the door, but also to its collective parts. Fire door resistance ratings can range from 20 minutes to three hours. For example, if the door can withstand fire exposures for one hour, then it will be rated as a one-hour fire door.

Fire doors are also considered in the process of establishing a property’s fire divisions. While some buildings only consist of a single fire division, a property may contain multiple fire divisions if there are measures in place to limit a fire from reaching different areas of the building. With this in mind, properties with approved fire divisions by way of fire doors in place may benefit from reduced commercial insurance rates, seeing as there is a lower risk of a fire spreading across the entirety of the building.

On the other hand, properties that remove or don’t incorporate fire doors and thus lack multiple fire divisions may encounter higher commercial insurance rates, since a fire is increasingly likely to affect the entire building and result in more severe damages.

Fire Doors

Maintaining Fire Doors

While fire doors can certainly offer numerous advantages to a property, it’s important to note that these doors must be properly maintained to remain effective. In particular, some fire doors need to stay fully closed in order to work. Otherwise, flames and smoke will easily travel through any openings, defeating the purpose of the doors altogether.

However, fire doors that are equipped with fusible links—which are heat-activated devices designed to ensure that such doors adequately close in the presence of a fire—do not need to stay shut at all times. In these circumstances, the doors can be kept open as long as there are no obstructions (e.g., a door wedge) in the way that could potentially prevent them from closing when necessary. Keep in mind that most rolling fire doors are equipped with fusible links.

In addition to keeping fire doors closed or unobstructed, NFPA 80 also outlines the following installation, inspection and maintenance requirements:

  • Ensure all fire doors at your property contain a fire label and resistance rating from Underwriter Laboratories or Warnock Hersey—both of which are trusted safety certification organizations.
  • Only allow a competent, qualified contractor to install fire doors or make modifications to existing fire doors at your property. Modifying a fire door with the wrong components or hardware could result in the door becoming ineffective and losing its resistance rating. Also, be sure to consult the contractor about the possibility of equipping your fire doors with fusible links.
  • Regularly inspect fire doors for potential damages (e.g., large gaps, broken seals, loose hinges or missing screws). Further, make sure that each door can connect firmly to its latch without getting stuck on the frame before fully closing. Schedule repairs when necessary.
  • Have a certified professional conduct a visual inspection and—in the case of rolling doors—a drop test (a test that confirms the door works as it should and completely closes) on your property’s fire doors at least once every year. Based on the results, schedule repairs and make door replacements as needed.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

As one of the fastest-growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more. The GDI team has developed an “insurance cost reduction” quoting plan, that provides you with the best coverage at the best rate!

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our clients know how much we value and appreciate their business.

Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive property insurance quote!

Attraction and Retention Challenges Amid COVID-19

Attraction and Retention Challenges Amid COVID-19

Attraction and Retention Challenges Amid COVID-19

Attracting and retaining talent is often a top priority for HR departments. Given the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the job market, one might imagine this task is easier than ever. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. There are many attraction and retention challenges amid COVID-19.

While there may be more candidates than usual, attracting quality talent and retaining top performers still remains a struggle, worsened by COVID-19 and its effects on the workplace.

This article shares some tips for attracting and retaining workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attraction and Retention Challenges

Expand Hiring Pools

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how quickly teams can adapt, with some workplaces shifting entirely to telework. After months of remote-working success, many workplaces have said they will allow telework permanently even after the pandemic subsides. That’s because of the numerous advantages of remote work.

For one, these individuals won’t take up office space, saving room for others who need it. Additionally, this flexibility allows recruiters to expand hiring pools to anywhere with an internet connection. This can be a great benefit for employers that haven’t had luck finding quality talent near them.

Adapt the Workplace Layout

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers are concerned about their health and well-being while at work. By addressing these concerns, employers can bring peace of mind to employees and, in turn, attract workers who may have held reservations about their safety.

Employers can do this by adapting their workplaces to focus on worker health. This includes mandating social distancing, moving desks around, holding virtual meetings exclusively, allowing flex scheduling and offering telecommuting. At the end of the day, workplaces that demonstrate concern for employees will be the ones where individuals actually want to work. Conversely, if employees are forced to choose between their safety and their jobs, employers shouldn’t expect good retention.

Attraction and Retention Challenges

Provide Meaningful Benefits

The pandemic has affected everyone in significant, yet unique, ways. While all employees may be struggling in some way, their situations aren’t the same. Employers can help lift up their workers by offering meaningful employee benefits.

Robust health care offerings may seem like an obvious one-size-fits-all solution, but sometimes voluntary benefits are actually what employees need. These include caregiving assistance, financial counseling, increased paid time off and other nontraditional perks. There are many low-cost options available and, better yet, employees can choose their benefits a la carte to meet their individual needs.

Support Well-being

Employees are going through a lot right now, and many are suffering from poor mental health. This includes feeling depressed, lonely, anxious or any other negative emotion—feelings that may be compounded if employees are working in isolation. And the fact that employees are holding onto negative feelings isn’t terribly surprising, given the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

Now is the time for employers to show employees and potential recruits that they’re willing to invest in their well-being. Potential options include comprehensive employee assistance programs, one-on-one counseling, therapy sessions and stress-reducing activities. Solutions don’t need to break the bank, either. Something as small as a weekly outdoor activity, virtual chitchat meeting or group excursion could be enough to lift employees out of their funk.

Look Internally for Talent

If an employer is struggling to fill an important role with an outside candidate, it could be that they’re looking in the wrong place. Many organizations are now focusing on upskilling current employees and retraining them for more important positions. This can be significant for a few reasons.

Firstly, outside candidates would need to be trained anyway, so upskilling a current employee wouldn’t be any more burdensome. Since they’re already familiar with the workplace and its operations, it may even be easier.

Secondly, many recruiting teams are expecting big slashes to their budgets in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, shuffling around current employees could help save the bottom line.

Thirdly, promoting employees from within the organization shows that an employer is willing to invest in their career growth. This sentiment can go a long way in retaining top talent.

Attraction and Retention Challenges Conclusion

There are many creative ways employers can attract and retain quality workers. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, even small gestures can go a long way to distinguish an organization from others in its industry.

Reach out today to learn more about these and other workplace strategies.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

As one of the fastest-growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more. The GDI team has developed an “insurance cost reduction” quoting plan, that provides you with the best coverage at the best rate!

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our client’s know how much we value and appreciate their business.

Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive business insurance quote!

Shoplifting Prevention

Shoplifting Prevention

Shoplifting Prevention

Shoplifting can become a costly problem for any retailer. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, over $35 million worth of merchandise gets stolen from retailers each day. Furthermore, the latest data from the National Retail Federation provides that shoplifting is the leading cause of inventory shrinkage among retail businesses—contributing to 39% of shrinkage concerns. With these numbers in mind, your business can’t afford to ignore the risk of shoplifting. Fortunately, many shoplifting incidents can be deterred by implementing a shoplifting prevention program. Review this guide for an outline of key elements to include in your program. Contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. today for your retail insurance quote 209-634-2929.

Start With a Smart Store Layout for Shoplifting Prevention

First, it’s important to ensure that the physical layout of your store dissuades potential shoplifters. That being said, follow these layout best practices:

  • Limit the number of entrances and exits at the store. However, make sure this setup remains compliant with building safety codes. Never allow customers to use fire exits unless it’s an actual emergency.
  • Attach a bell or sensor to all store entrances to help keep track of customers as they arrive at the premises.
  • Avoid placing merchandise by store entrances and exits. Doing so could attract shoplifters, giving them the opportunity to swiftly steal the merchandise and leave the premises before getting caught.
  • Keep high-priced merchandise either out of the direct reach of customers (e.g., in locked display cases) or near the checkout counter.
  • Place the checkout counter in a way that requires all customers to pass it before leaving the store.
  • Utilize shorter store shelving and displays to maintain visibility of customers while they shop.
  • Install proper lighting and convex mirrors throughout the store to avoid potential blind spots that shoplifters could take advantage of.
  • If applicable, keep dressing rooms locked while they are not being used to ensure customers have to consult an employee before entering them.

In addition to these layout methods, be sure to keep the store clean and organized at all times. Cluttered aisles and jumbled merchandise can make your store more attractive to shoplifters and lower your ability to quickly detect missing items.

shoplifting prevention

Ensure Adequate Security Measures

Utilizing robust security measures at your store can help discourage potential shoplifters, as well as catch such criminals in the act before it’s too late. Consider equipping your store with these top security features:

  • Security cameras—Installing security cameras across the store (with the exception of bathrooms and dressing rooms) will allow you and your staff to have eyes throughout the property and capture high-quality footage of shoplifting incidents.
  • Electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems—An EAS system has two components. First, individual tags that can only be removed with a special device after a secure purchase are placed on store merchandise. Second, sensors consisting of a transmitter and a receiver are installed at store exits. These sensors establish an electronic field that becomes unbalanced if a tagged item passes through them. If someone attempts to steal tagged merchandise, the sensors will trigger an alarm as soon as the shoplifter tries to exit the premises. EAS systems are a critical aspect of any shoplifting prevention program. In fact, several studies have found that EAS systems can help minimize shoplifting losses by as much as 75%.
  • Inventory management technology—Apart from EAS systems, various forms of inventory management technology can also help you better keep track of store merchandise and prevent shoplifting losses. For instance, point-of-sale systems are computerized software that you can utilize during the checkout process to help monitor store inventory, detect false returns or exchanges, and confirm customers’ identities. A wide range of mobile applications have also been created to help store owners conduct physical inventory counts more efficiently via digital barcode scanning.

Further, make sure to implement signage throughout the store to inform customers of the security measures you have in place. Place this signage at the entrances and exits of your store, as well as above any display areas. However, ensure this signage properly reflects your store’s brand and considers your customer base. After all, the goal of these signs is to dissuade shoplifters—not intimidate legitimate customers.

shoplifting prevention

Utilize Your Employees

It’s also important to include staff in your shoplifting prevention program. As such, there should be enough employees scheduled during each shift to monitor every section of the store. Designated employees should be responsible for greeting customers as they enter the store, following up with customers while they shop and assisting them when they want to use the dressing rooms (if applicable). If a customer starts carrying around a significant amount of store merchandise, employees should offer to hold items behind the counter for them until they check out. All employees should also be trained on how to detect potential shoplifting behaviors, such as:

  • Shopping in a large group of people
  • Not making direct eye contact with staff
  • Carefully watching employees’ movements but avoiding interaction with them
  • Acting nervous and appearing disinterested in store merchandise
  • Trying to use a dressing room without staff permission or taking a large number of items into the dressing room
  • Frequently glancing at store exits
  • Carrying numerous other shopping bags, purses or backpacks to easily place stolen merchandise into
  • Spending a significant amount of time in one particular area of the store
  • Fidgeting with items’ price markings or EAS tags

During the checkout process, employees should be instructed to carefully remove EAS tags from store merchandise, ensure smaller items aren’t being hidden within larger items and inspect each items’ price markings to make sure they are correct. Employees should be required to provide customers with a copy of their receipt for every purchase.

In the event of a confirmed shoplifting incident, staff should know how to safely respond. This may include contacting the police for assistance. If you are particularly concerned about the risk of shoplifting or your store has been frequently targeted by shoplifters in the past, you may want to consider hiring specialized security personnel in addition to your regular staff.

Implement Effective Shoplifting Prevention Store Policies

Lastly, it’s critical to develop and enforce various store policies aimed at preventing and responding to shoplifting incidents. Policy topics may include:

  • How merchandise should be organized and displayed within the store
  • How prices are marked on merchandise and what measures are in place to prevent price tampering (e.g., securely attaching price tags with string or staples to minimize tag switching)
  • What the protocols are for managing store inventory
  • Whether customers are permitted to bring shopping bags, purses, strollers or backpacks into dressing rooms (if applicable)
  • How many items customers can have in a dressing room at one time (if applicable)
  • How employees should respond to suspected shoplifters
  • How store evidence (e.g., security camera footage, the triggering of the EAS system and store receipts) will be used to implicate a shoplifter
  • What the process is for prosecuting confirmed shoplifters

For more industry-specific risk management guidance, contact us today.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

As one of the fastest-growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more. The GDI team has developed an “insurance cost reduction” quoting plan, that provides you with the best coverage at the best rate!

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our client’s know how much we value and appreciate their business.

Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive small business insurance quote!