Terrorism Risk Insurance and What You Need To Know

Terrorism Risk Insurance and What You Need To Know

Terrorism Risk Insurance and What You Need To Know

Terrorism has become an unfortunate fact of life. From the Nashville Christmas bombing, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy to the Las Vegas Strip concert massacre, the news is filled with headlines related to acts of terrorism or thwarted attempts. These types of tragic events are changing how business owners are protecting their interests. You may want to consider a Terrorism Risk Insurance policy to protect your business.

“Commercial Property Insurance policies often contain exclusions for acts of terrorism,” said Carolyn Reiter, Associate Vice President, Global Excess Partners, New York, New York. “If the FBI determines the Nashville incident is an act of terrorism, those impacted may be denied coverage through their current Commercial Property Insurance policies.”

Terrorism Risk Insurance

Domestic and Foreign Terrorism

Terrorism differs from other catastrophes because it is not an aspect of weather or nature. However, it shares the same problem of insurability with its natural peers. There are two distinct types of terrorism: domestic and foreign. Domestic terrorism involves terrorist acts (or plans) by citizens of the same country where the act is committed. The reason for the act (or planned act) generally involves some domestic political agenda.

Foreign terrorism involves acts of individuals from one (or more countries) who wish to disrupt the lives of another country’s citizens in order to advance a particular cause.

The Real Risk to Your Business

The perpetrators of terrorist attacks and the methods they use continue to shift and relatively unprotected targets are becoming a greater focal point. Property damage and bodily injury are the primary risks associated with terrorism, yet there are liability factors that you should consider to best safeguard your business, including:

  • Business interruption loss
  • Fiduciary liability for corporate directors and officers
  • Pollution loss and liability
  • Privacy and network security liability

At least 45 businesses were da­­maged in the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville, Tennessee that decimated a block of downtown buildings. Local police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are still investigating why a 63-year-old Nashville area information technology consultant set off the explosion in his RV, killing himself and causing widespread destruction.

The bomb was detonated near an AT&T telecommunications hub, temporarily freezing mobile and internet systems in five states. As affected business owners assess the damage to their properties, they are also questioning whether their insurance policies will cover the repairs. If it is classified as terrorism, property owners without appropriate insurance coverage worry they may have to pay out of pocket for the damage.

Terrorism Risk Insurance

Types of Terrorism Risk Insurance Solutions

Domestic terrorism coverage is available in traditional policies and stand-alone terrorism risk insurance. Traditional policies, including commercial general liability and property policies, may provide some coverage for terrorism risk if not expressly excluded.

Workers’ compensation insurance is another traditional policy that may provide some form of terrorism coverage. Unlike property and casualty policies, workers’ compensation policies will not have terrorism (or war) exclusions.

You may also consider purchasing stand-alone terrorism coverage. Stand-alone policies typically exclude:

  • Political risks, including loss resulting from strikes, riots, civil commotion, rebellion, revolution, war and insurrection
  • Cyber-related loss and liability
  • Nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological hazards, like anthrax

Terrorism Insurance coverage is available through a standalone policy or the federally-backed Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIP),1 authorized by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA) in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and extended through 2027 by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 (TRIPRA). Nevertheless, many business owners have no Terrorism Insurance coverage at all, leaving them vulnerable at a time when terrorism is an escalating concern and businesses are already struggling to survive in a pandemic-induced recession.

Many times people believe that if they aren’t right next to something like an NBA arena or a National Monument that they don’t need it. But in the case of the AT&T building in Turlock, that could have impacted nearly 1/4 – 1/3 of our downtown.

Terrorism Risk Insurance

Stand-alone Terrorism Risk Insurance Coverage

Terrorism Insurance can be purchased as a standalone policy—without a minimum loss requirement. Such policies include broader definitions of acts of terrorism that do not require government certification, Reiter said.

If you opt for stand-alone coverage, selecting the policy with the best terms involves more than just ensuring coverage extends beyond “certified acts of terrorism.” Valuation terms in stand-alone terrorism policies should be carefully reviewed to ensure you are appropriately compensated for loss and damage, even when actual repair or replacement isn’t possible or ideal.

It’s also important that specific terms are well defined, such as what constitutes an “occurrence” and how the number of occurrences associated with a given claim will be determined.

Coverage under a standalone Terrorism Insurance policy can also include loss of business income such as could occur during a forced closure due to property damage or to allow a criminal or forensic investigation to take place. Terrorism Liability Insurance is another important consideration, providing coverage for bodily injuries or deaths that may occur on a business’ premises due to terrorism.

 A standalone Terrorism Insurance policy could mean a faster recovery for business owners in the aftermath of a terror attack, Reiter said. “There is typically a significant lag time to process claims and issue payments under a government-backed program, especially compared to a general insurance claims transaction,” she explained. “Coverage under a standalone Terrorism Insurance policy could help a business start recovering from an attack much sooner.”

Other Policy Terms to Consider

Traditional policies or stand-alone terrorism risk insurance generally will include these terms:

  • Sue and labor. What property is reasonable to protect, recover or save after a general casualty loss may differ from what is appropriate following an act of terrorism. Avoid disputes by tailoring language in “sue and labor” provisions accordingly.
  • Expediting expenses. After an event, you want to be able to return to “business as usual” as quickly as possible. However, the costs incurred to sustain operations or expedite repairs in the wake of a terrorism incident may vary considerably from any other casualty loss. It may be appropriate to expand terms beyond “reasonable and necessary” costs to include security or healthcare-related expenses.
  • Increased construction cost. A terrorism incident may prompt legislative or other practical requirements that may increase the cost of demolition and compliant repair.
  • Pollution exclusion. The “act of terrorism” may prompt the release of hazardous substances — increasing the cost of the claim. Policies should not exclude the cost associated with a release of “pollutants” that is an indirect result of an otherwise covered “act of terrorism.”

For more clarity on how to protect your business from exposure to terrorism risk, reach out to your insurance professional and review the type of insurance coverage and policy terms that are right for your business.

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!

Privacy and Cyber Security

Privacy and Cyber Security

Privacy and Cyber Security

With the enormous amount of sensitive information stored digitally, companies need to take the proper measures to ensure this data is never compromised. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of business owners to protect their clients’ data with privacy and cyber security.

Failing to do so can result in a data breach, which costs companies billions of dollars every year. Understanding the risks involved with data security can help you prevent a privacy breach.

Know the Privacy and Cyber Security Risks

The first step in protecting your business is to recognize basic types of risk:

  • Hackers, attackers and intruders—These terms are applied to people who seek to exploit weaknesses in software and computer systems for their personal gain. Although their intentions are sometimes benign, their actions are typically in violation of the intended use of the systems that they are exploiting. The results of this cyber risk can range from minimal mischief (creating a virus with no negative impact) to malicious activity (stealing or altering a client’s information).
  • Malicious code—This is the term used to describe any code in any part of a software system or script that is intended to cause undesired effects, security breaches or damage to a system.
    • Viruses: This type of code requires that you actually do something before it infects your system, such as open an email attachment or go to a particular Web page.
    • Worms: This code propagates systems without user interventions. They typically start by exploiting a software flaw. Then, once the victim’s computer is infected, the worm will attempt to find and infect other computers.
    • Trojan horses: Trojans hide in otherwise harmless programs on a computer, and much like the Greek story, release themselves when you’re not expecting it and cause a lot of damage. For example, a program that claims to speed up your computer system but actually sends confidential information to a remote intruder is a popular type of Trojan.

IT Risk Management Practices

To reduce your cyber risks, it is wise to develop an IT Risk Management Plan at your organization. Risk management solutions utilize industry standards and best practices to assess hazards from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction of your organization’s information systems.

Consider the following when implementing risk management strategies at your organization:

  • Create a formal, documented risk management plan that addresses the scope, roles, responsibilities, compliance criteria and methodology for performing cyber risk assessments. This plan should include a characterization of all systems used at the organization based on their function, the data stored and processed and importance to the organization.
  • Review the cyber risk plan on an annual basis and update it whenever there are significant changes to your information systems, the facilities where systems are stored or other conditions that may affect the impact of risk to the organization.

Due Diligence When Selecting an ISP

In addition, your organization should take precautionary measures when selecting an internet service provider (ISP) for use for company business.

An ISP provides its customers with Internet access and other Web services. In addition, the company usually maintains Web servers, and most ISPs offer Web hosting capabilities. With this luxury, many companies perform backups of emails and files, and may implement firewalls to block some incoming traffic.

To select an ISP that will reduce your cyber risks, consider the following:

  • Security – Is the ISP concerned with security? Does it use encryption and SSL to protect any information that you submit?
  • Privacy – Does the ISP have a published privacy policy? Are you comfortable with who has access to your information, and how it is handled and used?
  • Services – Does your ISP offer the services that you want and do they meet your organization’s needs? Is there adequate support for the services provided?
  • Cost – Are the ISP’s costs affordable and are they reasonable for the number of services that you receive? Are you sacrificing quality and security to get a lower price?
  • Reliability – Are the services provided by the ISP reliable, or are they frequently unavailable due to maintenance, security problems and a high volume of users? If the ISP knows that their services will be unavailable, does it adequately communicate that information to its customers?
  • User supports – Are there any published methods for contacting customer service, and do you receive prompt and friendly service? Do their hours of availability accommodate your company’s needs?
  • Speed – How fast is your ISP’s connection, and is it sufficient for accessing your email or navigating the Web?
  • Recommendations – What have you heard from industry peers about the ISP? Were they trusted sources? Does the ISP serve your geographic area?

Government Regulation

There aren’t many federal regulations regarding cyber security, but the few that exist cover specific industries. The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act and the 2002 Homeland Security Act, which includes the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) mandate that health care organizations, financial institutions and federal agencies, respectively, protect their computer systems and information. Language is often vague in these laws, which is why individual states have attempted to create more specific laws on cyber security.

California led the way in 2003 by mandating that any company that suffers a data breach must notify its customers of the details of the breach. Currently, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have data breach notification laws in place.

Protection is our Business

Your clients expect you to take proper care of their sensitive information. You can never see a data breach coming, but you can always plan for a potential breach. Contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. today—we have the tools necessary to ensure you have the proper coverage to protect your company against a data breach.

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!

Employment Practices Liability Trends to Watch in 2021

Employment Practices Liability Trends to Watch in 2021

Employment Practices Liability Trends to Watch in 2021

As an employer, you care about making your workforce feel valued and managing your organization successfully. However, even if you do everything you can to ensure smooth relationships with your staff, employment practices liability (EPL) risks remain. That’s why it’s crucial for your organization to have EPL coverage. Such a policy can offer protection for claims that result from employees alleging various employment-related issues—such as discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination. Apart from securing EPL coverage, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest Employment Practices Liability trends. In doing so, your organization will have the information needed to respond appropriately and make any necessary coverage adjustments. Don’t let your organization fall behind in this evolving risk landscape. Review this guidance to learn more about EPL trends to watch in 2021.

Employment Practices Liability Trends

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Employment Practices Liability Trends

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organizations to make serious workplace changes—such as having employees work remotely, adjusting office setups or conducting significant staff layoffs or furloughs. And with these changes, EPL claims followed. Some of the most common, pandemic-related EPL claims include:

  • Allegations that unsafe working conditions or minimal precautionary measures (e.g., poor sanitation practices, a lack of social distancing protocols or inadequate personal protective equipment) contributed to employees getting sick or dying from COVID-19
  • Allegations of retaliation after an objection to unsafe working conditions or workplace exposure to individuals displaying COVID-19 symptoms
  • Allegations of disability discrimination related to remote working (e.g., failing to accommodate remote staff or denying employees the option to work remotely)
  • Allegations related to employee leave concerns (e.g., forcing staff to take leave, retaliating against employees that take leave due to COVID-19 or not allowing staff to take leave due to COVID-19 altogether)
  • Allegations of laying off or furloughing staff without providing proper employment notices
  • Allegations of discrimination related to laying off or furloughing employees

With these trends in mind, it’s crucial to fully document and review any organizational changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes should be reviewed to ensure they adequately consider the needs of your workforce and are compliant with employment law.

Social Movements

Several social movements have led to an increase in Employment Practices Liability trends and claims in recent years, including the #MeToo movement and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The #MeToo movement—which is an anti-sexual harassment campaign that was originally founded in 2006 and has gained significant social media attention since 2017—largely contributed to a 50% rise in sexual harassment lawsuits against employers over the past few years, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This movement emphasizes how important it is for employers to implement effective sexual harassment prevention measures (e.g., a zero-tolerance policy and a sexual harassment awareness training program), reporting methods and response protocols.

The Black Lives Matter movement—which is a racial justice campaign that was originally founded in 2013 and resurged in 2020 in the form of nationwide protests—has the potential to become a driving factor in race-related workplace discrimination and harassment lawsuits. This movement makes it increasingly vital for your organization to take steps to promote diversity, acceptance and inclusion in the workplace, as well as take any accusations or reports of racism seriously.

LGBTQ+ Protections

Although the EEOC had previously released guidance stating that workplace discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court just recently confirmed in 2020 that Title VII protects gay and transgender employees from such treatment. While this is a relatively new development, the Supreme Court’s decision highlights the need for your organization to ensure all LGBTQ+ employees feel properly supported in the workplace.

Employment Practices Liability Trends

Age Discrimination

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the share of employees over the age of 55 in the labor force is expected to rise to nearly 25% by 2024 (up from 13% in 2001). This demographic shift makes it increasingly important for employers to take steps to minimize the potential for age discrimination issues within the workplace. After all, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against employees and job applicants aged 40 and over.

Despite the ADEA; however, a recent Hiscox study found that 21% of U.S. employees have reported experiencing workplace discrimination based on their age. Such discrimination can lead to poor staff morale, a tarnished organizational reputation and an increase in EPL claims. With this in mind, it’s important to review your organization’s employment practices to ensure you are fostering a workplace culture that rejects ageism.

Wage, Leave and Salary History

As wage and hour laws continue to change across the country, it’s critical that your organization regularly reviews state-specific legislation related to minimum wage, employee classifications (e.g., hourly or salaried), overtime pay, sick leave and other paid time off. A failure to provide your staff with adequate wages or paid leave could lead to various EPL claims.

Employers’ ability to receive their employees’ prior salary history has also become a rising concern. In fact, in some states, recent legislation now prohibits employers from requesting or requiring salary history from a job applicant as a condition of being interviewed, hired or even considered for a position. In light of these changes, it’s best to speak with legal counsel for state-specific employee wage, leave and salary history guidance.

Employment Practices Liability Trends

Marijuana Legalization and Employment Practices Liability Trends

Following the 2020 election results, medical marijuana is now legal in 36 states and recreational marijuana is now legal in 15 states. As marijuana legalization becomes increasingly commonplace across the country, it’s crucial for your organization to review any state-specific legislation and adjust workplace policies and procedures accordingly.

Specifically, some states have enacted legislation that restricts an employers’ ability to conduct drug tests for marijuana. Further, several state court cases have ruled in favor of the employee in recent employment lawsuits related to marijuana usage. This includes a case in which a disabled employee sued their employer for alleged workplace discrimination due to medical marijuana usage, as well as a case in which an employee sued their employer for alleged wrongful termination due to a positive drug test for marijuana.

That being said, your organization may need to reconsider or revise procedures related to conducting workplace drug tests for marijuana or basing employment decisions on an employee’s marijuana usage, as these practices could potentially contribute to EPL claims. Be sure to consult legal counsel for state-specific compliance guidance on this topic.

We’re Here to Help

You don’t have to respond to this changing risk landscape alone. We’re here to help you navigate these EPL market trends with ease. For additional coverage guidance and 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 Employee Practices Liability insurance quote!

Supporting Employees During a Potentially Lonely Holiday Season

Supporting Employees During a Potentially Lonely Holiday Season

Supporting Employees During a Potentially Lonely Holiday Season

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of daily life—including how employees celebrate for the holidays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged all Americans to avoid gathering and traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, and these sentiments will likely apply to future holiday celebrations as well. This may include—but is not limited to—Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve, making this a potentially lonely holiday season.

Although following the CDC’s advice is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19, canceling trips and holiday plans can make for a lonely holiday season for many employees. This article discusses ways to support employees during this unprecedented holiday season.

lonely holiday season

Employee Mental Health and Lonely Holiday Season

The holiday season is traditionally a stressful one for employees in general, but employees will likely be more stressed out this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and having to cancel holiday plans.

After almost a full year of disruption and uncertainty, many employees have experienced stress and disappointment, which could be negatively affecting their overall health. A report from Limeade, an employee experience software company, found that:

  • Forty-nine percent of employees have less energy to participate in non-work-related activities.
  • Forty-two percent of employees have trouble sleeping.
  • Forty-two percent of employees are less interested in socializing with friends.

In addition, about one-third of employees reported consuming more alcohol or using other substances more than usual to cope with their stress. These unhealthy coping mechanisms could affect employees’ personal and professional lives, which makes it all the more important to support them.

An employer’s role is to support employees—including their mental health and well-being. That support is even more important during a global pandemic and an unprecedented holiday season, as employees may be struggling to cope with the uncertainty.

lonely holiday season

Best Practices for Supporting Employees During a Lonely Holiday Season

How you choose to support employees during this stressful and potentially lonely holiday season depends upon your organization’s values, culture and budget. However, there are a handful of low- to no-cost ways you can provide support. This includes the following best practices:

  • Connect with employees. Intentionally check in with direct reports on a regular basis and simply ask, “Are you OK?” The best way to help employees is to start by asking how they are doing. Employees may choose not to engage, and that’s fine too, but it’s important to approach that conversation. Additionally, consider asking what kind of support would be helpful to your employees, and reinforce that the door is open if and when they’d like to talk.
  • Model healthy behaviors. To be a good example to other employees, prioritize self-care and set boundaries. Be vocal and open about what you’re doing to take care of yourself and avoid burnout.
  • Be vulnerable. To help decrease the stigma of mental health challenges, be transparent about personal struggles or experiences. Doing so can help other employees feel comfortable talking about how they’re truly doing during the pandemic and this holiday season.
  • Host a virtual holiday event. If your budget and workload allow, consider hosting a virtual holiday event. By offering a safe way to celebrate the holidays, you may help employees combat feelings of loneliness or disappointment if they have to cancel their own personal holiday plans. Some simple virtual holiday celebration ideas include:
  • Virtual mixers designed for multiple conversations to take place at once, rather than one big video conference
    • Ugly sweater contests
    • Holiday karaoke events
    • Gingerbread house building and decorating activities
    • Wine and cheese parties
    • Online escape rooms
    • Trivia contests
    • Virtual gift exchanges
  • Communicate regularly. Help remove unnecessary stress by setting expectations about workloads and clarifying any modified work hours and norms. Strive for weekly communications from the organization to inform employees about company news and updated policies related to the pandemic.
  • Highlight available resources. Last but not least, it’s important to make employees aware of available mental health resources and encourage them to use such offerings. The most commonly desired workplace features are an open and accepting culture, clearer information about where to go or who to ask for support, and training to help managers have productive behavioral health conversations.

Remember, everyone’s situation is different, so it’s important to remain sensitive to the fact that some employees may be carrying on as usual during these times, while others may be struggling. Avoid calling out specific employees and make sure to keep any conversations about an employee’s mental health or stressors confidential.

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt employees’ lives across the country, creating additional stress, worry and disappointment for many. Supporting employees during difficult times such as these has never been more important.

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 insurance quote!

Understanding Fall Protection Equipment Warranty Requirements

Understanding Fall Protection Equipment Warranty Requirements

Understanding Fall Protection Equipment Warranty Requirements

Employers that are using fall protection equipment (e.g., personal fall arrest systems, connection components or anchors) should understand the manufacturers’ warranty requirements and instructions. Following these fall protection equipment warranty requirements is often necessary if the business would like the manufacturer to cover the product when it is damaged or if there is a functional issue. Examples of functional issues are when the fall protection fails to protect the employee when they fall or if a component of the fall protection (e.g. webbing, harness straps or buckles) needs repair.

Equipment manufacturers’ warranty instruction manuals play a vital role in workplace safety because both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) rely on these manuals to develop their standards on the proper use of equipment. The instructions also include the manufacturers’ own requirements that express the particular and proper use of the equipment.

In general, employers that follow manufacturers’ instructions are protected by equipment warranties. Conversely, employers that do not follow manufacturers’ instructions face the risk of voiding warranty protections. Without warranty protections, employers have fewer legal options against manufacturers under product liability policies.

Fall Protection Equipment Warranty

What Are PFAS?

Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) are made up of a body harness, anchorage and connector. This equipment is used to safely stop a worker who is falling. Under OSHA standards, employers are required to train their employees on the requirements of PFAS. Training is also frequently required by the manufacturer to honor the fall protection equipment warranty. Employees must understand the performance, care and use criteria for the fall arrest systems they are using. Each manufacturer of PFAS has different requirements for their warranties.

General Fall Protection Equipment Warranty Requirements

General warranty requirements include instructions that are meant to keep the equipment in the best shape possible during use. This is why the manual normally provides instructions on how to care for and maintain the fall protection equipment. The manual will also explain how to inspect and clean the equipment if it becomes dirty. Certain manufacturers have specific ways of cleaning PFAS that the user must follow to prevent voiding the warranty.

If employees are using PFAS that are designated specifically for them and they label their equipment, it is important for employees to check the manufacturing manual to determine whether there are any specific requirements when using markers to label the equipment (e.g., a manufacturer suggests only using Sharpie markers for writing on the webbing of their products).

OSHA and ANSI do not provide shelf-life recommendations for fall protection. The shelf life of fall protection is up to the manufacturer and will be found in the manual that comes with the equipment. Shelf-life warranties have changed over the years. Most fall protection equipment used to have a product lifetime of five years from the date of first use or when it was purchased. Some manufacturers have eliminated the five-year shelf life and instead consider the condition of the equipment. Other manufacturers eliminate the five-year shelf life if the equipment passes pre-use and competent-person inspection requirements as outlined in the guidelines.

Using Other Brand Accessories or Components

Employers need to be aware that, when purchasing a particular brand of fall protection, they may be required to purchase the same brand of fall protection accessories to maintain the warranty. Manufacturers may not allow the use of other brand accessories with their equipment. While OSHA does not have a standard prohibiting the use of different brands as long as the components are compatible, the agency has published an information bulletin on the subject. The safety and health bulletin includes this advisory information:

  • Personal fall protection made by different manufacturers may not be compatible.
  • Components by the same manufacturer may not be compatible if the components are not sized properly.

OSHA requires that employers evaluate the compatibility of all fall arrest systems and anchorage devices before the devices are used to protect employees. Employers should carefully read the manufacturer manuals and the warnings to pay close attention to components that are incompatible for use together.

Using different brands of fall protection with different brand accessories could create liability issues for the employer if there is an accident while using the equipment. The manufacturer likely will not allow the warranty to cover any accident liability if the user does not follow the manual instructions. Manufacturers normally do not honor another manufacturer’s product since it is not their product and they are not required to test the compatibility of any other brands with their own. Therefore, it is best practice and in the best interest of the employer to use the same brand for all of their fall protection equipment to prevent any mixing and matching of brands.

Inspection Requirements

Inspecting fall protection is very important for employee use. Employers must ensure that employees are inspecting their equipment when it is required. If an employee finds anything that would negatively affect the integrity of the equipment, it must be removed from service.

Inspections include visual and touch inspections on the webbing of the harness for things such as:

  • Cuts, nicks and tears
  • Fraying and abrasions
  • Missing straps
  • Mildew
  • Brittleness
  • Broken fibers
  • Hard or shiny spots indicating heat damage
  • Uneven webbing thickness indicating it was possibly worn during a fall
  • Issues with the stitching

Additionally, the manufacturer’s label needs to be present and legible, or the equipment must be removed from service.

Both OSHA and the manufacturer require that certain inspections be completed by a competent person. A competent person is an employee who is capable of identifying existing and potential hazards in any personal fall protection system (or any component of the fall protection) and who has authorization to take prompt, corrective action to eliminate the identified hazards. Employers must designate who their competent persons are.

In the Event of a Fall

Anytime PFAS are subjected to impact loading, OSHA regulations require an employer to remove them from service immediately. PFAS should not be used again for employee protection until a competent person inspects them and determines they are undamaged and suitable for use.

Making repairs to fall protection can only be done by the manufacturer, unless the manufacturer authorizes others to make the repairs on their behalf. Review the manufacturer’s manual prior to having repairs made by a third party.

It is important for employers to have fall protection plans that review OSHA requirements, ANSI standards and the manufacturer’s instructions. By following the requirements of the brands of fall protection being used, employers can prevent voiding their warranties.

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!

California Governor Issues Regional Stay-at-Home Order

California Governor Issues Regional Stay-at-Home Order

California Governor Issues Regional Stay-at-Home Order

On Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a limited regional stay-at-home order for certain areas in California where COVID-19 cases are straining hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs). This announcement comes one day after California reported approximately 8,208 COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

Under this order, California will be split into five regions—Southern California, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley, Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area. A three-week stay-at-home order will be triggered in a region if the remaining ICU capacity within that region falls below 15%.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, the California Department of Public Health said that a stay-at-home order was triggered in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions. The orders took effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, and will last for at least three weeks. At this time, stay-at-home orders have not been triggered in the other three regions.

Regional Stay-At-Home Order

What businesses will be required to close?

If a three-week stay-at-home order is triggered, bars, wineries, hair salons, barbershops and personal services (e.g., nail salons and tattoo parlors) would be required to temporarily close. Restaurants would not be allowed to be open for dining in, but would be allowed to offer takeout and delivery. Additionally, retail stores would be allowed to operate at a 20% capacity.

What businesses will be allowed to remain open?

Critical infrastructure and schools that meet the state’s health requirements will be allowed to remain open during a three-week stay-at-home order.

“The bottom line is if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed. If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see a death rate climb, more lives lost.”

– Gov. Newsom

What activities are permitted during a stay-at-home order?

Under a stay-at-home order, Californians are permitted to go outside to exercise or get some fresh air, as long as social distancing measures can be observed. However, nonessential trips to the store should be avoided and gatherings with those who do not live in their household are prohibited.

What’s next?

California residents should monitor the news for the latest developments within their region and continue to follow the guidelines imposed by their county, which may include observing a 10 p.m. curfew. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary.

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