Setting Your Budget For The Holidays

Setting Your Budget For The Holidays

How To Properly Budget For The Holidays

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the pressure to find the right gift for your loved ones and a great price begins.  Setting a personal budget for the holidays and sticking to it will help reduce the holiday stress that most of us experience.

  • The National Retail Federation expects 2020 holiday sales to rise between 3.6% and 5.2% year over year, amounting to between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. 
  • NRF President and CEO Matt Shay said he expects the industry could have a “strong finish” to 2020, in spite of the challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Americans have more money to spend that they were previously using on things like travel, NRF said, while there is also renewed hope for the distribution of an effective Covid vaccine. – per CNBC.
  • Some shoppers may look to avoid crowded stores, which will shift more spending online, the group said. Retailers have also been urging shoppers to use services like curbside pickup to try to ease the stresses on their supply chains. NRF is projecting a jump of 20% to 30% in online and other non-store sales, amounting to between $202.5 billion and $218.4 billion this holiday season, compared with $168.7 billion in 2019.

Stress and the Holidays

budget for the holidays

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the leading cause of stress during the holiday season derives from money problems. If you are like most consumers, you have not planned ahead and may find yourself struggling for cash come January. A proper budget for the holidays and smart shopping techniques will help you stay within budget while finding something special for everyone on your list.

Use these tips to budget for the holidays:

  • Check your shopping list and make sure that everyone you are buying for needs a gift.
  • Write down a maximum dollar amount that you want to spend for your entire list and then track how much you are actually spending.
  • Buy items in bulk so you always have something little on hand for unexpected gifts.
  • Take advantage of post-holiday sales on gifts for next year.
  • Get a part-time job during the holidays, such as wrapping gifts at the local mall or being part of the Christmas display.
  • Consider opening a holiday savings account.
  • Be realistic about your purchases and ask yourself the following: Can I really afford this gift? Do I have the cash in my bank account to pay for it?
  • When shopping, leave your credit cards at home. Then, if you do not have the cash to pay for it, you can’t buy the gift.
  • Consider staying home and shopping online. Not only do many retailers waive shipping fees during the holidays, you’ll save money on gas by not having to visit the mall, too.

What to Know if You Use Your Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

Tips for Those Who Want a Solid Credit Rating:

  • Treat your credit cards like cash; deduct money from your checking account every time you make a purchase.
  • Pay the entire balance of your credit card each month.
  • Limit the usage of credits to two or three maximum and select cards with no annual fees, 30-day grace bill periods, rebate incentives or other incentives (airline miles, auto points, etc.) programs and single-cycle billing.
  • Use your credit card with incentives for regular expenses such as groceries, utilities and gasoline.
  • Conduct an assessment of your expenses quarterly and make adjustments to your spending if you are going over budget.

Additional Tips For Those Who Need A Little Credit Boost:

  • Enroll in a pre-paid credit card program in which you load money onto the credit card for purchases. Once you’ve reached your set limit, the card will not work.
  • Establish a budget that includes a debt repayment plan monthly. As you pay off balances, call the creditor and ask them to close your account so that you are not tempted to use the card again.

Your personal credit score is just as important as some of the other important numbers in your life. Financial institutions calculate your credit score, which determines what type of interest rate you will receive on a mortgage or credit card. Many other institutions are now using credit scores to calculate how high your health and auto insurance premiums will be as well.

Plan Ahead For Less Stress

Instead of worrying about these money-related problems, get your finances in order and spend time worrying about what color to frost your holiday cookies instead! Take the time to budget for the holidays to help remove the stress for your holiday shopping.

It’s The Thought That Counts

budget for the holidays

The holidays are not all about shopping, instead taking the time to make a thoughtful gift can make a lasting memory.  With social sites, like Pinterest, you can find great ideas that your friends or family will love.

Some of my favorite gifts that I have received are Christmas Ornaments.  Each year, when I put my Christmas decorations out, I think of the person that gave me the ornaments and smile.  It’s the gift that keeps giving.

When you think of your budget for the holidays, remember it truly is the thought that counts.

GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. Your Trusted Insurance Broker

We hope that your holiday season is filled with love and great memories.  Be sure to contact us if you  do receive a gift of high value, as you will want to protect it with the proper insurance.  Jewelry and high value items are not always fully covered with your homeowner insurance.  209-634-2929

Cyber Threats on Remote Employees

Cyber Threats on Remote Employees

Cyber Threats on Remote Employees

The COVID-19 pandemic has solidified remote work as a new operational standard. Employers should expect this trend to only grow in the future. In fact, many major companies, such as Twitter and Microsoft, have indicated that remote work will be an indefinite option for their employees. While this is exciting in many ways, remote work also comes with unique challenges—namely, cybersecurity. This article discusses some cybersecurity risks that remote employees face and how to prevent cyber threats on remote employees.

Cyber Threats on Remote Employees

Cyber Threats to Monitor

Hackers have been assaulting businesses since the first computer was invented, always trying new methods of gaining critical information. Depending on the size of the organization, it may receive dozens or thousands of hacking attempts each day. These attempts are typically brushed aside by IT security teams and firewalls. However, with employees working from home, those protections aren’t as guaranteed.

The following are some of the most common cyber threats facing individuals:

  • Phishing and vishing: Phishing is an attempt to gain personal information, such as computer passwords, Social Security numbers or other data. Hackers and scammers will impersonate a legitimate company and send fake emails to solicit this information, typically with a phony threat.
  • Vishing, or voice phishing, takes this process a step further. This is when a scammer spoofs a legitimate phone number (from within the organization or otherwise) and poses as an IT help desk, using that alias to solicit personal information. These calls may even be routed to personal cellphones, making it harder for organizations to catch. Vishing attempts are a recent trend, but are increasingly prevalent. Employers should review existing cybersecurity policies to directly address vishing.
  • Malware: Malware is a type of computer virus that is typically disguised as an innocuous program, email attachment or link. These viruses infect computers and can do any number of tasks, typically hidden to the user. For instance, they might store password data, track website activity or download personal files.
  • Brute force attacks: Brute force attacks are when hackers try logging into someone’s account many, many times. These attempts work most often when individuals reuse usernames and passwords across different accounts. A hacker may expose the information to one account, then use those credentials everywhere else they can think of, eventually gaining access.

These cyber threats are made worse when employees are working from home, especially if they conduct business on personal devices or don’t connect to a secure network. That’s why it’s important for employers to proactively address cyber threats with their remote employees.

Need Help With Your Cyber Security? Download our free guide today!

Protecting Remote Employees from Cyber Threats

There is no single solution to avoiding cyber threats on remote employees. But there are key steps organizations can take to protect their employees and critical data. Below are some of them.

  • Behavioral analytics tracking software: This is software that monitors each individual’s computer habits. Since hackers can impersonate an employee, it’s hard to detect when someone’s credentials have been compromised. With analytics tracking software, the program would be able to spot when a user is displaying abnormal computer usage. This will depend on the individual, but it may include accessing certain files or transferring large chunks of data.
  • Automated threat detection software: This software is like antivirus programs found on many computers by default. It can scan files and detect malicious programs automatically. Automated threat detection software often pairs with other efforts, such as behavioral analytics.
  • Comprehensive work-from-home guidelines: Using personal devices to conduct business is an easy way to compromise usernames and passwords. Employers should set clear guidelines regarding acceptable technology to use (often a work-provided laptop) and work locations. For instance, cafes may be off-limits because they often have unsecured networks.
  • Employee education: Education and training are perhaps the best protections against cyber threats. Employees should know basic cybersecurity tactics, such as how to spot a phishing email, how to recognize a scam caller and how to report a potential security breach. They should also be instructed to not reuse login credentials, especially between work accounts and personal accounts.

Employee education is especially important, as hackers and scammers become more sophisticated each week. Employers should keep an eye out for new scams and alert employees as needed.

As with any successful initiative, cybersecurity protocols must be observed by all stakeholders within an organization. That means educating everyone, from the top down, about how to protect themselves and their workplace from cyber threats. If even a few individuals go without proper training, the entire organization could be compromised.

As the business world becomes more connected, cyber threats will get more sophisticated and commonplace. Start educating employees about cybersecurity today to better protect your organization. Speak with GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. for more cyber tips and other workplace guidance.

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!

CDC Guidance for Thanksgiving Celebrations

CDC Guidance for Thanksgiving Celebrations

CDC Guidance for Thanksgiving Celebrations

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidelines for safe Thanksgiving celebrations this year.

These updated guidelines focus on remaining safe during small gatherings, which the CDC points to as being a contributor to the current increase in COVID-19 cases.

As a reminder, the CDC’s guidelines are not meant to replace—but rather supplement—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules and regulations with which all gatherings must comply.

What’s the Safest Way to Celebrate?

The guidelines reiterate that the safest way to celebrate is with people from your household or virtually.

Thanksgiving Celebration

Considerations for In-person Thanksgiving Celebrations

Gathering with people who are not from your household poses varying levels of risk. If you’re considering attending or hosting an in-person celebration for Thanksgiving, there are some things you need to consider, which include:

  • Community levels of COVID-19—Do you live in an area that’s experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases? Are other attendees coming from highly affected areas?
  • Potential exposure during travel—In addition to considering the community levels of COVID-19, consider your or other attendees’ level of exposure during travel.
  • Location of gathering (indoor or outdoor)—Indoor gatherings are considered to be a higher-risk activity than outdoor activities.
  • Duration of gathering—Generally speaking, the longer you’re in contact with someone who has COVID-19, the more likely it is that you will get it too.
  • Number of people expected to attend—Although the CDC doesn’t have a limit or recommended amount of guests per gathering, the more people attending an event increases the risk for COVID-19 spread.
  • Behaviors of attendees prior to gathering—If attendees have not been practicing social distancing, wearing masks or following hand-washing guidance, the risk for COVID-19 spread is greater.
  • Behaviors of attendees during gathering—If social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing behaviors are not followed during the gathering, the risk for COVID-19 spread is greater.

This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families and communities healthy and safe.

Those Who Should Not Attend or Host an In-person Celebration

The CDC’s guidelines explain that certain people should not attend in-person celebrations for Thanksgiving.

  • High-risk guests—Individuals who are at a higher risk for severe illness, or live or work with a high-risk individual, should avoid attending or hosting in-person celebrations. Those who are considered to be at an increased risk include:
  • Older adults
    • People with underlying health conditions
  • Symptomatic guests—Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are waiting to receive results of a viral COVID-19 test should not attend or host in-person celebrations.
  • Guests who have or have been exposed to COVID-19—Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive should not attend or host in-person celebrations.

Carefully consider your personal situation and decide whether it’s safe for you and others to attend or host an in-person Thanksgiving celebration.

Guidelines for Safely Hosting an In-person Gathering

If you are hosting an in-person Thanksgiving celebration, keep these tips from the CDC in mind to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Sit and eat outside, if possible. If an outdoor gathering isn’t feasible, try to keep windows open during the indoor gathering.
  • Limit the number of guests you invite.
  • Set safety expectations with guests ahead of time (e.g., mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing expectations).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Consider asking guests to bring their own food, drink and utensils.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food, and use single-use utensils.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.

In addition to the above guidelines, be sure to promote social distancing at your gathering whenever possible; encourage guests to wear masks; and have soap and water, or hand sanitizer available for guests to clean their hands.

Guidelines for Attending In-person Thanksgiving Celebrations

If you’re attending an in-person celebration, keep these tips in mind to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Bring your own food, drink, utensils, plates and cups.
  • Wear a mask whenever possible.
  • Avoid areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as the kitchen.
  • Use single-use plates, drinkware and flatware when possible.

In addition to these guidelines, be sure to practice social distancing and hand-washing techniques while at the gathering.

Thanksgiving Celebration

Guidelines for Traveling

  • Get your flu shot before you travel. Contact your doctor or click here to see where flu shots are available.
  • Wear a mask in public settings and when on public transportation.
  • Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Bring extra masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

In addition, avoid making any unnecessary stops while traveling to limit your potential exposure as much as possible.

What to Do if You Were Potentially Exposed While Traveling or Celebrating Thanksgiving

If you were exposed to COVID-19 at a holiday gathering, the CDC recommends that you self-quarantine for 14 days and consider getting tested for COVID-19, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

While quarantining, monitor your symptoms and contact a doctor or hospital immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Constant pain or pressure in your chest
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Sudden confusion

Click here for a full list of COVID-19 symptoms.

What’s Next?

Although the holidays are generally a time of getting together and celebrating, the CDC is urging everyone to be smart this year in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Please stay safe and healthy this Thanksgiving weekend from all of us at GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.

Preventing and Responding to Landscapers Hypothermia

Preventing and Responding to Landscapers Hypothermia

Preventing and Responding to Landscapers Hypothermia

Working outdoors in the winter can expose you to dangerously low temperatures. This cold weather can heighten your risk of experiencing a variety of complications—such as hypothermia. It’s important to review how Preventing and Responding to Landscapers Hypothermia for your team.

That’s why it’s crucial to utilize proper safety measures while you work in frigid temperatures. Review the following guidance to learn more about what hypothermia is, how to prevent it and what to do in the event that a co-worker develops any symptoms.

What Is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia can occur when your body’s core temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This condition is typically caused by exposure to extreme cold, but can also happen after getting drenched by rain or submerged in frigid water. Common symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Drowsiness and exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Unconsciousness

If left ignored or improperly treated, hypothermia can be fatal.

Preventing and Responding to Landscapers Hypothermia

Implement the following safety precautions to help prevent hypothermia on the job:

  • Always check the weather before working outdoors to properly prepare yourself. Try to limit your time outside if weather conditions are extremely cold, wet or windy.
  • Wear several breathable, yet protective layers of clothing while you work. This includes an inner layer to keep sweat away from the skin (lightweight wool), a middle layer to warm the body (fleece or microfiber insulation) and an outer layer that will repel wind, snow and rain (polyester or nylon). In addition to these layers, make sure you bundle up with:
  • A hat that covers your head and ears
    • A scarf or neck warmer
    • Mittens (rather than gloves)
    • Thick, wool socks
    • Waterproof boots that will keep your feet properly insulated
  • Be sure to eat healthy foods that are rich in carbohydrates and protein prior to working in the cold to help fuel your body. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your shift.
  • If you start developing any early symptoms of hypothermia (e.g., shivering and drowsiness), tell your supervisor and go indoors to warm up. If your condition doesn’t improve, seek medical attention.

Responding to Hypothermia

In the event that a co-worker starts showing signs of hypothermia, follow these steps:

  • Move the individual out of the cold and inform your supervisor immediately. If the individual is unresponsive or not breathing, call 911. Provide CPR if needed (as long as you are certified to do so).
  • Remove any wet clothing that the individual is wearing. Provide them with warm clothing and blankets for insulation.
  • Keep the individual close to a heat source, such as a space heater or fireplace.
  • Be gentle with the individual—never rub or massage their skin in an attempt to warm them up, as this could trigger cardiac arrest.
  • If the individual is awake and alert, give them a warm (but not hot) beverage. Avoid offering them coffee or alcohol.

Keep in mind that these steps are not a substitute for proper medical care. Unless the individual’s symptoms are extremely mild, it is recommended that they seek medical attention.

Safety First

Your safety is our first priority. Talk to your supervisor if you have any further questions on preventing or responding to hypothermia.

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 Landscapers insurance quote!

California Sexual Harassment Prevention Training FAQ

California Sexual Harassment Prevention Training FAQ

California Sexual Harassment Prevention Training FAQ

SB 1343 requires that all employers of 5 or more employees provide 1 hour of California sexual harassment prevention training and abusive conduct prevention training to non-managerial employees and 2 hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to managerial employees once every two years. Existing law requires the training to include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation and to include practical examples of such harassment and to be provided by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in those areas. The bill also requires the Department to produce and post both training courses to its website, which employers may utilize instead of hiring a trainer.

An employer is required to train its California-based employees so long as it employs 5 or more employees anywhere, even if they do not work at the same location and even if not all of them work or reside in California.

Under the DFEH’s regulations, the definition of “employee” for training purposes includes full-time, part-time, and temporary employees, unpaid interns, unpaid volunteers, and persons providing services pursuant to a contract (independent contractors) Click the below toolkit for additional tools, including a sample sexual harassment and abusive
conduct prevention training:

NEW UPDATE: By what date must employees be trained?

All employees must now receive training by January 1, 20211. Employers of 50 or more employees have an existing and ongoing obligation to train new supervisory employees within six months of assuming their supervisory position. Beginning January 1, 2021, new supervisory employees in workplaces of 5 or more employees must be trained within six months of assuming their supervisory position, and new nonsupervisory employees must be trained within six months of hire. Employees must be retrained once every two years.

NEW UPDATE: What if the employees are seasonal, temporary or otherwise work for less than six months?

Employers are required to provide training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first, beginning January 1, 20212. Employers are not required to train employees who are employed for fewer than 30 calendar days and work for fewer than 100 hours.

  • In the case of a temporary employee employed by a temporary services employer, as defined in Section 201.3 of the Labor Code, to perform services for clients, the training shall be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client


NEW UPDATE: When will the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s online training
courses be available?

SB 1343 requires that DFEH make online training courses available on the prevention of sexual harassment and abusive conduct in the workplace. DFEH expects to have all trainings available by July 30, 2020. In the interim period, DFEH is offering a SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ABUSIVE CONDUCT PREVENTION TOOLKIT, including a sample sexual harassment and
abusive conduct prevention training. Employers may use the training in conjunction with an eligible trainer to provide sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training.

  • SB 778 signed by Governor Newsom on 8/30/19 amended existing law to change deadline of harassment training until 1/1/2021.
  • 2SB 530 signed by Governor Newsom on 10/10/19 amended existing law to change deadline to 1/1/2021 for seasonal and
    temporary worker harassment training compliance.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION TRAINING FAQ

Do employers need to train independent contractors, volunteers, and unpaid interns?

No, it is not required that employers train independent contractors, volunteers, and unpaid interns. However, in determining whether an employer meets the threshold of having 5 employees and being subject to the harassment prevention training requirement, independent contractors, volunteers, and unpaid interns must be counted. For example, if an employer has 2 full time employees and 6 unpaid interns, the employer would meet the training threshold requirement and would need to ensure the two full time employees receive training only.

What if a supervisor or non-supervisory employee has received the training in compliance with 12950.1 within the prior two years either from a current, a prior or alternate, or a joint employer? Do they have to retake the training again?


No. Supervisors do not need to retake the training. But their new, alternate or joint employer must give them the employer’s anti-harassment policy, require them to read it, and require them to acknowledge receipt of it. This must happen within six months of the supervisor assuming their new supervisory position (or within six months of the creation of a new business or the expansion of a business that was previously not required to provide training). However, the current employer is responsible for ensuring that all supervisors have fulfilled the training requirement contained in 12950.1, which may require verifying compliance from the prior, alternate, or joint employer.

For non-supervisory employees who received harassment prevention training in compliance with 12950.1 from another employer within the prior two years, they must be required to read and to acknowledge receipt of the current employer’s anti-harassment policy. Again, the current employer will be responsible for ensuring that all non-supervisory staff have fulfilled
the training requirement contained in 12950.1, which may require verifying compliance from the prior, alternate, or joint employer.

Does DFEH have a list of approved outside training providers, or can DFEH recommend or approve an outside training provider for my company to use?

DFEH does not approve training providers. DFEH cannot offer recommendations or approvals for other training providers.

I believe I may be eligible to become a trainer; how can I verify this?

There is currently no certification requirement for qualified trainers, and DFEH is unable to provide guidance as to whether one meets the qualifications of a trainer. If you believe you meet the requirements found in 2 CCR 11024, you may choose to offer your services as a trainer.

Does a trainer who is also an employee need to receive California sexual harassment prevention training in order for their employer to be compliant?

No. An individual who is a qualified training provider according to the regulations (and who does provide the training) does not need to participate in a separate sexual harassment prevention training for their employer to be in compliance with the training requirements.

What documentation is required for those who have completed the training?

The law requires employers to keep documentation of the training it has provided its employees for a minimum of two years, including but not limited to the names of the supervisory employees trained, the date of training, the sign-in sheet, a copy of all certificates of attendance or completion issued, the type of training, a copy of all written or recorded materials that comprise the training, and the name of the training provider. Examples of tracking individual compliance include a certificate and/or a sign-in sheet that includes a verification that trainees completed the training. Documentation of the training should not be sent to DFEH but should be kept on the employer’s premises.

If I have employees located outside of California, are they required to be trained?

No. While employees located inside and outside of California are counted in determining whether employers are covered under the Act, employees located outside of California are not themselves required to be trained.

What is meant by “effective interactive training”?

Effective interactive training can include any of the following:

  • Classroom training that is in-person, trainer-instruction, whose content is created by a trainer
    and provided to a supervisor by a trainer, in a setting removed from the supervisor’s daily
    duties.
  • E-learning that is individualized, interactive, computer-based training created by a trainer and
    an instructional designer that includes a link or directions on how to contact a trainer who
    shall be available to answer questions and to provide guidance within two business days
    after the question is asked.
    • The trainer shall maintain all written questions received, and all written responses or guidance provided, for a period of two years after the date of the response.
  • Webinar training that’s an internet-based seminar whose content is created and taught by a trainer and transmitted over the internet or intranet in realtime.
  • Other “effective interactive training” and education includes the use of audio, video or computer technology in conjunction with classroom, webinar and/or e-learning training.

If an employer utilizes a webinar as their effective interactive California Sexual Harassment Prevention training, can the training be watched in a large group at the same time?

Yes, but it is up to the employer to comply with the documentation procedures, including the following:

• An employer utilizing a webinar for its supervisors or non-supervisory employees must document and demonstrate that each supervisor and non-supervisory employee who was not physically present in the same room as the trainer nonetheless attended the entire training and actively participated with the training’s interactive content, discussion questions, hypothetical scenarios, polls, quizzes or tests, and activities.

• The webinar must provide an opportunity for all employees to ask questions, to have them answered and otherwise to seek guidance and assistance.

• For a period of two years after the date of the webinar, the employer shall maintain a copy of the webinar, all written materials used by the trainer and all written questions submitted during the webinar, and document all written responses or guidance the trainer provided during the webinar.

In addition to the California Sexual Harassment Prevention training (and corresponding process and procedures), is there anything else required?

Yes, every employer must post a poster developed by the Department regarding TRANSGENDER RIGHTS and SEXUAL HARASSMENT in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.

Does the employer have to pay for sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training? Does the employer have to provide paid time for such training?

California law specifies that, “An employer…. shall provide” sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training. Gov. Code 12950.1(a)-(b). The Department is authorized to seek a court order that “the employer” has not complied with this requirement. Gov. Code 12950.1(f). This language makes clear that it is the employer’s – not the employee’s – responsibility to provide the required training, including any costs that may be incurred. This language also makes clear that employees may not be required to take such training during their personal time; the training must be “provided” by the employer as part of an individual’s employment.

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!

Natural Gas Safety for Fleets

Natural Gas Safety for Fleets

Natural Gas Safety for Fleets

Alternative fuels are being used more today to fuel commercial fleets. Compared to using other types of fuel, using alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG) has great benefits for employers. Some of these benefits include fewer emissions, reduced operating costs and price stability. While working with and handling natural gas is not new, many employees have never had to fuel vehicles with it. Accordingly, there are natural gas safety measures to take note of and train your employees on.

Each fleet determines its needs for what type of alternative fuel should be used. This is largely based on what type of vehicle it will be used for or the distance of the routes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides the standards for fuel storage and delivery systems of CNG and LNG. These standards should be referred to when necessary.

Natural Gas Properties

LNG is a colorless, odorless and environmentally nontoxic gas made primarily of methane and ethane. It is cryogenically cooled by bringing the temperature down to -259 degrees Fahrenheit for ease of storage and transport. Since LNG is liquid, it is stored unpressurized. When LNG is used, it converts back to its gas form. If LNG is leaked, it transitions into a vapor cloud and dissipates because it is lighter than air.

CNG is an odorless compressed methane gas that is stored at very high pressure. There is an odor additive mixed in with the gas called mercaptan that gives it the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs. It is used to alert people that there is a leak. CNG is lighter than air and dissipates quickly, making it more flammable, unlike when it is in its liquified form.

Safety Concerns for Natural Gas

LNG and CNG can be more preferable choices for fuel because there are fewer hazards in the event of a spill. The gas is lighter than the air, so it dissipates quickly and therefore, there is no substantial clean up. Put another way, it does not have the same spill concerns as petroleum products.

LNG and CNG have slightly different safety requirements while working with them. LNG has more requirements for what personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn and the training that should be completed, while CNG is hazardous due to the pressurized lines.

Personal Protective Equipment

PPE is always necessary to minimize exposure to potential hazards. There are differences in what PPE should be worn when working with LNG or CNG.

Since LNG is stored at such a cold temperature, recommended PPE includes:

CNG requires similar PPE, but since CNG is not cryogenic, the requirements are a bit different. When working with CNG, recommended PPE includes:

All pieces of PPE are meant to keep workers safe while working with CNG or LNG. Remember, though, some pieces are required for different job tasks when working with the gas. Make sure workers fill out a job hazard analysis (JHA) to determine the appropriate PPE for the job task at hand.

Employee Training for Natural Gas

Make sure employees know the gases they are working with and review the safety data sheet (SDS). When using LNG, there should be specialized training for the job tasks that require its use. If employees are fueling vehicles with LNG, have standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to train them on. Make sure the employees understand the hazards associated with each form of gas and why the PPE is required. 

When working with CNG, it is very important the employees are trained on the hazards of working with pressurized gas lines and what to do in case of an emergency or a leak. Make sure there are SOPs in place for fueling vehicles with CNG.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

If your organization works with either natural gas, an emergency preparedness plan must be developed and utilized. Start with completing a spill risk assessment to determine how a spill may occur. Then develop a spill response plan and procedure to follow when there is a spill. Make sure to identify the proper agencies and authorities that need to be contacted in case of a spill. The best practice would be to have the local authorities (fire department) meet with you to help develop the plan. There should be an alarm system in place to alert the proper personnel when a spill occurs. Once the plan is completed, make sure to train all affected employees on the specifics of the plan.

By understanding the risks of LNG and CNG, risks of workplace hazards can be reduced, and your organization can enjoy the benefits of working with cleaner fuels.

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