HFO-1234yf REFRIGERANT IS A FLAMMABLE GAS
Automobiles have been using refrigerant gases in their AC systems for decades. The refrigerant gases have generally been inert gases, such as Freon-12 and R-134. Recently, many auto manufacturers have started to use HFO-1234yf as the refrigerant gas in their AC systems. This gas is expensive, about $80/lb., and the recycling machine costs another $5000. The bigger issue is that it is a flammable gas. Flammable gases pose special hazards and dealers should take steps to address this concern.
California regulations require that all underground Gasoline Dispenser Facilities (GDF) be equipped with Phase II vapor recovery systems that have been certified as compatible for fueling vehicles (think hoses) equipped with Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR) systems. So how do you know your GDF needs upgrades? Just give your designated operator or gasoline tank contractor a call and hopefully he/she will have an answer. The deadline for compliance is March 1, 2006.
There are a few acts of omission or commission by the management that can get them to jail, i.e., the act is considered criminal in nature. Consider the case where a hoist in the shop is “jumping” (mal-functioning). The technician walks into the office of the Service Manager and informs that the hoist is not working and needs immediate repair. The Service Manager is busy in his every day chores and burdened with mounting expenses for the month, delays the repair of the hoist to the next month. Two weeks later, a car falls off the mal-functioning hoist and the operator employee is killed.
What’s Up 40%?
You think it’s your energy bills, wish it was your sales, but actually, it is your workers’ compensation insurance! Last year workers’ compensation premiums increased about 40% and this year it is expected to be up 30%. California amended its workers’ compensation law in 1995 to provide a more competitive field for insurance companies, thereby reducing the premiums for employers. In 1995, the law that required employers to pay workers’ compensation insurance was modified to an open rating system from a rate fixed by the state. The 1995 regulations sparked a price war amongst insurance companies much to the delight of employers. However, the premiums that went down about 50% in the year following the deregulation are up about 8% from the pre-deregulation days.
Insurance companies have reportedly increased the premiums to cover up their losses. Last year they lost about $3 billion in California alone. To make matters worse, some of them went belly-up or left the business in the state to minimize their exposure. For example, the second largest writer of workers’ compensation insurance in California, Fremont General Corp., is now under voluntary state supervision for its poor financial condition. Another reason was that when the stock market headed south, many insurance companies that had their fortunes tied up in the market got pummeled.