How Does Garage Liability Insurance Factor In When Third Parties are Involved?

If you own a local and independent auto shop, you may not always have the resources your customers are looking for. Sure, you can change tires, oil, and maybe even replace the transmission. But what about other services your customers request such as new upholstery, a new radiator or alignments? It’s difficult to turn customers away because you rely on their business. As a solution, you may outsource certain work to third party vendors that are too complicated and expensive for your local shop. However, have you ever thought about what happens when a third party vendor you work with damages the customer’s car? Who pays for the damage? Does the vendor or does it come out of your garage insurance? Let’s take a look at a specific scenario:

Let’s say you outsource a job to partner, and this job involves your partner repairing the radiator. They finish the job and give you back the customer car. A few weeks later, this customer crashes their car due to a malfunction that was committed while the car was in the hands of your partner. So who does this fall on? If you have garage liability insurance, your coverage will normally kick in if the customer suffers an injury during the crash. Since they trusted you with their vehicle, your insurance will receive the claim.

However, you should shift the burden of these claims to the party to whom you outsourced the work. This is a three step process:
1)    Execute a hold harmless agreement with the shop performing the work wherein they agree to indemnify and hold you harmless for all claims arising out of their negligence.

2)    Request that you be added as an additional insured to their policies whereby suits filed against you, as in the example above, can be transferred to the other shop’s insurance carrier who will be responsible for providing your defense and paying any claim on your behalf.

3)    Request a certificate of insurance to evidence that steps one and two have been completed and so that you will know which insurance carrier to contact for claims and their policy numbers you will need as reference.

At Wolpert Insurance & Risk Management we know how confusing things can get when you own an auto garage. Massachusetts is not always an easy place to own a business, so we want to make sure you’re getting everything you need at all times. Give us a call today to learn more!

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Right to Know Law: Training Requirements

Over the past month, we have zoned in on the Right to Know Law. This is an important law to be familiar with – especially as the owner of an auto body repair shop and garage. If you have missed the first few blogs, do not hesitate to look back! If you have been following right along, it is about that time to wrap it up.

To wrap this discussion, we will be discussing training requirements.

Truth be told, auto mechanic training is not the ONLY training that your employees will need. According to the Right to Know Law, employees who are being exposed to chemical hazards must be trained ANNUALLY. There are a few guidelines to be aware of…

1.    If you have a new employee, the initial training must be done within 30 days of their hire date.

2.    You must keep record of this training. It should include: A description of the training given, the date of the training, and the names of the instructor and employees who attended the training.

3.    The record MUST be kept for the duration of the employment.

As for the training itself, there are always a few guidelines. For one, it must address a summary of your employees’ rights under the Right to Know Law. Also, it should include information on how to read a material safety data sheet (MSDS.) Last but certainly not least, the training MUST inform the employees of specific hazards and safe work practices for avoiding such hazards. This is essentially the main point of the training! If you are not careful, you may be filing a claim on your garage insurance much sooner than later.

To conclude, our agents hope that you not only realize how important the Right to Know Law is to your field and industry, but we hope that you have a full understanding of it as well. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you should contact our agents at Wolpert Insurance. We would be happy to give you better insight!

Thank you so much for reading this series and please, come back for more!

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Right to Know Law: What are Labeling Requirements for Hazardous Materials?

Over the past few weeks, we have gone over information in regards to the Right to Know Law. Last week, we specifically discussed the chemicals that were covered in the Right to Know Law. This week, we would like to dive into information having to do with labeling requirements.

So, what are labeling requirements in regards to this law?

First and foremost, covered substances and hazardous materials in containers that exceed 1 gallon or five pounds MUST be labeled in accordance with the regulations. The label must include the following:

•    ALL chemical names of the substances listed on the Mass Substance List if they are in the container at quantities greater than 1%. If impurity, 2%.

•    The proper NFPA Label in the event that the chemicals listed in NFPA Code 49 exceeds greater than 5 gallons or 30 pounds.

It is important to note that containers that are labeled in accordance with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard will ALSO be considered to meet the objective of the Mass Right to Know Law. Containers must be labeled with:

•    Name of product
•    Health hazard warnings

Working with hazardous materials is risky, but if you handle chemicals with care and follow label requirements, you may be able to reduce the chance of an accident or issue in the garage.

At Wolpert Insurance, it is our goal to keep you educated when it comes to safety in the workspace. After all, we want to make sure you are not filing TOO many claims on your garage insurance. The more claims, the higher your premium may be in the long run. To conclude our discussion of the Mass Right to Know Law, we will be discussing training requirements next week. Be sure to come back for another lesson and quick wrap-up!

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FAQ: What Chemicals are Covered in the Right to Know Law?

Last week, we went over the basics of the Massachusetts Right to Know Law. To reiterate, this law requires that information on chemical hazards are given to employees (access to MSDSs, labeled containers, training, safety procedures, etc.) As the owner of an auto body and repair shop, this law is an important law to be familiar with!

This week, we would like to educate you on the chemicals that are covered in the RTK Law. Many employers will ask, “what chemicals are covered?” To this, we answer…

According to Mass.gov, “all chemicals in which contain 1% or more (2% if an impurity) of one or more ingredients listed on the Mass Substance List are covered by the Right to Know Law. In order to determine this, it is necessary to request an MSDS from the manufacturer and compare the ingredients to the list.”

In Massachusetts, we have an easier and less time consuming way to figure this out. It is safe to assume that all chemicals which have an MSDS listing any type of hazard are covered by the Right to Know Law. This policy may ensure more protection in the long run, as well.

If you still have questions or concerns about this topic, you should not hesitate to reach out to DSL’s Massachusetts Workplace Safety and Health Program by calling 617-969-7177. Also, do not hesitate to reach out to our agency.

At Wolpert Insurance, we are well-versed on the laws, rules and regulations that surround the garage and auto body shop industry. Whether you are interested in learning more about this topic or about garage insurance, we are here with the answers. Be sure to visit our blog again next week. We will be discussing the labeling requirements under the Massachusetts Right to Know Law!

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