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Hello! I hope this topic fits in this category...

some people have contacted me about, and I have also done, some private forging classes. and I guess in simple terms, I would really not like someone to file a lawsuit because they hit there hand while they were punching a piece of steel. should I not be worried about something like that happening, or is it worth wile to have them sign something? is there a law about this that I should probably know about? any words of wisdom are welcome.

if there is another thread addressing this topic, please point me in the right direction.

Ethan

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If I were teaching I would definitely have the participants sign a liability waiver. People have gotten to the point where they wanna sue over the smallest of issues. I don't know anythin about how laws are in Canada but I'd assume you could use a form letter you find online that puts you in the clear.

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Ethan: You're probably young enough someone couldn't hold you responsible for injury or loss at a class you conduct. Unfortunately they might be able to go after your parents. Insurance might be a cheap precaution, signing wavers only goes a little way for protection.

Waivers beaten in court all the time. Then you have to pay a lawyer and court costs just to defend yourself against frivolous suits. Even if a plaintiff doesn't win defending yourself in court can really cost and if you don't defend yourself you lose automatically.

Letting an insurance company pay to defend a suit in court is good. An insurance company may refuse to sell you a policy if they decide it's too dangerous or just charge you through the nose.

This isn't an easy nor simple question, I wish I had one. I deal with it by never giving a "class". I don't take money or compensation, guys can chip in for propane, bring doughnuts or found scrap but that's just courtesy for a get together. Our liability is already high enough just being on our property conducting business where someone can get injured is something entirely different. We can't afford that kind of insurance, I don't hold enough classes to cover insurance. We have a farm rider on our home owners to cover someone getting hurt cleaning the barn, loading hay, etc. but that doesn't cover teaching a blacksmithing class. No way.

I'm happy to see you thinking about this stuff there are people out there with 40-50 years experience on you who don't think that far ahead.

Frosty The Lucky.

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When I first took my basic one day intro class we had to sign a waiver first thing, before the class even started, absolving the teacher and the shop and even the folks at the college who organized the class of any and all responsibility, acknowledging that we knew blacksmithing carried inherent risks, etc, etc, etc.   I'm sure there's a basic such waiver that could be modified easily available online.  If I were just showing a couple of friends how to blacksmith, I probably wouldn't worry about it (that's just me, not saying you shouldn't worry about it!), but anything beyond that, yeah...a waiver would be involved. 

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I'm reminded of something a friend of mine told me about what happened when he called the Small Business Administration and said that he was starting a business and needed some legal and accounting advice. The person at the SBA said, "Great. Hire a lawyer and an accountant." 

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SS wrote: " ...When I first took my basic one day intro class we had to sign a waiver first thing, before the class even started, absolving the teacher and the shop and even the folks at the college who organized the class of any and all responsibility, acknowledging that we knew blacksmithing carried inherent risks, ..."

Unfortunately signing the waiver on it's own means squat, if anyone injured can show negligence on any ones part. Classes need to start with a safety lecture covering all aspects of the activities involved, PPI etc and need to be recorded, printouts, ticky boxes, waiver at the bottom, signatures and filed. Now they have a harder task to show negligence on your part ....but still not iron clad.....!

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  Do you get paid for the lessons?  If money changes hands, at least in the US, it is officially a business.

If you are just hanging with friends showing them what to do and no money changes hands you are not in business.  If it were me, considering how sue happy a lot of folks are, a stranger would never enter my shop while I was working, waiver would be signed by all of my friends In your case their parents, and if I decided to get paid for showing someone what to do I would have a minimum of $1,000,000 of liability insurance, that includes slip and fall, and a waiver written specifically for blacksmiths.  It just takes one jackwagon to financially ruin you, or your parents, even if it is their fault.

Hope that does not sound too harsh but reality can kick you in the butt even if you have the best of intentions.  As Frosty said it is good you are looking ahead.

 

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As a  precursor, ask your parents to call their insurance broker to ask ? Accepting money for a lesson/goods may just void your folks insurance . Their policy may only cover the 'private' residential use and not a business. There are more risks than just the personal liability. Someone might accidentally burn down your place etc. Often the cover has no additional charge you just have to make them aware!

There are quite a few blacksmiths that make a comfortable living teaching others so don't discount the idea, just do it wisely.

Good luck.

 

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thank you guys very much for the replies!

ok, so now checklist incudes: mandatory safety lecture, and a possible waver signing?... 

my folks say that our insurance dose not cover such instances, so I must be very carful.

Ethan

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No matter how careful you are something WILL go wrong someone WILL get hurt. I was a very good feller, I felled tens of thousands of trees and was  always careful, very careful. The last tree I cut almost killed me and I took every precaution I could think of except my hard hat. That might even have helped.

Have your parents forbid you to teach for money. It might, MIGHT save the house, you're too young to be held legally liable.

I didn't say that, the auto correct on this stupid software does the weirdest things.

Frosty The Lucky.

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A waiver MIGHT save you but a few lawyer friends have told me they really don't hold water in court.  Too many lawyers and juries that make some strange decisions.  Insurance is the only thing that will assist you.  When they sue they go for the Deep Pockets which I presume here is your parents.  Being a youth plays against you as well.  Lawyers like to use the term "Knew or should have known " something would happen.  Hard to defend against.  Good Luck. 

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On 21 January 2016 at 5:25 PM, Smoggy said:

SS wrote: " ...When I first took my basic one day intro class we had to sign a waiver first thing, before the class even started, absolving the teacher and the shop and even the folks at the college who organized the class of any and all responsibility, acknowledging that we knew blacksmithing carried inherent risks, ..."

Unfortunately signing the waiver on it's own means squat, if anyone injured can show negligence on any ones part. Classes need to start with a safety lecture covering all aspects of the activities involved, PPI etc and need to be recorded, printouts, ticky boxes, waiver at the bottom, signatures and filed. Now they have a harder task to show negligence on your part ....but still not iron clad.....!

How many practicing smiths rely on a waiver? I have checked and it will cost me about £50 per person to cover them under my insurance, it would be a huge saving if they could accept the risk themselves. 

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My sister is a blood sucker eerrrr a lawyer.  When talking to her many years ago about training people in my properly licensed and Insured Martial Arts school,  she said I need to always get a waiver, but don't count on it doing anything more than proving to the courts that the client did have reason to think there may have been a risk. the waiver she wrote for the class, included phrases such as  " possible injury or even death from participating in... "   I still use that for the parents of any minors in my the forge, only replacing the forge name for the school name to keep them separate.

 

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My insurer insists I get a permission letter signed before I start work at a customer owned site. They didn't say risk assessment but that's a legal requirement here in the UK anyhow but it doesn't have to be written but it must be adequate 

I figured they were trying to say I wasn't on cover if I hadn't done one - so I do'! It's quite pathetic really and often embarrassing- due to the stupid stuff we have to write down in risk assessment 

Still there is a lot to loose 

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The legal situation in Canada is very different from the U.S. for cases of negligence. The number of such cases is much lower in Canada. Some reasons are; there is Medicare in all Provinces. Which means that patients are not stuck with ruinous medical costs after medical care &/or a hospital stay. so there is less pressure to sue a lawyer to recover such expenses. Canada & most other common law countries (except the U.S) have the law of costs, which allows the judge to compel the losing party to pay the other party's court and lawyer costs. The judge alone has that discretion There are several levels of such awarded costs & it is also up to the judge's discretion. Frivolous legal cases are severely dealt with by the Provincial bar & the court. In extreme cases it can result in a lawyer's disbarment, or the awarded costs to be, paid by lawyer (& not his client) It's rare but it happens. By all means, have your students sign a waiver, but make sure that that person understands the meaning of the waiver The law recognizes that certain activities have inherent danger. A person is deemed to accept those by engaging in that activity. For example, professional hockey players. etc. (they get additional insurance to cover that contingency) But have your people sign such a waiver. That waiver must be in writing. A verbal waiver is worthless. Also, minors cannot sign a waiver.  A waiver, also, will not save the defendant if the problem is a case of gross negligence. Get in touch with a local law school and ask someone for advice or where to find that information for this area of law. Or contact the Alberta Attorney General’s office and ask them about it. they have to give some information, because ignorance of the law is no good defense. This discussion does not apply in the U.S.A. as American law is very different from Canadian law      SLAG.

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I'm trying to buy my first home, and am hitting a road block in getting home owner's insurance quotes due to the label of a "blacksmith's shop" being built on the property.  I know there are thousands of blacksmiths who have forges at their homes, and I want to know how to get past this block.  I'm even getting blocked from insurance companies covering a home in the county, where zoning isn't an issue.  My rental house/business shop is located on residential and commercial property, and that's how I'm able to run my business now.  My renter's insurance just has extra liability coverage to insure my potential business losses (equipment, materials, finished product, etc.).  Even if I don't run my business from my home, I still enjoy forging and would like to be able to have some sort of forge at home.  

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Try farm bureau insurance (or some other agency that insures farms) they are used to righting policies for homes and business sharing the same property. Heck they even ensured my farm truck (an Isuzu npr) as a pickup, it's my daily driver and acualy smaller than my old crew cab despite being a 1 1/2 ton

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Can you call it something other than a blacksmith shop without lying about it? If something doesn't fit in an insurance company's pigeon hole they default to NO.

Frosty The Lucky.

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It is a metal work shop if the predominant use is for metal work! Blacksmithing is a somewhat "alien" term on "check the block" forms be they electronic or otherwise.

Many decades ago I was employed by a multinational insurance company albeit in their property arm. One day one of my colleagues from the underwriting arm asked me if I'd have a look at a customers premises as they didn't have a clue as to how to treat the risk?(this guys family had large business insurance that was important otherwise they would have just rejected the cover) Basically he had set up a brad & nail manufacturing plant in his workshop and this is what he had put on his form.  I looked at his setup and it posed no more risk than a  couple of lathes so I advised him to change the description to mechanical workshop and he got covers the "form" had the same description. 

As Blacksmiths we pride ourselves in our smithy yet take yourself out and ask some average Joe what's this place? He may not even see your 'pride and joy' forge. 

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I dont really know where to point you for insurance information, many policy regulations have local laws to comply with so I am not sure how to answer your question,.   Lloyds of London have been respected for many years, while liability is not a real issue in the Ukraine.  welcome to the site.

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My former son in law sold State Farm ins. in MO and they insured many "shop" buildings on different size farms in his area.  When I went for a building permit for my new shop it was listed as a "shop" only. I have made a point to keep a 4 wheeler in there at night, repaired lawn equip. in it.   Have to look at other than a house insurance company.      

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It's in the wording.  In my area, a "Blacksmith Shop" is a light industrial activity and can require a special permit to even have on your land.   However, an "Artist Studio" is a whole difference thing.

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