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I Forge Iron

Demo/class "insurance"

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This question was brought up at Don Fogg's bladesmithing forum (http://forums.dfoggknives.com): what to do to protect yourself against litigation should someone get hurt at a class or demo? Whether it's a good student who makes a mistake or that goof off kid of your friend- how do you keep the law-dogs off your back? What if it's in your home? At a fairground or other place you've been invited to teach?

Waivers are apparently useless as tort laws have established that "you can't sign away your right to sue" (although they can limit your liability). Insurance is ridiculously expensive- and that's if you can get an agent to even serioulsy discuss the issue with you... how many folks are going to pay the per-person charge that an insurance company is going to charge when they go to a "free" demo?

Please, save the rants about our legal system. :D Many parts of it just plain suck and I think you'll be preaching to the choir. So instead of an "I hate lawyers" thread, I'd really like to get some info about what folks do to protect themselves. :mrgreen:

Thanks folks!!

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When I demo for the public, I inquire about insurance and liability for the particular site. If I don't like the answer, I may make changes to my demo (like no forge welding or larger cordoned area) or just make a point not to come back in the future. I have not seen one yet where I had to walk away but you never know...

I have hosted public workshops at my home shop and our blacksmithing group coverage applied. We make attendees sign a release but we also have the insurance and it is supposed to cover any member in good standing to host a meeting. These meetings were for group members only and the general public was not invited.

Other than my four grown sons and one long-time friend, I don't let anyone else work in my shop or watch me work. I have let customers come through on inspections so they could see it really is a blacksmith shop, but they aren't allowed to stay while I work.

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Our group spent a lot of time on insurance and has joined and let premiums lapse on a few schemes. We are currently under the wing of the Government as an "non-profit" organisation. (Negative profit more like it) which seems to be working OK and only cost about $12AD per member per year. It is effective at any event be it at the Barn (our home) or at some festival.

And heh don't winge about litigation. You blokes on the other side of the pond started it all.

I don't let anyone else work in my shop or watch me work

Is it that bad over there? So I'd have to have a yarn with you HW, at the door of your shop and try and glimse over your shoulder at the goings on. :(

Sounds like an impromptu tour would be a waste of time if you hoped to get your hands dirty.
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I tend to play ostrich and ignore things. I never realy consider it. Most organizations and clubs carry waivers or their insurances. Scouts got most of my demos and they were even hands on sometimes. If it's at your home, you have home ins. I'm no expert but I was told that if your shop breaks local codes, thats bad. Fortunately we have adults {or us large children} who are willing to demo or teach or work knowing there are risks involved. By trying to be carefull, things like safety glasses, clothing, distances, fire resistances etc., we have already reduced the odds of most hazards. The freak ones, well, those can find you anywere. I was doing a demo in Burton, Ohio a few years ago when a storm came through. We were indoors with doors that worked so no biggie, just hammer on. Just as the storm passed the local police showed up, the building is on a public park, and asked if we were allright. We said fine, why? He said a tornado just went through the sguare a block away. We looked up to watch the tail finally disapear a mile or so away into the clouds. So just be carefull and think out some things and be proud your passing on the art. You know, the forge hood realy did work well that day..... Brad

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