Air Conditioning Contractor & other types of contractor codes that may apply to this: Plumbing; HVAC and sheet metal shop operations.
Description of operations: Air-conditioning contractors install, service, maintain and repair air-conditioning units in residential or commercial buildings, including related duct and vent work. Many air-conditioning contractors service air filtration and ventilation systems, and some may work on heating units. Air-conditioning units are normally electric-powered, but are “charged” with different coolants, some of which may be quite hazardous. There may be installation of anti-theft cages or other security devices. The contractor could provide 24 hour emergency service.
Property exposures at the contractor’s own location are generally limited to an office and storage for supplies, equipment, and vehicles. The fire exposure is generally light unless there are repair operations involving welding or brazing on premises. Many air-conditioning contractors keep products or parts on premises, increasing the exposure to fire, smoke, water damage, breakage, theft and vandalism.
Crime exposure is primarily from theft. Parts and even entire units are targeted and sold as scrap metal. Precautions should be taken when units are delivered to new construction sites. While in transit the vehicle should be attended at all times. Employee dishonesty is another exposure. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees providing services to customers or handling money. All ordering, billing and disbursement should be handled as separate duties with reconciliations occurring regularly. There may be some copper components on premises that could present a theft exposure because copper is valuable when sold at a scrap metal yard.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the contractor offers credit to customers, computers, contractors’ equipment and tools, including ladders and scaffolding, goods in transit, installation floater, and valuable papers and records for customers’ and suppliers’ information. Contractors’ machinery, tools, or building materials left at job sites are exposed to loss by theft, vandalism, damage from wind and weather, and damage by employees of other contractors. Contractors may lease, rent or borrow equipment, or may lease out, rent or loan their owned equipment to others, which poses additional risk as the operator may be unfamiliar with operation of the borrowed item. If air-conditioning units are lifted by crane to roof tops for installation or retrofit, or dropped into place by helicopters, the units could be damaged from drops and falls. Since an accident may trigger both the equipment and installation coverages, as well as possible third-party liability, many contractors prefer to hire a crane or helicopter with a licensed operator. Goods in transit consists of tools and equipment as well as products purchased by the customer for installation at the job site. Air-conditioning units can be of high value and susceptible to damage in transit, requiring expertise in loading to prevent load shift or overturn. There is an installation floater exposure when the units to be installed are delivered to the site in advance of the installation.
Premises liability exposures at the contractor’s office are generally limited due to lack of public access. Retail sales increase the possibility of customers slipping, falling, or tripping. Off-site exposures are extensive. During installation, electrical voltage must be turned off at the job site in order to reduce the risk of electrical burns or electrocution to others entering the area, and turned back on after work stops, all while minimizing any disruption of electrical service to other homes or businesses in the vicinity. Installing air conditioning can be invasive and require work throughout a home or business, resulting in a high potential for property damage. The area of operation should be restricted by barriers and proper signage to protect the public from slips and falls over tools, power cords, building materials, and scrap. Welding presents potential for burns or setting the property of others on fire if not conducted safely. If there is work at heights, falling tools or supplies may cause bodily injury or property damage if dropped from ladders, scaffolding, cranes or helicopters.
Completed operations liability exposures can be severe due to improper wiring or grounding. When an air-conditioner malfunctions, it may be difficult to determine the cause since it may be due to faulty system design, faulty manufacture or faulty installation. Significant completed operations exposures may be present in system installations at medical facilities and locations requiring refrigeration of goods. Quality control, including work order documentation, and employee training, background, and experience is important.
Environmental liability exposures may exist if the contractor is responsible for the disposal of old air-conditioning equipment as these may contain PCB’s. Disposal procedures must adhere to all EPA and other regulatory standards. Proper written procedures and documentation of both the transportation and disposal process are important.
Automobile exposures are generally limited to transporting workers, equipment and supplies to and from job sites. MVRs must be run on a regular basis. Random drug and alcohol testing should be conducted. Vehicles must be well maintained with records kept in a central location. Vehicles may have special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists. Large air conditioners may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures.
Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Injuries can occur from working with hand tools, slipping or falling, back injuries such as hernias, strains and sprains from lifting, and cuts from the fabrication and installation of sheet metal for ducts and vents. Electrical burns are common; electrocution can occur from the use of high-voltage lines. When work is done on ladders and scaffolds, employees can be injured from falling, being struck by falling objects, or adverse weather conditions. The use, misuse, maintenance and transport of large, heavy machinery can result in severe injury. Failure to enforce basic safety procedures, such as power shutoff prior to commencing certain operations, may indicate a morale hazard. Employees must be carefully selected, trained and supervised.
Minimum recommended coverage:
Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Contractors’ Equipment and Tools, Goods in Transit, Installation Floater, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Umbrella Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Nonownership Auto, Workers Compensation
Other coverages to consider:
Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Riggers Liability, Valuable Papers and Records, Aviation Liability, Cyberliability, Employment-related Practices, Environmental Impairment Liability, Stop Gap Liability
Reprinted with permission from the Rough Note’s Company copyrighted content.
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