Camps and Contractors
Nearly every camp hires contractors and vendors to provide services such as building renovations, facility repairs or delivery of food and supplies. Yet every outside contractor on your property brings risks – that the job is not done correctly, that you could be held liable for an injury to one of their workers, that a camper is harmed by the acts of the contractor’s workers, and that COVID-19 may come with a contractor entering your property.
Basic safeguards can help protect your organization from the risks posed by outside contractors and vendors.
Properly screen and vet outside contractors
Before hiring a contractor and allowing them onto camp property, make sure they are qualified, capable and reputable. Check to make sure their licensing is in good standing and investigate the history of any complaints with the licensing agency and/or Better Business Bureau. Request references and a list of previous customers, then follow up to check references. Ask other camp organizations where the contractor has performed similar work to share their experiences with the contractor. Ask the contractor about their employee screening practices and make sure they, at a minimum, run criminal background checks. Understand the contractor’s COVID-19 precaution practices.
Put the agreement in writing
Work with your camp’s legal counsel to draft a written agreement with each contractor you use. In addition to the scope of the work, timing and payment, the agreement also should include an appropriate indemnity/hold harmless provision by which the contractor agrees to hold the camp harmless for any damage or injury its acts might cause. Also consider including your insurance requirements for the contractor as discussed below.
Require adequate insurance coverage
Make sure the contractor is adequately insured for property damage, general liability, workers’ compensation, and has umbrella coverage. A contractor who doesn’t carry workers' compensation insurance can cost your camp in many ways. Depending on your jurisdiction, a worker of an uninsured contractor injured on your property may be considered your employee for purpose of a workers’ compensation claim. Claims for injuries to those workers could increase your workers' compensation premium.
Whenever you hire a contractor, strongly consider requiring that your camp is named as an additional insured on the contractor’s policies. Then, follow through to obtain proof that your camp has, in fact, been added as an additional insured. An additional insured endorsement (change to the policy) provides the most protection, but there can be exclusions or limitations, so it is best to consult with your organization’s legal counsel and/or insurance agent or broker about this. Maintain documentation of your camp’s additional insured status with the contractors on file.
Ensure safety protocols are followed
Your camp almost certainly has protocols in place to protect the health and safety of campers, including sexual abuse prevention procedures and COVID-19 precautions. Make sure contractors coming onto your property are aware of these protocols and follow them. For example, check to make sure all workers for the contractor have been appropriately screened, including a criminal background check, and that they never have the opportunity to be alone with a camper. Likewise, require that contractors are following your COVID-19 guidelines related to testing, masking and social distancing.
By following these basic safeguards, you can help lessen the risk to the camp and its campers when working with contractors and vendors.