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The Ins and Outs of Sawmill Insurance

For hundreds of years, sawmills have provided essential services, transforming wood into usable lumber. In this modern age, sawmills have evolved into both high-tech stationary mills and convenient portable mills. Although advances in manufacturing have made working at a sawmill safer than ever, there are still many risks to take into account while managing your sawmill business.

Like any business, your sawmill company needs insurance. But what type of insurance do sawmills need? Many insurance companies are tentative about providing business insurance to sawmills because they are aware of the high degree of risk involved and aren’t sure how to mitigate that risk and support you as a business owner.

Understanding the ins and outs of sawmill insurance is beneficial for any sawmill business, both big and small. Keep reading to learn more about potential risks, different types of insurance you may need, and the kinds of programs that can help you improve your operations and your bottom line.

Sawmill Related Risks

When you open a business, any business, there are inevitable risks you have to take upon yourself to prepare for and prevent against. Like any other lumber and wood handling business, sawmills carry particular risks as a result of the unique materials and machinery necessary to run them. Part of choosing the right mill work insurance is familiarizing yourself with potential risks that could expose your business to injury, cost, and liability.

Some examples of sawmill specific risks you need to account for when considering the safety of your business are:

  • Electrical components

  • Machinery malfunction/misuse

  • Flammable raw materials

In addition to sawmill specific risks, there are certain risks that can affect any type of business including:

  • Natural disasters (earthquakes/floods/wildfires)

  • Crime (theft/burglary/vandalism)

  • Slippery surfaces

  • Falling items

Potential risks need to be handled in two ways: by acquiring proper insurance coverage and putting in place proper safety protocols. Any accident has the potential to lead to employee injury and production disruption, both of which can prove costly for you and your business, so it is important to be adequately prepared for any circumstance. Investing in proper planning and sawmill insurance will help keep you prepared in the worst-case scenario and can actually help improve the quality of your production.

Finding The Right Type of Sawmill Insurance

Investing in the right type of mill work insurance will depend on the particular scope of your operations. Some of the common types of insurance you might need to include are:

  • General Liability Insurance

  • Product Liability Insurance

  • Property Insurance

  • Pollution Liability Insurance

  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance

  • Commercial Auto/Vehicle Insurance

  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance

A knowledgeable specialty insurance provider will be able to examine the different aspects of your business and help recommend a comprehensive and cost-effective plan to keep you covered.

General Liability Insurance

Any type of business needs general liability insurance to cover court costs in the case that someone of the general public sues you after sustaining an injury or property damage while at your business. If a claim goes to court, this type of sawmill insurance covers legal fees, settlements, and judgments so you aren’t left with the financial burden.

Product Liability Insurance

Product liability insurance protects you if a customer or contractor purchases a defective product that causes injury or property damage. Sometimes, this type of coverage can be included in your general liability insurance, so it is important you know exactly what your general liability insurance includes and if you need to purchase additional coverage.

Property Insurance

Property insurance is another one of the most common types of insurance businesses need. It covers any physical structures, materials, equipment, and supplies in the case of theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. Having this type of sawmill coverage can help reduce any potential disruption to your business and help you recover from unforeseen property loss without losing additional income.

Pollution Liability Insurance

Pollution liability insurance provides coverage that protects you from liability for claims regarding any hazardous waste that your sawmill may produce. This can include both the cost to rectify any pollution as well as any fines and legal expenses you may incur.

Equipment Breakdown Insurance

Equipment breakdown insurance can help keep your sawmill business running smoothly in the case equipment becomes damaged but for reasons not covered by your property insurance, like power surges. With this coverage, you can afford quick and costly repairs and minimize potential profit losses.

Commercial Auto/Vehicle Insurance

Commercial auto/vehicle insurance is required for sawmills that utilize a fleet of vehicles. Even if you only have one or two vehicles, having this kind of coverage is important to protect you from liability in the event of an accident that leads to property damage, vehicle damage, bodily injury, and any resulting legal fees.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance covers the cost of a workplace injury or illness sustained by an employee. As a high-risk environment, it is especially important for the well-being of both your employees and your business to have insurance that covers their medical expenses. While having proper safety protocols in place will reduce the chances of workplace injuries, your employees will rely on you to cover their expenses in the case that one occurs.

LIS 365 Services

Comprehensive sawmill insurance protects you from unforeseen costs should any serious accident or issue occur, but overpaying for your insurance can also be incredibly costly to your business. Sawmills fall into a wood niche, and providing comprehensive insurance requires certain knowledge of the materials and services required of your business.

An effective safety plan requires risk assessments, methods of control, and implementation of procedures. Some of the LIS 365 Services Lumber Insurance Services provides for sawmills include:

  • OSHA Compliance

  • Hot Work Program

  • Fleet Safety Programs

  • Housekeeping Program

A specialty insurance company will not only know what kind of insurance you need but also what kind of services will help keep your business running smoothly and your insurance costs low.

OSHA Compliance

While making sure your business meets all OSHA requirements will save you from potentially costly fines, it is also important to remember the value of meeting OSHA requirements for employee safety. Being prepared for an OSHA inspection at all times will ensure your business is operating at the highest safety standards.

OSHA characterizes sawmills as one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. due to the risks posed by the equipment and materials required for mill work. While having the right type of mill work insurance can protect your business in case of accidents, being OSHA compliant can prevent accidents from ever happening.

Hot Work Program

Hot work programs help create procedures directly related to fire prevention. Sawmills are at a high risk for fires because of the large amounts of flammable lumber, sawdust, and other combustible materials.

Fires can begin during normal operation due to issues like a spark from general machine operation, so a hot work program works to create personalized planning, objectives, policies, and procedures to prevent potential damage that could lead to employee injury, costly losses, and increases to your insurance premium.

Fleet Safety Program

If you do have company vehicles, a fleet safety program can help you improve the safety and efficiency of your drivers by establishing important safety policies. No matter how few or how many vehicles you have, creating a set of standards and procedures will help maintain the safety of your employees when they are on the move and potentially reduce your associated insurance costs.

Hot Work Program

A well-constructed and executed housekeeping program can make a huge difference in making sure your workplace is operating smoothly and safely. Not only does proper housekeeping help your business appear more professional - but it also makes it easier for your employees to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Having debris scattered around your business takes up extra space and can be troublesome to work around. Over time, an unkempt work area can become a serious safety hazard, leading to issues like an employee tripping or an accidental fire. Things like making sure equipment is properly cleaned and stored, addressing messes and spills as soon as they happen, and keeping storage areas organized and decluttered can all help maintain the integrity of your supplies, equipment, and the building you are operating in.

Proper housekeeping requires every single one of your employees to be invested, which requires proper training. Making your housekeeping program part of your company’s culture will ensure your employees feel confident meeting and maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and safety required to support the quality of their work.

Working With a Specialty Insurance Provider

Finding insurance that provides the right amount and type of coverage at the right price can be challenging for any type of business. The added risks and particulars of running a sawmill business require expertise that your average insurance company may not be able to provide. Working with a specialty insurance provider can help you feel secure and confident that you are getting the coverage you need to keep your business protected.

A knowledgeable professional can help determine what kind of sawmill insurance you need based on your equipment, vehicles, building, number of employees, and the services you provide. Here at Lumber Insurance Services, we are specialists in the forest product and building materials industries, helping to provide a range of options for businesses from hardware stores to sawmills.

If you are in need of sawmill insurance or your current plan is not helping your business maximize safety and profits, contact a specialty insurance provider today.

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