[hackerspaces] Insurance, liability and kids

matt matt at nycresistor.com
Wed Sep 4 19:40:37 CEST 2013

Assuming this is in the United States, the issue can get very tricky.

But let's start with culture.  Not all hackerspaces are the same.  The more
hardware oriented spaces are certainly far more likely to have death
dealing implements around in droves.  A software centric space, really only
runs the regular gambit of office associated risks... in short paper cuts,
tripping over filing cabinets, and freak water bottle accidents.

Also some spaces are safer than others.  NYC Resistor for instance is by no
means kid safe.  The floors chronically contain a mix of metal shavings and
project scrap that would likely kill a toddler upon contact ( joking but
you get the point ).  There are shevles stacked precariously, and there are
CNC devices that are dangerous to full blown adults.  Depending on where
you are in the place, you can pick some particularly grizzly modes of death
or dismemberment.

Now some spaces want to be a place for kids.  Some don't want to deal with
the hassle.  But, absolutely no one wants to see a kid get hurt for any
reason.  And that means that if you intend to bring kids into the space,
you intend to provide an atmosphere conducive to it.  That means keeping
the place clean, stowing items after use, and ensuring that the place is
effectively kid proofed.  Not every space wants to invest in that.  It's a
matter of deciding whether or not that is what your community is about.

As far as your insurance and landlord go... if you are operating a
hackerspace without insurance in the US, you are in my mind a fucking
asshole.  If someone gets hurt you are going to get sued, your landlord is
going to get sued, and everyone whose name is on incorporating papers and
possibly membership rosters will get sued.  Especially if there is no
insurance in place.  And very especially if the person who got injured is a
kid.   If I were yer landlord and I found you operating without insurance,
I'd shut you the hell down quickly.  It's just plain unsafe.  Don't do it.

With Insurance, that doesn't really prevent the landlord from being dragged
into any injury lawsuits.  Where a kid is involved he's particularly
exposed because no one wants to rule against a kid for any reason.  He's
facing risk that you created.  And that's going to be a huge problem if
your space is particularly prone to creating the environments that breed
injury.  If you like to throw ragers at 4 in the afternoon while kids run
around and play on the lather like it's a horse...  then insurance or no
insurance your landlord will probably burn the place down before he lets
you keep doing that.  In a more sane and less extreme world, I'd make sure
you are in agreement with your landlord on your space being a space kids
are going to be.  And being in accords with local zoning laws and any other
necessary regulation in that regard.  Also... as per before.. covered with
a nice huge liability shield.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  Be responsible.  Be aware.

This is a tough topic.  But when you get down to it, hackerspaces are
communities.  If your community wants to have kids in their hackerspace,
ain't no one going to stop you from making that a reality.  However if you
cut corners and put someone at risk aside from yourself, you are making all
of us look bad.  And that's not cool.


On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM, john lunger <justj1915 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I would like a deep discussion about insurance, liability and kids.
> We were at a great hackerspace last night and they have weekly events for
> kids.
> Unfortunately the landlord goes on rampages and happened to rampage about
> the kids being in a common room last night in front of the kids and parents.
> One of my daughters (11yrs ) was privy to this unfortunately and is still
> talking about it this morning. She is a bit worried that she won;t be able
> to go back to this hackerspace as she really enjoys her time there. Luckily
> I don't think my other kids heard it. Maybe my preschooler  may have but he
> might have also been oblivious about the whole thing.
> Several adults went and corralled the landlord outside to get him to calm
> down. My daughter says she is worried he will come back and do that again.
> According to the adults he was complaining about some kind of liability
> issue and insurance among other things.
> I don;t think this hackerspace has looked into insurance yet or might be
> in the process of it right now after last nights event.
> Can anyone shed some light to this whole thing?
> What options does a hackerspace has with an unruly landlord?
> What can we do bureaucratic wise to make him quiet down?
> Carolyn
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.hackerspaces.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20130904/43d6fc3a/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Discuss mailing list