[hackerspaces] Insurance, liability and kids

Will Bradley bradley.will at gmail.com
Sat Sep 14 11:56:27 CEST 2013

Oh and remember, safety is a cultural mindset. You can buy all the signs
and insurance and sign all the waivers you want, but it's *every
participant's *responsibility to behave safely and call out potential
hazards before they become a problem. As leaders, it's your responsibility
to instill this *in* everyone, not to shoulder the burden of ensuring
safety *for* them.

So if your landlord doesn't get a safe vibe from your operations, he has
good reason to freak out even if you've covered your asses. We've got the
opposite problem: people who interrogate us about insurance and being
bonded (do we need to / should we be bonded? Serious question.) despite our
community having a very safe mindset and track record.

On Sat, Sep 14, 2013 at 2:50 AM, Will Bradley <bradley.will at gmail.com>wrote:

> Carolyn, our space (HeatSync Labs in Arizona) allows kids but "treats them
> like adults" -- in other words we don't babysit anyone at any age, if you
> need supervision then your parent must (really, actively) supervise you.
> Our liability waiver has a section for minors which we make the minor sign
> (so they know to be responsible) and the parent sign (so it's legal.) We
> also heavily encourage parents to attend WITH their kids or at least tour
> the place and understand what kinds of dangers are present, so they're
> adequately informed. One parent actually sent her kid to us to do something
> dangerous because she trusted us better than she trusted herself (jee,
> thanks! But it turned out alright.)
> Our space is somewhat divided, the front is tables and the back is shop;
> at the entrance to the back we have a sign that says minors must be
> accompanied by an adult.
> We've got liability and accident insurance and have told our insurer that
> we do host classes with minors and what kinds of classes we teach. They
> didn't seem to think it was a big deal; I'm sure we're in a similar
> category as summer camps or scouts. The people who freak out most about
> this tend to be "backseat driver" types who have plenty of time to be
> worried and write emails but not much time to actually show up, discuss
> things, research things, or improve things. Our insurer and lawyer
> certainly don't freak out about these things.
> If our landlord was making a fuss, I'd coordinate something with the board
> / select group of members to meet with them and discuss any concerns. It's
> important to maintain a good relationship with your business partners so
> they're on your side, if they're freaking out it may be because they
> weren't told about something they consider important. Or maybe they just
> hate kids. I feel you can defuse the situation by explaining the various
> precautions taken; kids aren't necessarily a huge risk especially if the
> parents are there, forms are signed, and insurance is purchased. You can
> get a million dollars of "accidentally blew up the building" insurance for
> cheap, easy way to calm down a landlord. Accident/injury insurance isn't
> too expensive either, just bite the bullet and call.
> If you're having trouble finding an insurer, contact me directly and I'll
> refer you to HeatSync's insurers.
> On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 1:26 AM, rachel lyra hospodar <rachelyra at gmail.com
> > wrote:
>> hi carolyn,
>> 1. Have you heard of mothership hacker moms?  it's a hackerspace in the
>> east bay for moms (and other people), with childcare.  I don't know how
>> much is about moms hacking and how much is about kids hacking, but they
>> probably have some good info for you.
>> 2. Insurance, etc is the details. Don't sweat the small stuff, but do get
>> insurance. You'll be able to, it will just take, uh, doing so. Most
>> commercial landlords wouldn't be so lax about it, and then scream in your
>> face when they remember that they forgot.
>> 3. sudo room's landlord is unusually insane.
>> 4. doing a project on a large enough scale to require renting space will
>> usually bring you into contact with some insane people.
>> 5. rubin is a dick (hi rubin!), but if you are hoping to do any
>> organizing of a hackerspace i hope you do it from your own email address,
>> or one that is designed to be shared (eg outreach at hayhackers.com). It is
>> less confusing and will help keep narrow minded hackers from
>> underestimating you.
>> 6. people who underestimate you are wrong.
>> R.
>> On 9/4/2013 3:57 PM, john lunger wrote:
>>> We were visitors of this particular hackerspace last night so I don;t
>>> know the exact details of things in term of whose name is on the
>>> nonprofit incorporating forms or even if it is nonprofit incorporated at
>>> all.
>>> I am actually thinking of starting a hackerspace myself and wanted it to
>>> be kid friendly.
>>> When I say kid friendly I mean separate rooms for the adult stuff (all
>>> the dangerous tools/chemicals/ewaste) and the kids stuff (tables,
>>> chairs, soldering irons, sparkfun electronic kits, popsicle sticks, glue
>>> gun, glitter, Legos, Snap Circuits, Squishy Circuits etc (Parents would
>>> be required to stay with the children).
>>> Would insurance be more feasible with this kind of set up instead? Could
>>> we get separate insurance policies for each space. One for the adult
>>> section/one for the kids section? I would love for them to have a common
>>> area which would only have couches, tables, chairs, musical instruments
>>> but not sure after last night how that would work out because they you
>>> would have to worry about fingerprinting/ of random adults interacting
>>> with minors.
>>> Our group is moving much more slowly and methodically than other
>>> hackerspaces because of the involvement of children. We are going to try
>>> and dot our i's and cross our t's and deal with all the steps needed for
>>> everything to be covered if that is possible.
>>> So that is why I am asking all these questions. But given what happened
>>> last night I having 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th thoughts about starting one at
>>> all.
>>> You can check our sad website at www.hayhackers.org
>>> Carolyn
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