Chemical engineers apply a great deal of knowledge and training in the areas of higher mathematics, economics, biological and physical sciences. Chemical engineers specialize in applications using chemistry and chemical reactions to design buildings or machinery that manufactures chemically-based products. They may work in newer fields such as nanotechnology, or invent new processes.
Due to the varied areas of knowledge or expertise needed by an engineer, education, certification, experience, and professionalism are items to consider, as well as the background in the field of expertise needed.
Minimum recommended coverage:
Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Professional, Umbrella, Hired and Nonownership Auto, Workers Compensation
Other coverages to consider:
Building, Business Income and Extra Expense, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Contractors’ Equipment, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability, and Physical Damage
Property exposure is primarily that of an office. Ignition sources include wiring, wear, and overheating of equipment. There may be considerable storage of customers’ records, which significantly adds to a fire load. Storage should be in fireproof file cabinets, and fire suppression systems must not damage the papers.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. Ordering, billing and disbursement duties must be separated and regular audits performed. Employee dishonesty issues may arise when an employee is on a client’s premises. Background checks should be conducted before permitting any employee to visit clients.
Inland marine exposure consists of accounts receivable, computers, and valuable papers and records. The computers generally have expensive hardware and software designed specifically for engineering applications. These must be backed up regularly. Computer systems must have adequate security features to prevent unauthorized access due to industrial espionage or by hackers. Valuable papers and records consist of product proposals, prototypes, and final specifications. Duplicates must be made often and stored off site. Storage on premises should consist of fireproof cabinets. There may be an off-premises exposure if engineers take tools and equipment to customers’ job sites.
Premises liability exposure is limited to occasional customer visits. Areas accessible to the public must be free of obstacles with floor coverings in good condition. Off-site exposures consist of visits to customers’ premises and to job sites. There should be procedures in place for enforcement of rules regarding off-site conduct by employees.
Professional liability exposure is extensive due to the catastrophic potential for injury and death due to an error in design that results in the release of pollutants, toxins, or known carcinogens into the air, water or land around the customers’ premises. All design specifications must be followed and inspections regularly conducted. Documentation must be clear, with changes marked and authorizations signed by both the engineer and the customer. Customers can suffer financial loss due to construction delays and cost overruns.
Automobile exposure comes from the vehicles used to travel to visit customers and to job sites. Generally the vehicles are private passenger types or pickups. Age, training, and records of drivers must be reviewed, along with age, condition, and maintenance of vehicles. If vehicles are supplied to employees, there should be clear guidelines regarding personal and permitted use of the vehicle.
Workers compensation exposure is from office operations and off-site visits to customers’ premises and to job sites. The office exposure consists of repetitive motion injuries that can be reduced with ergonomically designed workstations. Off-site exposures may include working at construction sites, at heights, on rough terrain, or in isolated areas. Employees should have appropriate safety gear when visiting job sites.