Do you have the best Product Liability insurance for your PPE company?
When products fail, the results can be catastrophic. Making personal protective equipment during COVID-19? As a result of changing operations, your new products may be exposing your bottom line to new and greater risks.
This is because “pivoting production to manufacture COVID-19 medical devices may change the risk profile for some manufacturers given the context in which the products will be used.”1 Furthermore, “The potential for a higher standard of care is something every manufacturer must take into account…(as well as) additional research, testing and quality assurance steps it must impose.”2
Adapting to COVID-19 isn’t easy. Moreover embracing new opportunities – such as making PPE products – while adapting to COVID-19 is even harder. Above all, it’s important to understand that manufacturing PPE products comes with its own set of unique risks. And with “manufacturing firms, including automakers and retailers…pivot(ing) their operations to non-traditional production”3 proactive risk management is essential.
This is where expert advice from an ALIGNED Insurance broker comes in. For instance, we can find the best product liability insurance options for your changing business. Keep reading for some timely and useful insights about product liability insurance for PPE companies in Canada.
What kinds of PPE products are you manufacturing?
Understanding the specifications is the first step in manufacturing any product. This is why the Government of Canada is defining what equipment is considered to be PPE.
According to the federal government, “Personal protective equipment (PPE) are items worn to provide a barrier to help prevent potential exposure to infectious disease. These items include:
- Masks and respirators
- Eye protection (goggles, face shields and masks with visor attachment)
Personal protective equipment sold for medical purposes is classified as medical devices in Canada. Under the Medical Devices Regulations, medical masks, N95 respirators, medical gowns, face shields and medical goggles are Class I medical devices. Medical gloves are Class II medical devices.”4
The decision to start manufacturing PPE isn’t one that your business is taking lightly. In addition, there are multiple logistical elements to consider. For example, sourcing new suppliers, processing new materials, adding staff, training existing employees as well as implementing COVID-19 workplace protocols.
Experts note that many decisions are being made quickly during COVID-19. “The lawyers …suggest that any manufacturers that are considering pivoting their operations to produce PPE should review their existing insurance coverage to make sure that any new products approved by Health Canada under the Interim Order falls within current insurance coverage. If not, they may have to obtain additional policy endorsements from insurers.”5
Product liability risks that PPE companies should be aware of
Canadian manufacturers are well aware of the rules and regulations of the industries they currently operate within. However, the products you’ve historically manufactured may differ significantly from those that you’re adding to your production line.
For those considering manufacturing PPE products for the first time, there are specific risk exposures that should be taken into consideration.
If you are wondering about your potential liability as a PPE product manufacturer, a recent article published by Gowling WLG provide some insights:
“Whether or not facial protections are classified as medical devices, manufacturers may still be liable for injuries arising from negligent design, manufacture, or labelling/marketing of the sample products (i.e. a failure to warn). There may also be liability under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and other consumer protection legislation.”6
Thankfully, product liability can deliver the precise coverage your PPE production operations need.
This form of insurance protects against liabilities for losses due to injuries caused by malfunctions or defects in your PPE products. Furthermore, design defects or a failure to warn consumers about the dangers of using your product are included in this coverage.
7 ways to limit product liability risks for your PPE company
In addition to product liability insurance, there are many steps that you can take to manage risk. Some techniques to help limit product risks can be found below.
- Create a quality control program. Above all, ensure that your employees understand and follow it.
- Outline procedures for product safety, design, testing and inspection. Document traceability, customer complaints and a product recall program.
- During manufacture, ensure that all products contain serial or batch numbers to that they are traceable in case of a recall.
- Record all information about your products. This includes testing, product performance, component percentages as well as complaints.
- Get legal reviews of warning labels, assembly and operating instructions, disclaimers and any consumer information. A product safety specialist can provide additional assistance.
- Have a legal professional periodically review all contracts and hold-harmless agreements with customers and subcontractors. Ensure all contracts limit the liability your business assumes.
- Request certificates of products liability insurance from suppliers of components, parts and/or finished goods.
To sum up, across Canada, our insurance experts can align product liability insurance for PPE companies that responds to the new and evolving risks you are facing.
We know that when products fail, results can be catastrophic to a company’s bottom line. If you are manufacturing personal protective equipment during COVID-19, we can source the best insurance options for your business.
Where to find more info about COVID-19 and the Canadian workplace
The pandemic is changing how we live, work and interact with each other. To help understand COVID-19 risks and commercial insurance Canada products, read our Insurance Blog. In addition, you can keep current by subscribing to our e-news ALIGNMENT Matters on our homepage.
Here’s a selection of recent COVID-19 related news articles that we hope you will find helpful.
- Understanding COVID-19 risk management in your Alberta workplace
- What to know about managing COVID-19 risks in your BC workplace
- COVID-19 risk management in your Ontario workplace
- E-news | Reopening, Changing direction? Shifting online during COVID-19?
- E-news | Cyber risks during COVID-19
- What you need to know about COVID-19 and your business insurance