Lumber yards sell lumber, brick, siding, cement, windows, doors, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning fixtures, as well as the necessary and related tools and hardware for installation. Customers are property owners, builders, contractors, and individuals.

Property exposure comes from a high fuel load with the lumber and combustible materials on hand combined with multiple ignition sources. Lumber, wood, and panels can be cut to size for customers. The dust from this operation, saws and machinery are all ignition sources that must be evaluated for controls. All cutting operations should be connected to a dust collection system.

Storage areas are normally large, open buildings with little or no cut-offs or separations to control and contain fire should it start. Paints, including thinners, varnishes, and stains may be offered for sale, and mixing and blending of colours is done. All of this work increases the potential for and fuel for fire. All flammables, aerosols, and chemicals need to be properly labelled, stored in approved containers, and separated from other operations by approved rooms or cabinets.

Inland marine exposure includes forklifts that are used for lifting and transport. This activity can be an additional fire potential if fuelling or refuelling is done on-premises. In addition, forklifts can cause injury to employees and customers if proper training in the operation and safety of the vehicle is not taught and enforced. All such vehicles should have warning alarms that sound when they are backing up.

Occupiers’ liability is always a concern in a retail exposure where the public comes to the premises. Floor coverings must be in good condition with no frayed or worn spots on carpet and no cracks or holes in flooring. Sufficient exits must be provided and be well marked, with backup systems in case of power failure.

Lumber yards have additional exposures from potential yard storage of stock. Yards must have good lighting, and be well marked, and the ground must be in good condition. Yards, as well as parking lots and sidewalks, need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slip and fall. There is also a substantial attractive nuisance hazard with open storage in the yard that must be controlled with fences and other barriers.

Products liability for this type of operation is normally low.

Automobile liability exposure is due to the proper loading of the lumber to a truck for transport to the job site. Tie down techniques are important for a stable load. Drivers must be experienced with commercial licences. MVRs must be checked regularly. All vehicles must be inspected regularly with maintenance logs updated and retained for documentation.

Workplace safety can be a concern in retail operations of this type from lifting, back injury, hernia, sprain, and strain. What kind of training do employees receive, and what types of material lifting or conveying devices are used? Cuts, amputations, and related injuries have high concern. There must be guards and eye and ear protection provided in the cutting areas. Masks or other lung protection devices should be considered in high volume situations.

Minimum recommended coverage:

Business Personal Property, Business Income, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Goods in Transit, Dishonesty, Disappearance and Destruction, Money and Securities, General Liability, Umbrella, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Non-owned Automobile

Other coverages to consider:

Building, Leasehold Interest, Real Property, Computer Fraud, Employment Practices Liability