Visitors and Volunteers in Laboratories
When visitors working in your labs are employees of other universities or companies there should be a written agreement or memorandum of understanding between MSU and that other entity. The agreement should specify the visiting employee is at MSU as a representative of the other entity, and as such is within the course and scope of his/her employment. The agreement should specify that as such, the employee is covered by his/her entity’s General Liability insurance coverage with limits of $1,000,000 per claim and $2,000,000 per occurrence. MSU should be named by endorsement as an additional insured on that policy. The agreement should also specify that as an employee of the company/entity in question the visiting employee is covered by that company’s worker’s compensation insurance coverage while working on the MSU Bozeman campus. This should apply to visiting employees of private companies as well as other universities. The visiting employee and his/her company/entity may be responsible for any injuries or damage that arises from their negligence. In this instance if the visiting employee should become injured or ill he/she would be covered by their own worker’s compensation coverage. If the injury or illness is found to be due to the negligence of MSU or one of its employees the University/State may be liable if sued for damages by the visitor.
If someone is coming to MSU strictly as a volunteer (not as a visiting employee of another entity acting within the course and scope of his/her employment), they should first complete and sign the volunteer form found at: Volunteer Policy. The department having supervisory responsibility for the volunteer should keep the original volunteer agreement form and send a copy to Safety and Risk Management. (Note that SRM just recently began advising departments to provide us with a copy as these will be used annually to help estimate total volunteer numbers for insurance coverage purposes; coverage described below.)
Once the form is filled out and the visitor is considered a volunteer to MSU he/she will be covered by the University’s statutory liability insurance coverage for claims for which the volunteer is found to be legally liable that arise from property damage or injury to third parties from his/her acts, errors, or omissions and while within the course and scope of the volunteer service to the University. We have not had the option of providing worker’s compensation insurance coverage for volunteers for a number of years now; however we do have in place a supplemental accident/illness insurance policy that covers individuals providing volunteer service to the University. Please have volunteers fill out the form described above as per the University’s policy on Volunteers and make sure SRM gets a copy.