According to a recent report in the Herald Sun newspaper, almost one campervan or caravan is manufactured in Australia every five minutes of a working week, in an industry worth over $1.8 billion in revenue.
Our fascination with the outdoors and the freedom of driving to a vast array of destinations across our continent, has seen more and more baby boomers and retirees purchase their dream caravan.
Over 109 different caravan brands are built in Australia, with Victoria leading the way. A large concentration of these manufacturers are located in Campbellfield and surrounding suburbs of Victoria, ranging from small operations where the majority of trades are outsourced to contractors to companies with full on the floor production teams.
What are the exposures?
The manufacturing of caravans involves a number of different disciplines and uses of a wide variety of materials such as metal, wood for frames, plastics, rubber, fibre glass, fabrics, flammable chemicals, oils and paints. The hazards on the production line include metal dust, vapours, spray painting, welding and hot air drying. Poor housekeeping, inefficient dust extraction systems and poor waste management may also pose additional exposures.
The potential for personal injury with so many activities and materials are generally high.
Faulty components could result in damage to other parts of the caravan as well as possible faults in appliances and kitchen equipment leading to a higher liability hazard.
The degree of automation in these factories may reduce employee errors but it may allow for defects in raw material to be overlooked.
Business interruption cover is especially important for these manufacturers as some items of machinery are specialised and require lead times for replacements in an extremely competitive market.
Steadfast Eastern has a history of providing service to many members of the caravan industry to ensure they are adequately prepared in the case of an unfortunate event.
What can go wrong?
A manufacturer with over 25 years of experience in Campbellfield, Victoria sold a brand new caravan to a consumer. On getting into the shower, the customer cut her leg on the shower door which she claimed had a sharper than normal edge. She was awarded $9,000 in medical costs.
In another instance, a fire started in the spray booth of a small family run caravan manufacturer due to poor ventilation. It was only a few months earlier that the insurer notified the manufacturer that the ventilation was not adequate. Unfortunately the manufacturer did not respond to the recommendations and damage from the fire resulted in a $74,000 expense to the business.