First off, for those who are asking, I’m a size 95.
Next, re your question about Worker’s Comp for a sole proprietorship: You’re right, it doesn’t seem to make any sense to have to pay premiums for employee coverage when you have no employees and, as owner of the business, you can not claim under a standard W/Comp plan.
From the perspective of the job owner (and the one writing the job contract and requiring proof that all trades on-site carry W/Comp), it is easy to see that they want to make sure they don’t end up paying medical expenses. Regardless of whether you are an employee or an owner, you can be injured if you are the one doing the work; so they are trying to make sure you have arranged for coverage.
General insurance is pretty much standard throughout the USA and Canada, but W/Comp is not. Canada is more of a “socialist” country and our W/Comp is all government-controlled. You can’t buy it through private insurers like you can in most U.S. states. Even the different states have different rules, so there isn’t one answer that fits all. The following info may not apply in your state, however, this is how it works in Ontario and maybe this info will be a starting point for you to investigate the exact rules where you live.
In Ontario, WSIB (our version of W/Comp) gives sole proprietors the choice of applying for coverage, even though the standard is that owners are usually excluded. You fill out a form whereby the definition of "employee" is altered to include "sole proprietor" thereby making you eligible for coverage. You then declare 1 employee and pay the corresponding premium. If you don’t want to take the optional coverage through WSIB, then you should still get some kind of private insurance on yourself, such as a personal Accident & Sickness Policy or an AD&D Policy (Accident, Death, Dismemberment). Despite what a contract might require you to prove re workplace accident insurance, it would be wise to protect yourself. After all what would happen if you were injured on the job and had no medical insurance? Owners of a big company may stay in an office all day and have no risk, but as a sole proprietor, you are the guy doing the work, so the danger of injury is definitely there.
Most of the contracts I review have the W/Comp requirement written something along the lines of: “….the Contractor shall provide evidence of compliance with workers’ compensation legislation …” or “… the Contractor will provide a current CAD-7 certificate or equivalent ….” If you chose the optional sole proprietor cover through WSIB or you bought a private AD&D policy, you would be in compliance with the contract requirements. The only other thing you would have to prove to the job owner is that you will not bring anyone else on site, even as a temporary worker for 5 minutes, after they have accepted your alternate personal insurance policy (because then the job owner is on risk again for injuries to your newly hired and uninsured employee).
Oh, I guess I should clarify that since Canada uses the metric system, my size 95 is in centimeters which makes me a standard 38”. Also, it’s a good thing I didn’t write about my clients the paint strippers or the steel beam erection guys, because some people here might read innuendo into that.