Short answer. Yes. Long answer yes for 3 reasons.
Association Boards often ask the question – Why do we need workers compensation.
First, if you employ any staff such as a resident manager even if part time you almost certainly need it. To remove the need you would have to have a very strong contract with an “independent contractor that does not give the association the right to tell the contractor how when and where to do their job. An unlikely scenario and one to review with a labor lawyer FIRST.
Secondly, members of the board do from time to time odd jobs for the association. Buying janitorial supplies, changing light bulbs in the common areas, checking pool equipment, landscape walks, instructing vendors, inspecting buildings. We used to have an association in which two male directors at or past retirement age were walking g on the roofs and these were not flat roofs, inspecting for potential leaks. There are many tasks undertaken by directors some willingly some not and by committee members or members of the community appointed by the boards to a certain task force or study group.
Under the Labor code one section defines volunteers as a person who performs voluntary service without pay for a private nonprofit organization as designated and authorized by the board of Directors of the organization, who shall when the board of directors of the organization in its sole discretion, so declares in writing and prior to the injury, be deemed an employee of the association for purposes of this division while performing such service.
In other words if the board names the volunteers in a board meeting and outlines their duties or tasks that person becomes an employee while acting within that capacity. The ultra vires rule would apply, i.e. duties or activities not contemplated or anticipated might not be included such as visiting Disneyland with their family to treat them for the time Dad was “at work for the association.” So both board members and appointed volunteers are potential risks that may need to be covered.
Thirdly your governing documents may call for it.
The fourth and final reason is an insidious one. Some vendors may arrive on site with employees and may for one reason or another no longer have valid insurance. While management companies do some validation of insurances carried there may be times when a policy is lapsed, cancelled for non payment not renewed and the association is unaware. An injured employee or that contractor is likely to become an employee of the association, especially if the injury is severe and there seems to be no-one else willing to take care of him. There was a roofer nearby who was outbidding most of his competition by not buying workers compensation insurance. The state found him fortunately before anyone was injured; or maybe that’s how they found him.
So the short and long answer when no actual employees are on staff to the question should we buy workers compensation is YES and YES.