Although it accounts for only about 5% of the employees in Britain, the construction industry is responsible for 27% of fatal injuries to employees and 10% of all reported major injuries. (HSE Statistics, 2012/13)
The above statistic makes for uncomfortable reading. However, as disturbing as these figures are, they come at a time when a renewed effort is being made to improve on-site safety and promote better health at work. Insurance is a key part of any health and safety plan and taking it out should be top of the list for any reputable contractor.
There are specific insurance policies that have been devised to meet the very precise requirements of the construction industry. Tradesman insurance schemes, for example, have been created for handymen, plumbers and electricians who typically work under contract. In fact, there are specialist policies for most contractors looking to protect themselves, their staff and customers. All these covers tend to include public liability and employer’s liability cover; the later of which is required under law for those who employ staff. There are also additional bolt-on plans for specific requirements like tools cover or personal-accident cover.
Get the right cover
It is worthwhile making sure you get a plan that matches your exact needs or you could either find yourself paying over the odds or without enough cover. For instance, some insurers will quote you public liability cover of up to £5 million. While this seems a lot, there may be instances where more is required, so this amount should be considered against the actual risks and losses associated with your business activities. A quick discussion with your insurance broker will help you to determine your requirements.
It’s also good practice to provide a detailed description of all the activities you are likely to get involved in as failing to do so could invalidate the cover. You should also let your insurer know if any additional workers have been taken on during the course of the year will ensure the policy remains current and valid.
However, insurance should not be seen as a health and safety measure in itself, rather an essential back-up plan for when things go wrong. Health and safety regulations can no longer be seen as a burden that weighs down contractors through bureaucracy and administration. It is an important development tool that can be used to refine processes and ultimately save lives. Part of this changing attitude is ensuring you have adequate insurance cover that protects you and your business.