Liability Insurance - The highs and Lows of working at Height!
Arranging both your Public and Employers Liability Insurance can prove much more difficult if you work at height despite ever-increasing regulation. Whether it’s a one-off contract or a key component of your business, understand both your regulatory and insurance requirements is critical to your business.
The Law - The Work at Height Regulations 2005
The purpose of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 is to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height. If you are an employer or you control work at height (for example facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height), the Regulations apply to you.
Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is appropriately planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height. Low-risk, relatively straightforward tasks will require less effort when it comes to planning. Employers and those in control must first assess the risks.
Employees have general legal duties to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions and to co-operate with their employer to enable their health and safety duties and requirements to be complied with.
The act is regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Failure to comply with these regulations could result in a significant fine, criminal charges or even imprisonment.
What do Public and Employers Liability Insurers consider specialist height work?
Public Liability Insurance companies accept that working at height (e.g. up a step ladder) is part and parcel for many building and contracting trades. However, most policies will exclude work over 10 metres or on a property over 3 storeys. They will also impose restrictions or exclusions by trade for specialist professions where height work is a core part of daily activity (Scaffolding Contractors, Roofers, commercial window cleaners, etc.).
Why don’t mainstream insurers offer liability insurance for working at height?
For most, it’s quite simply that the risk is too high and they would prefer to leave it to the specialists. According to the HSE, Since 2001, an average of 50 people in Great Britain have died each year as a result of a fall from height and a further 8,702 are seriously injured.
Insurance companies may also have reinsurance restrictions to consider. In simple terms, Reinsurance is a policy purchased by the insurance company which will protect them should they receive a large claim or series of claims. Many insurers will not purchase reinsurance cover for Public or Employers Liability at height, and therefore they do write business in this space.
How can I arrange cover for specialist Public Liability Insurance for working at height?
While many traditional insurers shy away from rope, harness, scaffolding or general height work, specialist insurers have emerged who have taken the time to understand the intricacies and complexities of the work and created bespoke policies. By insuring a larger number of companies in this area, the insurer will have a volume of premium to protect it from a significant loss and clients' benefit from their understanding, expertise and ability to charge the correct level of premium relating to the risk involved.
Why choosing the right Insurance advisor is critical
With such stringent penalties for non-compliance, including exposure to Corporate Manslaughter, you must have the correct Public and Employers Liability in place. In such a specialist area, understanding your policy conditions, warranties and exclusions and embedding these within your Heath and Safety processes should be at the very heart of everything you do. A specialist Public Liability Insurance broker such as Insync Insurance, can help you through the maze and ensure you are correctly protected.
Risk Management and Health & Safety
Managing risk to customers, the public and your employees is critical to any business, but for those in specialist trades regulated by specific legislation, it carries even greater importance. Should you not already employ the services of a Health and Safety consultant, your Insurance advisor should be able to recommend one. Your Insurance Company should also be able to provide documentation and support around best practice and risk assessments, we would also suggest visiting the excellent HSE Working at Height Website for more information.
Free Insurance Review
Insync Insurance will provide a free consultant and review of your Business and Public Liability cover and have access to specialist underwriters for working at height or other so-called “high risk” liability trades. Book a free review via our website or call 0330 1240730 for more information.
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About the Author
I’m passionate about family, sport, technology and business.
In fact, I have always been fascinated by business, whether it was running the school tuck-shop or my Saturday job in the local store, I was always looking for ways to improve or view things differently.
I have enjoyed an amazing career fast approaching 25 years in the insurance industry, which has given me real insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by SME businesses in today’s ever-evolving marketplace.
I co-founded Insync Insurance, to offer companies a new way to buy and manage their business insurance. A synergy of digital servicing and personal expertise - utilising the latest technology to enhance relationships, not to replace them.