All trades professionals have insurance. The big issue is whether that insurance is up to date, covers risks, and covers major liabilities. Onsite safety is another major issue, and it’s not just workers at risk. Your business can be at risk, in context with your insurance, if safety compliance isn’t up to scratch.
Insurance in the building and roofing trades can be complex. The theory is that you cover risk as much as possible, BUT –
- Compensation claims keep going up: If your insurance isn’t up to date, you can be liable for very large payouts. You’d be surprised how few people check their cover levels and find that their coverage doesn’t even approach current payout amounts.
- Liabilities: The idea of liability on a building site is often over-simplified. As the acting contractor on a site, ANYTHING which relates to your work and involves an insurance claim can be trouble. This includes injuries, property damage, and similar risks.
- Compliance: A basic rule of thumb is that anything which isn’t in compliance with safety regulations and/or other regulations may NOT be covered by your insurance. That’s no coincidence; Insurers don’t want to cover unsafe practices and usually won’t if there’s an obvious outstanding breach of compliance.
- Site hazards: There are plenty of possible hazards on any building site. As all builders know, some are the result of mistakes, or even innocent mistakes, but it’s the contractors who get hit with the costs if hazards become dangerous or if someone is hurt.
It’s fair to say that every builder in Australia, without exception, is very safety-conscious. So why do accidents on building sites still form a major, totally unacceptable, serious risk daily?
Usually, it’s a result of someone getting a bit too casual about safety procedures. These aren’t “accidents”. They’re big mistakes, and it’s more than likely they’ll be expensive mistakes. Someone’s not wearing their safety gear, for example, when using a saw. Injury is a very good chance.
The sheer number of accidents on building sites has been a major industry issue for decades. Major improvements in work safety have been achieved. That said – Nobody in the building trade would say that they don’t keep an eye out for any possible risks and try to prevent safety incidents at every chance. It’s an ongoing risk management scenario, and most builders train their people to be equally conscious of safety as standard best practice.
Building Products, Insurance and Safety
One of the noticeable moves in risk management in the building industry is to top quality products. El Cheapo building products aren’t very popular in the Australian building industry, with good reason. Inferior products are by definition, “risks in progress”.
Substandard building materials are as much of a risk to the builders as to anyone else. There are many stories of iffy materials which fire out shrapnel when cut, or fracture when installed. The fix is to use Australian Standard certified materials, but you can see why risk management and product quality are so closely related.
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