Scaffolding Insurance UK
Given the risks that putting up scaffolding can expose you to, scaffolding insurance is a must-have for anybody in the market. It’ll help protect both you and your business in the event that something goes wrong, perhaps a customer is injured, or one of your employees becomes unwell.
While scaffolding insurance businesses will naturally try to sell you larger (and more expensive policies), you may be wondering exactly what you need to cover yourself effectively. Firstly, public liability is considered a must-have. It’ll cover you in the event that a third party (customer, other business on-site, member of the public) incurs property damage or injury as a result of your work.
Employers’ liability is a legal requirement for any business in the UK that employs staff, whether they’re full-time, part-time, contractors or even apprentices/interns. It’ll help protect you if they become unwell or injured while working for you and believe your business is at fault. The penalties for not being covered are severe – up to £2,500 per day for each day you’re not insured properly, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a policy sorted before bringing anyone on board.
Tools and equipment cover, as the name suggests, protects the tools of your trade from theft, loss or accidental damage. It’ll help you quickly purchase replacements for anything that goes missing/breaks, reducing the negative impact on your clients and allowing you to keep on-track with tight project deadlines. It can even cover your tools to be kept in your van overnight (where they’re more likely to be stolen than a secure lock-up/business premises) but keep in mind you may have to pay more for this.
Equally as important for contractors as it for businesses, personal accident insurances can help cover you and your employees in the event they’re unable to work due to injury or illness. It’ll cover a % of their weekly/monthly income (usually between 50-70%) while they’re away from work, making sure no bills go unpaid, and the fridge stays full while they’re off. It can be a hugely effective way to attract talent, especially in competitive regions – 97% of scaffolders report having no health benefits provided by their employer.
Finally, if you’re using a car or van to support your business, perhaps driving from customer to customer or carting your equipment from A to B, you’ll need a form of commercial vehicle cover. It protects your vehicle against the risks of business driving – spending long hours on the road, for example. Your social, domestic & pleasure cover (SD&P) will not cover you for business-related driving, so you risk voiding your coverage by doing so – keep in mind that driving without the correct vehicle insurance is illegal in the UK.
What does a scaffolder do?
Scaffolding is a highly physical job, so it would suit someone who enjoys being outdoors, doesn’t mind heavy lifting and is handy with a set of tools. What you’ll do on any given day varies depending on what you’re working on, but will regularly include the following:
- Creating a secure base for the scaffolding
- Erecting scaffolding poles and fixing horizontal pipes/tubes to them
- Putting up secure safety nets and guard rails
- Laying planks/walkways for workers to walk on
- Securing the scaffolding to a building/wall
- Unloading/loading scaffolding to/from a lorry
- Taking down the scaffolding when work is complete
In terms of the working environment, you’ll almost always be outdoors in all weather, so be prepared to get wet if the heavens open. Scaffolding work probably wouldn’t be suited to anyone who isn’t comfortable working at heights, given that a lot of your day will be spent off the ground.
Public liability insurance for scaffolding
Public liability insurance for scaffolders is designed to protect you against some of the most common risks you’ll face on a day at work. It’ll insure you for injuries or property damage to third parties, such as customers, members of the public or other businesses on-site.
While you can technically operate without a public liability policy, it’s highly inadvisable. Most customers will insist you hold a policy before hiring you, so you’re unlikely to win much work if you don’t have valid public liability insurance beforehand, and that’s to say nothing of the immense financial risks you’d face without one – the average public liability settlement is around £13,500 but could be much higher especially for a dangerous occupation like scaffolding, so if something goes wrong the costs can be enormous.
In simple terms, if you’re operating in the scaffolding industry, then you’re going to want a public liability policy before taking on any work.
Public liability insurance cost for scaffolders
Typical public liability insurance for scaffolders is likely to cost around £960 annually. This is considerably more than the average cost of public liability in the UK, which is around £120 per year.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise – scaffolding is a dangerous job with a lot of risks involved, and the combination of heavy equipment and heights means if things do go wrong they can get bad quickly.
There are a few things that insurers will want to know before offering quotes that they’ll factor into your end costs.
- Annual turnover
- Health and safety training provided
- Health and safety policy
- PPE provided
- Locations worked at (airports, power stations, etc.)
And remember, the most effective way to save money on any insurance policy is always to shop around. Don’t just take the first deal you’re offered and see if any insurers are offering special deals or discounts on other covers when you buy a policy through them.