Roofers face many of the same occupational risks as other construction workers. Working at heights using tools and heavy materials requires a great deal of confidence, skill, and confidence in your skill! But even with years of roofing experience in the construction industry, or as a general handyman, sometimes accidents happen that you feel are beyond your control and yet you are still held liable for the incident.
You can’t control the weather, and when you agree to a job, you’re unlikely to be able to accurately predict with a certainty how the weather will be that day. Especially in the UK, when you never know if it’s suddenly just going to start raining! Bad weather increases the risks of slips and falls. But working under the Summer sun can also present the risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion if not properly protected. If you employ roofers for a job, you will need to ensure that you have sufficient employers’ liability insurance (a legal requirement for any employer). This type of insurance will cover you for any instance where a worker becomes injured or develops an illness due to the work undertaken whilst working for you and decides to claim for compensation from you.
Some other unfortunately notorious risks of roofing include prolonged exposure to asbestos and inhalation of its fibres. Asbestos was widely used for construction materials in the 20th century, and studies as recent as 2011 have shown that over 50% of houses in the UK still include asbestos-containing materials. It is the biggest occupational disease risk to construction workers, and can eventually cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer years or sometimes even decades down the line. Employers’ liability insurance can cover you in future should a former employee regrettably develop a disease from having worked for you.
Injuries aren’t always avoidable either. Roofers may endure accidental injury from tools used, for example, a roofer misjudges whilst installing shingles resulting in an injury from hammer. Or even lifting or carrying heavy objects ignoring or without having had proper training. There are also hot roofers who handle materials that could cause heat damage a customer’s property. Not to mention the obvious risk of slips or falls from the roof. Falls from a height account for 35% of major injuries in the construction industry and, sadly, roofers comprise 25% of employees killed by falls from a height across all sectors.
Public liability insurance for roofers, though not a legal necessity, also provides vital protection for your business – whether you’re a self-employed contractor or represent a large roofing company. Due to the heavy-duty tools involved in roofing, a simple accident may cause an expensive amount of damage which you may be held liable for. This can include fire damage from use of a blow torch or, more commonly, tools or materials dropping from the roof height and damaging the property beneath, such as a parked car, garden tiles, garden ornaments or a window. Falling objects may also seriously injure a person below, and they may claim compensation from you.
Of course, you should always make sure that yourself or any employee working at heights has undergone the appropriate training for the tasks required of their job role, and all equipment is assessed regularly for quality, to minimise and prevent as many accidents as possible. But sometimes, even with fully trained roofers wearing all the appropriate protective workwear and operating tools safely, accidents will still happen. People get hurt, things get broken. But don’t let these accidents financially ruin your business.
For more information or to receive a quote, please visit our page on Insurance for Roofers.