Stone masons, also known as stone carvers, are people that craft all kinds of things using stone. From sculptures and decoration to buildings and architecture, stone masons utilise incredible skill to create some truly stunning and necessary work. Whether you’re a carver looking to work with intricate pieces, want to work with specialist materials such as marble or granite, or you’re a construction stonemason working to cut and prepare the stone for construction work, the skills, tools and techniques required are plentiful.
However, as with any career, stone masonry comes with its risks. From sharp or powerful tools going awry to the risks of working with heavy, dense or sometimes even dusty stone, insurance for you, your employees and the general public is crucial. Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Stone Masonry?
At its core, stone masonry is the art of making things using stone. Whether that’s an intricate carving of letters, designs and decoration, or creating sturdy construction materials ready for stunning architecture to be built, stone masons are an often overlooked but essential part of the construction industry. Stone masons can specialise in a number of areas, and find themselves in areas such as:
- Construction – preparing and cutting stone for buildings
- Banker masons – workshop-based, crafting and shaping blocks, adding texture and polish
- Carving – figures, patterns and letting
- Fixer masons – build dressed stone on construction sites following plans
- Monumental/Memorial masonry – making memorials for the funeral industry
There are plenty of areas where stone masonry can be useful and necessary and while they all differ in many ways, they also all face the same kind of risks. Sharp tools that can cause injury, heavy stones that can break toes or damage property, or even damage to the stonework on a building with poor workmanship – these risks are all part of the job and need to be handled accordingly.
What Might A Stone Mason Do?
Stone masons do far more than just cut or hammer stones. In fact, a stone mason on any job can find themselves handling a number of tasks, including but not limited to:
- Lifting and handling heavy materials
- Handling equipment
- Understanding technical drawings
- Repairing old structures and monuments
- Creating unique designs
- Dressing stone and walls
- Collaborating with conservationists, historians and other trades
- Material stock management
- Filling moulds
- Repairing headstones and statues
- Making and installing archways, window frames etc.
- Handling all kinds of stone, from marble and slate to sandstone and limestone.
What Are The Risks?
When working with stone, there are a number of health and safety guidelines you need to follow, but at the very base level, understanding the risks that you could face in your day-to-day job will help you better manage the work that you do. Some of the common risks you may encounter include:
- Manual Handling – The risk of injury to your back, feet and other parts of your body is high when carrying heavy materials around. Proper training should be given, as well as proper equipment.
- Exposure – The risk of exposure to dust, fumes and asbestos is high, particularly in old buildings. This will affect not only you but your staff and the public as well.
- Falling from height – If you are working on a tall piece or on a building, you will likely work from a height. Without proper securing, you could face the risk of falling from a height.
- Tools and Equipment – When using sharp tools or power equipment, you are always at risk of causing injury to yourself or those around you. Proper training and competency management will ensure you are using the tools correctly.
Getting The Right Insurance
When working as a stone mason, there are a few kinds of insurance that you can and should opt for. It is a legal requirement to have Employer’s Liability Insurance if you are employing people to work with and for you, however, you could also benefit from Public Liability Insurance for Stone Masons.
Public Liability Insurance provides you and your business with the financial protection needed in case a claim is made against you by members of the public when an accident or injury occurs. If a member of the public is injured as a result of your business activity, whether by falling tools, tripping over ladders or stones left laying around, or even by improperly secured work that later falls and causes damage to their property, having this insurance in place will offer financial support for any compensatory costs, as well as the legal fees associated with a claim.
Professional Indemnity Insurance may also be beneficial, particularly when conducting work of a sensitive nature. Whether that’s an older building, memorial or even headstone restoration, professional indemnity will protect your business against the legal fees associated with a claim where a client has lost money as a result of damaged reputation, defamation or other damages caused by advice or services provided by you and your business.
Stone masonry offers something truly unique to the world of construction, so it’s important to ensure that you and your business are protected. For more information about the insurance we can provide and how we can find you the best insurance policy for your business, all you have to do is get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance for free on 0800 1696137.