The Top Risks Faced by Tradesmen and How Insurance Can Help
It may come as no surprise to people working in the trades that the health and safety risk level attached to your job is higher than the average job. Every day, no matter if you are a carpenter, electrician, plumber or window glazier, you will find yourself in situations deemed 'dangerous'.
In 2022, various accidents and work-related injuries were recorded in the construction industry, according to figures released by the UK Health and Safety Executive.
Getting everyone in your business involved in proactive health and safety is the most efficient way to anticipate workplace risk. In this article, you'll find out the most common risks, injuries, and illnesses caused on-site with ways to manage them.
The most common risks found in the trades
As a trade business owner, your first thought should always be how to keep your site safe and sound. Hazards run rife in the trades, and diminishing these risks is of the utmost importance. Below are several instances of risk within the trades industry and how specific health and safety techniques can ensure you stay in line with regulations.
Slips, trips and falls
Trade-related slips, trips, and falls down stairs, over machinery, or even into holes you have just dug in the ground account for a considerable share of workplace injuries. Having a messy work site also raises the likelihood of this kind of hazard, but it can be easily avoided with care and consideration, keeping waste in a skip and tools stored in a safe area.
Falls from height
Over the past three years, 47% of work-related accidents in the UK involved falling from a height. Most of these incidents include falling from ladders, step ladders, and roofs. Falls have also been reported from trucks, cranes, drilling rigs, balconies, elevated work platforms, trailers, and lorries, among other things. Following strict guidance on working at height is a must here. Consider safety harnesses and the use of cherry pickers or a forklift.
Injury caused whilst lifting or carrying (AKA Musculoskeletal Disorders)
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Bone pain
A dominant threat to workers' health and safety in the construction industry is bodily injury and stress to muscles, bones and joints. Handling, moving or lifting heavy objects, which tradespeople repeatedly do, typically results in neck, back, and shoulder injuries.
Being hit by a moving or flying object
In the trade industry, a significant risk is being struck by moving, flying, or falling objects like large pipes, windows, metal plates, or even tools. It's critical to always wear protective gear on-site; this one simple step could save your life.
Exposure to loud noises can have serious long-term effects - your hearing is a vulnerable asset to your body and should be looked after! Most construction workers suffer from tinnitus or permanent hearing loss due to exposure to noise levels. Wearing protective equipment, such as ear defenders, and acting fast if you detect any early signs of hearing loss, can help you control this risk. An early sign of a problem with hearing could be turning up the volume on your devices higher than you previously did.
Stress, depression and anxiety
According to HSE UK, construction workers experienced an estimated 21,000 cases of stress, depression, or anxiety at work between 2019 and 2022. Even though this number is remarkably lower than in other industries, it could be significantly reduced. Always take regular breaks to look after your mental health, and if you run your own business, always keep an eye on the mental health of your employees, as a happy, healthy team will positively impact your company's growth. If you would like to check out some charities for your business, consider The Calm Zone and Mind.
How to manage risk as a trade business
Know the legislation and regulations for health and safety
As a trade business owner, your legal responsibility is to ensure your staff's health and safety while at work. A bonafide health and safety plan will help you retain your valued employees, get more business through the door, build a safe environment for your workers and customers, and keep you safe in the knowledge you are equipped should something go wrong. To learn more about UK-based health and safety legislation, read more here.
Be prepared for anything
Make emergency plans and complete regular risk assessments so that you can act fast in the worst-case scenario. If anything goes wrong on-site, you are legally required to inform your local government or council that oversees workplace health and safety, so you must know precisely what to do during a H&S accident.
On top of this, If you have five employees or more, you must have a written health and safety policy to comply with HSE regulations. Even if there are fewer than five people on your team, you are still advised to do this.
It should be evident in your HSE policy who is answerable for what in your company, when they should be held accountable, and how they should do so.
Remember that merely filing paperwork does not make your trade business compliant. It should be your primary focus to actively manage workplace risks.
Have adequate trade insurance
You will save time, money, and stress if you have the right amount of trade insurance. With all of the hazards posed on building sites, you could be held liable for a claim if an accident occurs on-site at any time. If you fail to do your job safely and effectively, your customer may demand compensation due to an accident, injury or damage.
Following the correct health and safety protocols will help you in the event of a claim. If damage or injury is caused, you may need to give evidence of how you run your site and the safety elements you have imposed. Insurance is always your safety net if something goes wrong. It gives you that all-important peace of mind knowing that your business will be financially covered if your day takes a turn for the worse.
At Rhino Trade Insurance, we offer a host of business-critical insurance options for tradesmen and women. Insurance can be there for you in a time of need. Whether you want to take out Public Liability Insurance, Income Protection, Personal Accident Insurance or Legal Expenses, our experts can help sort the correct level of coverage and keep your business protected.
Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?
Whether you are a carpet fitter, plumber, builder, or joiner, we have the right insurance for you! Rhino has been the preferred trade insurer for tradespeople all over the UK for many years. Our dedicated trade connoisseurs are available to assist you in selecting the appropriate insurance.
Call us at 0116 243 7904 to speak with a helpful staff member right away, or click here to get an instant quote online without sharing all of your data. It will only take a few moments.