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Public liability: Risk Assessment

27th March 2009
By Arti in No Win No Fee
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Tradesmen are being urged to take on the best possible steps to ensure that their working environment is safe and secure for themselves and their customers.

As part of its 2009 Simply Safety campaign, Norwich Union is urging tradesmen to use safer ways of working.

Phil Grace, public liability risk manager at Norwich Union stated that risk assessment is the key to ensure safety at work for both employers and customers.

Risk Assessment and workers

"Tradesmen should conduct a risk assessment in the first instance, which will highlight any potential risks that need to be managed," said Mr Grace.

"This does not have to be an arduous task. It simply involves looking at what needs to be done and working out the safest way to complete the job."

Mr Grace stated that tradesmen working with height and power tools are more likely to be at greater risk of injury.

Carrying out a risk assessment would however, help adopt "safe methods of working" and "will reduce the risk of injury."

"Tradesmen should also ensure that they are using the correct equipment for the job," he added.

"For example, a stable and purpose-built means of access in preference to a makeshift approach, such as a chair or toolbox.

When using hazardous substances such as solvents or adhesives, protective equipment should be used. It is also vital that tradesmen carry out their work with the correct training, so for example, those working on gas appliances should be CORGI registered."

However, carrying out risk assessments does not only ensure safety to workers, but also to customers and members of the public.

Risk Assessment and customers

In many circumstances, people have been injured because of the negligence of someone else.

According to Mr Grace, "Being aware of surroundings is imperative, as vulnerable people may be present including children or the elderly, so segregating the work area from the customer is crucial."

"Leaving tool boxes lying around with tools sticking out or trailing wires could put these individuals in danger. Accidents can be avoided if areas are fenced off, or holes are covered to prevent unsafe access."

The firm is also advising tradesmen to ensure they are adequately insured in the case of someone getting injured and claiming compensation.

Mr Grace said: "In addition to assessing health and safety risks, making sure you have the correct insurance will help to protect your business. Any tradesman should have public liability insurance to provide compensation in the event of property damage or personal injury to the customer.

Personal accident insurance is also well worth considering, as an injury that prevents a self-employed tradesman from working could have serious consequences for the business, as well as family life. It commonly comes as part of a package with other types of insurance such as public liability," he added.

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