Top ten ways to minimise risk

14.04.2011

At Markel Direct we recognise that seeking ways to reduce risk is important for the longevity of any organisation. Preventing claims helps keep premiums reasonable and also enables companies to avoid significant costs and ‘downtime’ from activities. But with increased liability claims, how can organisations reduce their risk and help to safeguard their financial stability?

Below are the top ten causes of liability and property claims and ways to minimise the chances of these claims being brought. It is vitally important that your business has comprehensive insurance cover, whether that is professional indemnity, employers liability, public and product liability (general liability), directors and officers liability, office buildings and contents or business interruption. For further information about the insurance covers we offer, take a look at our FAQs or get an online quote in just 90 seconds.

  1. Accidents with machinery, tools or materials – Machinery should be guarded correctly, with the appropriate controls fitted (including emergency stops and interlocks). Routine inspection and an effective defect reporting system will also help reduce misuse and minimise risk. Adequate training for all equipment is the best way to ensure your employees are using machinery in the appropriate way.
     
  2. Slips and trips – Ensure floors are in a good condition, adequately lit and with designated walkways. Good housekeeping standards and appropriate footwear are also essential to minimise the risk of slips and trips and documenting a cleaning programme for any spillages will also be of benefit.
     
  3. Struck by object/person – It’s important to identify the potential sources and causes of incidents and introduce appropriate control measures, which may include traffic control, good housekeeping and effective machinery guarding.
     
  4. Lifting – Eliminating the need to lift wherever possible is the most effective way to minimise risk. If lifting does need to happen providing personal protective equipment, lightening the load and reducing repetitive movements will all help to minimise the risks associated with lifting.  Ensure at least two able bodied people are available for lifting people or weights above a certain amount.
     
  5. Fall from height – Proper planning of proposed work with assessments and controls of the risks is essential. If safer ways to carry out work can be implemented, then always choose these. Deciding on the provision of alternative equipment (e.g. scaffolding instead of a ladder) could mean the difference between a serious accident and a successful, claim-free project.
     
  6. Fire (Arson) – Adequate security, such as getting an expert to check locks, shutters and windows and maintaining electronic security systems (intruder alarms and CCTV) are effective ways to minimise the risk of arson. Using enclosed and lockable waste skips and bins will also help prevent risk.
     
  7. Fire (Gas or Electrical) – Ensuring that all systems are installed by suitably qualified contractors (preferably NICEIC approved, or a member of the Gas Safe Register), plus regular inspection and testing will minimise the risk of electrical or gas fires. Establishing controls on the use of portable appliances is also important and sometimes an insurance requirement.
     
  8. Fire (Processes and Storage) – To minimise risk of process and storage fires, ensure appropriate cut outs or limiters/thermostats are installed where pre-heating is required. Reviewing the layout of storage to reduce the likelihood of combustible materials being kept near a heat source will also minimise risk. Fire detection and protection systems are vitally important and where possible, segregate process areas from storage areas.
     
  9. Water damage – Ensure areas with water pipes are kept above freezing point to prevent frost damage and lag any external pipe work. Evaluating whether gutters, downpipes and storm drains can cope with heavy rainfall and making the necessary alterations will also minimise the risk of water damage. Drains and gutters will also need to be inspected and cleaned out regularly. Finally, ensure any vulnerable stock is stored at least 150mm above the floor.
     
  10. Burglary/Theft – You can improve the physical security of your premises by installing electronic security systems such as CCTV, intruder alarms and security lights. Improving perimeter security, installing barriers and screens and using security personnel and contractors will also minimise the risk of burglary or theft.

If you would like further advice on risk management, the following links may be of interest: