Risks plasterers need to be aware of and how to safeguard against them

Close up of a plasterer's hands, plastering a wall.

Plasterers face daily risks, like many other trades professionals. From potential slip and trip hazards to dust inhalation, and from accidental damage to customers’ property to inadvertently creating liability risks to members of the public. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the risks and how you can minimise them and their potential impact on your business.

Potential personal health risks

As a self-employed professional, your personal health must be your top priority, because if you are too ill to work it can have a massive impact on your finances. Chasing increased revenue and trying fit extra work into an already busy schedule can have a long-term detrimental effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. It can also reduce your capacity to complete your job to the best of your ability without losing your concentration. On top of this, there are liability risks in your profession that can cause injuries and damage to your health, so it is prudent to carry occupational personal accident insurance just in case the worst happens.

Professional risks to your plastering business

When you’re self-employed it’s your responsibility to ensure your business, your customers, and your employees are safeguarded from the daily professional risks you face.

It is common for tradespeople to find themselves on the receiving end of a claim, even if they think they’ve done nothing wrong.

From creating trip hazards to members of the public, to falling victim of tool theft, to an employee sustaining an injury because of their work. You cannot possibly keep an eye on everything, so it is important to ensure you are covered with plasterer’s insurance so you can concentrate on completing a fantastic job for your customers.

Plasterers are exposed to a range of daily risks including, but not limited to:

  • Inhaling dust and fumes from working in poorly ventilated rooms and buildings.
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) from repeated daily activities, especially when spreading on ceilings.
  • Slip, trip accidents from spilt plaster and tools and equipment left on the floor, or fall accidents from working at height (up a ladder or scaffold).
  • Skin problems from working with potential irritants, such as dry plaster mix.
  • Unsatisfied customers making compensation claims.
  • Injury claims from members of the public.
  • Theft of essential tools, equipment and trades materials.

This is simply an indicative list of hazards a plasterer needs to be aware of, but how can you prepare so you can work without concern?

How can plasterers protect themselves?

Accidents will happen no matter how careful you are, so it’s wise to look at how you can protect your business and your own financial welfare just in case. As with most projects, you should conduct a risk assessment, so you are fully aware of the surroundings and the potential hazards and make contingency plans for them. You can find an example risk assessment for plasterers on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

It’s important to be prepared in advance so you can plan where you’re going to park your van so it’s easily and safely accessible as well as being safe from a potential break-in. Also, where you are going to safely deposit your debris, what safety measures you need to put in place if you need to work at height, and how much ground cover you’ll need to ensure property isn’t damaged…to mention but a few.

You’ll also need adequate insurance cover in case something does go wrong. We highlight the key insurance policies that can help you to look after yourself, your employees, your customers, and members of the public.

1. Safeguarding your personal welfare – Not being able to work could have a big impact on your business revenue and your own finances, if you’re not adequately covered.

Occupational personal accident insurance (OPA) will cover you if injuries and/or illnesses sustained during your job stop you from being able to work. The policy can pay out a lump sum or an ongoing payment to cover loss of earnings.

2. Cover for your customers and members of the publicPublic liability insurance (PL) is arguably the most common form of insurance for trades professionals.

Any business that deals with members of the public benefits from holding a PL policy as it will cover for the costs of defending injury claims, property damage claims, and medical expenses associated with a claim.

Examples of which could include plaster being accidentally spilled onto floor which your client slips on and sustains an injury as a result of their fall.

3. Looking after your team – If you employ staff you’re responsible for their welfare whilst they are in your employ. What isn’t always clear to is that you can also be responsible for the welfare of your previous employees, an example could someone falls ill because of work they did for you and they make a claim as a result, even though they have long-since moved on.

Employers’ liability insurance is one of only two UK insurances that is mandatory by law. If you employ staff you must carry an EL policy with a minimum of £5 million of cover, as per the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. The policy will cover the cost of defending or settling a claim from an employee who has suffered injury or disease because of the work they’ve done for you. Cover can include medical costs, legal costs, loss of income, and other related damages.

For every day that you do not carry EL insurance you can be fined up to £2,500. If you do not have a certificate of insurance that is accessible to view, or if you refuse to make your EL certificate available to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors when they ask for it, you can be fined up to £1,000.

4. Protecting your work – Contract works insurance is an important form of cover for trades and construction professionals. The policy provides cover for work you have completed – whether temporary or permanent – if it is damaged on the site of the contract or in transit to or from the contract site.

The policy will pay the policyholder the value of the permanent or temporary works at the time of the damage, or will cover the repair, restoration or replacement of the works or any part of the works that was damaged.

To get a quick quote for your plasterers insurance, simply click the quote button below.

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