Risk Management for Tradies: A Comprehensive Guide

Risk Management for Tradies: A Comprehensive Guide

Tradies are the foundation of the working world.  They construct the very buildings we live and work in, from the first brick to the last blade of grass.  They are roofers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, landscapers, and painters.

Any job that requires a learned trade can be a rewarding profession, but by nature, these professions tend to be riskier, with more physical danger than working behind a desk every day.  Each type of job brings its own risks, be it a painter falling from a ladder, a roofer slipping off a roof or all of the many dangers inherent to working on a construction site.  Often, these jobs also require long hours, which can increase the risk of accidents due to fatigue and can make the job stressful for the tradesman.

As with any profession, it’s important to be aware of any risk associated with your trade and be prepared for any eventuality that may come.  Whether you are a sole trader that must obtain his own insurance protection or you have a business in which you have tradies working for you, your insurance needs are the same:  have adequate insurance coverage to protect you, your workers, and your business.

Common Risks Faced by Tradies Across Australia

Physical Labour

Australian tradies have the highest rates of serious injury and disease and, in fact, one out of every five workplace injuries involves a tradie. Their work usually involves intensive physical labour, and their trade opens them up to various dangers that can cause serious injury or even death.  According to Safe Work Australia, there were 152 tradies killed on the job in 2016, mainly in the Transport, Postal, Warehousing, and Construction industries.

physical labour

Suicide

Six times more prevalent than death by workplace accident, suicide has increased and has reached near epidemic proportions with one construction worker committing suicide every 2 days.This distressing figure is believed to be mainly due to the macho culture that pervades the construction industry.  There are many contributing factors for construction tradie suicide such as job stress, substance abuse, and the fact that many must leave their families for long periods of time for seasonal work, because they have to go to where the work is.  However, when a tradie needs help, there is often no-one to help, and reaching out is taboo.

The belief is that construction workers are tough and that mental health problems are a sign of weakness and should be kept solely in one’s private life.  But nothing is further from the truth, and there has been a push recently by some groups like MATES in Construction to raise awareness to the problem of the staggeringly high suicide rates in the construction industry. They have successfully convinced some construction companies to implement changes in how they handle employees in need of mental help, and even with their successes, there’s a lot of work left to do.

Tools

The risk of serious injury is higher among tradies than any other profession, but there are many other risks that tradies face every day.  Many trades require expensive tools that may be stolen.

Professional Responsibility

Tradies also can be held responsible if their work causes injury to another person. They may have work vehicles that could cause injury or an accident, and they could be held accountable if during the course of their work they damage property.

 

types of risk

Risk Management Strategies for Tradies

 Even if every possible precaution is taken, some workplace accidents are unavoidable. However, there are some things that can be done to lessen the risk to tradies in the workplace and reduce the number of insurance claims that need to be filed.  One of the main injuries tradies experience is muscular injury due to repetitive motion or hard manual labor, which accounts for 33% of all workplace injuries.  Most muscular problems can be prevented or lessened by following a few commonsense precautions:

  1. Make sure to always get enough sleep. Sleep allows your body to properly reset itself. Drowsiness increases the likelihood of accidents in the workplace.Do stretching exercises before doing strenuous work or any work that involves heavy lifting.

importance of sleep

  1. Ensure workers are adequately trained. Slips and falls on the job account for 22% of all workplace injuries, and many could be prevented by keeping the workplace free of any debris and that all equipment is properly stored when not in use. Any tradies working at dangerous heights should be properly trained and take every safety precaution to avoid an accidental fall. They should also be trained in using correct posture and lifting techniques. Bear in mind: It is good practice for any kind of workplace to ensure that every employee is not only trained on all safety procedures but that they are periodically retrained to keep procedures fresh and to cover any updated procedures.

workplace injuries

  1. Look after yourself. A body that is in good physical shape is better at handling strenuous labor without injury. As a tradie, you should keep in mind that you are ultimately in charge of your own health and mental well-being.

Healthy eating will make you more alert and give you energy.  Staying healthy, getting enough sleep, following all necessary precautions, and reaching out for help for any mental issues will help keep you safe and healthy.  Even something that may seem minor like wearing sunscreen or making sure that your clothing is not too loose-fitting, can keep you from needing to seek medical attention and filing a claim.  Furthermore, it’s important to try to get regular exercise, particular in areas that focus on strengthening the body’s core muscles.

look after your self

On construction sites, there is often a hierarchy of contractors and subcontractors and tradies and it can be confusing as to who is in charge of which safety procedures, but with clear, concise instruction, and frequent training, a safe workplace can be achieved.  It needs to start at the top, and with proper coaching, your team will reach their safety goals.

How Tradies Insurance May Benefit Your Business

 No one likes to think about having an accident at work.  But the reality is, they happen to even the most careful people.  The truth is, Tradies Insurance is a necessary tool to protect you or your business against a variety of risks.  This has been highlighted by the Builders Academy Australia, in an article detailing the importance of insurance.

Tradie Insurance  is a comprehensive insurance plan that covers all of the risks to your particular trade and if your coverage includes a Death or Total Permanent Disablement cover, it may pay a lump sum to you or your family to help support them if you are killed or left permanently disabled due to an accident.

What can Insurance for Tradies Cover?

Income protection, public liability & tool and vehicle

Income Protection.  What if you have a serious injury on the job that leaves you unable to work for several months?  As a tradie, you are ineligible to receive Worker’s Compensation benefits, and even though you have no income coming in, the bills will continue to show up in your mailbox.  Income Protection Insurance will cover your monthly wage if you are unable to work for an extended period of time.  Some may even include a life coverage in the event that the worst happens to protect your loved ones.

Public Liability.  This coverage protects you if you accidentally cause damage to a third party’s property or injury to them.  Being sued could cost you millions, and Public Liability Insurance would protect you and your business from possibly losing everything you’ve worked so hard for.  In some areas, Public Liability Insurance is a requirement for certain jobs.
Tool and Vehicle Insurance.  As a tradie, you have your own equipment and tools that are considerably expensive.  Without them, you can’t work. This coverage would not only protect against damage or loss of your tools but against theft as well.  The same goes for your work vehicle.

Tradesman Insurance. is an insurance package that caters to the specific risks that tradies face in their particular line of work.  Every trade is different but many tradies are exposed to the same risks, such as injury and liability, and regularly consulting with your insurance agent to assess your risk is an important part of your Tradies Risk Management.

The Importance of Tradies Insurance

Carrying a comprehensive Tradies Insurance policy makes you more attractive to potential employers, and they would most likely choose someone who has insurance over someone who does not.  In fact, some employers make it a requirement for doing business with them.  Just as you would keep your skills and work knowledge up-to-date and fresh, so should you with your insurance policy.

Insurance for Tradies protects you against the many risks of being a tradesman, but it also protects your family and the public as well.  If something terrible happens, you’re covered.

Your responsibilities as a tradesman go beyond the physical work that you do.  It is your responsibility to take every precaution and follow every safety rule that could prevent an accident that could cause injury to you or others or to cause any damage to property.  It is your responsibility to take care of your tools to make sure that they are in proper worker order and that they are put away and safely secured.

It is also your responsibility to provide protections for your family in case you are permanently injured or die on the job and to be accountable for damage done to a third party or their property.

That’s where we come in.  At PSC Direct, we’re experts with Tradies Risk Management.  We’ll work with you to assess your level of risk and come up with a comprehensive Tradies Insurance policy that will give you the right amount of protection for you, your business, and your family and give you peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong.