How important is public liability cover for electricians?
When dealing with electrics, you know better than anyone that you are potentially dealing with one of the most dangerous commodities possible.
As a result, specific Electricians public liability policies can be tailor made to suit the specifics of your business, whether you are self employed or run a small firm. Just like liability insurance across any other sector, public liability cover for Electricians is not obligatory and you cannot be forced to take it out.
However, as a business person operating in a highly skilled and risky field, it borders on the absurd to think about cutting corners.
The amounts of things that can potentially go wrong or malfunction when you are carrying out electrical work are limitless. You need to not only take in to consideration potential damages to property, but also to the health and wellbeing of your customers, members of the public, staff, sub-contractors and suppliers.
Your need for liability protection goes deeper than that of many other businesses and trades. You face exactly the same risks as any other business when it comes to minor accidents and damages. Such risks include the potential likelihoods of someone tripping over a trailing wire of a tool whilst you are going about your business; or you could unintentionally damage fixtures and fittings whilst carrying out your work.
These sorts of incidents go with the territory of any business and are certainly not unique to Electricians. They constitute common grounds from which claims are launched and for which liability cover was devised to offer businesses financial safety nets.
Thus the importance of suitable liability cover for Electricians operating any size of business simply cannot be underestimated. Policies are available that include not only the necessary elements of public liability, but also Employers liability if you have a team. They also offer you cover against damages, losses or thefts of equipment and tools that you either own or hire.
What sort of liability claims are instigated against electricians?
As a professional Electrician, it is highly likely that you have witnessed first hand at some stage of your career at least a handful of the broad spectrum of damages and accidents that lead to claims being pursued. As already established, such claims include common and relatively minor damages to property and personal injuries.
As your commodity is the supply and maintenance of power however, the potential risks your business faces head on daily encompass infinitely more than trips, slips and scuffs to plastering. Mishaps on your part caused either negligently or unintentionally can result in serious injuries, including burns, electric shocks and even fatalities in the most extreme of cases.
When wiring new buildings and carrying out rewiring work to existing electrical supplies, such dire consequences are real time considerations for Electricians.
With regards to property damage, incorrect electrical work can cause complete losses of power to businesses and homes, fires and outright property destruction. Such damages and devastation can equally result from faulty, inadequate or inappropriate equipment or materials you supply and sell to customers in order to fulfill the required services.
Worst cases scenarios unquestionably include the possibilities of serious injuries, lifelong disabilities and deaths caused by burns, electric shocks and fires. In terms of highly costly property damages, Electricians can find themselves held responsible for damages and losses caused by fires at commercial or residential properties.
If your work is deemed responsible for causing fire at a business premises, you may not simply face a claim for damages and losses to premises and possessions. As if that was not enough, a company might also sue you for the disruption caused to their business. As a result of fire damage, they are quite likely to have lost irreplaceable data and information, besides suffering a loss of business caused by interruption to their regular trading patterns.
What about people – can they not be held individually responsible?
The only instances in which you might outsource blame and liability to another person or people is if you sub-contract work on an unsupervised basis to a self employed individual or another firm. If you do this, you are strongly advised to incorporate a checking procedure in to your risk assessment.
Sub-contractors are classed as such if they carry out work on your behalf under their own steam and utilising their own equipment and materials. It is your responsibility to ensure that they can provide you with evidence of their own public liability cover. Should claims arise for which responsibility can be apportioned to them, they are liable, not you.
On the flip side of the coin, you need to ensure that your own public liability cover is relevant and timely if you operate as an electrical sub-contractor. Otherwise, the same thing can happen to you whilst working on jobs on behalf of someone else.
The potential financial and reputational damages that Electricians can suffer as a result of public liability claims come with high price tags. Whether you work for yourself, run a small business, act as a contractor or a sub-contractor, public liability cover might just prove to be your best friend if and when incidents occur. It can provide the missing link between remaining in business or going out of business.
In such a high risk sector, the payouts for successful claims against you plus legal expenses incurred might break both your bank and your credibility without the back up of liability insurance cover.