How health and safety can affect an insurance policy
There are many different types of business insurance. Employers’ liability protects you against the cost of compensation claims resulting from employees falling ill or injuring themselves as a result of working for you. Public liability applies to members of the public who are hurt on your premises or as a result of something your business does. Building insurance covers your premises, motor vehicle insurance will be needed if you use vehicles within your business and professional indemnity (PI) insurance covers professional businesses against claims made by clients for damages caused by professional negligence. Depending on the nature of your business, you might also want to consider more specialist cover such as goods in transit insurance or plant and business equipment insurance.
The exact type of business insurance you require will depend on a number of factors, including the type and size of your business. You might choose a package from a single insurer or take different kinds of cover from different providers, but it’s worth bearing in mind that employers’ liability is a legal requirement for any business with one or more employees. Motor insurance is also obligatory if you use motor vehicles in your business, and other forms of insurance can provide vital safety nets even if they are not legal requirements.
The premium you pay will also vary hugely depending on a number of factors, including the size and scope of your cover. Insurers base a large part of their pricing decisions on how much risk there is deemed to be. A construction site, a manufactory where employees work with potentially dangerous machinery or a business with premises that are open to the public are all likely to be considered higher risks than an office-based professional services business when it comes to employers’ liability and public liability policies (if not PI insurance).
Health and safety concerns can affect the terms and costs of your business insurance. You will, of course, have to comply with minimum health and safety standards, but carrying out a thorough risk assessment and taking steps to minimise all possible risks is a good idea all round – fulfilling your legal obligations, helping to make your insurer happy and keeping your employees and members of the public safe.
Some businesses choose to institute drug and alcohol testing as part of their health and safety regime. It’s worth noting that there are strict rules surrounding compulsory tests of this nature. Samples must be taken and stored appropriately, and the oral fluid lab test or other tests must be carried out professionally. Employees must also give their informed consent to testing, although they can be disciplined or even dismissed for refusing to take a test if the requirement is written into their contract.
Health and safety is a vital issue for all businesses, and taking your responsibilities seriously can be beneficial, not only in terms of your insurance premiums, but also in reducing lost days at work and ensuring you have a healthy and happy workforce.