4th August, 2014

Court case highlights the need for trades insurance

A recent court case in the ACT has confirmed the importance of insurance for companies working in dangerous environments.

A judge in Canberra has ruled that, in an instance of negligence from a contracting company, both the business and managers could be fined for accidents in the workplace.

The judgement came following the electrocution of a vehicle driver whose dump truck caught overhead wires while offloading gravel in 2012. The 47 year old died as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident.

Even though the contracting company responsible has since gone into liquidation, there is still the possibility that managers within the company will be fined for the accident, following a recent law change. As part of the streamlining of health and safety regulations across Australia, both companies and managers are now responsible for accidents on site.

For a category two offence like this, companies can face a maximum penalty of $1.5 million while managers may incur fines of $300,000. In the ACT case, one staff member is facing these potential costs, along with the action taken against the company itself.

This accident is a strong reminder of the value of comprehensive insurance for tradies. There are a variety of hazards on building sites which can seriously harm you, your staff or members of the public. Insurance is often the only way to fully cover yourself if an accident like this occurs.

Without workers compensation and public liability insurance, these costs will have to be carried entirely by your business, which can easily force your company into liquidation.

It is also a good idea to make sure that you have enough insurance to cover liability for managers. Now that staff members can be held personally responsible for accidents in the workplace, it is more important than ever to talk to your insurance broker and get the right levels of cover.

Author: Murray Bruce