Insurance rates have fallen considerably since the mid 2000s. There is always the possibility that rates may rise again so what precautions can a small business take to help keep insurance costs as low as possible?
During a ‘hard market’ (a market where insurance rates are rising), insurance companies become very selective as to the risks which they are willing to insure.
When rates start to rise, insurers do not need as customers, because the increase in premium levels will mean that they reach their turnover targets regardless. What happens then is that they seek out the good risks and simply say ‘no’ to the bad ones. So to prepare for this it is essential to start turning your business into a ‘good risk’.
Here are some measures which your business can take to put it into the ‘good risk’ category.
1. Update and implement your safety statement.
I recommend getting a good health and safety consultant on board. The money spent, will help to keep your insurance costs down in the long term and your business will become a safer place to work. Not to mention the ‘peace of mind’ that comes with having ‘health and safety’ matters up-to-date. If an accident does happen and one of your employees is injured, you can take some comfort in the fact that you have done everything possible to protect your employees. Failure to have health and safety matters in order can also lead to jail terms being imposed on company directors, if a serious accident occurs.
2. Introduce a management system for subcontractors.
Any subcontractor coming on site should ideally produce safety statement, insurance details, training certificates. Ideally, there should be a robust system in place to manage this.
3. Provide staff with suitable & up-to-date training and keep detailed records of same.
Examples include forklift, manual handling, work-at-heights, confined spaces, safepass, first aid.
4. Have induction procedures for new staff.
This could include training, getting the employee to sign-off on the safety statement, showing the new employee emergency procedures etc.
5. Conduct safety / tool box talks.
Regular safety talks with up dates on any new procedures.
6. Have suitable fire and emergency procedures.
In addition to good procedures, there should be occasional drills. The premises should also be equipped with serviced fire extinguishers.
7. Supply staff with suitable ‘Personal Protective Equipment’.
This can include boots, hats, goggles, ear defenders and any other suitable safety equipment.
8. Conduct a risk assessment of the noise levels within the business and address these issues where required.
Loss of hearing is a increasingly popular source of employers liability claims. The risk is especially evident in factories and should be addressed to avoid an avalanche of claims in the future.
9. Ensure machinery and equipment is tested.
Health and safety regulations impose a requirement on business to ensure that certain types of working equipment is tested. This includes lifting equipment and pressure vessels. Up-to-date certificates should be kept on file and available for inspection.
10. Implement a good level of housekeeping.
In every workplace there should be a good level of housekeeping. i.e a place for everything and everything in its place. This helps to avoid slip and trip accidents.
These are only examples. Every business should discuss the matter with their health and safety consultant and implement robust health and safety procedures and records. This information should then be conveyed to insurers at renewal. The result should be more competition amongst insurers for your business and cheaper premiums.
So, spend the money on health and safety & save it on insurance.
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Disclaimer: The material contained is this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.