It is well known that the construction industry is one of the sectors exposed to the most variety of risks; it is important that you are aware of the most common construction claims that you may receive and that will not keep you awake at night if you have taken out custom construction insurance that will avoid financial or productivity loss.
Falls from height
Did you know that falls from height are the leading cause of general contractors’ worker deaths on job sites? Also, fatalities are more common in smaller construction projects with fewer than 10 employees. Most often, accidents happen while working at heights on roof repair, scaffolds, and ladders. Very often, cases of fatal ones are happening while roofing and finishing projects in the residential construction business. Also, it is worth mentioning that immigrant workers, workers in smaller construction companies, and younger and older workers are at increased risk of differing site conditions. That is why with the right insurance broker you as a general contractor can obtain the best insurance policy and avoid construction claims which come with construction defects.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Table of work fatal injuries in the construction industry.
Injuries by equipment
No matter how responsible we are in our construction project, accidents happen and injuries resulting from contact with objects and equipment are one of the leading causes of work-related death and nonfatal bodily injuries for general contractors’ business. This category includes several types of injury events:
- Entrapment: when a finger, arm, or leg gets caught in the moving parts of the machine
- Impact situation: where the worker is potentially being crushed by moving parts of equipment
- Contact: If the body is having contact with a sharp edge, hot parts and as well live electrical items
- Entanglement: occurs when workers’ clothing, hair or part of jewellery gets caught in equipment and part of the machine
- Ejection: worker being hit/struck by objects or parts of equipment
Electrocution and burns
These kinds of accidents are being ranked very high as causes of death in the workplace.
Employees whose jobs place them in proximity near electrical sources are being exposed to a high risk of electrocution, burns and other kinds of injuries. Those workers who experience an electrical injury on a job site should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation insurance will cover medical bills and a portion of the lost wages of the injured employee. Further, employees are being insured from retaliation for filing construction claims and the employer is required to hold their job for a certain time period to allow for recovery.
- Electric shock occurs because of ungrounded power supplies, as well as lack of safety gear on machines, tears in machine parts or wiring, and in contact with overhead or underground electrical cords.
- Burn injuries- fire is not the only factor which causes them. Also, chemical exposure, electrical explosions, and defective products can also cause burns. Electrical burns are often severe and can cause a lack of taste, smell, sight, infection, and tissue and nerve damage.
Damage to property by contractor negligence
If you are doing a renovation or some work as a repairer or constructor, you can have tasks as diverse as changing light bulbs, plumbing, painting, laying floors or replacing a tap. Jobs that involve all kinds of defects and risks for your clients’ property you are working on: from equipment falling onto the newly laid floor and damaging it, hitting a valuable object and breaking it, dropping the paint can where it shouldn’t and causing a mess.
How to avoid construction claims:
- Do a visual inspection to identify potential hazards before starting work.
- Remove valuables from your job site area, and cover furniture to prevent further damage.
- Pay attention while moving around different rooms of the property with tools that may pose some danger.
Claim for defects in electricity
As the electrical installation of an entire building is complex, it could easily cause property damage. In fact, it is usually the most frequent complaint of a construction defect to consumption in the communities of owners. But even changing a simple light bulb carries risks both for you as a professional and for your clients, even if you take precautions.
For this reason, you must have your own General Liability insurance for electricians with operating liability coverage for accidental damage to third parties and post-work liability coverage for potential construction claims for faulty work execution for up to two years after it has been carried out the construction project.
How to avoid these construction claims and property damage:
- Always keep all electrical panels closed.
- Check that all the input and output lines on the electrical panels are perfectly fastened and insulated.
- Place a sign in cabinets and electrical panels referring to the type of risk to which they are exposed.
- Protect the power cables of portable power tools with resistant material, which will not be damaged by rocks or twists.
- Do not use defective cables, broken plug pins, or devices with a damaged casing.
- Prevent electrical conductors from being damaged, protecting them against burns, cuts or vehicle treads.
- Cover the registration boxes, used for connection, splices or derivatives, in operation.
Water damage and moisture
Water damage and moisture are one of the most common types of damage claims that client files and can happen both inside construction and outside. Fixing a faucet, unclogging the sink, or even doing some drilling work both indoors and outdoors can cause water damage.
It is common for pipes to be cut or, by accident, you can leave them exposed to the cold with the risk that they will freeze and end up bursting and causing financial loss to the client and damage claim for your business.
How to avoid them:
- Before starting work, the most basic thing is to cut off the water supply.
- Check where the pipes are to avoid accidents.
- At the end of your intervention, check that there are no leaks.
From slips and falls to objects and tools hitting someone. The risk of bodily injury for workers employed in many types of construction is one of the most common claims for the self-employed and for third parties.
How to avoid these construction claims:
- mark the area on the job site and prevent other people from entering it
- place the tools in a safe place and clean up when finished to prevent anyone from slipping or falling.
When the construction of a new building is finished, the structural elements and load-bearing walls need time to settle and sometimes a crack appears in the walls during this process. Another risk is that property damage occurs that directly affects the mechanical strength and stability of the building while a structure of these dimensions finishes compacting. These are important and very expensive problems that inevitably lead to complaints from neighbours about the construction and should prepare you for it.
How to avoid these delay claims:
- Get good quality construction products.
- Research construction plans for the project and do complete due diligence.
- Hire qualified employees for the job who are properly trained for all types of construction.
Accidents involving pedestrians or vehicles
When you are in a contractor business, maintenance or related activities involving construction projects on a road, or in a close area to it, special conditions arise that precede the movement of vehicles and people.
It is important to know the common causes of these types of accidents so that you can avoid getting into one yourself. Construction companies sometimes narrow highway lanes by placing cones or concrete barriers to mark temporary boundaries. These temporary limits are too narrow for cars or trucks to pass, causing them to hit cones or scrape the sides of concrete barriers. When this occurs, drivers can lose control of the vehicle and the impact of hitting cones or concrete barriers will cause the vehicles to spin into oncoming or passing traffic, causing injury or death to passengers or some pedestrians in the area. Another cause is the Inappropriate Signals, failure to notify unsuspecting drivers of obstacles like changed traffic patterns or lane closures leads to an increase in the number of car accidents that occur on that specific area of the road.
It is crucial to keep construction site conditions safe and to warn passers-by of any major hassle that may be present because of construction and to avoid potential damage claims. If they cannot do so and a car accident occurs because of this failure, the construction companies will probably be liable for the car accident and will probably pay for any damages that may result from the victims of such car accidents.
Did you know that forklift accidents are one of the leading causes of worker injuries in the construction industry? Most of the time, these accidents occur due to non-compliance with adequate safety measures, further exposing workers who work on this type of vehicle. The worker who is in charge of operating this type of machinery must be sufficiently trained to do the job because if they do not know how to use it correctly, it can cause serious accidents.
For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States, known by the acronym OSHA, has established regulations for the use of this type of machinery, with the purpose of protecting the safety of the workers who use it.
OSHA divides the safety standards for the safe use of forklifts into 3 essential parts: Standards for operating the forklift, safety training, and machine maintenance.
By following each of these rules and having general liability insurance for construction professionals, you will stay safe while driving a forklift. Remember that forklift accidents can be extremely serious, so it is best to prevent any type of injury you may suffer.
Theft of tools or materials from the construction site
Sometimes, when you are working in a construction or renovation, it may happen that you notice that the construction materials or tools are vanishing. So that you do not have to go through this unpleasant experience, we tell you what measures you should consider. Here is some advice to avoid stolen equipment:
- Make an inventory of materials and tools.
- Delimit the work area with fences.
- Install a security alarm
There is a wide variety of contractors’ insurance that guarantees the protection of your company, tools and work materials in case of theft and keeps you away from financial losses.
We know that any of these errors present a bleak picture for the investor or owner of the construction, although many of them, involve excessively higher expenses and recurring failures or vulnerability in the finished work.
As is well known, even taking all these precautions, accidents can still happen, having General Liability Insurance for construction professionals is something necessary not only for you as a contractor but also for your clients to have the tranquillity of knowing that you will be responsible for your mistakes. As every policy mentioned is mandatory for a business, be very detailed and choose a broker which will be able to answer all your requests, and certainly one of the best and most experienced in the market is Contractor’s Liability Insurance, who will get you covered in everything regarding construction claims.