Do I Need To Have a Valid Health And Safety Certificate for Builders’ Insurance?
Caeva O'Callaghan | March 11th, 2021
The world of health and safety can be a confusing one. But if your Builders insurer asks to see a valid health and safety certificate, are you legally obliged to provide one?
Yes. The law states that every business in Ireland must have a health and safety statement. Therefore, it is a prerequisite your builder’s insurance provider will insist on before you take out a policy. You will not be granted cover without one.
A health and safety certificate represents a commitment to the safety and health of yourself and others. It is a qualification that can be obtained from many course providers, including NEBOSH and CMI.
In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:
- What is a health and safety certificate?
- What is a health and safety statement?
- Why do I need a health and safety certificate for insurance?
In some cases, you may simply need a health and safety statement to be eligible for builders’ insurance. This will vary across providers.
What is a health and safety certificate?
A health and safety certificate is earned after completing a program, usually offered by technical or online colleges. The program focuses on actionable health, safety and risk management topics, including but not limited to the following:
- Identifying existing health and safety issues in your workplace
- Building effective health and safety management systems
- Creating risk management systems
- Reducing incidents in the workplace
- Conducting accident investigations
- Training and leading employees
The actual course specifics may vary, depending on the course you take and the school that’s offering the course.
A certificate is a qualification in health and safety. You may still need a current safety statement for your business in order to be eligible for builders’ insurance, but getting a health and safety qualification will prove to your insurer that you take health and safety matters seriously.
What is a health and safety statement?
The safety statement is a document which sets out how safety and health are managed wherever you work. In it, you need to:
Identify dangerous building activities and assess the risks – i.e. likelihood and severity – of someone becoming injured.
- Explain what safety measures have been put into place to protect your own safety, as well as that of your clients, employees, service providers, and members of the public
- Describe how safety will be managed and secured on your building site, and by whom
A health and safety statement is easy to prepare yourself. You can find several guides online on how to do so.
A risk assessment is different. If you are asked to complete a risk assessment, you need to take into account all the hazards on your building site, as well as the potential impact on anyone involved if something goes wrong. You can find out more about completing risk assessments, as well as a template risk assessment to fill out, on the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) website.
When filling out the risk assessment, you need to include vital information for emergency contacts such as doctors, vets and police as well as priests and ministers. You’ll also need to promise that your machinery is operational and all safety measures have been put in place. For example, you will have to state that all electrical equipment is in full working order.
This risk assessment will not cover you for dishonesty. If you have stated that you have safety precautions in place and a tragedy happens because you did not, your claim may be invalid.
Why do I need a health and safety certificate for insurance?
Demonstrating you take an active interest in promoting health and safety will tell your insurance that you take the many risks present on a building site seriously. This lets them know you aren’t likely to make a frivolous claim or recklessly endanger yourself or others, and won’t likely cost them much money.
If you are buying a policy that does not ask for a health and safety certificate, health and safety statement or even a simple risk assessment prior to going on cover, then you should ask yourself if this is the kind of insurer you want to be dealing with.
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All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.