Does Builders Liability Insurance Cover Accidents on Site?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 3rd, 2024

You’ll find many different insurance products on the market for builders and contractors. But will liability insurance protect you against costs arising from accidents and injuries?

Yes. If a member of the public injures themselves while on-site, the claim will fall under the public liability section of your builders insurance. If one of your employees or bona fide subcontractors injures themselves during the course of their work with you, the claim will fall under the employers’ liability section.

Even if you only employ people on a part-time or temporary basis, you should take out employer’s insurance to ensure they have protection in case of an accident.

In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:

Public liability and employers’ insurance are both very important policies to have in place. As a builder, you work risky jobs with dangerous tools, so making sure everyone is safe is a top priority.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance is meant to protect the customers of the tradesmen or any member of the public in the event that a claim should arise and the tradesmen are responsible.

For example, if you’re working in your client’s home and accidentally spill varnish on the parquet flooring and ruin it, your public liability insurance will cover the cost of the labour and materials involved in its replacement.

It also covers injuries that members of the public may suffer while on-site. If your client, or one of their visitors or loved ones, suffers illness or injury as a result of your building works, your public liability insurance should cover associated costs. These could be loss of income while they heal, hospital costs and more.

As a tradesman, you really do need public liability insurance. If you don’t have it and an accident happens, you may find yourself having to pay out of pocket – and the consequences can be costly.

Employers’ liability insurance

If you’re a builder working as a contractor or subcontractor, you should make sure you have the right insurance to protect those you’re working with, as well as those you’re working for.

From an insurance point of view, you may have three types of people working for you:

  • Employees who work with you permanently or part-time
  • Labour-only’ subcontractors, who work under your supervision using your tools and materials
  • ‘Bona fide’ subcontractors, who typically make their own decisions and use their own tools and materials

If you have any employees or labour-only subcontractors, you’re legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. This protects anyone who works for you against accidents, theft, and other workplace risks.

When you get a quote, you will need to give your insurer a lot of information to make sure they have all the necessary details. Your insurer may not agree with your assessment of whether a subcontractor is labour-only or bona fide, so be as clear as you can. In most cases, you’ll need to check that any bona fide subcontractors also have their own public liability insurance.

Managing on-site risks

Building sites are a minefield of potential injuries, as well as damage to property. In order to keep your insurance claims valid, you should always make sure your working conditions are as safe as possible, for you and anyone else who might pass by.

Always use appropriate signage, and lots of it. Inform everyone that you can that a floor may be wet, there will be loose cables or if dust will be in the air. If you’re going to be doing dusty work, put down plenty of sheets and plastic over doorways to lessen the risk of debris spreading.

Always adhere to strict safety measures when working with power tools. Never leave them unattended, and be sure all your employees have proper training for the equipment they are using.

And of course, make sure you and your employees always wear safety gear including goggles, dust masks, sturdy boots and gloves whenever you are working.

Want to know more about public liability cover on your builders insurance? Call and talk to our builders insurance experts today and we can advise you on putting in place the right cover for your business.








All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.