Employers’ Liability Insurance – ensuring your safety at work

Your employer is responsible for your health and safety while you are at work. If you are injured as a result of an accident at work, or become ill as a result of your work, and believe your employer is responsible, you are entitled to make a claim and seek compensation from them.

This is why most organisations that employ staff should have an employers’ liability insurance policy in place. If they don’t, they can be fined and run the risk of having to pay out thousands of pounds in compensation from their own pocket.

Set out below are some frequently asked questions which may be of use to both employees and employers wanting to find out more:

How do I find out if my employer has an employers’ liability insurance policy?

Your employer must display a copy of their employers’ liability insurance certificate – either a hard copy or electronic version – and ensure employees have “reasonable access” to it. The certificate must contain the level of cover in place (£5m minimum is required), state which company or companies are covered and include the name of the authorised insurer.

How do I know whether I am protected by employers’ liability insurance?

Whether or not you are covered by employers’ liability insurance depends on your contract with the person you work for. This contract can be spoken, written or implied. Even if you consider yourself to be self-employed for the purposes of tax, you may still be an employee for the purposes of employers’ liability insurance depending on the nature of your relationship with the person you work for. If you have any doubts you should seek legal advice from your trade union, a Citizens’ Advice Bureau or a legal centre.

Do all employers need to have employers’ liability insurance in place?

Employers’ liability insurance is compulsory for most employers. There are some exemptions such as public sector organisations and health service bodies, where any claims for compensation are paid directly from public funds. Certain family businesses are also exempt, for example, if your employer is your husband, wife or civil partner, but the exemption does not apply if the businesses is a limited company.

What should I do if I think my employer is breaking the law?

If you suspect your employer is breaking the law, you should ask them to explain their insurance arrangements to you. If you are not satisfied with the explanation, contact your local HSE office who will investigate and where appropriate, fine your employer.

 

What happens if my injury or illness was caused some time ago?

Because some diseases can appear decades after exposure to their cause, employers should keep a complete record of their employers’ liability insurance, but there is no legal requirement to do so.

If your employer has gone out of business since your original illness or injury, you can still claim compensation from the insurer who issued the employers’ liability insurance policy which was in force at the time. It may be worth seeking legal advice from a Citizens’ Advice Bureau, legal centre or union, or use the Employers’ Liability Tracing Service run by the Association of British Insurers.

How Hine can help

Employers’ liability insurance safeguards employees from accident and injury in the workplace, and also gives an employer confidence in their wellbeing. The team at Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers can develop an effective, low cost liability policy to give employees and employers in a range of industry sectors the peace of mind they need.

For more information about how Hine can help, call 0161 438 000 or email info@hine.co.uk

The Health and Safety Executive – responsible for enforcing the law on employers’ liability insurance – offers a useful guide for workers to help them understand what is required. Visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse39.pdf for details.

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