With more and more companies keen to be in touch with regulation to avoid accidents and official fines, health and safety consultants play an increasingly important role in the British economy. Firms which are found to have not taken the proper advice can find the penalties severe, and so they may choose to hire outside experts. While with careful planning mistakes and disputes are rare, sometimes consultants can find themselves on the wrong end of a disagreement which ends with a client taking legal action because of an incident. This is why health & safety consultant professional insurance is something to consider for anyone operating in the sector.
Some legal claims which occur may be based on fact and foundation, while others will be launched out of desperation and be invalid. Nonetheless, no matter how you believe an official legal action to be, it will still need to be defended properly and this will often mean hiring legal help.
Health & safety consultant professional insurance, typically including professional indemnity insurance, can payout if a third party accuses you of making mistakes or errors in the services you have provided. For example, a factory may face a personal injury claim following an accident involving an employee. In certain circumstances they may blame a health and safety consultant they have hired in the past and seek to refer the case on to them or to try to recover what they have lost by accusing the consultant of neglecting their duties.
In such circumstances a professional indemnity policy would pay for the legal defence of the case and even for any compensation if it was awarded against the consultant. Policies often come with strict limits, meaning a company will not pay out for bills and compensation past this point, and this is often decided when the policy is taken out and can be specified by the purchaser. Of course, depending on the size of the business, protection totalling a few thousand pounds might be necessary, but for larger firms a limit of millions may be more appropriate.
Deals are also quite broad in some of the extra circumstances they would guard against, and pay out in the event somebody faces a claim that they or their employees have acted dishonestly, that they have lost important data or documents belonging to a client, or that they have unintentionally infringed intellectual property rights.
Health & safety consultant professional insurance can even protect somebody for a period after they have finished trading. Just because somebody has retired or changed jobs does not mean that they are invulnerable to legal action relating to something which happened in the past, and for this a run off cover element can be arranged.
Although law-related protection might be more associated with businesses like medical practitioners and graphic artists, the right kind of cover can apply to anyone who offers advice on a professional basis. With health and safety now at the forefront of most business minds, a consultant in this sector has a considerable amount of responsibility on their shoulders when they take on a job. Therefore health & safety consultant professional insurance could be something to think about for lone freelances and specialist firms alike.
Professional insurance of this kind will normally involve some form of indemnity protection. This means it will pay out towards your legal costs should you ever be accused of making a mistake in the general conduct of your business. This may seem unlikely or improbable, but sometimes clients can wrongly accuse somebody of making an error, or a genuine slip up can occur which gets through the net with all the will and training in the world in place.
Of course, a potential mistake can be particularly harmful in the health and safety consultancy industry. Although someone might be quite prepared, one omission or error could lead to a company putting the wrong procedures in place, or simply making an incomplete set of precautions. They may then be in breach of the law, and face fines or prosecution. A health and safety consultant hired to help a company fulfil its duties may then be blamed and face a court case. This is never a pleasant prospect and can also be an expensive one depending on the circumstances.
Legal claims must be defended whether or not they are right or wrongly brought by a claimant, and this can be an expensive proposition. Professional indemnity insurance will cover a policyholder if they are accused of making a mistake, omission, or act of negligence in the day to day conduct of their work, potentially useful for all health and safety consultants.
Health & safety consultant professional insurance even covers the cost of compensation awarded to a successful claimant, meaning in the right circumstances it can save the financial future of a business. Smaller firms may not be able to bear the weight of a hefty solicitor bill, no matter how essential the legal protection was.
You can often even tailor the health & safety consultant professional insurance to your needs, arranging an excess as with other types of insurance policy. You’ll also need to agree a ceiling with your insurer, as a company will not pay out towards your legal costs after a claim indefinitely. So larger firms may want indemnity protection for hundreds of thousands of pounds, while an independent company run perhaps on a freelance basis may want a smaller ceiling. Note policies protect a range of eventualities too, from defamation to breach of copyright or confidence, and checking the small print can help you to ensure you have peace of mind against situations you may be particularly worried about.
As a profession which is often associated with paperwork and complicated rules, the health and safety sector now includes a number of professionals who specialise in advising firms on the right procedures to make sure they abide by the law. This type of advice can be crucial to a firm if it is to operate safely and legally. Health & safety consultant professional insurance is used by people operating in the business and to provide an extra level of protection should they make an unlikely but potentially damaging mistake during the normal conduct of their business.
A construction company might take on a particularly complicated job which involves a number of safety hazards. To make sure they are operating in the right manner they might hire a health and safety consultant to advise on what safeguards should be put in place during the completion of the work. However, should a consultant miss something in their assessment which then leads to an accident or injury, the company might be minded to seek compensation.
Health & safety consultant professional insurance can help take the pressure off in such situations by paying the legal costs of defending the case. The usual wording means to be covered a mistake must be made in the usual conduct of the business and must be unintentional.
Of course, any compensation award could also be expensive and this type of policy will also pay these damages, up to certain agreed limits. Most types of insurance in this sector will also go beyond mere mistakes. It will also guard against one or two more unpredictable legal issues such as an accusation of defamation, or an allegation of breach of confidence or copyright. Public liability insurance will also be included in the package in some cases.
In exchange a company must decide what level of cover is right for them and agree a regular premium. It is important to assess what cover limits are appropriate to the size of the business concerned, and what excesses a potential policyholder will be prepared to pay. Both of these factors can affect the cost of a policy.
When setting up cover the applicant will normally be asked a number of straightforward questions about their business. These will normally cover things like revenue, exact types of consultancy work normally carried out, and what legal safeguards, if any, someone already has in place.
Some optional extras include retroactive cover, useful for any claim which relates to a past event which took to place before the policy was set up. Overrun or ‘run off’ cover can also be arranged for anyone who is retiring, winding down the business or transferring to a new insurer. This means a typical health & safety consultant professional insurance could help protect an individual or business against almost any legal pitfalls which may arise because of normal day to day practices.