Are you a Concrete Contractor?

Do you know your commercial insurance exposures?

Please read through our summary and make sure your current broker has you covered.

Minimum recommended coverage:

Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Contractors’ Equipment, General Liability, Umbrella Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Non-Ownership Automobile

Other coverage’s to consider:

Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Goods in Transit, Valuable Papers and Records, Employment Practices Liability, Environmental Impairment Liability

Property exposures
Property exposures are generally limited to an office operation and storage of, material, equipment and vehicles. The contractor’s yard may store large mixing or batch plants to combine the ingredients for mixing cement or concrete and to load them into trucks.

The hazards to fire and wind depend on the processes being conducted in the building. Large drum mix plants or batch plants involve heat and flammable bitumen or tar, and thus pose a serious fire hazard. If repair work on vehicles and equipment is done in the building, fire hazards may be high. If equipment and supplies are stored in the yard, they may be damaged due to wind, vandalism, and theft.

Inland marine exposure
Inland marine exposure is from accounts receivable, contractors’ equipment, installation floater, and valuable papers and records. Construction equipment and concrete mixed in transit are heavy and difficult to transport. The training of drivers and haulers, especially with respect to the loading, tie-down, and unloading, is important to avoid damage to bulky equipment due to overturn or collision. At the job site, hazards come from uneven terrain, from the abrasive or caustic nature of some of the materials, or from the sheer weight of the concrete as it may exceed the equipment’s load capacity. Tools and equipment may be damaged due to dropping and falls from heights, or being struck by other vehicles. The concrete forms lack identifying marks and must often be left overnight or longer at a site, increasing the exposure to vandalism and theft.

Equipment may strike underground objects or utility lines during excavation. It may fall into holes or pits, slip or fall into mud, water, or sink-holes. It may also be damaged by rock, land or mud slides or from fire due to overload. Materials and equipment left at job sites may be stolen or vandalized unless proper controls are in place. If the insured does guniting of foundation piles, the pressurized application should be well controlled. (Gunite is a protective cement/sand coating sprayed over wire mesh onto piles.)

The accounts receivable exposure could be significant as payments are usually made via instalments throughout the course of the project. Valuable papers and records usually consist of custom project plans. Copies should be kept at an offsite location for easier restoration.

Occupier’s liability exposure
Occupier’s liability exposure is low at the contractor’s premises since visitor access is limited, but equipment stored in the open may present an attractive nuisance to children. At job sites, the operation of heavy machinery presents numerous hazards to the public and to employees of other contractors, particularly when there is structural work. The weight of large mixers and mix-in-transit vehicles can cause serious injury or property damage. Hazards increase significantly in the absence of job site control, including spotters, signage and barriers where appropriate. After hours, wet cement attracts children and vandals. At the job site, the contractor is responsible for the safety aspects of the entire project even after hours when there is no construction activity. Excavation and other operations pose numerous hazards, especially if the contractor exercises inadequate control of the area. The general public and employees of other contractors can be injured due to trips and falls over debris, equipment, or uneven ground. Digging can result in cutting utility cable, damaging property of the utility company and disrupting service to neighbouring residences or businesses. A significant morale hazard may be indicated by the absence of detailed procedures to determine utility locations and to research prior uses of the land. Construction sites create an attractive nuisance hazard, especially if work is close to residential areas. Safety barriers such as perimeter fencing may be needed if the excavation work is complete but other construction has not yet started.

Completed operations liability exposures
Completed operations liability exposures can be very high due to the injury and property damage that can occur from improper installation and curing. Concrete may crack, rapidly deteriorate, or otherwise fail. The mixture of the cement and concrete and the materials used to harden and cure must meet all specifications. Quality control and full compliance with all construction, material, and design specifications is necessary, as is documentation of customer specifications, work orders, change orders, and inspection and written acceptance by the customer.

Environmental impairment liability exposures
Environmental impairment liability exposures may arise from the waste generated in the fuelling and cleaning of heavy equipment. Allowing waste to accumulate either at the job site or in the contractor’s yard could cause a severe environmental impairment situation. The insured must use safe methods to collect, transport, and dispose of the waste.

Automobile exposures
Automobile exposures have catastrophic potential. Since mix-in-transit units are among the heaviest on the road, they can cause severe injury or damage even in apparently minor collisions. These units are awkward to handle while driving or in operation, and are difficult to tow if they overturn or become stuck in mud. Age, training, experience, and drivers’ records, as well as age, condition, and maintenance of the vehicles, are all important items to consider.

Workplace safety exposures
Workplace safety exposures can be very high. Lifting strains and crush injuries may arise at every phase of the operations. From the clearing and excavation of the site, whether in land or water, to the laying of forms, to pouring of concrete to the drying and curing and completion of the final project, frequent and severe losses can occur. Injury or death from falls, drowning, or being struck by falling objects can occur any time work is done above water or at heights. Common exposures may arise from work with tools, strains and lifting injuries. Fine sand from the aggregate may cause eye injuries or even lung disease such as silicosis. Cumulative exposure to the high-decibel operations may result in permanent hearing impairment. The use, misuse, maintenance and transport of large, heavy machinery presents unique hazards that need review. Pouring mix concrete from a mixer usually involves operations on top of the vehicle; the absence of proper guarding may significantly increase the exposure to loss.

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