Are You Liable for Contractors on Your Roof?
When it’s time for some maintenance and repairs on your roof, you’ll probably hire a contractor to do the job. But even with experts, unfortunately, accidents can still occur. Which brings us to the question: who is responsible when that happens?
Well, as the property owner, you’re not technically responsible for your contractor’s actions. However, if there will be proof that the accident occurred because of your negligence, you shall be held responsible. So, how can you ensure that your exposure is reduced in such circumstances? The following are some of the factors to pay attention to.
Any work at height project can be dangerous, no matter how simple it may look. Which is why it’s important to look for a licensed contractor to do the work. The contractor should be able to produce the license document and not just a claim by word of mouth. Do not hire someone without a license.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
You need to ensure your roofer has a valid worker’s compensation insurance before allowing them to work on your property. This protects you from being liable for doctor’s bills, medical bills, and even funeral costs should death occur in the event of an incident while working on your property. You may have to call the insurance company to verify if their insurance is active.
Check to see also that the contractor has valid liability insurance coverage. This protects you from having to pay for any mistakes that contractors might make while working on your roof. For instance, the contractor may damage your roofing membrane while fixing the shingles that fell off during a storm.
Now, if the contractor lacks liability insurance, you might be forced to pay for the shingles replaced. Plus, you’ll bear the expense of hiring another contractor to fix the damaged membrane.
Tools and Equipment Lending
Lending personal tools or equipment to your contractor may not seem to be a big deal. But if something goes wrong with the tool or equipment, you’ll be exposed. Besides, any professional contractor should come with all the tools necessary to get the job done. Therefore, it’s safe to ask the contractor to come with their own tools.
The Work Area
Does your property have any problems that could present danger to the contractors? If yes, which problems can you arrange to be fixed before the work begins? Get these fixed as soon as possible. Ensure there’s effective fall protection in place, such as post and chain barrier to create awareness of a potential fall hazard. For those that you may not be able to fix for some reason, ensure to notify the contractors upfront. No problem, small or big, should be ignored whatsoever.
Make sure you have a contract in place in which the contractor releases you from liability. You’ll also explain to them the hazards you managed to fix and those you couldn’t. Also, let them know you expect them to abide by the HSE regulations for working at height. You need to write a summary of everything you discussed with your contractor and send it to them via email or letter. Failure to document is as good as saying nothing happened at all.