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Window cleaning insurance – are you safely insured?

When you are choosing a firm to be your window cleaner in Edinburgh, it is all too easy to be tempted by the cheapest offer, from an unqualified window cleaning contractor, or worse still, a one-man band with just a sponge and a ladder on his car’s roof rack.

Before you decide – take stock of your legal situation, and the risks that you run.

Not only should you be considering the need for a job that is done well, consistently and professionally (by BM Cleaning Services of Edinburgh): but you should also be aware that you are personally liable for whomever you employ as a contractor.

Your Duty of Care

As the client who causes the work to be done, you share a Duty of Care with the employer of your window cleaner: or in the case of a sole trader, you are solely responsible for the fate of the man on the ladder.

No matter that if he falls and injures (or even kills) himself due to –

  • misfortune
  • foolishness
  • inadequate equipment
  • incompetence
  • illness

– Despite any of these apparently mitigating factors, a Court will usually find you responsible. You are regarded as bearing the responsibility of checking his bona fides and satisfying yourself that he is a fit and proper person to do the work – and is suitably insured.

Cover Yourself

Insurance is a big issue. It is very likely that if you live or work in the streets of central Edinburgh you will be in a line of buildings; and if your window cleaner damages the property of an adjacent owner or tenant then you have to make good the problem. Unless, of course the cleaner possesses public liability insurance…

More important still, what happens if he damages your own windows or building structure?

And then there is the issue of the employer’s insurance, covering them against any liability for injury or disease sustained by employees as a result of their work. In our increasingly litigious age, this is essential – and it is required by law. Again, you need to satisfy yourself that this is in place.

If you doubt the truth of this, consider this case that just came to court and to the attention of the media. To quote the Health & Safety Executive (HSE):

“The boss of a County Durham window cleaning firm has been fined for failing to prove he held statutory insurance that enables employees to claim compensation should they be injured at work.”

Jason Mawson owned and operated a window cleaning business and traded as Wearedale Cleaning. An HSE inspector asked Mr Mawson to voluntarily produce his insurance certificate several times, without a response. HSE then served a formal Notice to Produce on 3 September 2013 but he still did not. This was a criminal offense.

His fine and costs totaled £855 after he pleaded guilty in Court: but the sentence would have been very much more severe had a worker actually been injured without insurance – there would be a full investigation and his client would also have been implicated.

As the Inspector involved said,

“The failure of employers to insure is seen as a serious matter and HSE will continue to take legal action where appropriate.”

Play Safe

The moral of this story is that it pays to employ a reputable, fully-insured Edinburgh window cleaning company – BM Cleaning Services. They have the right equipment and expertise to produce a great result time after time: and they have the cover to protect you against whatever mishaps, life, the weather or sheer bad luck may throw at them – or you…

Ben Martin
BM Cleaning Services provides domestic cleaning and commercial cleaning services in Edinburgh
Ben Martin
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