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Survey reveals employer insurance is unclear for construction workers
Published:  29 July, 2014

Almost 60% of UK construction site workers wrongly believe that their employers must have insurance in place to pay their salaries and medical benefits if they are off work, according to a survey conducted for Sovereign Health Care.

Fifty-seven per cent of site workers questioned said they believed their employers must have this insurance, which would protect them against the financial consequences of illness or injury caused by their work. However, cover of this kind is not compulsory for employers in the UK.

Almost half (48%) of respondents said they believed their employer provided adequate cover to fund their medical bills if they became ill or injured at work, with just over a fifth (21%) saying this was not the case.

In keeping with these findings, 40% of site workers questioned said they didn’t cover themselves by having a health care cash plan or private medical insurance, and over a quarter (27%) confirmed they didn’t have personal accident cover.

When asked if they had personal accident cover, most four site workers in ten (37%) had no idea.

Commenting on the findings, Russ Piper, chief executive of Sovereign Health Care, said: “Given the obvious dangers of working in the construction industry, the results indicate a worrying ignorance or misunderstanding among respondents about the extent of the protection employers must provide for them if they become ill or injured.

“This is despite a third of the site workers questioned admitting they have had to obtain medical treatment for an injury or illness suffered while working in the sector. In addition, 29% said they were concerned or very concerned about the possibility of suffering an industrial injury or illness requiring medical treatment while working in construction in the future.”

Mr Piper added that, whilst employers might not be obliged, they could still proactively support their workers and help them to get back on site as soon as possible after absences by paying for cover for them. The government has been actively encouraging employers to take more responsibility for supporting the health and wellbeing of their workforces by signing up to its Workplace Wellbeing Charter.