Simply Business data reveals tree-felling, roof tiling, and scaffolding among UK's most dangerous trades

Tree surgeons, roof tilers, and scaffolders are the most at-risk tradespeople in the UK.

This is according to new research from Simply Business, which found that the professions topped the list for injury and accident insurance claims among tradespeople.

Builders, roofers, and landscape gardeners weren’t far behind, while electricians and bricklayers also made an appearance in the top 10.

We analysed injury and accident claims amongst the 100,000 plus tradespeople insured by Simply Business, gathering data for claims made between 2012 and 2016.

The research found that during that period, the number of accidents amongst small businesses and tradespeople had increased by a staggering 41 per cent, although a dip in 2016 suggests that many are exercising more caution in recent times.

The 15 most dangerous trades ranked

When looking specifically at tradespeople, we were able to rank the most dangerous trades based on accident and injury levels.

Ranking                 Trade
1 Tree feller/surgeon
2 Roof tiler
3 Scaffolder
4 Builder
5 Roofer
6 Landscape gardeners
7 Plasterer
8 Electrician
9 Bricklayer
10 Plumber
11 Cleaner
12 Carpenter
13 Handyman
14 Floor tiler
15 Painter/decorator

Does it vary by city?

Our research also broke down accident and injury claims by location, spotting regional difference across the UK.

When looking at the top 10 most populous cities, we found that Liverpool, Glasgow, and Manchester were the top three cities for workplace accidents.

Ranking City
1 Liverpool
2 Glasgow
3 Manchester
4 Birmingham
5 Bradford
6 Edinburgh
7 Leeds
8 London
9 Sheffield
10 Bristol

But it’s not just tradespeople…

There was also a number of surprising comparisons between sectors, with tradespeople - whose work is often seen as ‘dangerous’ - proven to be less at risk than those in traditionally ‘safer’ professions. For example:

  • Fitness instructors are three times more likely to have an accident at work than bricklayers
  • Hairdressers and beauticians are seven times more likely to have an accident than carpenters
  • Dog walkers, kennel owners, and pet parlour workers are three times more likely to have an accident at work than lorry drivers

Protecting against accidents and injuries

When looking into protection against accidents and injuries, there are a number of insurance products that should be considered.

Public liability insurance can protect you if you cause damage to third party property or injury to a member of the public. Employers’ liability insurance protects employees and is often a legal requirement for those with staff.

Meanwhile, personal accident insurance can pay compensation for injuries, and will often pay out even if the accident was outside of work.

Workplace accidents ‘can have a long-term impact on livelihood’

Commenting on the research, Simply Business Chief Customer Officer Fiona McSwein said: “For a tradesperson, an accident at work can have serious implications and a long term impact on their livelihood. Being self-employed, an accident or injury can mean time off work, reputational damage, or even a potential court case.

“The physical nature of trades work means there’s always an underlying risk of potential injury. Knowing how important businesses are to people’s livelihoods, we’re especially proud to be insuring tradespeople – an incredibly important sector to the UK economy.”

Are you protecting your trade?

As the UK’s biggest business insurance provider, we specialise in public liability insurance and protect more trades than anybody else. Why not take a look now and build a quick, tailored tradesman insurance quote?

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