William Holler, senior vice president of US insurance broker Hays Companies, explains how the powered access equipment insurance market has changed over the last 30 years and what lessons can be learned internationally.
A few, short 30 years ago there was no such thing as a powered access industry; much less insurance for it.
As Peter Kim, assistant vice president, risk management services at Philadelphia Insurance Companies, explains, nothing replaces the benefits of safety. “Improved accident prevention measures have helped contribute to the sustained growth of the powered access equipment industry in the US. While the industry isn’t accident-free, safety improvements have kept claims and lawsuits from hindering overall growth.
Engineered safety improvements, such as pothole protectors, anti-entrapment devices, tilt sensors, etcetera, have helped boost worker safety. Also, more prevalent training and certification, as well as familiarisation training, have been critical pieces to the safety equation. And, other risk management efforts (proper equipment selection, rental agreements with sound indemnification wording, thorough and documented inspections and maintenance, prompt accident investigations), have helped reduce the overall loss costs for the industry. However, there is no silver bullet.
Engineered controls aren’t effective if users aren’t trained to operate their powered access equipment in a safe manner. Operator training can’t make up for shoddy maintenance or management decisions to use equipment that’s not suited for the job. It has taken engineered safety controls, certification and training, and smart risk management steps working together to improve overall safety outcomes in the United States. The key now is to continue the push forward on all three fronts, recognising that each aspect is critical and multiple options are valuable. Then the industry will see positive trends in the overall costs.”