top of page

Am I insured if I have a workplace fire or electrical incident?

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

A plug found arcing inside a cupboard. Fortunately this company takes workplace safety seriously.
Near miss. A fire waiting to happen

That critical business expense that we all love to hate. But are you flushing your hard earned money down the drain? Most of us know that if our car fails a WOF and have an accident, we are not covered by insurance. Stuff (Top 10 reasons New Zealanders Insurance claims are denied)

Just as your car needs to be checked for safety, so does your workplace. This includes all electrical appliances. - You could consider Test and Tag as part of getting a WOF for your business. Whether your business is in retail, accommodation, construction or anything else, if you have electrical appliances then you must by law, ensure they are in a safe usable condition on a regular basis and have documentation to show what you have done.

Testing and Tagging is accepted as Best Practice to ensure you have Taken all practicable steps to ensure the safety of your staff and visitors, and is also recognized by insurance agencies because you are (or at least should be) given detailed records from the testing. However, if you have not taken this cost effective measure, not only do you risk the safety of your staff but you risk voiding your insurance policy.

Back in my apprentice days I had a couple of electrical shocks, fortunately without any serious harm. In that instance and in those days, it was my own fault and I was able to just continue working hopefully having learnt something that day, but in today’s world this is a notifiable event.

If an untested electrical appliance causes a fire or any other major event, any resulting insurance claim may be denied if practical steps have not been taken to try to avoid any disaster. Most businesses would not recover if this happened. On top of this risk is that Worksafe will be obligated to investigate the event, and if they find that All Practicable Steps have not been taken, fines may also be placed on everyone who have had the opportunity to prevent it in the first place. Everyone from the least paid worker to the Lawyer on the Board of Directors for the company, can be held liable. Depending on your insurance policy, legal costs may be covered by insurance, but fines are never covered.

You can go over to our Hall of Infamy page and have a look at some of the fails I have found. These appliances were still in use in the workplace.

Many people don’t realise that Worksafe can come in to inspect your business in one of five ways:

  1. By invitation

  2. By incident or accident.

  3. Due to a whistle-blower (I have personally witnessed this)

  4. By an Industry Sweep – e.g. spot-checking construction

  5. By Geographical Sweep – e.g. Selecting a geographical location randomly from a map.

Some thoughts to consider :

  • What is your most valuable business asset ? (The answer is your employees)

  • Can you afford to lose every asset your business owns?

  • Can you afford Court costs should there be an incident or failed inspection?

  • Do you want your business to set a good standard?

  • For Hotel and Motel managers, what image are you wanting to show your clients?

  • What state is your business currently in, should Worksafe decide to have an inspection?

17 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page