Here Lynda Allan, Director at Polished Insurance, takes us through the appropriate types of insurance for your specialist cleaners.

When it comes to some cleaning tasks, a general contract cleaner just won’t have the skills or equipment to meet your needs and only a specialist will do.

Types of specialist cleaning services provided include ad hoc cleaning services such as crime scene cleaning, cleaning and clearing of void properties, hazardous waste removal, fire and flood restoration, and more.

Cleaning businesses working within this sector should ensure that they have the correct insurance in place


INSURANCE? Employers liability insurance (ELI) provides insurance cover should an employee, who sustains an injury or becomes ill as a direct result of working for your business, makes a claim for compensation. In the UK, if you employ one member of staff or more it is a legal requirement to have an ELI policy in place. There are some exemptions and your insurance broker can advise you on this.

An employed person is anyone under a contract of service or apprenticeship with you, including self-employed persons working on a labour-only basis, a voluntary helper or someone who is taking part in work experience or a training scheme and who is ultimately under your control or supervision.

What circumstances may mean that an employee makes a compensation claim against your business?

When working within hazardous environments, cleaners can experience potential health problems, ranging from dermatitis right through to serious breathing difficulties, and these problems can be caused or triggered by exposure to chemicals and toxins.

Ultimately, all cleaning chemicals can cause health problems if they are not used correctly, and if this happens to one of your employees you could be liable to a claim for compensation. Employer’s liability insurance will provide your business with cover, should a claim be made against you.

Additionally, void property cleaning brings with it numerous risks to the cleaners. Empty and abandoned properties can be left in a hazardous state, with significant amounts of waste to be removed, including drug paraphernalia, syringes, and bodily fluids. All these environments can be potentially hazardous to the specialist cleaners working there.

As a business owner it is essential, and a legal requirement, that you have Employers liability insurance in place to protect your business, particularly when your employees often work in hazardous situations like these.


CASE STUDY: A specialist cleaning company had been working on a contract on behalf of a social housing service provider and had been asked to perform a needle sweep.

The specialist cleaning team removed several used needles from the premises, and was satisfied that they had completed a full check of the property. However, following a final sweep, a used needle that had been lodged between the floorboards was found.

One of the employees sustained an injury by pricking his hand on it. The employee made a compensation claim against his employer, but as there were no long-term effects, the actual injury did not constitute a high payout.

The employer knew that a situation like this had the potential to happen again, and if the injury or effect on the employee’s health had been significant, the payout could have been substantial. Fortunately, the liability insurance that the employer had in place provided the right protection for this circumstance.

to protect their business and its employees against potential costly claims, which is mainly due to the hazardous environments that they work in.

Specialist cleaning businesses like these are often highly skilled in their field, and have very specific requirements when it comes to insurance. They need the right protection to ensure that their business, their employees, and the public are covered should the worst happen. It is essential to not only have Employers and Public Liability Insurance cover in place, but also the right insurance extensions.

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