Although it is possible to have sympathy with any small building contractors who are struggling to obtain employer’s liability insurance at the moment, the root cause of this problem is not any great rise in claims, or the compensation culture, as some employers organisations would attempt to suggest.

In the year to March 2002, 79 construction workers died and thousands suffered severe injury. The legacy of poor health and safety in the British construction industry will become even more apparent over the next few years with the rise in deaths from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

The HSE expects deaths to reach 2500 per year between the years 2011 and 2015. Many of these deaths will arise from asbestos exposure in the construction industry. To suggest that employers’ liability insurance premiums are rising as a result of opportunistic construction workers is simply untrue.

Kieran Maguire, senior partner, Fentons Solicitors