HSB reports 100% increase in operational plant fire claims in 2020

2021/07/05

Press Release

  • UK claims data shows construction plant fires increased in the second and third quarter of 2020.
  • Increased claims coincided with construction industry playing catch-up on project delays.
  • Hydraulic hose failures and electrical faults are the common causes.

HSB, the specialist engineering and technology insurer, saw UK construction plant fire claims double in 2020. 

A review of claims data highlighted a surge in plant fire claims in the second and third quarter of 2020; reflecting the impact pandemic-related project delays have had on the construction industry. The data shows that these operational fires were due to increased hydraulic hose failures and electrical faults; a sign that plant and equipment was being worked harder.

Fires, caused by hose failure, often occur if the hydraulic fluids are sprayed onto hot working parts of equipment. In addition, running plant with constantly low fluid levels can also present a substantial risk of fire and damage.

John Nicholls, Product Lead – Construction at HSB, commented; "Our claims data provides a clear indication that the pandemic has impacted on the number of plant fire claims we have seen. As construction sites re-mobilised after the first lockdown and contractors sought to steer projects back on schedule, plant was worked harder than usual; placing additional stress on working parts and electrical systems. With projects typically operating to tight deadlines, the repercussions of out-of-action equipment can be costly."

Regular visual inspections of working parts, hydraulic lines, fluid levels, the engine bay, electrical system and electrical control coupled with scheduled maintenance can mitigate the risk of operational fires occurring.

Further risk guidance on safeguarding construction plant and equipment is available from HSB.

Guide to loss prevention

Safeguarding construction plant and equipment
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