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


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.

If you would like further risk guidance on safeguarding construction plant and equipment CLICK HERE to download HSB's report.

Authored by HSB


About HSB

HSB Engineering Insurance, as part of Munich Re, is a leading specialist provider of engineering insurance and inspection services.

Backed by over 150 years of innovation and covering a broad range of technologies and industry sectors, we help customers reduce risk through the provision of innovative construction, engineering, energy, and cyber insurance products.

Established in the U.S. in 1866, HSB’s founding principles of technical expertise and loss prevention remain at the forefront of the work we do today. Whether it’s engineering solutions for contractors, comprehensive machinery and technology insurance, innovative energy efficiency policies, or SME cyber risk covers, we have the knowledge to show customers how, working with HSB, they can stay ahead of emerging risks in a complex world.

With over 500 employees, and offices in Belfast, Birmingham, Dublin, Glasgow, London and Manchester, we provide insurance and engineering inspection services that touch almost every aspect of work and life.

youTalk-insurance sharing HSB Engineering Insurance news and video.

Latest video

HSB VIDEO: Equipment start-up following a shut down period

Watch this HSB video for practical guidance for commercial property owners/building managers on mitigating equipment breakdown risks during the start-up of machinery/... click here for more