To understand this issue we first need to discuss Worker's Compensation insurance. Workers compensation has several benefits and advantages. In the case of employee injury on a job, it helps to cover their wages. It can also insulate the homeowner/property owner from lawsuits in case a worker is hurt while on their property. Workers compensation insurance is not a one size fits all blanket of protection. The risk factor (and cost) is decided by a company's classification. Often times pressure wash companies will be classified under code 9014. What does code 9014 cover?
According to FloridaWC.com : "this class code would also be used for individuals who work for a residential swimming pool maintenance company, termite control employees (who use no poisonous gases), those employed by mobile pressure washing or power washing companies, as well as specialty contractors who perform residential boiler cleaning work or chimney cleaning (ground level only) using vacuum suction equipment.
Exclusions to class code 9014 would be anyone who works primarily as a maintenance employee, any professional contractor (such as a painter, plumber, electrician, carpenter, handyman, etc.) that should be otherwise classified, those employees who use heavy machinery or equipment, and anyone working above ground in any capacity."
So according to the law, a Softwash or Pressure washing company with classification 9014 will NOT be covered for worked performed from a ladder or on a roof. It is for Ground level work only!
So why do contractors cheat the system? It basically comes down to cost. The cost of WC code 9014 is roughly $6.00 per $100 in labor costs. Workers compensation insurance which covers roof access and ladder work is code 5551 (by which Spray Wash Exterior Cleaning is covered) and tends to cost upwards of $19.00 per $100 in labor pay rates. So for every $100 in payroll Spray Wash pays an additional $19.00 to have our employees properly covered.
Sadly most times the homeowner or property manager does not know about the different types of insurance or workers compensation codes, and they do not know the correct questions to ask of a cleaning company they hire. The homeowners simply asks "do you have Workers Comp?" and the unethical contractor replies "yes"...knowing full well their insurance is not valid for covering the types of work being performed.
Unethical and illegal business practices reflect poorly on the industry as a whole. The homeowner must arm themselves with knowledge and know what questions to ask of the companies they hire.
At Spray Wash Exterior Cleaning it is our sincere promise to you to ALWAYS act legally and ethically. We also value our employees safety and health, and would never put them in a situation that could endanger their lives or leave them lacking in any type of Workers Compensation coverage for the job they are performing!
This photo was taken May 13, 2016 in Tallahassee Florida. The contractor in question (who will remain nameless) is covered only by WC code 9014 which does not cover ladder or roof work. You can also see an employee of this company walking on the metal roof with no safety equipment...no harness, no rope tie off system. These safety measures are required by law to perform this type of work, plus their insurance is inadequate, leaving the homeowner at great risk!.