An association of insurers will launch a scheme to help employers obtain cover for employees in high-risk jobs. However, employees forced to operate on self-employed terms will not be covered. The Employees' Compensation Insurance Residence Scheme, which will start on May 1, provides a fallback for employers who cannot obtain insurance for their workers in at least 19 categories of high-risk jobs. These include air-conditioner installation workers, well sinkers and borers, crane operators, demolition workers and stevedores. Employers rejected by three insurance companies or have been quoted premiums of 30 per cent more than the benchmark ratings can apply. The burden will be equally shared by about 60 member insurers. 'After 9/11, insurance premiums shot up, and it also affected insurance cover for high-risk groups,' said the chairman of the ECIRS Bureau, Cheng Kwok-ping. 'So this scheme provided a fallback.' An employer's premium can be increased by up to 50 per cent if they contravene government safety regulations, Mr Cheng said. 'The idea of the scheme is to encourage safe work practice,' he said. The scheme is being launched after two years of collaborative effort and political jostling. Permanent Secretary for Economic Development (Labour) Paul Tang Kwok-wai said onsite inspections and education will be stepped up, and if there are complaints, the department will help to resolve the issues. The bureau will review the scheme in one or two years.