Contractors are at particular risk as they may be strangers to your business and thus unfamiliar with your organisation’s policies, procedures, rules, hazards and risks. Even contractors who regularly visit your premises need reminding of their joint health and safety responsibilities.
Top Tips for Managing Contractors
- Choose contractors who are competent to do the work, e.g. by checking evidence of competence. Look at risk assessments and method statements, decide whether sub-contracting is acceptable and if so, how safety will be ensured.
- Plan the work and consider eliminating or reducing risks to health and safety, ensure the precautions needed are understood and the job is discussed with the contractor. The aim of planning should be to ensure the work is carried out safely without putting contractors or your own employees’ safety at risk.
- Manage contractors while they are carrying out work. Check any safety certificates in relation to certain machinery, e.g. six- or 12-monthly checks for lifting equipment. Ensure site rules are being followed, the job is being done safely and when work is completed, the site is left in a safe condition. Give workplace-specific inductions, highlight the known hazards, make sure that contractors sign in and out and name a person as a point of contact to liaise with, report problems and answer any queries.
- Review the contractor once the work is completed to decide whether your system for managing contractors should be revised in the light of experience. This will include consideration of how effective your planning was, how the contractor performed, how effective the communication, supervision/monitoring systems worked or whether any improvements are needed to manage contractors in future.
- Ensure those with responsibilities for managing/working with contractors have enough knowledge, skills and experience (i.e. competence) to carry out their responsibilities effectively. This will involve providing training and information on the hazards and precautions for the work undertaken.
- Consider how you will deal with contracting firms or their individual employees who fail to work in a safe manner (e.g. removal from approved lists, loss of contract, financial penalties). This information should be made available to contractors.
Ensure that contractors are fully integrated into your company’s health and safety management system, avoiding costly prosecutions.
Contact us if you require information and assistance.