If you think safety is expensive, try an accident!
Among the losses – sometimes uninsured – are: production time, absenteeism and equipment downtime.
A contractor is anyone you ask to work for you who is not an employee. Both you and your contractor have responsibilities under health and safety law.
Here are 7 safety considerations for effective use of contractors:
Identify the job
Consider the health and safety implications of the job. The level of risk will depend on the nature and complexity of the work.
Select a suitable contractor
You should ensure that your contractor has the necessary competences and experience to complete the work safely. To verify his understanding of the job you could ask questions such as:
– How will the work be supervised?
– What checks do you make on equipment and materials?
– Will you be using subcontractors?
Remember that written health and safety policy and risk assessments are required by law if 5 or more people are employed by the contractor – so ask for a copy.
Assess the risks of the work
Both you and the contractor must consider how people might be harmed and how the risks will be controlled. There must be a vetting and approval systems to identify key safety requirements. Once you have agreed on what actions are needed to control risks, be clear about who will do what and when. This should be part of your risk assessment document. Hazardous work may also require the use of a permit to work system, e.g. hot works. Make sure your contractor understands this.
Provide information, instruction and training
You need to communicate with your contractor throughout the construction process. More precisely, make sure they have information on health and safety risks they may face, and measures in place to deal with those risks and emergency procedures. Do not assume that your contractors will be aware of all risks, even if they seem obvious to you – they will not know your workplace as well as you do.
Cooperate and coordinate with the contractor
Depending on the risks and number of contractors involved, a certain number of meetings will be needed to coordinate your activities so the work can be done safely.
Involving your employees will help you make better decisions on the actual risks and the measures to control them. In fact, many incidents occur due to unfamiliarity with site specific hazards.
The issues discussed should revolve around:
– Information and training
– How the contractor’s work may affect their health and safety
– Making sure they know how to raise any concerns they may have about the contractors and their work
Manage and supervise
There must be appropriate supervision on site to minimise the risk of accidents. For example, check the areas of work for hazards before and after the work is completed. It may be necessary to supervise to ensure your contractors are working in accordance with the risk assessment and methods statements provided. When poor safety practices are noted, ensure you take appropriate and immediate action to resolve it.
After the job is finished, there will be benefits in reviewing and learning from any lessons to see if performance can be improved in future.
For further questions please leave us a comment below or contact us on 020 7244 1900.