Anyone entering premises for the purposes of carrying out specialized work for the client, owner or occupier must be regarded as a ‘Contractor’ to whom duties are owned, including such people as caterers, window cleaners, agency staff, equipment repairers and servicers.
Financial pressures, whether real or perceived, are nearly always present and the acceptance of the lowest bid in competitive tendering is often at the expense of health and safety standards. Other major factors include a transient labour force which never gets properly or fully trained, the small size of most contracting companies which claim not to be aware of legislation or safe practices, the inherent danger of the work and work conditions, pressure of work, and poor management awareness of the need for safety arrangements.
When contractors are working on site the occupier needs to ensure that applicable legislation is being complied with including the company’s Safety Policy.
The following are terms that are used when dealing with contractors:
It is the party for whom the work or a project is being carried out.
This term commonly applied to those who visit the premises of others to carry out work. The contractor is the person with whom the client places the order. This can be in connection with the provision of catering services or the cleaning of premises as well as the repair, maintenance, refurbishment or installation of plant and equipment, or building alterations. Contractors can be employers, employees of third parties or self employed people.
The subcontractors are usually defined as a contractor who has been engaged by the main contractor rather than the client. However this term is sometimes used to describe a contractor.
Responsibilities of Clients
Clients (as employers)should protect contractors as well as their own workforce from health risks as personal injury and conduct all undertakings in such a way as to ensure that members of the public around or entering their premises are also protected.
Management Strategy for Working with Contractors
There are six main elements to a Management Strategy for successful working with contractors. The extent to which each element is relevant will depend upon the degree of risk and nature of work to be contracted.
The elements are:
- Identification of suitable contractors
- Identification of hazards within the specification
- Checking of (health and safety aspects of) bids and selection of contractor
- Contractor agrees to be subject to client’s rules
- Management of the contractor’s activities on site
- Checking after completion of contract
Identification of suitable Contractors
When assessing the Health and Safety competence of a contractor, the following factors should be considered:
- Previous experience with the type work
- Reputation amongst previous or current clients
- Content and quality of safety policy
- Content and quality of risk assessments
- Training and qualifications of staff
- Accident /enforcement record
- Membership of approved trade bodies
- Records of maintenance and statutory inspections
- Method Statements
- Suitable Insurance
(Get the full part of this syllabus from the April Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)