The Construction (Design & Mgt) Regulations require a more formal systems of managing contractors where the Client (Main Employer) must ensure they select competent contractors who have adequate resources to undertake the project.
The employer and occupier have a duty to contractors but equally need to ensure that the contractor is going to carry out the work safely and not exposing their employers to risk.
It is essential therefore, whether the contract is for a one off job or a major contract, that proper checks are undertaken to ensure the quality of the contractors selected. Many of these checks can be undertaken prior to the company coming on site. From the information gathered many organisations compile an “approved list” and only these contractors will be used. The higher the risks associated with the task, the more complex the activity, the more vigorous the contractor selection process needs to be.
Selecting Suitable Contractors
Basic Information to Request
• H&S policy
• Sample risk assessments
• Insurance details
• H&S responsibilities within the organisation
• Training arrangements
• Details of whether workers will be employees or sub-contractors
• Details of accident records and any HSE notices
• Details of how the company monitors H&S
Information to be provided to the contractor
• Local rules – e.g. no smoking, the wearing of PPE, only electrically tested equipment allowed on site, no use of host company’s equipment without permission)
• Arrangements for permits to work
• Signing in and security
• Contact points
• Prohibited areas
• Details of the job and any hazards present (overhead cables, fire, biological contamination etc)
• Welfare arrangements
For Larger Contracts
More formal arrangements should be in place to ensure effective communication, co-operation and co-ordination. This may include H&S meetings, inspections of the contractors undertakings, accident reporting to host company, monitoring of safety rules via inspections and spot checks.
If you have contractors permanently based on your site you need to check H&S arrangements on an on-going basis not just as a one off at the beginning.
Think about the following:
• Safety meeting between the employer and contractor at the beginning of the project.
• Hazard identification and risk assessment—are the key issues covered relevant to your site?
• Awareness of Fire and Emergency plans
• Arrangements for co-ordination, liaison and communications.
• Method statements.
• Permits to work.
• Induction training
• Environmental matters including waste management
• The use of common facilities, plant and equipment
• Accident reporting and reporting of unsafe conditions
• Appointment and management of sub-contractors.
• Safety audits and/or inspections of the contractors arrangements.
Employers must establish procedures for the selection and management of contractors. However the process needs to reflect the hazards and risks of the work activity and the site itself. The higher the risks the greater the duty to the contractor and to the employers own employees.
The checks carried out for a contractor who is coming on site to do some basic redecorating will still need to consider their work methods, competence, equipment and substances but a far more vigorous approach would be needed when selecting a contractor who will be maintaining your building on your behalf.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations give some guidance on the selection of contractors and principal contractors, with “Appendix 4” of the regulations giving fourteen different aspects which should be reviewed when selecting principal contractors and designers for major notifiable projects. The guidance gives practical examples of the questions to ask and the different documents which could be used as evidence.