Key actions in managing contractors effectively
- Be clear about the work you expect the contractor to do and think about the standards of competence that will be required
- Think carefully about contingencies if things don't go to plan
- Demonstrate the importance your organisation places on health and safety in the selection of contractors
- Ensure short cuts are not taken to reduce costs and there is no conflict of performance versus safety
- Allocate sufficient time and resources to the job - in planning, preparing and carrying out the task
- Support management decisions to stop work if there are serious health and safety concerns
- Be ready to address health and safety failings by engaging directly with the leader of the contracting organisation, and acknowledge successes
Monitor the contractor's health and safety performance
- Consider how the work will be managed and supervised before the work starts
- Obtain the contractor's health and safety plans
- Hold a pre-start meeting to ensure co-ordination and communication - ensure that incorrect assumptions are not made. Will the contractor need a site induction before beginning work on your site?
- Include contractor's activities in all inspections and checks
- Hold regular progress meetings and raise health and safety issues as they occur
Carry out a joint risk assessment of the work with the contractor
- Remember that some of the risks in your workplace may not be obvious to the contractor
- Tell the contractor about any specific risks within your workplace, eg the presence of asbestos
- Share method statements or safe systems of work
- Tell employees and contractors about the risks, and make sure that the contractors let you know of any additional risks they will be introducing to your site
Have the right procedures in place
- Ensure safe systems that are documented are carried out in practice
- Make sure everyone is competent to carry out the tasks and that contractors receive induction
- Make sure isolation procedures for machinery and plant are clear
If you have an incident
- Stop the work if there are serious health and safety concerns
- Investigate and address the root cause of any incident, feeding back results of the investigation to everyone involved
Check that everyone understands the risks
- Ensure that work does not start until the contractors fully understand the risks and measures to control them
- Make sure contractors understand the information, instruction and training you are giving them, taking account of any language difficulties or disabilities. You may need to provide information in a language other than English
Worker consultation and involvement
- All workers should have clear lines of communication to report concerns
- Communicate and co-ordinate so that employees and contractors know what is expected of them and when, and everyone understands their individual roles
- Address training issues through toolbox talks, instruction or coaching
- Consider how the competence of the contractor will be verified:
- Can they demonstrate previous health and safety performance, eg references/pre-qualification questionnaire?
- Can they verify health and safety training?
- Can verification of licensing be obtained where required, eg Gas Safe registration?
- Will the contractor's lack of experience within your organisation lead to additional risks? If so, how will this be addressed?