Dealing with contractors: To what extent must I comply?

BY STEPHEN DUNKLEY, TRAINING MANAGER AT NOSA/ EASTERN CAPE - NOVEMBER 14, 2016

That was the question recently asked by a paint contractor when he was told that he had to compile and submit in a safety file for a painting contract at the complex in which I live. The answer of course was; “To the full extent!”

Evidently, it’s not just in industry that contractors take chances and put the client’s staff as well as their own in danger. So how does your company, complex or you as an individual ensure that you are choosing the right contractor for the job and at the same time minimise liability should Mr Murphy decide to pay you a visit?

As with all things, hiring a contractor usually hinges on the two things - we never seem to have enough of time and money, we want the job done fast and we want the best price.  The bottom line is safety costs money and quality work takes time.

A 37.2 agreement is essential when appointing a contractor, but even before the agreement is drawn up, the first step in appointing a contractor is to vett the contractor/s that have quoted to do the job.

A vetting process involves checking the background as well as the reliability of a contractor and particular attention should be paid to the following:

  1. Ask for references from previous clients and call those references to verify the standard of work of the contractor;
  2. The response to requests for quotes and punctuality of the contractor attending meetings will also tell you a lot about the work ethic and professionalism of a particular contractor.
  3. Ensure they have sufficient skills and knowledge to do the job safely and without risks to health and safety, this you can ascertain by phoning previous clients as well as asking for their safety file for the job after they have quoted. 
  4. Status of good standing with the Compensation Commissioner.

NOSA recently launched a supplier and contractor vetting system that will assist you in choosing the right contractor, while taking away the difficulties that at times surrounds this process. To date, two businesses that are reaping the benefits of this system are Vodacom and Huawei.  

For more information with regards to the NOSA supplier and contractor vetting system or to set up an appointment, you can call Chantel Koen on 074 034 1991 or Luvoyo Dunjana on 073 180 4483.