Ricochet News

Managing contractors

By Edward Pienaar: OHS Team Leader - Jun 7, 2018
Managing contractors

Companies do not operate within a vacuum, they constantly interact with multiple stakeholder may it be employees or contractors.

Although some may tell you that contractors are liable for themselves and you “do not have to worry”, this is not the case. Companies’ have an obligation towards Health and Safety adherence and implementation of any contractors allowed on the premises. This accounts for any contractor you appoint and subsequently their subcontractors.

Throughout the article I will discuss the key aspects that companies should take into consideration when managing contractors, including common flaws that companies may undergo.

Health and safety compliance in a broad umbrella term, encapsulates a variety of duties that management should ensure are completed. The best manner to address these duties are to act upon each duty individually and to ensure individual compliance. Contractor management as one of the duties can be a daunting task if not managed correctly.

Implementing a contractor management system within companies will all be in vein if not accepted holistically by its users. Senior management should accept and embrace the system before anyone else.

Simplification is the key. Complicating the contractor management system can lead to the disengagement of key personnel that should drive the process. Ensuring the standardisation of all health and safety requirements across different departments will ensure uniformity and understanding of the cause.

Uniformity is achieved by ensuring that contractors receive the required company health and safety specification to adhere to when entering the premises and how they should address their health and safety management when conducting operations.

The first step will be to ensure that all contractors meet the minimum health and safety requirements according to the specification. Secondly, meeting with contractors on a regular basis to ensure that the implementation of the health and safety standards are adhered to and implemented in the correct manner.

This interaction will strengthen the relationship between the company and contractor. Although law requires contractors to operate independently, companies should constantly interact with contractors to assist in any short falls that may arise. You, as the client, are responsible to ascertain that all the contractors chosen and their subcontractors are health and safety compliant.

Companies should audit their current contractor list to determine if all contractors are necessary on site. Minimising the contractors list will decrease the complexity of managing multiple contractors and will thus in turn lead to decreased risk. Ensuring that your company has a contractor’s checklist can be seen as the first and minimal checklist to ensure contractors compliance.

The checklist will help identify the key aspects of contractors at face value whether they are health and safety compliant. The checklist can in instances also be used as the ultimate assessment criteria for very simplistic and quick task to be performed by contractors on site.

Each of these checklist will differ according to the health and safety specification of the company but it will still however include some broad key aspects such as:

Insurance requirements: This includes any insurances required to cover liability if any incidents may occur for example; letter of good standing

Safety Management System: This will include aspects such as; policies, risk assessments, safe work procedures, safe operating procedures, hazardous chemicals to be used, personal protective equipment (PPE) and Incident reporting procedures

Competence of contractors: Aspects to be considered here are: CV’s of workers, training required, licences required and inductions.

Besides the above clients should ensure that contractors are audited on a regular basis to ensure full compliance toward the specification.

Regardless of the work contractors are needed for, should it be contractors for a construction site or a contractor who fixes your company printer, all health and safety standards should be adhered to at all times. Remember that you are part liable in sending each individual home health and safe.