Contractor Health and Safety (Part 2)
Once you have picked a competent contractor, as discussed last month, you still need to ensure they behave safely on your site. Key to protecting your organisation is the supervisor – whoever monitors the contractors for your organisation - and the gatekeeper, whether it’s a receptionist or security staff, who lets the contactor’s staff onto your premises.
Good contractors will be willing to carry out a site visit before they start to scope the work and check for any location-specific hazards. Before they start, the supervisor should check their documentation includes a non-generic risk assessment detailing the hazards identified and controls to manage them. There should also be a method statement including a description of the work, the sequence of tasks, where they will be performed and what equipment will be used.
The gatekeeper has to make sure that the competent people the contractor has promised to send are the ones who turn up on the day. If your contractor procedure requires a particular person to be available, you have to explain to contractors that they will be refused entry and will not be paid if they turn up without an appointment. Someone should run an eye over any equipment they bring on site to check it is not badly worn or damaged.
Site inductions should cover site fire and emergency arrangements and assembly points, first aid contacts and how to report an accident or near miss.
Problems arise if contractors are allowed to wander on and off site at will. Even if a job takes several days, or contractors visit regularly, the gatekeeper must check that people sign in and out.
As well as occasional checks that work that is being carried out safely, the supervisor should review the quality and safety of the work afterwards, noting whether the contractor had any accidents, needed to be reminded of health and safety rules, or if anyone was sent away as a result of not being scheduled to be on site or them failing to sign in and out correctly.
As well as controlling entry to the workplace, your gatekeepers should prevent departure until the named supervisor has agreed the work has been done satisfactorily and left safe.
All other staff should be informed not to sign contractor documents and it should be made clear to the contractor form the outset that they will not be paid unless their paperwork is signed by the named supervisor.
All of the above considerations can be easily managed by incorporating them into an OHSAS 18001 health and safety business management system. InTouch Readers can benefit from a free advisory visit to your organization on how to achieve an OHSAS 18001 business health and safety management system by using our contact us form.
A longer version of this article is published in Health and Safety at Work magazine and at www.healthandsafetyatwork.com.