Working with Contractors

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The control of contractors whilst they work on your premises is a joint responsibility. Many organisation's still assume that the contractor is fully responsible for his own actions- this is incorrect.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation's 1999 (as amended) (Regulation 11), requires adequate co-ordination and co-operation between you (as the client) and the person/company you are employing (the contractor). This is especially important as the work carried out in your premises may put the contractors at risk, and vice versa, so risk assessments and method statements must be carried out prior to commencing any work within your premises. The extent to which this co-ordination and co-operation will operate, will depend on the complexity of the work to be carried out.

The Law

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation's 1999

What you need to know

A policy should be developed to deal with contractors visiting your premises, so that you are assured they the contractors are competent to do the job (i.e. that they have sufficient knowledge, experience, practical ability and training). They must also be safe when carrying out the works so as not to put themselves or anyone else in danger while they are doing so, as well as leaving it in a safe condition when they leave.

Contractor Policy your contractor policy forms part of your health and safety policy, and should concentrate on the following aspects:

assessing the competence (in terms of health and safety) of your existing, and future contractors (i.e. check their safety policy, risk assessments, safe systems of work, training arrangements, previous work completed, monitoring procedures etc.); decide what information you need to supply to your contractors and their employees in order for them to work safely, e.g. presence of asbestos, fragile roofs; what monitoring arrangements you need to put into place to ensure that contractors work safely; and what actions will you take when contractors fail to comply with legal obligation's.

Further Guidance

  • Use of contractors – a joint responsibility (INDG368) HSE
  • Management of Contractors – A guide for employers (HSG159) (1997) HSE (ISBN 0 7176 1196 5) (Priced £8.50)