Many organisations hire contractors or use agency workers to undertake a variety of tasks, such as carrying out unexpected repairs, performing maintenance work, or even completing longer-term projects. While using contractors alone does not result in increased health and safety risks, poor management of contractors can result in ill health, and costly incidents and accidents.
Those who hire contractors are legally compelled to provide a safe working environment, and to work together with the contractor to assess and manage risk.
Proper risk management training for those who employ contractors can not only aid with legal compliance, but also drastically reduce the chance of something going wrong. Contractor safety management training courses are intended to inform both office and site managers about the potential risks involved when working with contractors.
Human Focus is currently offering the following contractor management programmes:
- Managing Contractors in Industry – For Managers
- Managing Contractors in Offices – For Managers
According to the most recent annual figures released by the HSE, the construction, manufacturing, and transportation/storage sectors accounted together for a large majority of workplace fatalities.
Sourcing work in these sectors to contractors is incredibly common, and contractors unfamiliar with or not properly briefed about a work site will have an increased risk of fatality or injury beyond that of regular workers. Employers who hire contractors must actively work with those contractors to ensure proper risk management and minimization of potential injury or fatality.
Contractors may not be aware of hazards or other features of an unfamiliar job site, and also may or may not have had training in managing certain kinds of risks. Accidents commonly result from poor communication between contractors and employers.
The most common factors contributing to poor workplace safety are:
- Lack of health and safety training, which leaves contractors unprepared and unsafe, and increases the likelihood of accidents
- Unsafe workstations or poorly maintained work equipment, which can present even greater risk to contractors
- Lack of on-site safety communication, especially concerning emergency procedures
Employers who engage and manage contractors need to be familiar with the following legislation to protect the health and safety of the temporary workers as far as practically possible:
This legislation applies to all work activities. It requires an employer to ensure the health and safety of:
- Contractors or anyone else working on site
- Anybody who may be affected by your operations
Employers must assess the hazards and risks in their work environment and created by their work. This includes planning for additional risk management when hiring contractors.
Under this legislation, employers are required to adopt a systematic approach to dealing with health and safety in the workplace. This includes assessing health risks that may affect employees and others, including contractors.
Employers must carefully examine all potential sources of risk, including those caused by the working environment, the type of work undertaken, and the equipment that is used. Controls must be put in place to manage those risks.
Employers must also:
- Provide work-related training
- Cooperate with all who share the worksite on health and safety matters
- Set up effective emergency procedures.
Employers are legally compelled to comply with health and safety legislation. The Human Focus contractor management services programmes can help employers ensure compliance.
The following steps can help in effectively managing contractors on site:
- Invest time to fully understand the scope of the work in the contract
- Be as detailed as possible about the contractor’s required qualifications when making a procurement decision
- Communicate safety rules, values and processes, to contracted workers
- Ensure systems are in place to monitor the work undertaken
- Adapt your health and safety management plan, as the work is undertaken on site
There is no explicit test to determine when a manager can be classified as an independent contractor. However, there is a wealth of legal information available that can help organisations make case-by-case determinations. Once the decision is made, an organisation can take several practical steps to manage such contractors effectively.
Below are some simple steps that can result in successful contractor management:
At the very first stage, a risk assessment needs to be carried out to identify hazards, evaluate risks, and develop safety controls. The manager needs to plan the tasks systematically while considering the work to be done and how to minimize potential risks.
Selecting the right contractor for a particular job is an important element to ensuring that the work is carried out safely and effectively, so the choice should be made carefully.
Arrange an induction phase, in which contractors are made aware of all the work requirements to ensure the job is carried out safely.
In this step, contract staff members and their work activities should be monitored against the organisation’s safety requirements and any relevant legislation. Making a contractor management checklist can help in monitoring activities against requirements.
In this step, the manager should engage in a review with the contract workers to establish how the job went, to identify what could be done better next time and to determine whether improvements could be introduced.