How to Manage Contractor Safety in your Workplace

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Contractor management can be a very challenging area and is one often looked past by businesses. Just because you hire a contractor, doesn’t mean your safety responsibilities are absolved or that the contractor has the correct compliance documentation in order.

In this article, we’re going to discuss contractor management, what is required while contractors are on your work site and what compliance documentation they need to provide you with.

What are my obligations under safety legislation?

As an employer, you have a legal obligation for the work health and safety of any contractors working at your place of work or undertaking work for you.

Safety responsibilities in relation to contractors apply in two directions:

  1. The health and safety of any contractors or sub-contractors working on your site advising and managing their compliance with the requirements of your workplace.
  2. Employing a contractor who you have engaged to undertake work for you.

What to do when you engage a Contractor to undertake work at your premises?

Important processes in any Contractor Management procedure include:

  • You MUST make sure the contractor and their employees you have engaged have:
    • The proper qualifications
    • The proper Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and processes
    • The proper insurances and permits needed to undertake the task
  • You need to induct the contractor into the safe work processes of your site including emergency procedures
  • Defining the documents, policies and procedure that the Company requires the contractors to supply to your company (this will illustrate the importance of WHS in their business and whether or not the contractor is committed to safety and meeting their legislative responsibilities)
  • Monitoring and supervision of contractor safety performance
  • They have all the relevant and up to date insurances in place including:
    • Workers Compensation
    • Public Liability
    • Professional Indemnity
    • Any Permits that are needed to undertake the work
    • Working with children (if applicable)
    • Police checks (if applicable).

True Story

A small business person who owned a fire sprinkler installation business was flat out with work that when another job came through he hired a sub-contractor to undertake the work for him. Unfortunately, that sub-contractor when undertaking the work made a simple mistake of not checking the safety value when testing the sprinklers and therefore dowsed an 11 million dollar machine with water destroying the machine. When investigated, it was found that the sub-contractor was neither qualified or insured, therefore liability was on the original owner of the fire sprinkler company, enough to destroy his business.

It is so important to remember that if a contractor is undertaking work for you, you MUST make sure they have the appropriate qualification, safe work processes and insurances. I don’t want to play Russian roulette with my business, do you?

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