Where clients use contractors there are shared responsibilities for ensuring the health and safety of client and contractor workforces and anyone else who may be affected by the work. If not properly managed, accidents are likely.
A contractor’s employees may possibly be at a greater risk than the client’s employee whilst working on the client’s site due to:
- unfamiliarity with the client’s site
- unfamiliarity with the client’s site rules and procedures
- often contractors are used for high risk activities
- lack of appropriate training
- poor supervision
Health and safety requirements should be written into the contract for the work, clearly defining the responsibilities of each party.
The legal duties of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations will also apply. For construction projects the requirements of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) will also apply.
As discussed previously each employer has general duties under HASAWA to ensure the health and safety of their own employees, and any non-employees affected by the undertaking. Each employee has duties to cooperate with their employer and to take reasonable care for their own safety and the safety of others. The Management Regs specifically requires employers sharing a workplace to cooperate and coordinate their activities to ensure the health and safety of all.
The extent of the responsibilities of each party will depend on the circumstances.
Management of Contractors
The HSE advocates a five-step approach on how to manage contractors and ensure safe working:
Step 1: Planning
Defining the job
The client should clearly identify all aspects of the work they want the contractor to do, including work falling within the preparation and completion phases.
Both the client and prospective contractor should be involved in the risk management process.
The client should already have a risk assessment for the work activities of his own business. The contractor’s role involves assessing the risks for the contracted work.
The client and the contractor need to agree the risk assessment for the contracted work and the preventative and protective steps that will apply when the work is in progress. If subcontractors are involved, they should also be part of the discussion and agreement.
Contractors must be made aware of the expected standards of performance. Health and safety arrangements, procedures, permit systems and safety policy statement should be shared with the contractor who should confirm their understanding and agree to work accordingly.
Step 2: Choosing a Contractor
Contractors will be selected based upon a range of criteria including availability, cost, technical competence, reliability and health and safety.
The client must take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the contractor is competent to do the job safely and without risks to health and safety.
The degree of competence required will depend on the work to be done.
The best way of being satisfied of a contractor’s competence is through first-hand experience. A contractor is demonstrably competent if he has previously been used successfully on a similar job (through a cycle of risk management, monitoring and review).
A pre-tender questionnaire (PTQ) may be used to broadly determine the suitability of a contractor. Questions should be designed to check the contractors:
- experience in the type of work to be one
- health and safety policies and practices
- recent health and safety performance (number of accidents etc.)
- qualifications and skills relevant to the contract
- selection procedure for sub-contractors (if sub-contractors are to be allowed), or their safety method statement
- Arrangements for:
- health and safety training e.g. safety passport; supervision
- consulting the workforce
- independent assessment of competence
- memberships of relevant trade or professional body
References may be needed to verify the information provided.
Once a contractor has been appointed pre-commencement meetings will be required to clarify responsibilities and to ensure effective management arrangements are in place.
Step 3: Contractors Working on Site
Specific arrangements will be required to:
- Manage the movements of contractors on site through visitor sign in controls and possibly permits-to-work
- Ensure that all technical and management controls are in place before allowing the work to begin e.g.:
- numbers of persons and supervisor details are confirmed
- the correct work equipment is provided
- access and egress to location of work are discussed and agreed
- suitable personal protective equipment is available and being worn
- safe system of work / method statements are understood
- any necessary permits to work are in place;
- reporting, communications and monitoring arrangements have been agreed
Information, instruction and training
All parties need to consider what health and safety information needs to be passed between them and agree appropriate ways to make sure this is done.
Instruction and training provided needs to take account of the risks arising from each parties’ work.
Co-operation and co-ordination
The client should set up regular meetings or briefings to ensure effective liaison between all the parties involved.
The workforce should be part of the liaison arrangements set up by the client and should be involved from the outset.
Management and supervision
The greater the risk posed by the contractor’s work the greater the management and supervisory responsibilities of the client.
The client will require enough knowledge and expertise to manage and supervise the contracted work.
Step 4: Monitoring the contract
All parties should monitor their health and safety performance to check that risk assessments are current and that control measures are effective.
The level of monitoring depends on the risks – the greater the risks, the more frequent the monitoring.
Contractors and sub-contractors should carry out day-to-day checks to see that what should be done is being done; and clients should make periodic checks on the contractor’s performance to see if the work is being done as agreed.
Information from proactive monitoring and reactive investigations should be used to learn lessons and improve future performance.
Where requirements are not being met the client should take appropriate action to ensure the work is undertaken to the required standard.
Step 5: Reviewing the Work
Both the client and the contractor should review the work after completion to see if performance could be improved in future.
The client should review both the job and the contractor. Consideration should be given to the effectiveness of the planning; the contractor’s performance; and how smoothly the job went.
Lessons learnt should be recorded and used to influence future decisions.
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
The aim of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) is to integrate health and safety into the management of a construction project and to everyone involved to work together.
- A realistic project programme with adequate time allowed for planning, preparation and the work itself
- Early appointment of duty holders
- Sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to enable all duty holders to carry out their jobs in a way that secures health and safety
- Early (i.e. starting at the design phase) identification and reduction of risks through application of the general principles of prevention
- Co-operation and communication between duty holders and co-ordination of work;
- Consulting with and engaging workers to promote and develop effective measures to secure health, safety and welfare
- Health and safety resources proportionate to the risk and complexity of the project
Processes for risk management, provision of information and the cooperation and coordination of duty holders are managed through clearly defined roles and responsibilities and the use of two key documents:
- the construction phase plan
- the health and safety file
Both of these documents are discussed later.
- Workers with the right skills, knowledge, training and experience
- Contractors providing appropriate supervision, instruction and information
- A written construction phase plan
Projects where more than one contractor is involved
In addition to the main requirements for all projects:
- principal designer must be appointed
- principal contractor must be appointed
- health and safety file must be created
Information for Construction Projects Involving More Than One Contractor
A project is notifiable to the HSE if the construction work on a construction site is scheduled to:
- last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project, or
- exceed 500 person days
Where a project is notifiable, the client must give notice in writing to the HSE as soon as is practicable before the construction phase begins.
The notice must contain the following:
- The date of forwarding the notice
- The address of the construction site or precise description of its location
- The name of the local authority where the construction site is located
- A brief description of the project and the construction work that it entails
- The clients contact details – name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address
- The principal designers contact details – name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address
- The principal contractors contact details – name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address
- The date planned for the start of the construction phase
- The time allocated by the client for the construction work
- The planned duration of the construction phase
- The estimated maximum number of people at work on the construction site
- The planned number of contractors on the construction site
- The name and address of any contractor already appointed
- The name and address of any designer already appointed
- A declaration signed by or on behalf of the client that the client is aware of the client duties under these Regulations
The easiest way to notify any project is to use the electronic notification form (F10) https://www.hse.gov.uk/forms/notification/f10.htm
The client must ensure that an up-to-date copy of the notice is displayed in the construction site office, so it is accessible to anyone working on the site and can be easily understood. The form must be periodically updated where necessary.
Duty Holders and their Duties
Click on each duty holder to learn more.
People who have construction work carried out on their own home, or the home of a family member that is not done as part of a business, whether for profit or not.
Domestic clients are in the scope of CDM 2015, but their duties as a client are normally transferred to the contractor, on a single contractor project or the principal contractor, on a project involving more than one contractor. However, the domestic client can choose to have a written agreement with the principal designer to carry out the client duties.
Organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out.
Thier duties are as follows.
Make suitable arrangements for managing a project. This includes making sure:
- other duty holders are appointed
- enough time and resources are allocated
- relevant information is prepared and provided to other duty holders
- the principal designer and principal contractor carry out their duties
- welfare facilities are provided
Designers appointed by the client in projects involving more than one contractor. They can be an organisation or an individual with enough knowledge, experience and ability to carry out the role.
Thier duties are as follows.
- Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project. This includes:
- identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks
- ensuring designers carry out their duties
- Prepare and provide relevant information to other duty holders
- Provide relevant information to the principal contractor to help them plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the construction phase
Contractors appointed by the client to coordinate the construction phase of a project where it involves more than one contractor.
Thier duties are as follows.
- Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the construction phase of a project. This includes:
- liaising with the client and principal designer
- preparing the construction phase plan
- organising cooperation between contractors and coordinating their work
- Ensure: suitable site inductions are provided
- reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access
- workers are consulted and engaged in securing their health and safety
- welfare facilities are provided
As part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or system relating to construction work.
Thier duties are as follows.
- When preparing or modifying designs, to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction, maintenance and use of a building once it is built
- Provide information to other members of the project team to help them fulfil their duties
Those who do the actual construction work and can be either an individual or a company.
Thier duties are as follows.
- Plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so that it is carried out without risks to health and safety.
- For projects involving more than one contractor, coordinate their activities with others in the project team – in particular, comply with directions given to them by the principal designer or principal contractor.
- For single-contractor projects, prepare a construction phase plan.
The people who work for or under the control of contractors on a construction site.
Thier duties are as follows.
- They must: be consulted about matters which affect their health, safety and welfare
- take care of their own health and safety and others who may be affected by their actions
- report anything which is likely to endanger either their own or others’ health and safety
- cooperate with their employer, fellow workers, contractors and other duty holders
Construction Project Information/Documentation
There are three main documents involved. Click on each one to learn more.
Pre-construction information is defined as information about the project that is already in the client’s possession or which is reasonably obtainable by or on behalf of the client. The information must: be relevant to the particular project; have an appropriate level of detail; and be proportionate to the risks involved. Pre-construction information provides the health and safety information needed by: designers and contractors who are bidding for work on the project, or who have already been appointed to enable them to carry out their duties; principal designers and principal contractors in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating the work of the project.
Construction Phase Plan
The client must ensure that a construction phase plan for the project is prepared before the construction phase begins. The plan outlines;
- the health and safety arrangements for managing the significant health and safety risks associated with the construction phase of a project;
- the site rules
- any specific measures concerning any work involving risks:
- Work which puts workers at risk of burial under earth falls, engulfment in swampland or falling from a height
- Work which puts workers at risk from chemical or biological substances
- Work with ionising radiation requiring controlled or supervised areas
- Work near high voltage power lines
- Work exposing workers to the risk of drowning
- Work on wells, underground earthworks and tunnels
- Work carried out by divers having a system of air supply
- Work carried out by workers in caissons with a compressed air atmosphere
- Work involving the use of explosives
- Work involving the assembly or dismantling of heavy prefabricated components
For single-contractor projects, the contractor must ensure the plan is prepared.
For projects involving more than one contractor, it is the principal contractor’s duty
The plan is the basis for communicating the arrangements to all those involved in the construction phase, so it should be easy to understand and as simple as possible. The emphasis should be on the provision of information that is:
- relevant to the project
- sufficiently detailed to clearly set out the arrangements, site rules and special measures needed to manage the construction phase
- proportionate to the scale and complexity of the project and the risks involved
The following list of topics should be considered when drawing up the plan:
- a description of the project such as key dates and details of key members of the project team;
- the management of the work including:
- the health and safety aims for the project;
- the site rules;
- arrangements to ensure cooperation between project team members and coordination of their work, eg. regular site meetings;
- arrangements for involving workers;
- site induction;
- welfare facilities; and
- fire and emergency procedures;
- the control of any of the specific site risks listed in Schedule 3 where they are relevant to the work involved.
Health and Safety File
The health and safety file is a file appropriate to the characteristics of the project, containing relevant health and safety information to be taken into account during any subsequent project. The file is only required for projects involving more than one contractor.
The file must contain information about the current project likely to be needed to ensure health and safety during any subsequent work, such as maintenance, cleaning, refurbishment or demolition. When preparing the health and safety file, information on the following should be considered for inclusion:
- a brief description of the work carried out
- any hazards that have not been eliminated through the design and construction processes, and how they have been addressed (e.g. surveys or other information concerning asbestos or contaminated land)
- key structural principles (e.g. bracing, sources of substantial stored energy – including pre- or post-tensioned members) and safe working loads for floors and roofs
- hazardous materials used (e.g. lead paints and special coatings)
- information regarding the removal or dismantling of installed plant and equipment (e.g. any special arrangements for lifting such equipment)
- health and safety information about equipment provided for cleaning or maintaining the structure
- the nature, location and markings of significant services, including underground cables; gas supply equipment; fire-fighting services etc.
- information and as-built drawings of the building, its plant and equipment (e.g. the means of safe access to and from service voids and fire doors)
There should be enough detail to allow the likely risks to be identified and addressed by those carrying out the work. However, the level of detail in the health and safety file should be proportionate to the risks and the file should not include things that will be of no help when planning future construction work.
All Information should be clear, concise and easily understandable; and in a conveniently accessible form.
Summary Diagram of CDM Regs.
Click on the diagram to enlarge.
Drag and drop the boxes onto the CDM role you think it relates to. Check you’re answers by clicking the blue ‘check’ button.
Over the following slides, there are several previous exam questions. An exercise including examiners feedback is provided following each question.
Attempt to answer the question first on a notepad etc. before moving on to the exercise that follows each question.