Managing contractors effectively

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.

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