Managing contractors is an inherent operational requirement for any business to ensure that:
Their duty of care and legislative compliance to ensure a safe working environment for workers and others is met. Productivity milestones are not delayed and further costs incurred. To meet this legislative obligation, the organisation engaging the contractor should adopt a risk management approach so that the potential risks to health and safety are eliminated or minimised, as far as practicable. In short, the engaging organisation should ensure that the contractor has a system in place to manage the risks relating to their activities and that the system complements the engaging organisation's safety system.
Managing contractors When an organisation engages contractors at their place of work, they must ensure that the: Contractors are not placed at risk by the employer's activities Employees and others are also not at risk from the contractor's activities Similarly, when a contractor comes into a workplace they must ensure the health and safety of their own employees and not put others at risk because of their activities. If an organisation engages a contractor, the contractor and engaging organisation should co-operate through a consultative framework to ensure that all involved parties meet their health and safety responsibilities in the workplace. To achieve this, the following is recommended:
1. The engaging organisation should identify and assess the risks that the contractor or their workers may be exposed to. This should include: Assessing the processes already in place to manage the risks and ensuring all processes that are not available are developed and implemented. Ensuring there is a procedure that outlines how contractors will be selected, engaged, managed and monitored while conducting work.
2. The process which may help you to start managing contractors should involve: Determining which contractors are to be or will be used and what they will be required to do. Determining who is to be responsible for managing contractors when they are conducting the work. If there is no one or the person/s currently responsible for contractors are not appropriately trained, determine the level of training required and appoint the appropriate person or provide the appropriate training. Ensuring the contractor engaged to conduct the work is provided all the work details and information necessary to ensure the work is conducted in a healthy and safe manner. This could require the development of a Contractor Safety Plan which would be provided to the contractor during the contracting or tendering process. Ensuring that an assessment of the contractor's safety management system / processes is undertaken by an appropriate person, before work commences. Ensuring that the appropriate qualifications, level of skills and certificates of insurance coverage are also obtained prior to any work being conducted
3. Developing a register of approved contractors and ensuring that only those on the register are selected or commissioned.
4. Developing a procedure for the engagement of approved contractors.
5. Ensuring that there is a defined consultation framework between the principal and contractor.
6. The contractor should be able to identify and assess the risks that may be caused by the contractor's undertakings in the workplace and what systems will be implemented to eliminate or control those risks.
7. Ensuring that training is provided to contractors and their workers in the safety management system requirements of the principal contractor commensurate with the level of interaction and activities in the workplace.
8. Reviewing the safety performance of the contractor in conjunction with other operational aspects of the contract management process. This should include a review prior to the completion of the work and as part of an annual review to determine if the contractor will retain their status as an approved contractor.
An example of the requirements to be placed on a contractor could include: Complying with the relevant Legislation, associated regulations, codes of practice and Australian Standards relevant to any work, undertaken by them. Complying with the principal organisation's WHS policies and procedures, and any other relevant workplace policies.
Ensuring that they have the required qualifications, training, and experience required for the work; this may include requesting copies of certificates of competency. Providing a risk assessment for management of the WHS risks. Ensuring the appropriate procedure (Safe Operating Procedure/Work Method Statement/Safe Work Method Statement) has been completed. Providing relevant WHS information to the principle organisation when requested. Developing site-specific procedures relevant to site hazards and work activities at the workplace. Successfully completing the principal organisation's induction or any induction required under the regulations. Ensuring that the general construction induction (if appropriate) has been provided to workers, as required by the regulation and that the general construction induction training cards are held.
Maintaining the principal organisation's workplace in a safe manner and not placing themselves or others at risk of injury. Issuing permits and/or licences required by the regulation for the work to be undertaken, for example, a confined space entry permit and including any licences required for high risk work. Supervising sub-contractors. Reporting any incidents, injuries, near misses, or non-compliances to the principal organisation. Communicating with the appointed principal organisation's Manager regularly; Raising any issue that is, or may be become, a hazard. Consulting, co-ordinating and co-operating with the principal organisation on WHS issues.
Participating in a review of contract performance, if requested. Ensuring that personal protective equipment ("PPE"), where required, is provided and worn. Non approved contractors If a contractor fails to comply with the agreed WHS requirements, an issue resolution and non-conformance process should be activated. This means that all work ceases in relation to that activity until the relevant Manager is satisfied that adequate risk controls are in place to avoid risk of injury. Ensure the relevant Manager continues to follow up and review the contractor. If the non-compliance continues, the Manager (in consultation with WHS representative/s, if applicable) should decide on the appropriate action based on the agreed non-conformance process.
This could contain the following measures: Termination of a contract and failure of not being awarded any further contract work due to the contractor's poor WHS performance, including one-off instances or continuous breaches of WHS requirements. Informing all workers of the removal from the Approved Contractor Register. All records relating to contractor's performance should be kept. Contractors sub-contracting work out Where an approved contractor uses sub-contractors, the principal organisation, engaging the contractor, should ensure that the contractor has a process in place to ensure the sub-contractor has an appropriate safety system that is aligned to the safety requirements of the work to be conducted. The principal contractor should also ensure that verification of the sub-contractor and contractor's system elements have been appropriately reviewed.