Safe Construction Practice: How to Manage Contractors

Managing contractors on a construction site can be a difficult process, especially where workplace health and safety is concerned. While they are still not technically your employees, you will still have a responsibility for these people, so you will need to brush up on the rules and regulations regarding contractors. It is essential that both you and the contractor are working together to make sure that safety is priority.

Here are some helpful tips for you to ensure your work with any contractors goes as successfully and smoothly as possible.

Properly Explain the Job

When you bring the contractor in, the first thing you will need to do is identify exactly what work it is they will have to carry out, including any health and safety protocols that go with it. If you include all this information within your job specification you can let the contractors know early exactly what is it they are signing up for and what is expected of them, so both parties have a better understanding.

Find the Right Person for the Job

Making sure you properly vet all candidates for the job will ensure you will secure yourself a capable worker. Obviously, the skill level and risk involved for the job required will tailor exactly how strict your vetting process is. It is a good idea to get a sense of their previous experience and also getting written evidence of their health and safety policy, including past risk assessments they may have completed.

Complete a Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is vital to ensure everybody is aware of the dangers of the job and how to prevent unnecessary danger to anyone within the workforce. Ask yourself three key questions when you carry out the risk assessment:
1) What could possibly endanger people?
2) Who could this endanger and how would they get injured?
3) What can be done to ensure risk is kept to a minimum?

Both you and the contractor should complete an assessment independently and then compare the two, so you are both on the same wavelength.

Provide Them with Key Information

Once the risk assessment has been completed and you are both happy with the agreed upon procedures, provide it to them as information within a form that is easy to read and understand. This will include health and safety information, procedures in place to deal with risks as per your risk assessment and finally the emergency protocol – make sure you let them know where you keep the medical supplies so they are prepared for a first aid emergency.

Keep Your Workforce in the Loop

It’s not just you who will have to work with the contractors, your entire workforce will as well. Make sure that they have been properly briefed on exactly how bringing the contractors in will affect them and that they are more than welcome to highlight any issues they have about the contractors and the work they are doing. They may raise an important issue that you had not considered.

Have Regular Meetings

Communication is key to a job successfully completed. Regularly checking back with the contractor is the best way to ensure all is running smoothly as well as the job being completed within the agreed time. It is crucial to pay close attention for any ‘near misses’ that may have occurred, because it’s a clear sign you will need to put additional safety measures in to prevent this happening again.

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