Regardless of the size of your business it is potentially inevitable that you will have a contractor working or visiting your premises at some point in the future. The work that contractors usually undertake can be hazardous and dangerous to your employees and the contractors should something go wrong.
You should know that if something does go wrong on site or at your businesses premises then the health and safety laws puts legal responsibility on both parties for the safety of each other. In causes of injury or damage to a party’s property or person then It Is likely the party that has been negligent will incur the cost of repair through a compensatory system. If an accident does occur it is vital that any problem big or small is recorded regardless of the industry or type of fault/injury/problem.
If your business has not already worked with contractors then these following tips should give you a basis understanding of how you can ensure yourself, your business and contractors can stay safe:
Considering the contractors
One of the best ways to ensure your employees and premises stays safe is by choosing your contractor carefully. Selecting a contractor based on the price is never recommended, a contractor should be chosen by its merits and its ability to complete a project safely and effectively. You should always look at the contractor’s previous work and ask for references before you make a final decision on who to hire. You could even look into producing a tender if you’re the contract is costly and long term.
It would be wise to select an employee who has been trained to understand the dangerous and risks associated with the work the contractors are undertaking. A business should rely on this member of staff to undertake risk assessments, before, during and after work has been completed, enabling the information to be passed around the business deeming the work to be safe and complete (ready for use). This dedicated person should perform regular checks on the progress of the work and relay any concerns to both the contractors and the business immediately.
Many small businesses are not aware of the sub-contracting that can take place when they hire contractors to undertake work. Contractors sometimes hire external professionals/organisations to come in and to do tasks on behalf of the contractor. The problem for businesses is that sometimes the subcontractors are not committed to the work they are undertaking, often resulting in poor work, effort and sometimes over running schedules and budgets.
If you can find a contractor that can do the tasks you ask without hiring subcontractors then it’s advised to us them as they will be fully in control of their own workforce. If you do have sub-contractors working on projects then you need to ensure they are aware of the risks and have the same health and safety regulations and procedures the contractors are.
If your business is going to have work carried out on site or in your place of work then it is important to ensure everyone is aware of what work is being carried out, where it is and what they need to do when in those areas. If the working area is considered as dangerous then you may need to implement a clear procedure for entry and exits. This is important as if you have cherry pickers and fork lift trucks moving around regularly then you may need to make everyone aware of the dangerous of people working at height. Consider looking at your local authorities website for more information around health and safety in the work place.
Karl Young created this article for Loxam Access, powered access equipment rental in the UK. Find out more about Loxam Access.