A contractor is anyone the Council uses to do work who is not an employee. Using contractors to carry out such work as maintenance, repairs, installation, construction, or similar, is routine and quite often there can be more than one contractor on site at the same time.
There are a number of regulations applicable to working with contractors, the most relevant being: the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations; the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations; and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
Other regulations deal with a wide range of health and safety issues that may also need to be considered, such as falls from height, use of work equipment, including lifting equipment, and welfare arrangements.
Site/building managers should always consult with Corporate Estates before employing any contractors to carry out work. Often, it will be Corporate Estates who employ the contractors and, in such instances, Corporate Estates should always consult with the relevant site/building manager.
Statistics show that more accidents happen at sites when there are contractors carrying out work. This is because the contractors are less familiar with the workplace and the work activities than the employees located there and therefore their workers are more at risk, and also employees are more at risk than usual because the contractors introduce new risks when undertaking the work.
Therefore one of the key points in managing contractors at site is delegating personnel to act as contacts with the contractors and to liaise with them on all issues relating to health and safety.
Such personnel can then ensure that information on hazards and risks is exchanged, i.e. that the contractors are made aware of any hazards on site that may affect their employees, such as the presence of asbestos in a building, but also that the contractors make the site/building manager aware of any risks that they may be introducing on to the site whilst undertaking the work concerned, such as creating noise or dust.
Measures to eliminate or reduce risks can then be identified, agreed upon and implemented.
Other issues to consider are signing in and out procedures for contractors, informing contractors of site procedures, such as the fire evacuation plan, and also informing employees and any visitors about changes to normal procedures brought about by the contractors’ work, for example having to re-route an emergency escape route.
Advice on managing contractors can be obtained from both the Health and Safety Team, Tŷ Elai, Williamstown, CF40 1NY, telephone number 01443 425546 and Corporate Estates, Valleys Innovation Centre, Navigation Park, Abercycon, CF45 4SN, telephone number 01443 744444.