Planning for contractor work - Healthy Working Lives

Contractors

Understanding my obligations and responsibilities

A contractor is anyone who is doing work for your organisation, but they are not your employee. You may use contractors to help with

  • business activities
  • maintenance
  • cleaning
  • catering
  • day to day tasks.

Almost all organisations use contractors at some time. They could be organisations or self-employed individuals.

A contractor may hire other companies to assist with parts of the contract they have with you. These companies or individuals are known as sub-contractors.

Managing contractors

Our pages detail a number of actions to ensure that the work carried out by contractors is completed without risk to health and safety.

  1. Planning for contractor work
  2. Managing contractors on site
  3. Contractor legislation

1. Planning for contractor work

Assess the risks of the work

It’s very important that you plan the work that the contractor is going to carry out for you. You need to provide projects’ specifications and requirements to contractors before they tender for the job.

If you are aware of any hazards that the work could create or are present in your workplace that will effect workers, you should include this in the pre-tender paperwork.

This will help the contractor decide

  • what equipment and materials are required
  • if they are able to carry out the task
  • what precautions are essential to carry out the task without risks to health.

Through the planning stage you need to identify hazards and assess risks related to the work. The contractor will need to carry out their risk assessment, but their assessment should fit into your own. 

It’s also important that the contractor makes you aware of any hazards and risks specific to the task that they are about to carry out.

Carrying out a risk assessment in the workplace

Select an appropriate contractor

When selecting a potential contractor you will need to ask questions and look for evidence about their

  • health and safety arrangements
  • past performance
  • qualifications
  • experience
  • insurance details.

It’s important that you ask for details about how they are planning to carry out the task at your premises. Based on the information provided you need to decide whether the contractor is suitable to carry out the work or not.

You may request that they provide

  • evidence of experience in the same type of work
  • references from previous clients which are checkable
  • accident/ill health statistics/prosecutions  
  • evidence of qualifications, skills and ongoing training
  • evidence of health and safety training
  • risk assessments and method statements for the work to be carried out
  • health and safety policy and procedures
  • their criteria for selecting sub-contractors.

You should create an approved list of contractors. This list should include details of those contractors that you have accepted as suitable to work for you.

You can then ask them to update their documents regularly. This is with the exception of risk assessments or method statements which will need to be specific to the task.

Contact information

Message us or call our advice line on 0800 019 2211 if you need further information about working with contractors.