Information on how to plan contractor work correctly and safely

Planning for contractor work

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.

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 affect 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.

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 subcontractors

You may 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.