Working with Contractors
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
- day to day tasks.
National Services Scotland
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.
If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us / Health and Safety
Below you will find the Risk Assessment to be used for Contractors within NHS 24. Further information on the management of contractors can be found within the policy.
NHS Golden Jubilee
The purpose of this policy is to establish consistent standards for the employment, management, supervision and control of contractors working on behalf of NHS Golden Jubilee, and to ensure compliance with all relevant health and safety legislation and Board policies.
Public Health Scotland
Scottish Ambulance Service
The purpose of this policy is to ensure the health, safety and security of all staff, Contractors and visitors of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
- What should a Permit to Work include?
The permit to work should reflect the complexity of the job that it is created for. It should include, as a minimum the following details.
- Job location – explain where the job will take place and any areas that will be affected.
- Plant identification – clarify what plant and equipment will be affected and used during the job.
- Description of work to be done – give a clear explanation of what the job entitles
- Hazard identification – detail all the hazards related to the job.
- Precautions necessary – list all the precautions required to carry out the task, including isolation and checks required prior to the task starting.
- Emergency procedures – explain the procedures to follow if something goes wrong and first aid arrangements.
- Protective equipment – list items required to carry out the task safely and without risk to health.
- What is a Permit to Work?
A permit to work is a formal process used to manage special hazardous, complex or non-routine tasks, with the aim of completing them without risks to the safety and health of employees and others, or to the environment.
The process is used to authorise work within the terms explained in the permit. It will also help all different parties involved, to communicate and agree on
1) the responsibilities of the different people involved
2) what will be done, how and when the task will be performed
3) the hazards associated with the tasks
4) what needs to be done to make sure the area is safe on completion and before other activities resume
5) different measures needed to carry out the task safely, such as
- how to check that these measures are in place before starting the activity
- how to check them while the task is taking place
- Planning for Contractor Work - what risks need to be assessed?
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.
- Planning for Contractor Work - How to 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
- 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.
- How should I manage Contractors on site?
You need to control who enters your premises, for example by asking contractors to sign in on their arrival. You need to ensure that contractors are aware of
- site safety rules
- any hazards and risks
- emergency procedures
- first aid facilities
- alarm procedures
- a site contact.
You may require a permit to work for certain tasks. These include working with electricity, hot work and confined spaces and so on. In this case you will need to make the contractor aware of the process. For more information about a work permit you can visit our page.
Monitor the contractors' performance
- they are doing a good job as planned
- following procedures as specified on their risk assessments and/or method statement.
The amount of monitoring will depend on the level of risk. Higher risk will require closer monitoring. It’s important to ensure that the contractor stays in touch with you and reports any incidents, accidents or near misses to you to be recorded accordingly.
Review the work
- that the job was completed as planned
- if there were any incidents
- whether they followed safety rules and procedures.
It’s important that you feedback to the contractor and you encourage them to do the same about your organisation. After this you need to decide if the contractor will stay in your approved list of contractors.
You also need to check if your procedures worked. For example if you planned the work well or if the selection process was effective. You should learn from the experience and review your procedures to amend them accordingly.