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Managing Contractors

Is your company planning to carry out essential maintenance?

Here’s what you need to consider when hiring contractors

magnifying glassDevil in the detail

Undertake a risk assessment of any job before the contractor arrives on site. Not only will this help prepare for any potential problems, it will serve as a detailed plan for the work that is required. The management is then in a better position to ask a contractor the right questions about experience, equipment, knowledge of safety procedures and see whether they have the correct insurance to cover the work.

flameHot work

Cutting, welding, blowtorches, grinding, bitumen and tar operations are a common source of fire due to carelessness and ineffective supervision.  Ensure there is a system that is understood and rigorously followed by all workers. Many companies find themselves faced with a major fire, because they trusted their facility to a contractor who “must know what they are doing or they would not be in business.” Many fire losses that occur are caused by outside contractors, due to time constraints and a lack of interest in the continued productivity of a client’s site. Written contracts that specify the standards of conduct and clearly establish responsibility for liability in the event of an incident are vital. Equally, contractors must be made aware of the safety procedures in place and be monitored to check they follow them.

legal scalesBlame game

In addition to covering any potential losses caused by the contractor, the organisation has a duty of care to employees. Under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations in the UK, and the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act in Ireland, employers must ensure the absence of risk to employees, members of the public and all those who may be harmed by their operation – this includes any contractors or subcontractors working on site.

It is the organisation’s responsibility to communicate clearly any safety instructions/procedures to employees and make sure that they have been understood. This is particularly important for workers whose first language may not be English. The simple solution is to provide an interpreter or give the employee the health and safety instructions printed in their first language.

Rowlands & Hames would like to thank Travelers for this article.

If you would like a more detailed explanation, Aviva Insurance have also provided some guidance.  This can be found on their site by clicking here…

Tagged with: Contractors, Risk management

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