Most organisations look after the health and safety of their staff well, but it can be a different story when there are external contractors working on site. These workers can be easily overlooked, or mistakenly thought to be “someone else’s responsibility”.
However, WHS legislation specifies that both the contractors and the organisation that engages them share a responsibility to provide safe, healthy working conditions.
To ensure the safety of all workers including contracted workers, and to address the requirements of the legislation, a structured and systematic approach needs to be consistently implemented.
The process of good contractor management should begin well before the need for a specific contractor has been identified. The steps for a robust process are as follows:
- Define responsibilities for the organisation’s workers who will be responsible for selecting and managing the contractor and, in broad terms, define the contractor’s roles and responsibilities;
- Develop a contractor management system, including a specific induction program;
- Implement a pre-qualification process that requires the contractors to fill out a pre-qualification questionnaire that advises them of your required standards and expectations, and request them to provide their WHS management structures, responsibilities, processes and procedures that will be used when working on your site.
At this point, your organisation is ready to engage the required contractors.
- Provide more details for the specific work to be undertaken;
- Enter into a formal contract and include (where possible) the requirements and responsibilities of their appointment within the contract agreement documentation. Then do your due diligence by ensuring that all the necessary information from the contractor (to demonstrate their experience and qualifications including licences, permits, registrations and insurances as well as SWMS) has been obtained, assessed and considered to be satisfactory before commencing;
- Allow the Contractor to commence.
And when the contractors are on-site:
- Conduct a contractor induction before they start work;
- Consult, Cooperate and Coordinate ensuring there is a 2-way exchange of information explaining how the contractors’ work will interface with other operations. Authorise any required permits and ensure the contractor adjusts any generic SWMS prior to starting work;
- Supervise and monitor the contractor’s work, addressing any identified issues. Hold the contractor accountable for their WHS responsibilities; and finally
- Review the contractor’s performance, discuss it with them and retain records of this review so that it can be applied during any re-qualification process.
When a systematic process such as this is followed, the organisation can be more confident that they are both complying with their legislative obligations, and more importantly, keeping ALL of their workers safe and well.
Please contact QRMC if you would like advice in relation to the Contractor Management processes.