Health and Safety Contractor Prequalification in the context of the Health and Safety at Work Act is twofold – contractor selection and management
Health and Safety Contractor Prequalification is important as safety risks tend to increase as more contractors are added to a workplace.
This is due to the increased complexity of administering and enforcing compliance of a common set of safety standards and behaviors among a differing group of workers.
Worksafe expects PCBUs at the top of a contracting chain to be leaders in encouraging good health and safety practices throughout the chain. As such Worksafe also expects them to use sound contract management processes.
Health and Safety Contractor Prequalification should include a process for:
- choosing competent contractors
- exchanging information
- planning and monitoring carefully
- doing post-contract reviews.
This section looks at:
- Duty to consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs when working in a shared workplace, or as part of a contracting chain.
- Inability to contract out of health and safety duties as it is illegal
- You should always build health and safety into contract management.
- Overlapping duties
Contractor prequalification Process
The relationship between contractors on a worksite can be seen as a tree of contracted companies or persons, starting with the principal (usually the owner) or primary contractor and descending downward through potentially multiple layers of subcontractors. This can complicate the ability of workers to determine who is responsible for their safety and what standards need to be met. This is about ensuring your organisation, your contracted workers, and any subcontractors, meet their obligations efficiently and effectively whilst continually delivering on the objectives of the contract. But what is a contractor, what are these obligations, and how do you manage this relationship?
What is a Contractor
A Contractor is an external provider that is engaged to conduct works or services to fulfill the business or operational requirements of a client. Contractors are engaged across virtually all industries these days from simple works to highly sophisticated, ongoing undertakings.
What are my legal obligations to contractors?
Contractors are classified as ‘workers’ as defined in the Health and Safety at Work Act. Consequently, the use of contractors does not remove your obligations as a Person Conducting a Business of Undertaking (PCBU) to ensure there are safe systems of work in place to minimise the risk of these workers being hurt or injured. If you engage contractors, a contractor safety management system should be part of your business processes. These systems can look very different depending on your business's industry, nature, operations, and risks. Throughout the contract "overlapping duties" will apply to your organisation and those contractors that you engage
What obligations must contractors meet
Independent contractors differ from employees in their rights and obligations as they provide services to another person or business, as opposed to being employed by that person or business. F
Overlapping duties defined
PCBUs that work together will often share health and safety duties in relation to the same matter. These are called overlapping duties. PCBUs have a duty to consult, cooperate with and coordinate activities with all other PCBUs they share overlapping duties with, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Overlapping Duties Occur when
This can apply in two separate situations: Shared workplace: This is where several different contractors are working in the same place, such as a construction site, shopping centre, or port. Contracting Chain: This is where several different contractors are all working together on the same project, although not necessarily in the same workplace. Usually, one PCBU will have the most influence and control over the work. These contractors need to enter into reasonable arrangements with each other to make sure that everyone’s health and safety duties are met.
How will the project be managed
Two systems work in tandem here, the contract between the head contractor (or principal) and the contractor and the Health and Safety Management System (HSMS). The obligations of a contractor are outlined in their contract and include project deliverables, risk mitigation, and controls, expectations around health and safety, adherence to relevant legislation, and maintaining relevant licenses and insurance. Contracts can be simple or complex, explicit or implied, a verbal agreement, a purchase order, or be formal and prescriptive documents setting out the responsibilities and deliverables for each party to the contract.
Health and Safety Management System The HSMS details the essential safety procedures to ensure the health and safety of all those on site including the identification of significant risks and the corresponding mitigations, and emergency procedures.
Contracting out is illegal
You cannot contract out of your health and safety duties, or push risk down the contracting chain to another PCBU.
Health and Safety Contractor Prequalification Help
Many large companies and some councils now use third parties to complete the data collection and assessment. Contractor prequalification can be a daunting process for newcomers to especially with different applications, unfamiliar terminology and compliance with the uploading requirements such as acceptable document formats. All audits require recent examples of you complying with your procedures. We will assist you and can manage the upload for you.
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