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Consider health & safety with contractors

Posted by By at 7 May, at 15 : 11 PM Print

Almost all organisations will use contractors at some time.

Contractors often work in workplaces with hazards that are unfamiliar to them. This can include exposure to chemicals, asbestos, lead, noisy or hot/cold conditions.

Employees of the contracting organisation, or its client, may be at risk from the activities of a contractor, as could members of the public.

Organisations that engage contractors and sub-contractors have a responsibility under Health and Safety Law to protect them from harm caused by company work activities.

Similarly, contractors and sub-contractors must co-operate with the client and each other to ensure they don’t do anything that puts themselves or others at risk. Members of the public should not be put at risk by the contract activities.

Health and Safety at Work

Often referred to as HASAW or HSW. It places a duty on all employers “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work” of all their employees.

Among other provisions, the Act also requires:

  • safe operation and maintenance of the working environment, plant and systems
  • maintenance of safe access and egress to the workplace
  • safe use, handling and storage of dangerous substances
  • adequate training of staff to ensure health and safety
  • adequate welfare provisions for staff at work.

Employers must also keep and revise a written record of health and safety policy and consult with employees or their representatives on such policies (this only applies to those employing five or more).

Management of Health and Safety at Work

The Management of Health and Safety at Work places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities.

Employers must also make arrangements to ensure the health and safety of the workplace, including making arrangements for emergencies, adequate information and training for employees, and for health surveillance where appropriate.

Employees must work safely in accordance with their training and instructions given to them. Employees must also notify the employer or the person responsible for health and safety of any serious or immediate danger to health and safety or any shortcoming in health and safety arrangements.

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