What Are Your Legal Obligations For Contractors And Safety Compliance
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Legal Obligation

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What are your legal obligations for contractor safety?

A contractor is anyone that provides goods and services or performs work for a set price or rates. Contractors may be self employed or have employees of their own.

 

This can include workers such as:

    • Trades people e.g. plumbers and electricians;
    • Cleaners; and
    • Gardeners.

 

Such contractors often quote for a job and invoice after the work has been completed. The mistake many make is thinking they don’t have responsibility for the safety of these people because they are not employees and are not being employed directly by your organisation.

 

Safety authorities make it very clear​

“Employers engaging contractors to carry out work in their workplace have a duty to protect the health and safety of the contractors. These are the same duties an employer has to their own employees.​”

 

INFORMATION ON ENGAGING A CONTRACTOR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 2004 1ST EDITION – WORKSAFE VICTORIA

Legal obligations check list

If you are unable to answer “yes” to all these questions then chances are you are not complying with the requirements.

    • Can you prove that all your contractors have been inducted into your site/s safety?​
    • Do all your contractors have Job Safety Analysis’s or Safe Work Method Statements for the jobs they perform?
    • Have you captured relevant contractor qualifications and insurances?
    • Do you communicate new policies and procedures or changed site conditions to your contractors?
    • If you issue Work Permits before work commences are they captured centrally and can you access all previous, present and future permits?
    • Do you capture contractor and visitor movements in and out of your workplace?

 

If there is an incident involving your contractors, safety authorities in the least, will likely require the following two things from you:

    • Proof of induction;​ and
    • Proof that a JSA or other form of risk assessment was completed.

Our contractor induction software can make this process easy for any business.

 

Remember that a proper safety system is not just a “nice to have” it’s a license to operate.

What type of contractor safety management system does your organisation need?

The type of contractor safety management system your organisation needs depends on the number of contractors you engage and how often they are engaged.

 

If you only engage a small number such as under 20 per year, you may be able to use a manual system. This could involve the following:

    • A paper based competency induction that involves contractors answering questions and questions being assessed;
    • Photocopying of license and insurances that are filed and can be retrieved on demand;
    • Expiry of documents noted in a system so you can remember to photocopy them again when they come up for renewal;
    • Job Safety Analysis or Safe Work Method Statements being captured and filed before work commences; and
    • If a new policy or procedure is introduced or work conditions change, you could have some sort of notification process that captures their understanding such as documents they need to sign or documents they need to answer.

 

We have developed some good basic paper-based tools that you can download from this link.

Automated contractor safety management systems​

Manual systems become unwieldy and expensive to administer for larger contractor engagements. It is also possible you won’t have “the piece of paper” evidence when you need it. Automated online systems can save time and money and offer you the best chance of remaining compliant and monitoring your contractors.

What you should look for in a contractor safety management system?

When using any system there are three main considerations:

    • Does it allow me to keep everything in one place and avoid using multiple systems?
    • Is it easy to use?
    • Does it have all the functions I need?

 

conTrac has been designed by safety practitioners with over 100 years combined experience with these three considerations in mind.

conTrac is notably the only system which offers an end to end solution from contractor selection and pre-qualification through to inductions, risk assessments and work permitting.

This is why we believe so strongly in the efficiency and accuracy of ConTrac, our contractor management system.