CONTRACTORS - 25.08.2017

Check contractor applications

It’s come to light that some contractors claim to be receiving competent health and safety advice when they’re not. What’s happening?

Ticking the box. It appears that some contractors aren’t being entirely honest when it comes to completing selection questionnaires. Assuming that the information isn’t going to be checked, some have started to include the details of health and safety consultants on their forms, even though they have had little, or no, contact. They claim to be receiving competent advice because in many instances this is a key requirement of the company looking to put the contractor onto its books.

Caught out. We have spoken to firms, including facilities company Mitie, which say that they became suspicious about the submissions of certain contractors as the quality of the risk assessments etc. didn’t appear to have had any input from a safety advisor. So rather than believing what they’d been told, they contacted the consultant named on the questionnaire.

Who? In some instances, the consultant had never heard of the company that they were supposed to be advising. Others had advised them in the past and some had only fleeting dealings with them.

The risks? It’s vital that any contractors you employ are aware of their health and safety responsibilities and are competent to complete what you’re asking of them. If they’re not, or are willing to try to get around their responsibilities, their actions could put their staff or yours at risk.

Tip 1. Follow up with a call or an e-mail to the named safety advisor - especially if they’re from an external company, i.e. a safety consultancy. Ask them to confirm the level and nature of service that they provide the contractor.

Tip 2. Always tread carefully with new contractors. Use your first dealings with them to check that they’re as organised as they’ve claimed to be during the tender/selection process. Checking training certificates for staff and managers is a good place to start.

Some contractors are being untruthful on contractor questionnaires. If you’re suspicious, i.e. because paperwork supplied is of a poor standard, contact the named advisor to clarify what deal is actually in place.

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