Managing Contractors

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L8 front cover


L8 4th Edition states:

“Employing contractors or consultants does not absolve the dutyholder of responsibility for ensuring that control procedures are carried out to the standard required to prevent the proliferation of legionella bacteria. Dutyholders should make reasonable enquiries to satisfy themselves of the competence of contractors in the area of work before they enter into contracts for the treatment, monitoring, and cleaning of the water system, and other aspects of water treatment and control.”

So how do you manage your contractors? Fortunately the HSE produce a series of useful documents that can help you such as HSG159 and INDG368(rev1)

HSG 159 lists 5 areas to consider:

  • policies – your health and safety policy, including arrangements for contractors;
  • organising – involving those working in the organisation, in-house staff and contractors; lines of communication and authority;
  • planning and doing – practical arrangements and methods of working used; contracts/agreements whether written or not;
  • monitoring – keeping track of what actually happens;
  • reviewing and learning – checking on how the company is getting on with contractor management, deciding what needs to be improved and how to go about it.

The document provides useful checklists and self-questionnaires to help you prepare.

It further describes 5 areas to consider when managing contractors:
•Choosing a contractor
•Contractors working on site
•Keeping a check
•Reviewing the work.

Some key points to consider are establishing the contractor’s competence.
You need to select contractors with health and safety as one of your key conditions; specify your requirements for health and safety; ask questions and get evidence. Find out their experience; health and safety policy and practice; training and competence; supervision arrangements; develop preferred contractors – those you can rely on, with established arrangements for health and safety.

It is important that you keep a check on how the work is going against the plan; your agreement, including the job specification; agreed working methods, including any Permit to Work or safety method statement.

Once the job is complete it is important to review the work carried out.

The contractor
•Were there any health and safety problems?
•Would you accept them back on site again?
•Did you need to take action?
•Did you have to pull them up on anything?
•How good are they at housekeeping?
•Would you give them a reference?
•Do you know enough about them to include them on a preferred list?

The job
•How was your planning – was the hazard identification and risk assessment adequate?
•Has the work been done as agreed, for example, as in the contract or in accordance with a safety method statement?
•Has any necessary testing been done, checked and recorded?
•Were all the permits signed off?
•Have any remaining actions been agreed and taken into account?
•Is there a record of achievements and shortfalls?
•Do plant records, including any drawings, need modification?
•If the job is likely to be done again in future, is it recorded to assist planning next time?

After the job is finished, review it to: evaluate quality; learn what went well and what didn’t so the lessons may be applied next time.
Review the: contractor; work.
Don’t forget to keep a record