We see it all! Companies who in their haste to open up sites due to financial pressures from higher management rush through the launch and allow staff and public on sites when they really shouldn’t and without contractor snagging being finalised. Who then allow their contractors to dictate to them their own individual health and safety terms, procedures, and standards – leaving them with an unmanageable mess that often needs be picked apart and taken back to basics, to create standardised processes putting them back in the driving seat so that they may attain and maintain their HSE compliance.
In a nutshell, failure to define and understand HSE roles and responsibilities and set up robust procedures right at the start of your relationship with a contractor or client, i.e. at tender stage, is guaranteed to make your life difficult thereafter. Get it right from the outset and you will ski downhill thereafter.
Where to start?
- As we all (should) know, the successful management of contractors starts well before the hiring of the contractor. There needs to be clarity in the overall expectation of the contractor as well as communication of the required standards needed to demonstrate competence and safety, including expectations of staff training and qualifications. This should be included in the tender scope and not just the contract. Therefore, it is essential that the client companies HSE Department work closely with procurement to ensure this inclusion
- The company’s procurement process must ensure that the contractor provides at tender stage documentary evidence of all health and safety procedures that would be essential during the project including; risk assessments, safe work method statements, HSE plan, emergency procedures, evidence of staff HSE training and qualifications. The resulting technical review should involve the HSE Department and form part of the overall contractor evaluation and decision as to whether the work is won or not
- Include robust contract clauses in terms of HSE obligations that the contractor understands and agrees to before they sign the contract. This could include details such as the mandatory inclusion of additional HSE supervision for high risk work or compulsory external third party investigation in the event of a lost time incident
- Make the contractor well aware of the safety standards and HSE documentation that you will require them to work to. Share your companies HSE arrangements, emergency procedures, permit systems and policy
- As the client, develop a standard reporting monthly template that ensures all documentary evidence necessary to satisfy HSE compliance as per your stakeholders and regulatory bodies criteria is captured and satisfied. Ensure all your contractors use your standard documentation and submit as per your requirements
After work is won
- Ensure all contractors attend a pre-start orientation. This will aid in eliminating any incorrect assumptions that could arise, as well as assessing the level of site HSE induction required before the commencement of work
- Plan regular progress meetings to discuss and raise health and safety issues throughout the project life. Be sure to include workforce consultations and representatives in the meetings
- The level of safety monitoring required during the project depends on the risks present. Contractors should be carrying out daily health and safety checks and clients’ suitable periodic checks on the contractor’s safety performance. Where requirements are not being met, the client should take immediate appropriate action hand in hand with the contractor
- Both the client and contractor should review the work after completion to see if safety performance could be improved in future and what learnings can be used to improve subsequent decisions and projects