Safety of contractors and visitors
You are responsible for the health and safety of everyone at your workplace, such as contractors and the self-employed, not just employees. Everyone has a duty to work safely and report hazards, but you still need to manage and coordinate the overall health and safety programme. Remember that contracting out work is not the easy option when it comes to health and safety. It doesn’t remove your overall health and safety responsibilities.
Visitors to your work site need to be kept safe. You need to consider how hazards could affect customers, patients, an employee’s friend or family member, or passers-by, and take steps to eliminate, isolate or minimise those hazards.
What you must do
- You must take all practicable steps to ensure that no contractor, subcontractor or employee of a contractor is harmed while doing any work for you.
- Check that contractors or self-employed workers have systems in place to manage their own health and safety at work. For example, using protective clothing appropriately or using scaffolding instead of ladders when the work requires this.
- Ensure only authorised people can access the workplace, that they are made aware of hazards, or provided with appropriate supervision.
- Make sure all parties take responsibility for reporting any hazards they become aware of and know how to do this in your business.
What you could do
- Clearly outline in writing what you expect on your work sites by including your health and safety expectations in any agreements with contractors.
- Develop a Health and Safety checklist [RTF, 39kB] for contractors. Get all new contractors coming in to your work sites to read, sign and date it before starting any work for you.
- Get a written overview from contractors and others of their health and safety systems. The responsibility is on all parties involved to take care.
- Review any health and safety issues after a contractor’s work is completed. What improvements can you make?
- Make it clear to your staff that they share responsibility for the safety of friends or family visiting them.
- Signs can be useful to help visitors understand the risks they may face but don’t rely on them too much. It’s more important for you to manage the hazards and work activities to prevent harm to visitors.