Intelligent Operations

Andre & Agnieszka: Importance of Contractor Safety 

Do you have procedures for work with contractors? Are you sure they cover all your contractors, every time?Maybe you’ve never had an accident involving a contractor – yet!

The Law

All schools have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that all their staff and contractors are not injured whilst working and that members of the public aren’t injured in accidents connected to work. This is a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 sections 2 and 3.


  • Company prosecuted by HSE and issued £126,000 fine as worker was left paralysed after falling from height via an unguarded window.
  • Company fined £1.4m following death of contractor when crushed by falling equipment.
  • Responsible Person(s) receives prison sentence following the death of a contractor who fell from height. The defendants had failed to plan the work at height or to employ competent contractors to carry out the work.

There may be compensation to pay and other legal penalties.

What is a contractor?

A contractor is anyone you get in to work for you who is not an employee.

Examples could be:

  • Cleaners
  • Fire Alarm Engineer
  • Painter & Decorator 
  • Plumber
  • Catering Services

What could go wrong?

Accidents happen more easily when the contractor’s job is excluded from your usual methods of safe working.

Accidents with contractors can be caused by poor communication – when staff don’t know there is a contractor working nearby and when contractors don’t know the dangers on site or local emergency procedures.

Contractors are subject to greater hazards and risks than your own employees because they are not familiar with your environment and potentially due to the nature of works, they will be performing for you.

What should you do?

Both you and the contractor you use have responsibilities to implement safety measures. Make sure everyone understands the part they need to play in ensuring health and safety.

Additional duties:

  • Identify all aspects of the required job and consider the health and safety implications. 
  • You need to satisfy yourself that the contractor you choose can do the job safely and without risks to health (competency) – You must check for things such as Risk Assessments/Method Statements (RAMS), appropriate insurance cover, qualifications, and professional accreditations etc.
  • With the contractor ensure a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is in place for intended work.
  • Communicate with contractor throughout to ensure everybody, including your own employees are clear on risks present, control measures and emergency procedures.
  • Cooperate and coordinate with contractor to ensure work can be done without risks to health and safety.
  • Consult with your own employees on proposed works and how they should raise any concerns about contractors and their work.
  • Ensure adequate supervision is in place whilst contractor operates on your site. 

Contractors and ‘Construction’ Works 

If the task involve construction works, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 will apply. (CDM 2015)

Key Points:

  • All construction work under CDM 2015 requires planning, but the plan for smaller jobs should be simple, short and proportionate to the risks.
  • The definition of maintenance work has not changed. If the task in hand looks like construction work, requires construction skills and uses construction materials, it is construction work.
  • CDM 2015 makes the Client accountable for the impact of their decisions and approach to H&S/Welfare


H&S Support?

The Health and Safety Team is available to provide support and guidance on any matters that could impact on your health and safety arrangements. 

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