Factors to Consider in Choosing the Contractor

What Is Contractor and Factors to Consider in Choosing the Contractor

A contractor is a professional who provides services to businesses or individuals. Contractors typically work on a project basis, meaning they are hired to complete a specific task or set of tasks. Common examples of contracting jobs include construction work, landscaping, and home renovation. Contractors may also provide other professional services such as accounting, writing, and event planning.

In some cases, a contractor may be hired to perform a specific task as part of a larger project; for example, a construction contractor may be hired to build a new wing of a hospital. Other times, a contractor may be hired to carry out an entire project from start to finish; for example, a landscaping contractor may be hired to design and install a new garden.

Legal considerations

The HSW Act applies to all work activities. It requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of:

  • their employees; 
  • other people at work on their site, including contractors; 
  • members of the public who may be affected by their work. 

All parties to a contract have specific responsibilities under health and safety law, and these cannot be passed on to someone else:

  • Employers are responsible for protecting people from harm caused by work activities. This includes the responsibility not to harm contractors and subcontractors on site. 
  • Employees and contractors have to take care not to endanger themselves, their colleagues, or others affected by their work. 
  • Contractors must also comply with the HSW Act and other health and safety legislation. When contractors are engaged, the activities of different employers do interact. So cooperation and communication are needed to make sure all parties can meet their obligations. 
  • Employees have to cooperate with their employer on health and safety matters and not do anything that puts them or others at risk. 
  • Employees must be trained and clearly instructed in their duties. 
  • Self-employed people must not put themselves in danger or others who may be affected by what they do. 
  • Suppliers of chemicals, machinery, and equipment must ensure their products or imports are safe and provide information on this.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations apply to everyone at work and encourage employers to take a more systematic approach to dealing with health and safety by:

  • assessing the risks which affect employees and anyone who might be affected by the site occupier’s work, including contractors; 
  • setting up emergency procedures; 
  • providing training; cooperating with others on health and safety matters, for example, contractors who share the site with an occupier; 
  • Providing temporary workers, such as contractors, with health and safety information. 

The principles of cooperation, coordination, and communication between organizations underpin the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the CDM Regulations. See Section 3.12 on a joint occupation of premises for more information on the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Construction Design and Management (CDM2007) Regulations

Businesses often engage contractors for construction projects at one time or another to build a plant, convert or extend premises and demolish buildings. The CDM 2007 Regulations apply to all construction projects. Larger projects which are notifiable have more extensive requirements. 

All projects require the following: 

  • non-domestic clients to check the competence of all their appointees; ensure there are suitable management arrangements for the project; allow sufficient time and resources for all stages; provide pre-construction information to designers and contractors; 
  • designers to: eliminate hazards and reduce risks during design; and provide information about remaining risks; 
  • contractors to: plan, manage and monitor their work and that of employees; check the competence of all their appointees and employees; train their employees; provide information to their employees; comply with the requirements for health and safety on-site detailed in Part 4 of the Regulations and other Regulations such as the Work at Height Regulations, and ensure there are adequate welfare facilities for their employees; 
  • Everyone to: assures their competence; cooperate with others and coordinate work to ensure the health and safety of construction workers and others who may be affected by the work; report obvious risks; take account of the general principles of prevention in planning or carrying out construction work, and comply with the requirements in Schedule 3, Part 4 of CDM 2007 and other Regulations for any work under their control.

For even small projects, clients should ensure that contractors provide:

  • Information regarding the contractor’s health and safety policy; 
  • Information on the contractor’s health and safety organization detailing the responsibilities of individuals; 
  • Information on the contractor’s procedures and standards of safe working; 
  • The method statements for the project in hand; 
  • Details on how the contractor will audit and implement its health and safety procedure; 
  • Do they have procedures for investigating incidents and learning the lessons from them? 

Smaller contractors may need some guidance to help them produce suitable method statements. While they do not need to be lengthy, they should set out those features essential to safe working, for example, access arrangements, PPE, control of chemical risks, etc. 

Copies of relevant risk assessments for the undertaken should be requested. These need not be very detailed but should indicate the risk and the control methods to be used. 

The client, designer, CDM coordinator, principal contractor, and other contractors have specific roles under CDM 2007 Regulations. 

Contractor selection

The selection of the right contractor for a particular job is probably the most important element in ensuring that the risks to the health and safety of everybody involved in the activity and people in the vicinity are reduced as far as possible. Ideally, selection should be made from a list of approved contractors who have demonstrated that they can meet the client’s requirements.

The selection of a contractor has to be a balanced judgment with many factors taken into account. Fortunately, a contractor who works well and meets the client’s requirements regarding the quality and timeliness of the work is also likely to have a better than average health and safety performance. Cost, of course, will have to be part of the judgment but may not provide any indication of which contractor is likely to give the best performance in health and safety terms. In deciding which contractor should be chosen for a task, the following should be considered:

  • Do they have an adequate health and safety policy
  • Can they demonstrate that the person responsible for the work is competent? 
  • Can they demonstrate that competent safety advice will be available? 

Do they monitor the level of accidents at their worksite? 

  • Do they have a system to assess the hazards of a job and implement appropriate control measures? 
  • Will they produce a method statement that sets out how they will deal with all significant risks? 
  • Do they have guidance on health and safety arrangements and procedures to be followed? 
  • Do they have effective monitoring arrangements? 
  • Do they use trained and skilled staff who are qualified where appropriate? (Judgement will be required, as many construction workers have had little or no training except training on the job.) Can the company demonstrate that the employees or other workers used for the job have had the appropriate training and are properly experienced and, where appropriate, qualified? 
  • Can they produce good references indicating satisfactory performance?

Factors To Considered In The Selection Process For Hiring The Roofing Contractor.

The following factors should be considered when selecting a roofing contractor. References should be checked to ensure that previous clients were satisfied with the work carried out and to ensure that works of a similar nature and size to the proposed project have been delivered successfully.

Certificates of insurance should be checked to ensure that adequate public liability and employer’s liability cover are carried by the contractor. The level and quality of health and safety training provided to employees should be considered, and preference is given to organizations that demonstrate such commitment to employee training.

The organization’s health and safety management system should be considered, such as the suitability of the health and safety policy and the process for reporting and recording accidents, and the processes in place for checking and controlling sub-contractors.

With regard to the safety of the project, the suitability and quality of the risk assessments should be assessed, ensuring that the risk assessments are site-specific. Method statements should be sufficiently detailed and demonstrate how control measures will be implemented to reduce the risk to the workers.

Finally, consideration should be given to the safety of the equipment to be used on-site, the suitability of the equipment for the environmental conditions, and its maintenance.

Factors to Consider in Contractor Selection

  • Trade association memberships.
  • Maintenance of equipment.
  • Experience with similar works.
  • Training of staff.
  • Method statement suitability.
  • Risk assessment quality.
  • Accident history.
  • Enforcement actions.
  • Health and safety policy.
  • Equipment to be used.
  • Maintenance of equipment.
  • Control of sub-contractors.

Main Risks To The Contractors From Working At Height:

  • Falls from the height.
  • Falling objects.
  • Falls through the fragile roof.
  • Contact with live services/cables.
  • Injuries due to tools in use.
  • Effects of weather (from sunburn
  • to slips on ice).
  • Correctly designed for use and load.

Contractor authorization

Contractors, their employees, sub-contractors, and their employees should not be allowed to commence work on any client’s site without authorization signed by the company contact. The authorization should define the range of work that the contractor can carry out and set down any special requirements, for example, protective clothing, fire exits to be left clear, and isolation arrangements. 

Permits will be required for operations such as hot work. All contractors should keep a copy of their authorization at work. A second copy of the authorization should be kept at the site and be available for inspection. 

The company contact signing the authorization will be responsible for all aspects of the contractor’s work. The contact will need to check as a minimum the following: 

  • that the correct contractor for the work has been selected; that the contractor has made appropriate arrangements for supervision of staff; 
  • that the contractor has received and signed for a copy of the contractor’s safety rules
  • that the contractor is clear about what is required, the limits of the work, and any special precautions that need to be taken; 
  • The contractor’s personnel are properly qualified for the work to be undertaken. 

The company contact should check whether subcontractors will be used. They will also require authorization if deemed acceptable. It will be the responsibility of the company contact to ensure that sub-contractors are properly supervised.

Appropriate supervision will depend on a number of factors, including the risk associated with the job, the experience of the contractor, and the amount of supervision the contractor will provide. The responsibility for ensuring proper supervision lies with the person signing the contractor’s authorization.

The company contact will be responsible for ensuring adequate and clear communication between different contractors and company personnel where this is appropriate. 

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