Managing Contractors

10 February 2022

From time to time, a business may need to operate flexibly to offer employment.

There may be an upcoming project or set number of hours that need to be provided for. Contractors can often solve these problems for businesses.

Although hiring contractors can be a flexible arrangement, it can be a difficult challenge to have. Your agreement with a contractor needs to be clear and concise or else you may face a hefty penalty.

In this guide, we’ll explain what a contractor is, how you should legally manage them, and how to implement contractor quality control effectively.

What is a contractor?

Contractors are professionals who provide skills and services to companies for a set amount of time.

This can be for a set number of hours, a certain period, or even the duration of a project.

Some of the most common types of work they carry out are building work, catering, cleaning, gardening, or recruitment, to name but a few.

Hiring contractors can be more cost-efficient, especially for project work or for processes that are not usually carried out on a daily basis.

If the situation isn’t managed, everyone starts treading on each other’s toes – and not everyone is wearing steel toe-cap boots.

What are the laws on managing contractors?

The law puts duties on both employers and contractors to manage safety.

Their responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 means contractors must take care not to endanger themselves, their colleagues, or others affected by their work.

To meet this duty, your contracts with contractors need to be clear and consistent.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 apply to everyone at work, including contractors. The Regulations encourage employers to take a more systematic approach when risk assessing.

This means widening your definition of ‘anyone who might be affected by the work’ to include contractors.

When you’re creating risk assessments, think of everyone in the workplace. If contractors are working, your management needs to be flexible and collective-minded.

When the work is a building project, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) apply, and contractors have very specific roles and duties, requiring one party to take on the role of Principal Contractor.

This means they set out a plan for the project before construction begins. They coordinate with all other parties to ensure the work is safe, including a selection of any sub-contractors.

Why is it important to manage contractors?

When hiring your contractor, you need to allow them to become familiar with your workplace.

Even if they’re permanent contractors, they might work on dozens of other sites with just as many different risk assessments to follow.

To ensure you manage them, you need to work closely with them.

This way, you will be able to keep an eye on them and assist them in any way possible. To ensure you manage this effectively, you need to:

  • Know what you need: to assess the competence of a contractor to do a job, you will also need to be clear.
  • Understand how risk: once the work is scoped out, you’ll have a better understanding of the risks involved.
  • Be a good host: ensure a competent employee welcomes the contractor and verifies the induction has been completed.

How can contractor quality control be implemented effectively?

Good contractors factor in the costs of managing safety into their tender. The popular myth that safety slows down work is false.

Good health and safety management makes it more likely for contracts to come in on time and within budget with fewer added costs, and often to a higher quality.

You should start your selection process with a simple assertion: if they’re safe, or if they’re efficient.

Follow these steps carefully and consistently to ensure you manage contractors

  1. Pre-qualify contractors using a contractor questionnaire to check they have the skills and competence to complete the work.
  2. Carry out a risk assessment to determine the potential for injuries when contractors don’t follow safe systems of work.
  3. Provide contractor induction training to inform them of hazards present on site.
  4. Draw up management of contractor’s policy to ensure a consistent approach is taken for selection, supervision, and communication between parties.
  5. Monitor, review and manage issues so you can assess their performance, incident reporting, and compliance with safety rules.

You should create a contractor quality control plan so you can stick to a specific process.

This plan will allow you to manage all the areas of the project that affect quality, not just inspections and tests.

To create a plan, you need to include the following elements:

  1. A designated quality manager: the person in charge of the project quality.
  2. The communications: think about how you will discuss the quality issues, e.g., reports, test results, or inspection forms.
  3. Quality surveillance: will you be monitoring quality on a weekly or monthly basis?
  4. Suppliers: what criteria will you use to select your suppliers?
  5. Inspections: a list of all inspections and tests should be performed during the project.

Get expert advice on managing contractors with Peninsula

To gain manage contractors, you need aware of the job itself and the risks it carries.

If the contract isn’t followed, you may face a costly penalty from your business. This could damage the reputation of the business and disrupt the progress of an ongoing project.

Peninsula offers expert guidance on managing contractor work. We have template risk assessments, e-learning courses, and contractor questionnaires that can help you meet your legal duties.

Our clients get access to 24/7 health and safety consultation on contractor management.

If you are not yet a client, you can still enjoy free advice from one of our business specialists. Simply call us on 0800 028 2420.

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