The HSE Guide – Using Contractors INDG368 is aimed at any business that uses contractors ie: anyone you ask to do work for you who is not an employee. The guidance explains the importance of taking contractor management seriously and what you must do to comply with health and safety law.
SG World’s 5D Contractor Management software is packed with features which help you manage contractor hire safely and compliantly. We look at 5 key recommendations from the HSE and how 5D helps you address them.
This is all about satisfying yourself that the contractor you chose has the right skills, experience and competence for the job. There’s a number of key questions you should ask your contractor including:
5D helps in a number of ways. Using the software, you can set up a whole series of pre-checks as a questionnaire, with the option of requesting necessary documentation as an upload and collecting signatories. The whole process is recorded in the software and relevant documentation is stored in the database against that contractor. You can also set up warning flags if something is missing or incomplete, for example the dashboard will display a “red” status against contractors with invalid insurance.
The second element is the option of recording notes and history against past contractor jobs, so you can quickly match jobs to the right contractor . . . and identify contractors whose work has caused issues in the past.
This section is all about giving your contractor important safety information on your site including specific risks and emergency procedures. Don’t assume that contractors will be aware of all the risks, even if they seem obvious to you.
5D is the perfect tool to share this sort of information whilst recording and tracking the whole exchange, so you can quickly check what’s been sent across, viewed and followed up. For example, you can email the contractor with a video explaining your site health and safety, including a follow up questionnaire, testing understanding.
The HSE stresses the importance of you and your contractor working together and coordinating your activities, to make sure the work can be done safely and without risks to health. One suggested way of doing this is to have regular meetings throughout.
5D includes a calendar which will let you schedule in review meetings and record meeting notes, so you have a dated history and record of meeting outcomes and actions.
This section is all about deciding what you need to do to manage contractors’ work including :
5D lets you book in a job and assign an internal job owner who will have access to all of the supporting job information as well as a daily schedule of who will be on site and when. They can book contractors on and off site, schedule and record supervisory notes and where appropriate, issue a permit to work.
Permits to Work are not legally required documents and are not normally required for controlling general visitors to site or routine maintenance tasks in non-hazardous areas. However, they are widely acknowledged as being best practice for workplace safety for across a range of activities typically carried out by contractors including hot work, electrical work, working from height, working with hazardous substances and confined spaces.
Designing, completing, tracking and recording Permits to Work are all handled within the 5D Contractor software. You can design your own permits to work from scratch or use and edit the starter library of default permits provided in the software. The permits to work can be accessed through the software web interface and also on a mobile app via a QR code on the actual contractor ID pass. Each permit to work has an expiry date and must include a digital signature from both the contractor and internal manager. Both signatures are again required when the active permit is closed, confirming the job had been completed and the work area left in a safe state of repair. The authorising user will be asked for a pin code at point of sign-off. All permit to work history is retained in the contractor database software.
The HSE guidance also advises that after the job is finished, there will be benefits in reviewing and learning from any lessons to see if performance can be improved in future. This sort of process can be captured within 5D and easily referenced for the next contractor project.
The ING368 guide concludes by listing a set of key questions you should ask yourself when hiring a contractor. Remember, if you don’t ask them, the HSE will if something goes wrong:
5D Contractor helps you manage contractors safely and effectively from start to finish. You have a contractor database to document and access important information and job history, pre-qualification checks, a digital permit to work system and a booking-in process - all in one integrated software platform. We give you the tools and a process to follow for best practice contractor safety.