Contractors have a responsibility to safely manage the work that they are carrying out or overseeing for their clients.
As part of this duty, there are several documents and accreditations that contractors need to ensure they have created and implemented before work begins; in some cases, contractors won’t even be considered for a job without these in place.
Safety Schemes in Procurement is an umbrella body for various assessment schemes with the aim of facilitating a mutual understanding and recognition between different health and safety schemes to ensure uniformity.
The main purpose of SSIP is to help interpret various health and safety standards in the UK and streamline the tender process. In turn, this helps to reduce both duplication and costs for both buyers and suppliers.
There are several different SSIP accreditations that you can opt for; it all depends on what you need…
CHAS is one of the founding members of SSIP and simplifies the contractor assessment and pre-qualification process.
If you want to start tendering your own work, rather than being someone’s subcontractor, or if you want to start getting work with local authorities, hospitals or schools then being CHAS accredited will help substantially.
Plus, if you decide to apply for other accreditations further down the line then it gets a whole lot easier with CHAS accreditation in place because much of the health and safety sections can be ticked off right away.
CHAS is considered the accepted benchmark for health and safety excellence and is the most popular scheme for this reason.
If you require help with your CHAS application, then learn more about our support service here
Though SafeContractor is smaller than the CHAS scheme, it still highlights your continuing good practice around health and safety, helping to make your business more visible and appealing to potential clients.
It’s worth checking your client base to find out whether SafeContractor is the preferred scheme as this can vary.
ConstructionLine is another leading and well-recognised SSIP. It has similar benefits to SafeContractor and CHAS so, again, you will need to assess your client base to decide whether this is the best accreditation for your business.
A health and safety policy is the single most important and necessary document that your business can create as it describes how your business manages health and safety. It must identify who is responsible for what within the business when it comes to overseeing health and safety and how they manage it, such as first aiders and fire marshals.
The document has a standard format that it must follow, i.e. opens with a statement of intent then goes on to lay out the responsibilities of each person and closes with details of any practical arrangements that have been put in place e.g. conducting a risk assessment.
Risk assessments form the cornerstone of UK health & safety legislation and the requirement for organisations to prepare risk assessments are clearly outlined in several health and safety acts and regulations including the HSE.
A risk assessment is the process in which you identify and evaluate any potential hazards in the workplace. If you employ five or more people, the findings from this risk assessment need to be written down and clearly communicated to your employees. This is where you RAMs documentation comes in.
These documents contain details of the hazards that you have identified in the risk assessment and the steps that you will take to eliminate or reduce the risk.
Using the findings from your risk assessment, you are then able to develop a safe system of work.
A safe system of work document is not the same as a risk assessment, it comes as a direct result of that, i.e. the risk assessment identifies the hazards and whether a safe system of work is required.
The safe system of work should outline the safe methods that will be used to reduce or eliminate any hazards involved in any task at work. The document should break down the step by step process required to control risks.
For example, the task may be erecting scaffolding and the significant hazards would include working at height, objects falling from a height and manual handling.
Therefore, your safe system of work document would highlight that PPE such as hi-vis jackets and hardhats are required on site as well as working at height equipment. It may also be necessary to provide thorough manual handling training to employees before work can start.