A number of our clients use SafeContractor as a way of demonstrating that they are building contractors who are committed to excellence in health and safety. Many of their clients insist that they are members of SafeContractor or other such pre-qualification schemes such as CHAS and Constructionline in order to be able to tender for their projects. As a result, we wanted to post a blog offering some information about these schemes. If you are not already a member of one of these schemes it would be very beneficial to your business to get accredited. Pre-qualification schemes are a great way to access new business and to be considered as a professional, competent business. Remember, your clients have a legal duty to ensure that the building contractors they use are competent to work safely. The pre-qualification, safe systems in procurement (SSiP) schemes help them to demonstrate this. JCH Safety, would be only too pleased to assist you with such applications. If you need any help, please get in touch.
Here are our top 5 tips to achieving membership of SafeContractor:
- Firstly it is important to get your health and safety systems in order. Many small businesses manage safety really well and have up to date health and safety policies, risk assessments, training and management in place. Other companies have never quite got round to doing it. All companies have a legal duty to manage safety so if you are not already doing so it is time to get this underway. If you have 5 or more employees more is expected of your business including written risk assessments. SafeContractor, and other such SSiP schemes, will require you to be able to submit your health and safety policy as part of the review of your organisation. So our first top tip is to make sure you have an up to date health and safety policy accompanied by suitable and sufficient risk assessments. There are lots of good sources of information available on the web about how to do this. The person who compiles your documentation should be competent to do so and aware of the legal requirements for this.
- Secondly, pre-qualification schemes will want to know who your ‘Competent Person’ is. You must get help with health and safety from a competent person to enable your business to meet the requirements of health and safety law. What is a ‘competent person?’ A competent person for health and safety is a someone who has sufficient experience, training and knowledge to assist you properly. This will mean someone with appropriate qualifications to understand the legal requirements and someone with industry specific experience to understand the true risks associated with the workplace. A competent person, could be a direct employee of the business, but most small businesses couldn’t afford this. As a result, small businesses tend to retain the services of a health and safety consultancy such as JCH Safety. Through the retained agreement the consultant can be appointed a company’s Competent Person. This means you have access to a health and safety professional who can help you to make relevant decisions. If you require assistance with a competent person please get in touch.
- Thirdly, you will need to be able to demonstrate that your team has appropriate health and safety training to work safely. This includes relevant professional and vocational qualifications such as NVQs. It will also include specific health and safety training such as ‘Work at Height’ and ‘Asbestos Awareness’ training. Depending on the work your business does will depend on what training your company should do. You may need to be able to demonstrate that your site managers have undergone the SMSTS training scheme also. Sometimes, experience can be sufficient but often it is necessary to demonstrate evidence of training. JCH Safety offer our clients assistance with training including both through classroom style training around Coventry and Warwickshire but also via our online health and safety training suite https://www.jchsafety.co.uk/online-health-safety-training/. Our online training courses include Abrasive Wheels, Asbestos Awareness, Manual Handling and Working Safely. Why not visit our website to find out more about our online health and safety training courses? We are so confident about how good they are we provide you free access to the first module. This allows you to see how easy the courses are to follow to help your team learn the information they need. In addition to our online training we are happy to deliver health and safety training in person around Coventry and Warwickshire. We even have a specialist First Aid teacher who can help you with all of your First Aid Training needs. Through undergoing the necessary training this will help your company to achieve compliance with SSiP schemes such as SafeContractor.
- Fourthly, SSiP schemes require evidence. When you are completing the online applications for schemes such as Constructionline, SafeContractor or CHAS, you have to upload evidence of your company’s competency. Make sure you have all of your health and safety information properly filed and accessible. This will include your policy, insurance details, copies of training certificates, toolbox talks and risk/method statements. It is always a good idea to fully look through the required documentation prior to starting the application. If you realise things are missing, please get in touch and we can help you to achieve compliance. JCH Safety are happy to help busy clients with carrying out the application on their behalf. If you need help, please let us know.
- Finally, ensure that you have evidence of supervision. It is easy to say you do this and you do that regarding supervising your team, but can you prove it? Most SSiP schemes will ask you to be able to demonstrate how you supervise your team. Ensure you have carried out site inspections and have these recorded as evidence to use in your applications. It will help you along the path to accreditation. JCH Safety offer site tours and inspections if you need assistance with this.
Completing the health and safety pre-qualification schemes applications are not the easiest task if health and safety is not your everyday work. As with everything, take them a step at a time and use them as a tool to improving your health and safety management. If you find out there are gaps in the way you manage safety, the application will help you to identify these. JCH Safety will be only too happy to help you to solve these issues so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need help. We specialise in everything from Asbestos Awareness Training, to Construction Phase Plans to managing everyday hazards. JCH Safety are you’re A-Z health and safety experts.
Based in Nuneaton in the West Midlands places us in a great geographical location to assist clients around the Midlands. Please do not hesitate to contact us to find out more about our services.