Managing Contractors Safely and Effectively

Many organisations use contractors to manage some or all of their facilities. Effective contractor management is vital to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all those involved.

Effective contractor management can be broken down into five key elements:


Considering health and safety when planning work will allow you to:

  • Identify hazards associated with the work
  • Evaluate the risk and determine what control measures are necessary
  • Decide what information, instruction and training is required
  • Identify how co-operation and co-ordination between all parties will be achieved
  • Determine any specific health and safety requirements or conditions that need to be met
  • Decide what they need to do to effectively manage and supervise the contractors work

Selecting a Suitable Contractor

Selecting a contractor should not be based on the price.  Contractors must be able to demonstrate their competence to carry out the work safely.  The degree of competence required and how this will be assessed will depend on the work that is to be carried out.  Clients should ask potential contractors to provide details of:

  • Their experience of similar work
  • Their health and safety policy and arrangements for managing health and safety
  • How they carry out risk assessments and control risks
  • Their health and safety performance, including details of accidents
  • Relevant qualifications and skills of individuals who would carry out the work
  • The health and safety training and information they provide to employees

Once appointed, contractors should carry out a suitable risk assessment and produce, where necessary, method statements in advance of the work.  Clients should work with the contractor at this stage and provide relevant information to allow the contractor to assess all of the risks associated with the work.

 Contractor Management on Site

Clients should never allow contractors to simply turn up and get on with their job.  It is important to be aware of who is on site and where they are going to be working.

Effective contractor management on site will depend on the risks associated with the work being carried out.  Arrangements for a contractor who comes on site to water plants in an office will not be as stringent as an engineer carrying out maintenance of a lift.

All contractors should sign in on arrival and sign out when they leave, and they should be aware of their site contact.  This will be someone who they can get in touch with on a regular basis and in the event of an accident or emergency.

Relevant safety information and requirements should be communicated to contractors.  This should include:

  • Details of any hazards that they will face whilst on site
  • What to do in the event of a fire or other emergency
  • Accident reporting and first aid arrangements
  • The identification of any restricted areas or areas where employees may be working
  • Waste disposal and housekeeping arrangements

Depending on the nature of the site and the work that the contractor will be carrying out, a formal induction may be required.

Monitoring Contractor’s Work

Monitoring a contractor’s work will allow a client to check what work is being carried out and how; and whether the job is going as planned.  Again, the level of monitoring required will depend on the work they are doing and the level of risk.  Typical observations when monitoring contractors should include:

  • Checking whether method statements and safe systems of work are being followed
  • Determining whether contractors are following safety rules, e.g. wearing the required personal protective equipment (PPE) or disposing of waste correctly
  • Identifying any accidents, near misses or other incidents that have occurred and whether they have been reported
  • Checking whether the work of the contractor is putting other people at risk

Actively monitoring the work will allow the client to check the progress of the job and whether conditions agreed at the start are being met.  It provides an opportunity to identify any problems that have arisen which mean the scope of the work may have changed.

Auditing the Performance of Contractors

It is important that clients audit the performance of their contractors and evaluate the quality of their work.  For large, one-off jobs this should be done when the job is completed, or for contractors providing a frequent service, at regular intervals.  Auditing performance will allow the client to learn from the work and identify areas for future improvement.

Clients should also take the opportunity to review their own performance and systems.  The review can be used to assess whether each of the above steps was successful and whether they need to make changes to the system in future.

Need more help?

PDI Partnership can assist you or your Company with Managing Contractors Safely and Effectively.

Contact us for more advice.


PDI Health & Safety Consultants, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire