Summer maintenance work

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Planning to have contractors in this summer to complete essential maintenance or undertake project works at your property? Here’s some information you need to know

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 attempt to make the regulations more accessible to all duty holders. Overall, CDM aims to improve health and safety in the industry by helping you to sensibly plan the work so the risks involved are managed, along with making sure you are employing the right people for the right job at the right time. CDM also aims to ensure that you cooperate and coordinate your work with others and consult with contractors about the risks and how they are being managed, and finally communicate this information effectively to those who need to know.

As a client, unless you are appointing a competent person to assist in managing the works, a necessity if your project involves more than one contractor, you have a responsibility to make sure steps are taken to ensure the contractor is managing the work in a safe manner. You should allow for your contractors to be fully integrated into the daily routine management of premises. There can, of course, be circumstances where an area of the property is handed over completely to a contractor, or the contractor is working in a completely separate part of the building to residents and others, in which case any system of control between parties will rest with the contractor.

The HSE’s recommendation is that a system is put in place that contains these five steps to managing contractors safely:

Step 1 – Plan the work to be done, including how the contractor will identify hazards, assesses risk and implement safe systems of working. Essential health and safety information including the site rules and information about existing hazards at the property, should be provided to the contractors.

Step 2 – Choose a contractor based on technical competences, experience of the work to be done, but start by evaluating their health and safety competency, knowledge, skills, experience and organisational capability.

Step 3 – Agree compliance standards to a system of management and the site rules, along with a named point of contact within the client organisation.

Step 4 – Keep a check on the work activity, the progress of the job, the safety standards achieved, whilst reviewing the control measures and the operations of the contractor’s staff.

Step 5 – Review the work at the point of completion to establish the effectiveness of the system of management, or otherwise.

When selecting contractors, you will need to select those with proven health and safety performance and competence. Try to determine the key facts, such as the contractor’s skills, knowledge experience and organisational capability, health and safety policy and practice, trade or professional memberships, supervision arrangements and insurances, so that all evidence confirms the contractor’s suitability for the work task. Some assistance is available in the form of ‘assessment schemes’ such as CHAS and Safecontractor, which though not a substitute for your own approval process, will demonstrate a certain level of competence and compliance on behalf of the contractor.

Seek professional assistance in specifying the health and safety requirements for the contract and having contractors assessed to properly establish which have adequate arrangements for health and safety, and monitor that the contractor is reaching the required standards.

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