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Health and safety
02 November 2016
Contractors fitting a window
Changes in the way that schools and colleges are managed have resulted in the increased use of contractors on site, which can introduce new risks to the workplace.

Contractual work may be small jobs such as minor repairs to doors or glazing, or more substantial works such as refurbishments, cleaning or catering.

Whether a large building project or routine maintenance on equipment is being carried out, the employer (usually the local authority, governing body, corporation or proprietor) is responsible for ensuring the following:

  • Competent contractors must be appointed. Request details of qualifications, skills and experience, and what health and safety training the contractor provides. Ask for a copy of their safety policy, risk assessments and safety method statements.
  • Risk assessments should be carried out on the work to be undertaken in the school or college. The contractor must assess the risks for the contracted work. Agreement should then be reached on the risk assessment for the contracted work and the preventative measures to be taken when the work is in progress, eg sealing off certain areas.
  • Staff should be consulted on health and safety matters. Safety reps are entitled to be consulted.
  • Staff should receive the necessary information and training on anything that may affect their health and safety.
  • The work must be effectively managed and supervised throughout, and health and safety performance monitored. The more impact the work could have on the health and safety of anyone who is likely to be affected, the greater the management and supervisory responsibilities of your employer.
  • It is important for schools/colleges to liaise closely with and have effective lines of communication with contractors. Therefore, regular contract meetings ought to take place.
  • Staff are advised to report promptly any hazards caused by contractors, which pose a risk to the health and safety of anyone on the school/college premises.

See also