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Human factors: Contractors

Contractorisation is the process of downsizing, restructuring or other initiatives to enable contractors to be used to replace or supplement company staff in performing activities. It is often known as outsourcing. Contractors are organisations or individuals who provide a service, but are not directly employed by the client company. These services may be provided onsite (e.g. specialist maintenance activities, asbestos removal) or elsewhere (e.g. provision of design or safety analyses). However, any company using the services of a contractor must retain an understanding and knowledge of the product or service being supplied – and be mindful of responsibility for managing safe operations.

Key principles in contractorisation

  • Selection (including resources, equipment, knowledge and experience);
  • Coordination between clients, contractors and sub-contractors (i.e. who does what, when and how);
  • Induction to site rules, procedures, hazards and emergency arrangements;
  • Supervision (by whom – including on-the-job and checks of completed work);
  • Competence of contractors (e.g. consider the role of the client and the contractor’s management);
  • Assessment of new hazards introduced by the activities of contractors – which could be direct (e.g. in the case of asbestos removal) or indirect (e.g. caused by undetected, latent faults left behind when a contractor completes work);
  • Review of the contractor selection and management system.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/humanfactors/topics/contractors.htm

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