Collapsed Buildings: Managing Contractors

This guest post was written by a friend Dayo Olumodeji. I had planned to write on this particular collapsed building but he tagged me in his LinkedIn update and mehn, I was blown away just reading it. He did too much justice to the topic, I just had to ask to republish it on my site here. So happy reading.

In the wake of the recent church building collapse on Saturday 10th December, 2016 which took away the lives of innocent worshippers, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has ordered the immediate arrest of the contractors and engineers that constructed the Reigners Bible Church International, Uyo.

According to the Governor’s personal assistant on media matters, Mr Aniekeme Finbarr “They should be made to answer certain questions so that the state would be able to get to the root cause of the matter”.

There is the urgent need to know the ways contractors can be managed as we commiserate with the people of Akwa Ibom State.

Who is a contractor?

A contractor is anyone who an organization/business employs to do work who is not an employee.

The various types of contractors frequently employed by organizations/businesses are construction/maintenance/repairs, decorating, electricians/gas/water, fire extinguishers/alarms/emergency lighting, IT, catering, cleaning etc.

To assist an organisation/business in managing contractors, here are five (5) management steps;

1) Planning

2) Choosing a contractor

3) Contractors working on-site

4) Keeping check

5) Reviewing the work

Five (5) Steps to Managing Contractors

1. Planning

  • Outline the job to be carried out
  • Identify the hazards involved in the job
  • Evaluate the risks from the hazards

2. Choosing a contractor

Make plain the conditions the contractor(s) have to meet

The deciding factors may include (a) availability (b) cost (c) technical competence (d) reliability (d) health and safety

Pre-Qualification can save time and effort in the future

How to decide on a contractor?

  • Build relationships to set up preferred contractors
  • Use your contacts in the business
  • Use informal networks
  • Interview different contractors
  • Ask questions and get evidence

Areas that matter

  • Experience in this kind of job
  • Reputation including references
  • Health & Safety Policy
  • Risk assessments and method statements
  • Health and Safety Performance (Accident performance, Enforcement Action)
  • Membership of trade/professional bodies
  • Procedures for subcontractor selection
  • Training/competence of staff
  • Access to competent health and safety advice
  • Arrangements for supervision and consultation
  • Accident/incident reporting
  • Insurance – Employers and Public Liability

3. Contractors working on site

  • Contact person should be appointed for communication
  • Contractors should sign in and out for a record of who is on site
  • Contractors should be told about health and safety rules – smoking, first aid, emergency procedures, restricted areas, PPE
  • Visitors/contractors cards/leaflets may be useful
  • Regular consultation/communication with contractors
  • Employees might need information on job, duration, hazards etc
  • Procedures for entry into restricted areas, permit to work, material delivery, waste disposal and emergencies should be considered

4. Keeping Check

  • Checks should be carried out to ensure that contractors are doing the work in the way agreed upon
  • Contractors are responsible for supervising their own work and for ensuring that they work safely
  • However, they cannot be left to their own devices
  • They do not need to be watched all the time
  • The amount of checking should be based on the level of risk involved
  • This should be decided and agreed at the beginning of the job
  • Contractors should be encouraged to report accidents and incidents

5. Reviewing the work

  • Learn about the job and the contractor when the job is done
  • Next time, what needs to be done differently
  • Any surprises or lessons learned should be recorded and made use of next time
  • The record can be used when reviewing the list of preferred contractors

In any client-contractor relationship, both parties have responsibilities under health and safety. The client (organization/businesses) can embrace a method that ensures due care and consideration is given to the selection of contractors.

*First published on DAOHSPRO.org

Written by Dayo Olumodeji

Dayo Olumodeji is a Health, Safety and Environment Advisor and the Principal founder of DAO Health and Safety Pro LTD. He is passionate about Health and Safety and is eager to bring about change towards our (Nigeria’s) Safety culture.

Need help with a contractor’s assessment questionnaire? Dayo can be contacted via olumodejidayo@gmail.com. He will work with you to prepare one that meets the unique needs of your business.

#BeHSEWise

  • My husband and I have been wanting to build our own house, but I don’t feel good about it. Hopefully, I can talk to my husband about hiring contactor. We’ll have to see how it all plans out. I just want to make sure everyone is safe.