How to maintain health & safety standards throughout your supply chain

Many within the construction industry will appreciate the challenges that subcontracting can present – health and safety is just one of them. But it’s crucial to ensure that everyone is informed when it comes to health and safety best practice, so that subcontractors are just as well protected as your own employees.

Health and safety issues, and guidance surrounding the best way to avoid incidents, change regularly. This means that it can be difficult enough to ensure that your own workforce is safe – but when it comes to subcontractors, who may face different policies and processes on every project they work on, it can become incredibly complex.

But it’s your responsibility to provide a safe, healthy workplace for everyone that’s working on your project. Here are a few tips to help you ensure that they all understand and can meet your high standards for health and safety:

  1. Review your existing processes

When it comes to health and safety, legislation is constantly changing and workers are facing new health and safety issues all the time. That’s why it’s a good idea to review your health and safety policy and processes regularly, to ensure that they are fit to meet today’s health and safety challenges.

It’s also wise to seek external support, as health and safety experts may pick up on areas for improvement that you might otherwise miss. Gaining Acclaim accreditation is a great way to get external reassurance around your processes, as one of their qualified assessors carries out a review to ensure that all of your health and safety documentation is in place as part of the accreditation process.

  1. Set your standards from the start

We know that when you’re looking for a suitable supplier, there are many elements that you need to take into consideration, from their previous experience to their environmental policy. You should also check their health and safety policies and their track record thoroughly, to ensure that their standards are aligned with your own.

Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) is the de facto standard for the construction sector and contains a standard set of criteria to which suppliers and contractors must adhere. Many of our members work with Acclaim to review supplier policies and working practices as part of the SSIP standard. Acclaim is accredited to award ‘Deemed to Satisfy’ certificates, demonstrating that suppliers are qualified and ready to work in the sector.

  1. Don’t let standards slip

When a project is underway, there can be so many different commercial, operational and time pressures on your team that health and safety can slip down their list of priorities. That’s why it’s a good idea to implement a health and safety management system on each project you undertake – and it doesn’t have to be complex.

A simple ‘plan, do, check, act’ system can make a real difference to health and safety on-site. To follow this system, you need to plan what controls are needed to maintain health and safety, do what it says in the plan, periodically check whether your controls are effective, and act if checks reveal your current processes aren’t working. You should also build health and safety milestones into your overall project plan, which just involves stopping and reviewing how well health and safety standards are being observed at critical phases of your project.

We’re here to help

At Constructionline, we know how difficult it can be to ensure that your health and safety processes are in line with best practice and observed by everyone working on your projects. We’re here to support both buyers and suppliers in their health and safety journey – so whether you’re looking to gain SSIP or find a supplier that meets your health and safety requirements, our experts can help to guide you.

Talk to one of our specialists today – give us a call on 0333 300 2518 or contact us via our website.

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