Where does the responsibility lie for health and safety?

Renewable companies have a duty of care to those who work for them, as well as those who may be affected by a renewables site or the work being carried out.
That is why it is paramount to consistently demonstrate positive management of a working environment and assessment and removal of any risks, as far as is reasonably practicable. To ensure “best practice” is achieved, a company must adopt a “continuous improvement” methodology whereby they are continuously learning and seeking out new ways to provide the best, and safest, working environment they can offer. This is achieved by performing regular audits on the systems they use, their people, their sites and assets.

However, employers are not the only figures who have a part to play when it comes to positive health and safety outcomes.

Contractors

Just as a main company is required to comply with health and safety standards, so are contractors.
If you have a contractor working for you, then both you and the contractor will have duties under health and safety law. This also applies when a contractor employs subcontractors. When employing contractors you should:

  • select a suitable subcontractor – ensure they have sufficient skills and knowledge to do the job safely and without risks to health and safety
  • assess the risks of the work – the level of risk will depend on the nature of the job. Whatever the risk, you will need to consider the health and safety implications
  • do a risk assessment – you and the contractor should be aware of its findings. You should already have a risk assessment for the work activities of your own business. The contractor must assess the risks for the contracted work and then both of you must get together to consider any risks from each other’s work that could affect the health and safety of the workforce or anyone else
  • provide information, instruction and training to your employees. You should also provide any information to contractors on the risks from your activities and the controls you have in place. It may also be beneficial to consider, with the contractor, what instruction and training contractors will need
  • set up liaison arrangements for co-operation and co-ordination with all those responsible to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the workplace
  • decide what you need to do to manage and supervise the work of contractors and agree the nature of the controls before work starts

By Adam Richardson – Health & Safety Manager