Using reliable, trustworthy, and cost-effective service providers does not guarantee a thorough vetting process if that doesn't also include a Work Health & Safety (WHS) audit.
Having a current Approved Contractor's List (also known as a Service Provider's List), is an important resource for building and facilities managers. A properly managed list ensures service providers can be enlisted effectively in the event of urgent work.
As building managers handle health, safety and welfare of all occupants, visitors and workers in common spaces within a building, it is imperative they undergo a pre-approval process. A good WHS management system will include a pre-approval process that aims to make all service providers acutely aware of their responsibilities regarding maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. It is a requirement for building managers, on behalf of the owners corporation, to ensure all service providers meet the current health, safety and environmental regulations and standards.
The pre-approval process includes, among other things, the requirment that the following documentation is current and kept on file:
- Certificate of Business Registration
- Current Public Liability Insurance
- Current Professional Indemnity Insurance (if applicable)
- Current Workers Compensation Insurance
- Government Licence or permit where required e.g. electrical, plumbing work etc.
- Contractor's Safety Management System
- Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) (if applicable)
Only once the above has been checked and accepted should the service provider be added to the Approved Contractor's List. I have seen larger companies failing the audit due to a lapsed certificate of currency from a simple payment oversight.
Prior to engaging the services of an approved service provider, as good practice, building managers should invite them to visit and complete a site-specific Contractor Induction Form. This allows an orientation of the development and the opportunity to communicate site protocols like:
- Emergency entry points
- Location of amenities
- First aid arrangements
- Waste Management
- Car Parking
- and site specific 'do's and dont's'
The above process does not free the building manager of their role obligations. Building managers are expected to continue to monitor the site's activities, to identify potential safety hazards and to take all practicable steps in preventing property damage or injuries to people.
Remember when it comes to WHS, better systems are always better.