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Tag: contractors

Top examples of OSHA fines for contractors in 2016

On our blog recently we have talked a lot about the importance of health and safety and ensuring that precautions are taken to create the safest working environment for contractors possible. From health and safety assessments, to training, there’s a lot that can be done to mitigate risk for workers, but what happens when protocol isn’t followed correctly?

Altius’ Managing Director, Gary Plant said:

“Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that ‘it won’t happen to us’. Every business that has experienced an incident wishes they had followed the protocols rather than taking the risk. The consequences are often devastating for the business and the people involved.

The fines are bad enough but the time lost and guilt experienced are usually much worse. Then there’s the reputational damage and cost of rebuilding customer and staff confidence. We’ve seen organisations investigated who have done all the right things, and some that have not and we know whose shoes we’d want to be in!”

Here are the top examples of safety issues OSHA have issued fines to contractors for in 2016, as revealed by the Safety Services Company.

1. Ladders

Number of inspections: 1783

Number of citations: 2362

Total amount fined: £948,817.69

Average fine: £531.74

Working at height can be dangerous if the relevant safety procedures are not set out and followed prior to carrying out the work. In the past ladders have been used where other equipment such as scaffolding would have been more appropriate. Always carry out a risk assessment and assess if the equipment is right for the task at hand and then follow up with control measures such as method statements, PPE and staff training.

2. Aerial lifts

Number of inspections: 1259

Number of citations: 1432

Total amount fined: £921819.49

Average fine: £732.09

Only contractors qualified in the practices of aerial lifts should be involved in any hoisting or lifting operation. Before any lifts begin, all involved parties need to meet to review the plan, which should include a detailed sketch of the process and will act as a visual guide.

3. Fall protection

Number of inspections: 4667

Number of citations: 5148

Total amount fined: £4,127,123.16

Average fine: £883.69

Working at height can be very dangerous, and not taking precautions to protect contractors can mean that you’ll get a hefty fine. OSHA take fall protection seriously, and by not using safe practices, not properly training employees in the use of fall protection equipment, or by not constructing or installing safety equipment – you could be fined, or worse.

4. Specific excavation requirements

Number of inspections: 770

Number of citations: 1362

Total amount fined: £1,238,148.68

Average fine: £1,607.40

Due to the dangerous nature of excavation projects, the risks can change daily, or even hourly. Precautions must always be maintained at an excavation site, and supports or battening must be inspected by a competent person at the start of each working shift, and at other specified times. No work should take place unless the site is safe.

5. General requirements

Number of inspections: 3025
Number of citations: 8147
Total Amount Fined: £5,029,179.26
Average Fine: 1,662.25

The average site is constantly changing for contractors, and with it, so are the risks. With every change, a new health and safety assessment should be conducted to highlight if there are further measures that need to be taken to protect contractors. The extra time it takes to create safe work practices are well worth the effort.

Self-assess your management of contractors

How well are you managing your contractors and their safety? Why not put your management skills to the test and download Managing your subcontractors: A self-assessment guide. The results of this assessment will highlight areas where you will need to pay further attention and offer advice for contractor management.

Download managing your subcontractors: the self-assessment guide

How to ensure the safe working of contractors in three steps


No matter what the job is, or how fast you need it to be completed, health and safety of your contractors is a step that you cannot skip. Organisations that use contractors, or subcontractors have a responsibility under Health and Safety Law to protect them from harm that could be caused by company work activities.

It is your duty of care under health and safety legislation and is non-delegable, meaning that it cannot be passed over to another party. In principle, you owe the same duties to your contractors, as you do your own employees. But, contractors still have their own duty of care to comply with regulations during their time in your workplace.

Here’s three steps to ensuring the safe working of contractors while they’re in your workplace:


When I’m pressed for time it’s easy to rush too quickly into getting someone in to do a job. In my opinion the time I take in planning a job properly is time well spent.’ Engineering manager (Chemical company, employing 45 staff).

Health and safety doesn’t start when the contractor arrives on site. You must plan. The planning step includes defining what the job is, and what you will need your contractors to do, which will then inform your health and safety assessment, highlighting hazards and risks.

You must then work to eliminate or reduce the risks to your contractors, and provide them with any information, instruction or any relevant training that could impact on their health and safety. Once you have specified health and safety conditions, it is a requirement that you record, and discuss them thoroughly with your contractor so that they are aware of all procedures.

It is vital that this process takes place before any work begins on your project.

Choosing a contractor

Choosing a contractor is an important part of ensuring safe working. You need to determine whether a contractor has the skills and the knowledge to carry out the contract to the required standards without any risk to health and safety.

In order to assess whether or not a contractor is competent, you can request that they provide the following:

Only ever use a contractor that you have determined as competent – something you should check as part of your pre-qualifying questionnaire (POQ).

As stated in the introduction, contractors must take positive steps to ensure that the worksite that their workers are sent to does not pose a risk to their health and safety. This might require the contractor to implement their own processes to ensure that their workers don’t carry out work that is unsafe.


The safest system of work will fail without training, instruction or supervision of the personnel involved … supervision of contractors may need to be greater than that for permanent employees if the safe systems devised are to be complied with.” HSE

Even though you have chosen a competent contractor, and planned for their time working for you, your responsibilities don’t stop there. You need to monitor and supervise them.

This can be anything from ensuring that contractors and their workers sign in and out every day, always wear site passes, and have to sign the site rules each day. All contractors must also have a contact person while they’re on site, and make contact with that person each day to inform them of how well the job is going, and whether there are any new hazards or risks that hadn’t been accounted for.

Monitoring contractors is a critical step to controlling your job. Before the contract began, you will have set KPIs, so make sure that you check what is being done, and how, whether the job is going as planned, and is abiding by your health and safety requirements. You need to be aware if there are problems so that changes and arrangements can be made where needed.

Self-assess your contractor management

Do you need to improve any of your procedures or processes for working with contractors? Why not find out by downloading Managing your subcontractors: A self-assessment guide, where you will be asked questions regarding your processes of contractor management.

The self-assessment guide after completion will highlight any areas you need to pay careful attention to, and provide you with advice for making improvements.

Download managing your subcontractors: the self-assessment guide

How compliance can help with managing subcontractors [free guide]

Managing subcontractor compliance free eBook

Subcontractors, or the contractors you employ to help carry out a project on your behalf, are seen by your clients as an extension of you – and when problems begin to occur, it’s your reputation that’s on the line.

As well as suffering from subcontractors delaying projects, failure to trust them enough means you may end up micro-managing them to get the job done, or in a worst case scenario, they create incidents on site.

Free guide to managing subcontractors

Avoiding unnecessary delays and incidents can be tricky if you haven’t got a clear process in place to assess new subcontractors, manage them correctly, and monitor their performance throughout. However, Altius, a leading supply chain compliance partner, has written a new guide designed to help you achieve better results with your subcontractors, through the use of compliance.

The free guide, The Contractor’s Guide to Managing Subcontractor Compliance, introduces three core principles that you can put into your contractor management processes to help mitigate the risks associated with working with subcontractors. This includes tips on:

Assessing subcontractor capability

Unfortunate circumstances where subcontractor’s work has failed to meet the required standards, is not an uncommon scenario. The guide will give tips on the use of bespoke PQQs to assess subcontractors, and what financial information you must collect.

Abiding by regulations and contracts

Not abiding by regulations and contracts can lead to fines and legal implications. The guide will offer advice on what you can do to ensure subcontractors fully understand the job in hand, and why a good IT system is vital to your long-term subcontractor management success.

Ensuring quality workmanship

To ensure consistently high-quality work from subcontractors, the guide covers the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as audits, and how you can monitor subcontractor behaviour through physical monitoring too.

The guide also includes a chapter on the key laws and regulations as set out by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) that you must have in place. The chapter includes vital web links to legal information too.

To start better structuring the way you’re managing subcontractors, and achieve greater transparency and performance at the same time, download the Altius’ guide to Managing Subcontractor Compliance here.

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