When competing for contract work it's important to demonstrate a solid health and safety ethos. This should be backed by effective policies and systems. Raising the standards in your workplace can improve staff relations and increase the chances of winning new business.
Assess your compliance
An honest and accurate assessment of your health and safety compliance is the first step to making improvements. You should review your existing policies to ensure they meet best practice.
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) provides advice and guidance for businesses looking to improve their compliance.
Contractors must carry out a health and safety risk assessment for any work they are responsible for. They should agree how any risks will be managed with the client and any sub-contractors involved.
Set up a health and safety system
Your business may already have health and safety systems in place, but it is important to review these regularly to ensure they are meeting the needs of your staff and business.
- If you employ five or more people you must have a written health and safety policy statement and a record of your arrangements. Find out how to create and operate a health and safety policy.
- To effectively plan and control the activities and reporting needed to ensure good health and safety compliance, you can set up a health and safety management system.
- It is important to communicate your health and safety procedures to staff, customers and the public.
When tendering for work, many buyers will include a pre-qualification stage. This ensures that businesses competing for the contract have a minimum set of standards in place. Ensuring that your business measures up to best practice, or strives to set new standards, can mean the difference between success and failure.
Ensure that you are meeting your legal duties, see what you need to do about health and safety.
If you are self-employed, employ other people or are in charge of work premises, you have a duty to report and keep records of certain types of incident or accident at work. See first aid, accidents and ill health in the workplace.
Tendering for contracts outside Northern Ireland
Health and safety requirements may differ outside Northern Ireland. It is important to contact the relevant authorities to understand if different standards apply:
- in Great Britain, the relevant authority is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- in the Republic of Ireland, you should consult the Health and Safety Authority (HSA)
- if you are a service business looking to do operate in another EU country, you should consult the EU Commission Points of Single Contact