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5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

Organisations are increasingly including subcontractors in their internal training, so everyone is aligned under a single Health & Safety framework. Not only is this beneficial for alignment of safety behaviours, but from a WHS compliance perspective, you have a duty of care to everyone who walks on site – and this includes your subcontractors.

Here are 5 things you should do to meet your WHS obligations and make partnering with your subcontractors run smoothly.

 

1. Know your obligations

Do you know your legal obligations when it comes to your subcontractors?

If you don’t know how can you plan to be compliant?

PCBUs (Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking) must ensure the health and safety of all workers at work in the business or undertaking including those :

  • who are engaged or are caused to be engaged by the PCBU – this includes subcontractors.
  • whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU.

You can check out our video below “WHAT AM I ACCOUNTABLE FOR?” which covers information about your general obligations.

2. Align subbies with your safety culture

Get your subcontractors involved in your internal safety training. Doing a safety course or have a special safety briefing? Get them involved. Subcontractors can’t meet your standards if they don’t know what your standards are. Training should focus on how to build partnerships with your subcontractors, rather than micro-managing them.

 

3. Appropriate supervision

Have regular project meetings to address whether your subcontractors’ performance is meeting the project’s safety and quality requirements. Keep a record of the communications and documentation you share with subcontractors so everyone is clear on who needs to do what, when and how.

 

4. Two-way communication

There should be two way communications between you and your subcontractor. Always be approachable and communicate clearly and succinctly so there’s no room for miscommunication or errors.  When the lines of communication are easy and each side knows the expectations, issues can get resolved more quickly and more gets accomplished.

 

5. Give them feedback

When you need to give your subcontractor feedback, do it in a way that encourages continuous improvement rather than blame, and remediation over retaliation. It’s also important to give positive feedback and acknowledge a job well done.

Want to learn to manage subcontractors?

Our 1-day live and interactive online program via computer or device.

Our program covers the WHS obligations regarding subcontractors and is designed to step through the various stages of effective subcontractor management, including assessing, evaluating safety history, attitudes, performance and reporting.

You will also gain the nationally recognised unit SLCSCM406 Implement and monitor subcontractor work health and safety requirements, which is part of the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction program.

Subcontractor Management is one of our most popular and requested programs, now available to the public via our live and interactive online format, available from anywhere you can access an internet connection.

Program Format & Cost


This program is a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment via an internet-connected computer or device.
This is not a pre-recorded online program, it is the same experience as our face-to-face programs.


Date:  Contact us for upcoming dates here >>

Cost:  $495

Group Discount: 6 or more $395 per person..

GST is not applicable to accredited training.
The program fee includes all materials and assessments.

More from our blog

WHS Learner Profile – Kevin Walker

WHS Learner Profile – Kevin Walker

Kevin Walker recently undertook the  BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety, a nationally recognised qualification which trained him to identify hazards in the workplace, assist with responding to incidents, assess and control risk, and consult on work health and safety issues.

As a worker in the QLD building and construction industry, he was eligible for a Construction Skills Queensland subsided place to undertake the program. We asked Kevin about his experience of doing the program, what he learnt and how his workplace will benefit from his new WHS skills.

Kevin, tell us a bit about yourself and the kind of work you do?

I work as a blocklayer/bricklayer but also have experience working in mining. I finished school at Year 10 and went from school straight into a construction apprenticeship. Training in those days included TAFE. They tried to teach us the safe way to do things, but when I got onto a worksite we were just expected to get the job done – regardless of whether the job site or work methods were safe or not. I remember in the late 1980s laying bricks while standing on top of a 44-gallon drum!

When I worked in the mines, they were very safety focused – it’s a very high-risk environment so there is a lot more training and attention on risk management and hazard reduction. This safety focus really rubbed off on me and I took that thinking into my next construction job. Even though the attitude of the construction industry hadn’t changed, mine definitely had.

 

Why did you choose to do the course?

I was very interested in furthering my education in safety and getting a formal qualification. I saw the Workplace Dimensions advert on Facebook for Construction Skills Queensland subsidised training and it was exactly what I was looking for.

I’d seen WHS programs advertised before, they were expensive; plus I’d also have to take a whole week off work unpaid, which would make it even more difficult. The program subsidy from Construction Skills Queensland made the difference – it’s made doing my Cert IV in WHS possible and now everyone on-site benefits from the knowledge and skills I have.

Find out more about CSQ subsidised training >>

 

What did you get out of the course?

I saw safety in a different light and I enjoyed it immensely. Previously I couldn’t really explain safety to people as effectively as I wanted to. I knew the WHS Act was a legal requirement everyone is bound by, but now I have the language and tools to break down the concepts and explain it to others on site.

I’ve now got the skills to have powerful conversations that engage people to think for themselves about what they’re doing, how they do it and to come up with solutions that make the work and environment safer. Knowing what’s safe and legally compliant is one thing, but being able to get your whole crew on board with you is a different skill. I know the course has really helped me with that and to become a safety leader.

My boss and our Estimator at work both have the WHS qualification, so we have someone at every level with the knowledge to cover our legal obligations, and most importantly send our crew home in one piece every night. I had Kevin Obermuller as the trainer and he explained everything until we all understood the concepts and used his life experiences in many industries to tell great stories to make the information hit home.

It’s amazing that spending even 5 minutes looking closely at risks can make a huge impact.

 

What has been the impact of you doing the course?

I have stopped work recently because of an unsafe site, even though the client pushed for us to start. In the ‘bad old days’, workers would just give in to the pressure and start the job. I’ve always known it but now I have the legal background knowledge to explain my rights and obligations and take the action needed to not start work until we are satisfied we have identified all risks and managed them.

Now that the crew know I’ve done the qualification, they come to me for advice. We now have the confidence to stop work if any new hazards come up through the day and ensure they’re managed before anyone starts work again. Previously, the boys often wanted to jump in and just start working without having safety measures in place – like wearing dust masks. Now I can’t walk past this.

Now I can explain the legal side and the more and more I talk, the more people get it. The crew now share stories about things that have happened on other sites. Combining our experiences and perspectives makes the safety message come alive.

I’m also implementing pre-inspection walk-throughs of our jobs to check the site risks. This not only ensures the site is safe before we turn up, but is saving the boss money because we don’t have crews standing around at start time because the site isn’t safe for us.

Another thing that came out of the course is that I’m now implementing a sit-down chat with all our new people to go through the SWMS (Safe Work Method Statements). Rather than just handing them the documents, I now go through it with them and have them thoroughly understand what they are signing on to. The SWMS can be long so in the past some people just sign them off without understanding they are actually signing a legal document.

On-site today, we had a contractor truck driver arrive. He’d parked ready to start work. I pulled him up and we looked at the risks – he hadn’t been aware of the powerlines as a potential hazard. Without that conversation, he would not have been ready to start work. He moved his truck out of the danger zone after that conversation and he thanked me for bringing it to his attention when he left. This is the difference this course makes – you just don’t step over anything that can put people at risk.

 

What would you say to others considering doing the course?

This course is like the invention of the wheel – you look back and see how things used to be before you had that knowledge. You do things and operate very differently when you don’t know what you don’t know. Now, with the knowledge of WHS, we are doing jobs completely differently when it comes to safety and the jobs are still getting done to a high standard and on time.

I wish more people were able to do the course and take the opportunity of CSQ funding. Having the subsidy available takes away a big financial barrier to doing the course and I am recommending more of our people get this knowledge. I encourage at least one person from every construction company to do the Cert IV in WHS. Put your hand up for the responsibility – this training makes all the difference. Doing the program has opened my eyes – once you have the knowledge you are never the same.

Workplace Dimensions thanks Kevin for speaking to us and wish him all the best keeping everyone safe!

Do you know we offer the BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

program in a live, interactive online format?

NOTE:
The BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety is being superseded by BSB41419 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety.

Contact us to express your interest and we'll let you know when we have dates for the new program.

Gain your qualification in Work Health & Safety in a live online environment, via computer or device

Our BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety program is now available through a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment – via an internet connected computer or device.

This could be the right time to add value to your role while working at home or from the workplace.

This is not a pre-recorded online program – it is the same experience as our face-to-face programs, delivered by our public programs division Workplace Dimensions.

 

FOR ALL INDUSTRIES

 

 

More from our blog

5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

Organisations are increasingly including subcontractors in their internal training, so everyone is aligned under a single Health & Safety framework. Not only is this beneficial for alignment of safety behaviours, but from a WHS compliance perspective, you have a duty of care to everyone who walks on site – and this includes your subcontractors.

Here are 5 things you should do to meet your WHS obligations and make partnering with your subcontractors run smoothly.

 

1. Know your obligations

Do you know your legal obligations when it comes to your subcontractors?

If you don’t know how can you plan to be compliant?

PCBUs (Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking) must ensure the health and safety of all workers at work in the business or undertaking including those :

  • who are engaged or are caused to be engaged by the PCBU – this includes subcontractors.
  • whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU.

You can check out our video below “WHAT AM I ACCOUNTABLE FOR?” which covers information about your general obligations.

2. Align subbies with your safety culture

Get your subcontractors involved in your internal safety training. Doing a safety course or have a special safety briefing? Get them involved. Subcontractors can’t meet your standards if they don’t know what your standards are. Training should focus on how to build partnerships with your subcontractors, rather than micro-managing them.

 

3. Appropriate supervision

Have regular project meetings to address whether your subcontractors’ performance is meeting the project’s safety and quality requirements. Keep a record of the communications and documentation you share with subcontractors so everyone is clear on who needs to do what, when and how.

 

4. Two-way communication

There should be two way communications between you and your subcontractor. Always be approachable and communicate clearly and succinctly so there’s no room for miscommunication or errors.  When the lines of communication are easy and each side knows the expectations, issues can get resolved more quickly and more gets accomplished.

 

5. Give them feedback

When you need to give your subcontractor feedback, do it in a way that encourages continuous improvement rather than blame, and remediation over retaliation. It’s also important to give positive feedback and acknowledge a job well done.

Want to learn to manage subcontractors?

Our 1-day live and interactive online program via computer or device.

Our program covers the WHS obligations regarding subcontractors and is designed to step through the various stages of effective subcontractor management, including assessing, evaluating safety history, attitudes, performance and reporting.

You will also gain the nationally recognised unit SLCSCM406 Implement and monitor subcontractor work health and safety requirements, which is part of the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction program.

Subcontractor Management is one of our most popular and requested programs, now available to the public via our live and interactive online format, available from anywhere you can access an internet connection.

Program Format & Cost


This program is a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment via an internet-connected computer or device.
This is not a pre-recorded online program, it is the same experience as our face-to-face programs.


Date:  Contact us for next available >

Cost:  $495 AUD.

Group Discount: 6 or more $395 AUD per person.

GST is not applicable to accredited training.
The program fee includes all materials and assessments.

More from our blog

Key WHS statistics Australia

Key WHS statistics Australia

Safe Work Australia compiles the National Dataset for compensation-based statistics which comprises information on workers’ compensation claims provided by each of the jurisdictional workers’ compensation authorities.

Although 563,600 people experienced a work-related injury or illness in 2017-18, the data in the Safe Work Australia report refers only to the 107,335 serious claims where the compensated injury or disease resulted in one week or more off work.

Why does it take so long to finalise the data?  Figures are updated only once all the appropriate authorities have investigated the deaths and more accurate information becomes available. Only then does Safe Work Australia include the incident in their statistics and publish their final report.

 

Key Findings

  • 144 fatalities nationally
  • 75% of workplace fatalities came from Transport, Postal & Warehousing / Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing / Construction & Mining in 2017-18.
  • 107,335 serious claims resulting in one week or more off work
  • $11,300 median compensation paid per claim

Fatalities By State 2017-18Fatalaties By State 2018

 

Number of fatalities, by gender 2017-18.

 

Number of fatalities, by industry 2017-18.

 

Number of fatalities, by occupation 2017-18.

 

Serious claims overall statistics, 2017–18

Serious claims overall statistics, 2017–18

 

Serious claims by nature of injury disease, 2017–18

Serious claims by nature of injury disease, 2017–18p

 

Serious claims by occupation, 2017–18

Serious claims by occupation, 2017–18p

 

Serious claims by industry, 2017–18

Serious claims by industry 2017–18p

Sources: Safe Work Australia https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/


© Commonwealth of Austr​alia.

Australian Bureau of statistics http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6324.0

Learn More About Our Foundational Safety Leadership Program

Focusing on shifting individual attitudes and mindsets regarding how safety is viewed in the workplace, this program also teaches new skills and knowledge to embed behaviour change at an individual and organisational level.

To find out how we can customise this program for your needs call us on 1300 453 555.

Want to learn how to manage subcontractors?

Learn to effectively manage WHS site risks and performance by learning how to effectively select, manage and monitor the complex and difficult world of subcontractors.

Find out more by downloading the course outline below, contact us here or call us on 1300 453 555.

More from our blog

Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

When hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together  so risks are eliminated or minimised.

With major construction and infrastructure projects all over the country requiring large workforces, industry is increasingly turning to labour hire to fill the gaps in the workforce.
So what are your WHS obligations to labour hire workers?

Safe Work Australia has published a guide titled ‘Labour hire: duties of persons conducting a business or undertaking’ which provides information for all parties on complying with their health and safety duties for labour hire under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws. This is for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), and those involved in the supply of workers (labour hire PCBUs) to work for another business or undertaking (host PCBUs).

Essentially, when hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together with other duty holders so risks are eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable. What is reasonably practicable will depend on the circumstances.

According to Safe Work Australia, before you engage labour hire workers to carry out work, PCBU’s should consider:

  • Providing the labour hire PCBU/s with detailed information about the nature of work to be carried out, including details of, and where possible supporting material, relating to:
    • The work environment/s
    • Tasks to be performed
    • Accommodation arrangements
    • Any known hazards or risks
    • Any plant or equipment to be used
    • Organisational and WHS arrangements, including supervision arrangements and any other organisations responsible for the worker during the arrangement
    • Health and safety risks associated with the work, and
    • Any skills, knowledge, licenses and qualifications required to safely undertake the work.
  • Verifying, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU, that the selected worker/s have any necessary qualifications, licences, skills and training to carry out the work safely. In limited circumstances, you may be required to verify the worker/s are medically fit to carry out the work (see regulations 168 and 417(3)(b) of the model WHS Regulations)
  • Discussing with the labour hire PCBU, arrangements for health monitoring and vaccinations
  • Consulting with the labour hire PCBU/s on WHS matters including information in relation to who will provide any necessary equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE), and relevant points of contact for health and safety between the organisations
  • Ensuring that general health and safety information about the work, workplace and work environment has been provided to the worker/s. Check that you have provided this information in a way that is suitable, adequate and readily understandable for the worker/s
  • Eliminating or, if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising risks in the workplace
  • Establishing, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU/s, a review process for ensuring the ongoing WHS of workers, and
  • Any more you can do to ensure the health and safety of all your workers.

The guide also covers what PCBUs need to do while labour hire is engaged in the project, as well as the obligations of those of the PCBUs involved in the supply of workers.

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/news/new-guidance-labour-hire-available

 

Want to learn how to manage subcontractors?

Learn to effectively manage WHS site risks and performance by learning how to effectively select, manage and monitor the complex and difficult world of subcontractors.

Find out more and download the course outline below or call us on 1300 453 555.