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Published on 2018-08-14

Taking part in health and safety schemes can be very beneficial, helping to cut costs and save time.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

Tradespeople, and those who hire their services, have the right to working safely, reducing the risk of harm or even death. However, going through the process of being assessed takes time and money, two things tradespeople hope not to waste.

As the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says, “everyone has the right to come home safe and well from their job,” so they have endeavoured to work with many businesses to make Great Britain a safe place for tradespeople.

Undergoing and taking part in health and safety schemes can be greatly beneficial. Not only is health and safety crucial, but it can help cut costs, save time and make you more hireable. You are also improving your safety, reducing any causes for concern. What’s more, by becoming a member of health and safety schemes, it is easier to put you in contact with suppliers and consumers.

Small construction businesses can be faced with many prequalification questionnaires, most of which ask similar, if not the same, questions. This excessive amount of paper can be onerous. Therefore, looking for a health and safety member scheme, or seeing which organisations can help lessen the burden of these questionnaires, can quicken the process.

If you’re in the area of construction, whether it is your own construction business or you’re a tradesperson working for a specific company, here’s how you can reduce the problem of prequalification questionnaires.

Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP)

Although technically not a health and safety scheme, SSIP is proudly supported by the HSE, where both organisations have worked together to help contractors and consultants who work in the construction industry. They provide simple and strategic procurement, aimed to help tradespeople, buyers and suppliers work together. SSIP’s ethos is to “act as an umbrella organisation to facilitate mutual recognition between health and safety assessment schemes wherever it is practicable to do so.” Although SSIP is not a contractor search engine as such, it can be used to help verify companies that have been successfully assessed by certain schemes.

What are the benefits of SSIP?

SSIP is not a membership, but an assessment scheme. By becoming a member, you get the following benefits:

  • It helps reduce costs, as you do not have to pay for multiple assessment fees.
  • Reduces costs for buyers and suppliers.
  • Actively encourages the standardisation of certain prequalification criteria, such as the PAS 91.
  • Any tradesperson who belongs to multiple schemes, such as SafeContractor and CHAS, will receive a discount.

How do you join SSIP?

SSIP is open to any third-party health and safety assessment schemes which have been run by individuals or individual organisations; all health and safety assessment schemes must have been operating with commercial visibility in the public or private eye for a minimum of 24 months.

If you’re looking for a health and safety scheme, here are your options:

Contractors Health and Safety (CHAS)

CHAS is one of the founders of the third party accreditation, working with SSIP in ensuring tradespeople are working safely, and also efficiently. They are a body committed to reducing duplication in health and safety requalification in the following work categories:

  • COSHH
  • Asbestos
  • Accident reporting
  • First aid
  • Work equipment procedures
  • And much more

How does CHAS work?

You can apply online and become CHAS accredited in 10 working days. Your documents can be stored online so that you can be approved as soon as possible – improving efficiency. CHAS is for both contractors and clients: contractors can reassure clients that they are 100% committed to working safely and lawfully, while clients can check the health and safety of their supply chain, while also only hiring those who can keep their reputation intact. Most importantly, they help contractors and clients avoid undergoing health and safety assessments for each and every job they undertake.

SafeContractor

Although similar to CHAS, SafeContractor is a health and safety audit with tradespeople in mind. Rather than focus on construction businesses, SafeContractors can offer health and safety certificates which will, in turn, reassure homeowners that they are hiring the services of reliable and trusted tradespeople.

What are the benefits of SafeContractor?

Becoming a member of SafeContractor has many benefits, such as:

  • Being more efficient by reducing the time spent filling in countless assessments, which are usually similar in questions.
  • Helps reduce costs, as you’re not wasting time with the questionnaires.
  • Ensures the tradespeople are fully qualified and follow the proper laws and regulations in health and safety.
  • Adds reassurance to the homeowner, so you’re more hireable.
  • Can help win bigger commercial contracts because of all of the above.

How can I become a member of SafeContractor?

For ways on how to join and become a member, visit Rated People on how you can gain a SafeContractor membership online.

Exor

Much like CHAS, Exor is an easy-to-use prequalification service, cutting down on administration tasks that eat away into your precious time and money. Exor offers an online portal, which is PAS 91 compliant, and like SSIP, brings contractors and suppliers together. What’s more, Exor is the big brother to its sister health and safety accreditation service, SafeContractor.

Greenlight Safety Assessment Scheme

The Greenlight Safety Assessment Scheme (GSAS) provides a professional process, which has been approved by SSIP, helping tradespeople, contractors and suppliers to work as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.

What are the benefits of GSAS?

Anyone who joins and becomes a member will not be billed – there are no hidden costs or fees to be paid. As a client, you will reduce the likelihood of accidents and incidents, as all contractors and organisations have been vetted, so that they are competent and aware of the regulations they have to abide by. Additionally, contractors will be released from the burden of having to fill out countless assessments, which only increase paperwork, admin task and waste money.

How easy is it to join?

Firstly, you will need to provide the following information: company name, address, email address, phone number, etc. All the information will be put into the GSAS portal system, automatically sending sub-contractors an email fully explaining the process and the questionnaire. The sub-contractors will be instructed to fill in the questionnaire; it will then be returned to GSAS.

If the sub-contractor has failed, they will be told, with in-depth reasons behind why they did not pass the questionnaire. However, if they pass, they will be approved and the portal system updated; the sub-contractor will also receive a certificate which is valid for 12 months.

Why should tradespeople look for a health and safety scheme?

Online portals, such as Exor and SSIP, go against bureaucracy, with the intention to eliminate the time and money wasted on the duplication of prequalification; the both of them have helped suppliers and buyers save millions of pounds each year, highlighting the crucial benefits of becoming a member of these schemes.

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.



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