OBUHSN-14 Issue 4 January 2009

Safe working by contractors at Oxford Brookes University


  1. This Health and Safety Notice should be read and understood by all appropriate employees of Oxford Brookes University.
  2. The use of contractors working on Oxford Brookes University property or developments covers a wide range of work and services. There are legal responsibilities placed upon the University in employing contractors, and there are also legal requirements placed upon the contractor.
  3. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations the primary responsibility for health and safety is with the site occupier. However since the site occupier and the contractor are both employers, the duty of care is shared to ensure that they both take all reasonably practicable precautions to safeguard their own employees, other persons and the public. Contractors who are self-employed also carry this responsibility.
  4. A contractor is anyone instructed by an officer of Oxford Brookes University to enter the premises to carry out work. This work includes, measurements, maintenance, surveys, servicing under warranty, minor repairs, etc.
  5. Contracts that involve the use of building contractors are undertaken under the control of Estates and Facilities Management. Occasionally, individual Faculties/Directorates let contracts for work, other than building work, which involve the use of contractors. Any Faculty/Directorate that controls their own contract must follow the procedures detailed in this Safety Notice.

Responsibilities of the Director of Estates & Facilities Management

  1. It will be the responsibility of the Director of Estates and Facilities Management to maintain a list of contractors approved to carry out all varieties of building work. The list will be periodically reviewed and contractors will be removed as a result of, amongst other criteria, poor health and safety performance. This will be done after suitable written warnings.

Responsibilities of Contract Administrator

  1. For each contract involving the use of contractors a University employee will be appointed by the Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate responsible for coordinating the contract. The person so appointed will be known as the Contract Administrator.
  2. It will be the responsibility of the Contract Administrator to inform the contractor of the University’s emergency, evacuation and accident procedures. The Contract Administrator will bring to the contractor’s attention any applicable University Safety Notices, Codes of Practice, etc.
  3. The Contract Administrator will be responsible for the day to day running of the contract. Any enquiry or dispute concerning the contract or the contractors working under the contract will be directed to the Contract Administrator or a designated nominee.
  4. The Contract Administrator will regularly inspect the contractors’ work area.  It is recommended that this is carried out at least once a day. The Contract Administrator will be available all the time the Contractor is on the site.  If the Contract Administrator is not on the University site there must be a facility for contacting the Contract Administrator or nominee, and those must include out of hours communications. The Contract Administrator will be expected to encourage and develop the right health and safety culture amongst contractors.

Contractor assessment

  1. When a contractor is being considered for work their suitability  should be assessed by reference Appendix 1, Key Elements of Contractor Assessment.

Contractual obligations

  1. Contractual obligations between the University and the contactor are defined in The Contractor Partnering Information Pack which is available from The Works Administrator of The Directorate of Estates and Facilities Management.
  2. Where the contractors’ activities can be totally segregated from the rest of the University (physically segregated with effective barriers), the control of that part of the site will be formally handed over to a named contractor and the details for entry by University staff will be detailed in the contractual document.
  3. A statement of the work method to be undertaken will be specified and before any work commences this method statement must be submitted for approval to the Contract Administrator. A copy of the method statement will be submitted to the University Safety Officer. The Safety Officer can require changes to be made if they do not meet the health and safety standards required by the University.
  4. The contractor will be required to produce a copy of their safety policy, a copy of their insurance policies showing the level and extent of coverage and evidence that the contractor is a member of a reputable trade association.
  5. Equipment supplied and used by the contractor will meet all the relevant required standards, be regularly maintained, inspected and tested. The contractor will have available for inspection statutory documentation for any equipment that is used during the work that requires it.

Responsibilities of contractors

  1. The contractor will abide by all the rules and regulations of Oxford Brookes University that apply whilst working on any University site (Appendix 2). Copies of the relevant Safety Notes, rules and regulations will be obtainable from the Contract Administrator or the University Safety Officer.
  2. Whilst the contractor and/or the contractor’s employees are carrying out work they must ensure that they do not affect the health and safety of University staff, students, visitors or other contractors by their actions or omissions. The contractor will inform the Contract Administrator and any other contractor who is sharing the workplace of any risks that might be generated during the work.
  3. If the contractor uses subcontractor/s and/or temporary workers, it is the responsibility of the contractor to inform them of the requirements to work safely and comply with all the Oxford Brookes University rules and regulations that are applicable. The contractor will also give all appropriate instruction, supervision and training to any subcontractor/s or temporary worker.
  4. The contractor at the start of each working day will communicate with the Contract Administrator of his/her attendance and of his/her intended hours of work. The contractor each day will also inform the member of University staff responsible for the daily operation of the site where he/she is working.

Accidents and emergencies

  1. Any accident that occurs to a contractor’s employee, sub contractor or their employee, or a temporary worker whilst working on any University site must be recorded and notified to the relevant authorities as detailed in legislation. The accident must also be reported to the Contract Administrator and the University Safety Officer using the procedure laid down in OBUHSN-11.
  2. In the event of a fire or accident that involves calling the emergency services the contractor will use the procedure that is applicable to the site that he is working on. (OBUHSN-09)
  3. Any incident, near miss or dangerous occurrence must be reported to the Contract Administrator and the University Safety Officer. It is the contractor’s responsibility to report a dangerous occurrence, as detailed in RIDDOR, to the regulating authorities.
  4. When the fire alarm sounds the contractor and all those working for them will immediately make the work safe if possible and then vacate the area and proceed to the appropriate assembly point. (OBUHSN-09)

Safe systems of work

  1. There is an obligation on the contractor and all those working for them to carry out work in a safe way and not create greater hazards either to themselves or others. An ordinary job may suddenly become dangerous if circumstances change or additional work is required that was not foreseen. If this occurs, the job will be reassessed and additional precautions taken. The Contract Administrator and/or the University Safety Officer or their nominees must be contacted and the health and safety implications must be discussed before work proceeds further.
  2. The Contract Administrator and the University Safety Officer or their nominees have the right to stop a contractor working if they observe a contractor working in an unsafe manner that could put University staff, students or visitors at risk. The work will not commence again until the University representatives are satisfied that all necessary precautions have been taken to eliminate the risk.
  3. The Contract Administrator, the Safety Officer and their nominees have a right of entry to the contractors’ work areas at any time. They will inform the contractor of their presence in the work area and will conform with any special safety precautions that the contractor is operating.

Permit to work

  1. In certain circumstances, particularly when the risks in sections 25-27 are considered too high or where specific legal requirements exist, written permission to carry out the work may be required in the form of a Permit to Work.
  • The Permit to Work system at Oxford Brookes University is jointly managed by Estates and Facilities Management and The Safety Office and the procedures are explained in the Code of Practice for Permits to Work Procedure, which is available on line at /services/hr/health_safety/permit_to_work/procedure.html