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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Contractors: a second opinion

Contractors: a second opinion
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New Zealand

In some situations PCBUs may need independent verification that their contractors’ work is safe, lawyer Aaron Lloyd told the conference.

In response to a question about the limit of a PCBU’s duty to “influence and control” risks when using contractors, Lloyd, a partner in Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, cited an Australian case in which the directors of an art gallery in New South Wales were successfully prosecuted after some artworks fell and injured a visitor to the gallery.

“They had engaged an engineering company to put them up, but [the regulator] prosecuted because they didn’t get someone to check that the work had been done properly,” he said. “The directors couldn’t have checked it themselves because they’re not engineers, but the court said this was so significant there should have been engineers to check the engineers.”

Subcontracting is a potentially difficult area, he said, because it is usually used in situations where the PCBU does not have the expertise to complete the work itself.

“But that doesn’t mean you just hire a subcontractor and assume they’ll do it right. As an absolute minimum – no matter how specialist your subcontractors are, and how little idea you have about how they do what they do – you should be getting reports about what health and safety incidents they’ve had, and how they’ve responded to them.

“This will enable you to understand, in a broad way, how they’re managing their risks.”

An independent assessment of the work would only be required if the associated risks are very high, he said.

“The question in this situation, I guess, is where does it stop? Do you get engineers to check the engineers who are checking the engineers? But if something is absolutely mission-critical to the health, safety and wellbeing of the business, or so significant that if it goes wrong it will almost certainly kill someone, you should start thinking about a second opinion.”

In other circumstances, Lloyd said, thorough vetting of the contractors would probably suffice.

“Make sure you get their qualifications and their health and safety history – and don’t hire the guy who’s had seven injuries in six months.”



People Mentioned:
Aaron Lloyd
Organisations Mentioned:
Minter Ellison
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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