SOAS University of London

Health and Safety

Control of contractors

The Health and Safety at work act 1974 requires the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work.

The MHSWR 1999 requires suitable and sufficient risk assessments to be applied in connection with the introduction of any ‘preventive and protection measures’, and that arrangements are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure effective planning, organisation and control.

As part of a Safe System of Work it is important to ensure that when contractors carry out work, in particular, work that is of a hazardous nature, that it is appropriately controlled. The SOAS estates team are responsible for ensuring:

  1. The provision of competent contractors,
  2. That adequate materials are available
  3. A proper system of work is in place
  4. Risk assessments and method statements are provided by contractors for activities that require them.
  5. Effective supervision of contractors is carried out.

Work is of a hazardous nature and will require a specific permit to work, where it falls under the following headings:

  1. Hot works
  2. Electrical works
  3. Working at Height
  4. Working in a Confined Space

*lone working in these areas is generally not permitted, if not alternative arrangements can be made, lone working may be permitted providing two-way communication is maintained by radio between the worker and onsite manager/supervisor or reception* In order to control the activities of contractors it is essential to have a permit to work system in place. This is a safe system of work which will provide managers (primarily the estates team) a clear method of controlling their contractors by initially ensuring Risk Assessments and Method Statements are in place, with sufficient lead in time to assess whether the work carried out, will be done so in a safe manner. There may be other works that are of a hazardous nature which would need to be assessed as and when these works occur (such as removal of Asbestos, which would require a general permit to work to be used) but in general the above works are classed as the main hazardous activities, which may affect the operation and safety of the staff/students working in the area and require the use of a permit.

Some tasks carried out within the school may not come under this requirement, however, risk assessments, method statements and insurance certificates, will be obtained for these activities and the details recorded. Managers will ensure that they maintain general control of these activities as required.

All risk assessments and method statements received, along with any permits to work issued, will be retained by the responsible manager.

External contractors are required to sign in at the main reception of the building that they will be working in and display a visitors badge at all times.

Contractors must ensure the safety of the schools, staff, students and visitors. Equipment left unattended by contractors must be left in a safe condition, in a location agreed by Estates/Health and Safety


A copy of the contractor’s company safety policy statement must be submitted to Estates and Facilities office and/or the maintenance supervisor. If the contractor is working on behalf of an individual member of staff or department, the policy statement should be retained by the individual or a nominated member of the department.

Estates and Facilities contractors will be supervised by members of Estates and Facilities or the maintenance supervisor. Individual service engineers must be supervised by an experienced member of staff from the area where the engineer is working.

Any member of staff or department that instructs a contractor to undertaken work in a SOAS premises must ensure that suitable risk/COSHH assessments and method statements are received and considered prior to the work commencing. The person or persons responsible for organising the work is responsible for supervising their contractor while they are onsite, this extends to making sure risk assessments and method statements are adhered to. If the work is not organised by Estates and Facilities, copies of RAMS should be sent to Estates and Facilities and the Health and Safety manager. Estates and Facilities will then issue Permits To Work if necessary. It is important to received RAMS at least 2 weeks in advance of the work commencing to allow sufficient time for review.

Those responsible for contractors must ensure that PPE is worn, if deemed necessary by the associated risk assessment.

All risk assessments and method statements received, along with any permits to work issued, will be retained by the responsible managers.

Contractors must ensure that they have adequate insurance covering their liabilities. The School will normally request details of such insurances.

All connections, disconnections and disruptions to the School’s existing services (Electricity, gas, water, steam etc.) must be cleared with the Director of Estates and Facilities before they are carried out. If insufficient notice is given of any potential disruption the School may require the work to be delayed.

The contractor must, at all times, ensure that there is a competent person in charge of the work and that his employees and sub-contractors working at the School are competent for their work (electricians working to IET 18th edition standard, gas fitters GAS SAFE registered etc.).

All hot work (welding, cutting etc.) must be notified to Estates and Facilities immediately prior to the work commencing.

Written Permits to Work are required for all maintenance and service work. Equipment and rooms where permits are required must have a Permit to Work displayed on the equipment or at the entrance to the room BEFORE work is commenced, and must clearly specify any remaining hazard.

Permits to work must be obtained for all work carried out on the roof, in the horizontal and vertical service ducts. The completed permit must be issued to the contractor before the work is commenced. Permits for the roof and service areas will be issued by Estates staff or the maintenance supervisor.

Contractors are required to ensure the safety of the School's staff and students, especially when considering the siting of temporary local exhaust ventilation and the use of noxious chemicals for floor laying etc.

It is a condition of any contract with the School that the safety requests of the Director of Estates and Facilities, the Health and Safety manager and/or the Secretary and Registrar be complied with immediately and without question.

All contractors are required to ensure that their employees and sub-contractors working on School premises are aware of these instructions.