Contractors are an essential lifeline to any business. You can't do it all alone and having someone to do a job which they know in and out gives you the peace of mind that it will be done competently by someone you can trust.
However you need to make sure that the contractors you employ will do the job properly and that there are assurances in place to keep it that way and that your employees and assets will be protected. This will ideally be stipulated in your contractor procedure or policy which is controlled with permits to work for high risk activities like working at height, electrical work, gas works, working in dangerous areas or excavations and even diving. This should also be backed up by your contractor code of conduct document which contractors should sign up to.
We have found that it is much easier if you use your register of contractors as a starting point and then mark against each if they have
Insurances (Public , Employee, Professional, Liability and indemnity) Health and safety policy or statement Method statements for the work they will carry out Risk assessments for the specific work they will do Membership of a trade body Records of training for their staff Maintenance records and statutory inspections for equipment Any health and safety notices, prohibitions or convictions Accident report history and procedures First aid provision Training programme
It is also a good idea to ask how they check if their staff follow the intended procedures and you can also do a spot check just to make sure things are going as you would like them to go. After all you are the customer and asking questions is your right.