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New health and safety law: Small contractors and landlords & tenants

healthandsafetyHire someone to help!  Especially when comparing H&S documents, it makes sense to have someone to do a H&S comparison. It requires good analysis and writing skills.

It was good to see in the Dominion Post on 08 December that the new (Health & Safety) law are a wake up for landlords and building owners.  And that a number of Landlords reported spending lots of effort in revising their H&S policies and procedures. I expect that a lot of reasonable sized tenants are also preparing for the new Act by doing a similar exercise.

This will have a bottom line impact on the small contracting business whose livelihood relies on serving landlords and business owners.  If you are a sole trader, new to this market or don’t have well developed H&S processes, then extra work is required to establish base documents and procedures.

Consider a traffic light system to getting work:

  • Red – No work – the information you provide does not meet their requirements. Demand for information will be more black and white in that H&S will be foremost in decision maker’s minds. It will not be something sorted out after you get the work. Landlords and tenants will be more demanding and if don’t provide what is required; you will not get through the door.
  • Green – in the running for the work. This will get you through the door and considered for work and the usual factors – cost, record, ability, etc will make the difference.

As you bid for work, you will get more information. This will mean more work for you as the information will be in 3 main areas:

  1. H&S Plan or strategy – these documents should be reasonable brief (2-3 pages), hopefully well written, understandable by “tradies” and should not be very different between landlords, tenants, suppliers and other organisations
  2. H&S procedures – these will be different for each site, each organisation, each situation. Don’t expect these to be simple documents. Probably 10-20 pages of material & forms. These will need to read these carefully and you will have to do a comparison – yours, landlord, tenants (there may be multiple affected by the job); and any supplier for services that you need to get the work done. In addition, if you use subcontractors or temp agency personnel, this is more reading
  3. Hazard ID and Hazard Risk Management – Reading and thoroughly understanding landlord’s, tenant’s and supplier’s hazard ID and Hazard Risk Management activities is also very important to make sure it is safe for your workers to do the work

All of this will take lot of time. If you do it yourself, it takes you away from running your business.

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