Designed to minimise risk and potential costs incurred by manufacturers who use contractors on their premises, SAFEcontractor is an accreditation scheme that assesses the health and safety competency of contractors and service providers.
Growth in such schemes, particularly pertinent for big-users of contract suppliers in the food industry, has paralleled the ever-increasing legislative burden on manufacturers to ensure the health and safety competency of contractors working on their premises.
Exposed to risk by absorbing external contractors into their premises, bakers and food makers are turning to risk-management assurance-schemes.
"Organisations can no longer run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies," said a SAFEcontractor spokesperson.
According to data from SAFEcontractor, in 2005 to 2006, 1012 offences were prosecuted by the UK's Health and Safety Executive, and 212 workers were killed at work in the UK.
Operated by UK risk managers, the National Britannia Group, SAFEcontractor maintains that “many large organisations” now use its scheme as "their primary means of selecting contractors". A sentiment echoed by EPP that believes its recent SAFEcontractor endorsement will enhance the firm's ability “to attract new contracts”.
"We are delighted to have been awarded the SAFEcontractor certificate because it demonstrates just how high our H&S standards are," said EPP managing director Keith Stalker.
Policy and first aid slot into charter standards
Core elements of the SAFEcontractor 'charter' are policy, risk assessment and first aid, but also include specific requirements relating to the activity for which accreditation is being sought. Cost for the clients, claims the accreditor, are based on a mix of an annual subscription, the "number of contractors on your list" and any additional requirements of the manufacturer.
The firm points out that typical legal fees for employment tribunals "are in the order of £200 to £400 an hour".