Managing contractor health and safety

This page outlines the health and safety responsibilities of principals to contracts and contractors working on school property projects.

Contractors who are engaged to work on Ministry of Education school construction projects must:

  • have capability in health and safety practices
  • have adequate systems in place to manage health and safety risks

Contractors working on Ministry projects must meet the following requirements.

1. Comply with documents and contracts

All contractors must comply with:

  • health and safety documents relating to the site (such as the school’s health and safety policy)
  • health and safety requirements outlined in their contract for work.

Contracts for construction works and professional services

2. Role of Project Manager in project health and safety 

Project Managers have an important role with influencing health and safety practices across school property projects. The Health & Safety at Work Act puts an emphasis on businesses (PCBUs) effectively working together where they share health and safety duties. School property projects involve multiple parties such as the main contractor, sub-contractors, suppliers, the school and its community.

To assist Project Managers with carrying out the health and safety aspects of their role we have produced a checklist:

Health and Safety Checklist for External Project Managers [PDF, 821 KB]

3 . Engaging Contractors — Contractor Prequalification

3.1 Introduction

The engagement of contractors and providers to carry out work on behalf of the Ministry (EIS) or boards of trustees involves health and safety legal duties to:

  • ensure the health and safety of workers and others affected from the work carried out as part of conducting the business or undertaking (EIS or School Board)
  • consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with other PCBUs (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) where they share a duty on the same matter.

There are a number of reasonably practicable steps that need be taken during the procurement, start up, delivery and completion of projects. These need to ensure the health and safety of all involved are not put at risk.

One of these steps in the tendering and contractor selection process is contractor prequalification to determine competency to undertake the work safely.

Further information about the procurement process for school property projects can be found on the Ministry website.

Procurement process for school property projects

The prequalification process involves verifying that the contractor has proven ability to undertake health and safety functions.

This is done by verification of examples of previous site safety plans or training and competency records.

3.2 Approach to using contractor prequalification

Contractor prequalification will form part of the contractor selection process for the Ministry (EIS). A prequalification criteria appropriate for building and construction activity has been developed below.

Providers of prequalification accreditation systems have provided confirmation their assessment and accreditation process covers the items listed in the criteria below.

Implementation will be by either:

  • potential contractors invited to provide evidence of accreditation with 1 or more of the listed prequalification accreditations
  • if they don't hold accreditation and don't wish to apply, they can provide evidence directly as part of the tender process.

If other suitable prequalification accreditation systems are identified they can be assessed against the criteria and added to the list.

Health & Safety Capability       Verified by                   
Health and safety system in place
  • 3rd party accreditation that aligns with ISO AS/NZS 45001:2018, AS/NZS 4801:2001.
  • Health & Safety policy and procedures in place.
Site specific safety management
  • Examples of Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSPs) used for previous projects; and/or
  • Health & safety policy and procedures examples that will be relevant for the project involved.
Hazardous work and risk assessment management
  • Examples of Task Analysis (T/As) used for previous projects – or JSAs, SWMs
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment process examples
  • Hazard reporting process in place and used
Incident management
  • Incident register in place
  • Procedures for reporting and investigating incidents
  • Procedures for reviewing investigation findings and applying remedial measures
Site inspection and monitoring
  • Evidence of site inspections undertaken with processes and checklist
  • Evidence of site inspections on previous projects
Hazardous materials management
  • Evidence of hazardous substances register in use
  • Policies and procedures for storage, handling and disposal
Competency and training
  • Competency and training register in place and used
  • Competencies and supporting training identified for specific risks (T/As)
  • Examples and topics of toolbox talks or other site H&S briefings or meetings
Occupational health management
  • Health hazards identified and risks assessed
  • Health monitoring used where required (eg noise level measurement)
Sub-contractor management (if required)
  • System used to induct subcontractors to the site
  • SSSPs or T/As provided by subcontractors and aligned to site SSSP
  • Consultation between PCBUs – site meetings, joint tool box talks, sharing information on hazards

3.3 Industry prequalification providers

A number of industry providers offer a prequalification service. As at the date of this note the following products will provide evidence that the above criteria has been meet.

System Name       Level of Grading (if applicable)        Reference         
PREQUAL   PREQUAL – Impact website(external link)
SiteWise (Site Safe Inc)   Products and Services — SiteWise website(external link)
SHE (SHE Software NZ Ltd)   SHE Health and Safety software website(external link)

4. Create site specific safety plans

A site specific safety plan (SSSP) is an agreement between multiple PCBU’s working on the same construction site that determines how health and safety will be managed during the project.

The Ministry has produced a guide on contents required for SSSPs relating to construction work on school sites.

Site Specific Safety Plans (SSSPs) – Ministry requirements [PDF, 443 KB]

As a minimum, your SSSP should include:

4.1. A site hazard and risk register

Contractors must use site specific hazard and risk registers to record significant hazards.

The register should record the contractor's activities, procedures, processes or equipment, and must be updated during the work period.

When working in schools, you must identify and control hazards and risks such as:

  • ensure the construction zone is completely isolated from school operations with clear delineations (including signage)
  • ensure access and egress is clearly defined, with pedestrian and vehicle access separated where possible
  • vehicles entering and exiting the construction site (including deliveries) must not impact school operations and there must be controls to protect people on school grounds. Consider the timing of deliveries, and use spotters where there is no separate access/egress
  • ensure there has been a pre-start induction meeting. This consultation provides critical information about the job, work area and processes contractors need to be aware of.
  • ensure contractors know the school emergency evacuation procedures, who to contact in an emergency and where to find amenities.

4.2. Hazardous products and substances register

The hazardous products and substances register must record every product, substance, and material that is brought to, used on or stored on site by the subcontractor.

4.3. Safe work procedures

The contractor must provide safe work procedures (also known as task analysis, safe work method statement, or job safety analysis) for higher-risk activities.

Safe work procedures outline how workers will safely carry out a specific task.

As a minimum, the procedures should include:

  • who will be carrying out the task
  • personal protective equipment required
  • plant and equipment required
  • steps required to complete the job
  • potential significant hazards beside each step (assess the risks, and focus on what can cause harm and or go wrong)
  • control methods required to eliminate or minimise each hazard and risk.

It should be read, understood and signed by everyone working on the job.

4.4. Training and competency register

The training and competency register must show that workers are appropriately trained/experienced and/or competent to complete the tasks which they will be carrying out.

4.5. Incident register

All contractors must ensure incidents, accidents, injuries and near misses are recorded, reported to the Ministry and investigated.

All incidents, including near miss events, must be reported to the Ministry.

Incident Reporting Process - Summary [PDF, 397 KB]

Notifiable events must be notified to WorkSafe NZ.

Notify WorkSafe — WorkSafe NZ website(external link)

4.6. Emergency response plan

The emergency response plan must show that procedures are in place and agreed upon between the construction site and the school.

Schools and contractors must be aware of how each other’s operations may impact the other, and what process must be followed in the event that one of the PCBUs initiates emergency procedures.

4.7. A record of consultation, cooperation and coordination

All contractors must ensure that all PCBUs (such as the Ministry, school boards and other contractors/consultants) with a shared health and safety interest consult, cooperate, and coordinate with each other to ensure the health and safety of all involved.

Arrangements must be in place to satisfy this requirement, for example regular Toolbox Meetings, Site Meetings and PCG Meetings.

4.8. How you review

Your SSSP should outline how you will monitor and review health and safety systems and practices to ensure their effectiveness.

Example SSSP template

Download an example SSSP template from the Site Safe website.

Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP)(external link) 

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