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Managing risks with contractors

21 November 2023

UC has a duty to promote the health and safety of contractors, subcontractors and their workers, and people affected by the work we do. Find out about managing risks with contractors.


Contractor Management (Overlapping Duties)

University of Canterbury is a PCBU (Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking) in the terms of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The University shares space and has contractual arrangements with other PCBUs.

The University of Canterbury affirms its commitment to consult, cooperate, and co-ordinate with other PCBUs to ensure the health and safety of the wider University community including students, staff, visitors, and contractors.

The University has a duty of care to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable:

  • The health and safety of workers while they are at work (includes contractors, subcontractors and their workers)
  • The health and safety of workers that are influenced or directed by the University
  • The health and safety of other persons are not put at risk by the work undertaken by the University

Where more than one PCBU has influence or control over a space, an event, equipment, or a process, the duties are considered to overlap. All PCBUs have a responsibility to meet duties to the extent that they have the ability to influence or control matters. This includes what ought to be reasonably known about any risk, and how that risk should be controlled.

More detail is set out in the Protocol: Contractor Management.

Worksafe also has excellent information on PCBUs working together.

University of Canterbury has different procedures for managing contractors depending on the level of risk associated with the contractors work.

Before letting the contract, evaluate the health and safety of contract bidders using the Health and Safety Minimum Requirements. Completed forms should accompany any recommendation sent to the procurement team.

When the contractors have been selected, and prior to undertaking any work at the University, they must be inducted and the Checklist for UC Contractor Manager/Liaison: Health and Safety Contractor Induction should be completed.

During the contract, an assessment of contractor performance on health and safety should be undertaken by someone who is familiar with the type of work and who is capable of recognising the presence, or absence, of adequate health and safety measures. The accompanying Checklist for UC Contractor Manager/Liaison Health and Safety Review of Contractor should be completed.

Post-contract evaluation should be done with the contractor reviewing the Checklist along with the Health and Safety Minimum Requirements document that was completed prior to the contract.

Contractors whose work presents a lower level of risk still need to be inducted, inform the University about the risks that they may be introducing, and have the rules and procedures of the University explained to them. A video covering this induction information is available.

The Low-Risk Induction form should be completed with the contractor and the Checklist completed. If new risks are being introduced these need to be assessed, the Hazard/Risk Assessment form should be completed, and controls put in place.

The Checklist should also be completed to record completion of work and any hazards identified or created.

Low-risk work is work undertaken by contractors that have a low to negligible risk of workplace injury or illness from the scope of operations, are not construction work or in connection with construction work.

Examples:  Delivery of new equipment; Couriers; Visiting lecturers; Consultants, Auditors; Vendors; Stall operators; ITS labour hire; On-site admin support; Photocopy repair; Portable appliance electrical testing and tagging; Presenters for seminars, Meetings; Caterers; Calibrating equipment.

If you are unsure, contact the Health and Safety Team.

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