The use of external contractors can be required for activities where there is the need to obtain specialist expertise which is not available in-house. It is particularly common for jobs such as construction, maintenance or equipment and plant servicing. It is also used for jobs which are hazardous and require specialist safety measures, such as working at height.

From the outset, employers should ensure that accountabilities are clearly defined, so that all relevant parties agree and understand what they are responsible for.

Prior to contractors starting work, a risk assessment should be carried out to determine the risks involved. The level of detail required in the assessment will depend on the level of expertise an employer has in relation to the contracting work being undertaken. Contractors should be notified of any hazards and risks that are specific to the workplace.

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