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 or to help relieve staff during busy periods. 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.

This topic describes that from the outset, employers should ensure that accountabilities are clearly defined, so that all relevant parties agree and understand what they are responsible for and that prior to contractors starting work, a risk assessment should be carried out to determine the risks involved. Contractors should be notified of any hazards and risks that are specific to the workplace.

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