Contractors and Smaller Companies often find Health and Safety requirements challenging. The requirements outlined in Tenders can be overwhelming. The Deputy Chairman of the Safety Institute of Australia, Nathan Winter, recently called on large companies to specifically ask questions to Tenderers to confirm their understanding of the requirements.
He said that Tender Documents often simply include a statement, for example: “The tenderer will abide by all the safety processes and procedures of the tendering company”. It is assumed that the small business understands what is required and that they have allowed adequate resources to conduct these processes to the standards required by the larger organisation.
Quite often, smaller businesses are likely to submit a tender price that doesn’t allow for resources to meet safety requirements. Unexpected costs are then incurred by the Contractor who didn’t fully understand what was required. And the larger business can face delays whilst the small business adapts to the requirements.
The challenges faced by small businesses when tendering for a job at a large company include:
- Limited resources – small businesses do not have the resources that large companies have. They do not have safety and health professionals on their staff or full-time safety directors. Whoever is responsible for safety also has two or three other responsibilities.
- Difficulty knowing what all the legislative requirements are and understanding exactly what must be done to comply.
- Knowing what costs are associated with compliance, including Worker’s Compensation premiums.
- Understanding all the terminology and jargon. For example, understanding what is meant by a JSA or Job Hazard Analysis.
- When Small Businesses supply more than one large customer it is almost guaranteed that their various safety systems and requirements will be different
- Big businesses expect small businesses to have a 5-star safety system and they expect them to deliver the job at minimal cost.
The HSEQ section in a Tender document should cover items such as:
- Acts, regulations, local laws and by-laws, Codes of Practice, Australian Standards
- OHS policy and procedures –
- OHSE Management system – contractors are required to demonstrate that they have and effective WHS management system
- OHSE responsibilities
- Safe Work permits
- Safety management plans
- Certification – AS/NZS 4801:2001 or OHSAS 18001
- Including Inductions
- Identification process of hazards
- Risk assessment
- Control measures
- Incident notification and investigation
- Auditing programme
- Safe Work methods statements
- Emergency response
- Appointed OHS professional
- Budget allocation for OHS
- Ratio of safety officers to workers
- Ratio of first aid officers to workers
- Contract clauses OHS
- LTIFR and days lost
- Number of Workers Compensation claims
- Premium rates for WC
- Who has management and control of the project?
- Tenderers responsibilities
- Notify of any accident, injury, property or environmental damage
- Report giving complete details of the incident, including results of investigations into its cause, and any recommendations or strategies for prevention in the future.
- Risk Assessments
- Frequency of meetings
- Frequency of audits/inspections
- Incident statistics
- Corrective actions
- Number of lost time injuries
- Working days lost due to injury
- Current status of any injured personnel, damaged property or environmental damage or pollution
- Status of the implementation and outcomes of corrective actions undertaken as a result of OHS inspections and risk assessments
- Status of OHS management system audits undertaken
- Safety performance
- Non compliance
- Site Specifics
- Stop unsafe work
- Tools and equipment
- Change Management Process
- Hazardous substances
- Fitness for work requirements
- Non compliance
- Dispute resolution
The WorkSafe Victoria website provides a downloadable Procurement Checklist for use when preparing tenders. Although aimed at the construction industry it is a valuable tool: http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/pages/forms-and-publications/forms-and-publications/health-and-safety-in-construction-procurement-checklist-preparing-the-tender