How to ensure the safety of your contractors with a WHS management plan


How to ensure the safety of your contractors with a WHS management plan


Employing contractors comes with some important legal requirements. The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 requires that businesses put in place a written work health and safety (WHS) management plan for all construction projects to help ensure the safety of your contractors.

That means proper contractor safety management is not just an ethical responsibility, but also a legal requirement.

What is a contractor safety management plan?

A WHS management plan should set out your business’s work health and safety policies and outline how you plan to manage the following factors for each construction project:

Contractor training
— Risk management
— Subcontractor management
— Injury management
— Monitoring and review

What should a WHS management plan include?

Your WHS management plan should be tailored to each project, so no two will look quite the same. Large construction projects will call for more detailed WHS management plans, but even the smallest contractor projects must set out the following as a minimum:

— Names and positions of all people involved in the project
— Health and safety responsibilities for relevant positions
— Health and safety rules specific to the project and site in question
— Reporting and notification procedures for health and safety incidents
— Procedures for informing contractors and staff of health and safety rules
— Procedures for monitoring and reviewing safe work standards

What does a WHS management plan look like?

WHS management plans are usually divided into a series of sections. These may include:

Description of the project

This section should set out the details of the project, including the project stages, duration and site access. You should also note any potential safety hazards or considerations.

Roles and responsibilities

List all the roles that will be involved in the delivery of the project from start to finish, and note the key responsibilities for each role. You’ll also need to set out any specific WHS responsibilities that fall under relevant roles.

Induction and training procedures

You are required to ensure all contractors are informed of their WHS responsibilities and understand the procedures you’ve set out in your management plan. This section should detail how you will make this happen.

Risk assessment

What processes will you use to identify WHS risks and how will you control these risks? This section should focus on control measures including hazard elimination or isolation, and the tools or equipment that may be used to reduce risks (such as providing personal protective equipment to contractors).

Subcontractor management procedures

If your contractors are planning on bringing subcontractors to the site, this will also need to be considered in your WHS management plan. Key subcontractors need to be identified and you’ll need to set out processes for managing their relevant insurances and licenses.

Procedures for managing and reporting incidents

If an incident occurs, you’ll need procedures in place that will govern how you report, investigate and respond to worksite accidents or injuries. This may include evacuation plans, how you’ll isolate the accident scene, and any corrective actions you can take.

Monitoring and review

You’ll need to monitor and review your WHS management plan throughout the course of the project. This section should set how you’ll do this and may include an audit and inspection procedures to ensure contractors are complying with your plan throughout the different stages of your project.


Need some help developing a contractor safety management plan for your next construction project? Our expert BusinessBasics consultants are standing by to answer all your questions.

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