Managing contractors at your church

11 December 2019

Making sure everyone stays safe whilst contractors carry out work for you.

Contractor holding hard hat shakes hands with person
Usually, a contractor works under a contract and provides materials or labour to perform a service or complete a job. In a church setting, building maintenance, repair and installation works are likely to be carried out by a contractor who provides materials or labour to perform a service or complete a job. It is important to ensure that everyone remains safe whilst the work is done.

What is the risk?

In some instances, contractors may carry out work which could potentially damage the premises or injure others who may be using it. For example, this could be where their work involves a source of ignition (e.g. a naked flame) or where they are working at height where materials can fall on others.
Many churches present few significant hazards to contractors. However, they are likely to be unfamiliar with your premises and may be at risk because of this, particularly where there are unusual features or contaminants (such as asbestos) present.

Who is responsible for contractor safety?

In most cases, you are not required to take an active role in managing the work itself. However, for bigger projects or more hazardous work, you may need to make sure that good health and safety standards will be maintained before it starts.
The extent of what you need to do should be consistent with the level of risk, i.e. the greater the risk, the more you may need to do. In many cases, you will be employing contractors who are specialists, and you may not appreciate the risks associated with their work. Here, you may simply need to make some basic checks to ensure that they are competent to complete it.
If necessary, you will have to make sure that any precautions for which you are responsible are taken e.g. segregating members of the public from the work area and so on.
Where construction work is carried out, you may have specific legal duties regarding health and safety. You can get more information about these in our guide to Construction Design Management (CDM) regulations. 

Managing contractors at your church

Depending on the nature of the work being completed, you may need to think about:
  • How this might affect the precautions you have already taken to protect people 
  • Any additional precautions that might be required and who will take them
  • How you will satisfy yourself that any contractor will do the work safely 
  • Providing the contractor with any relevant health and safety information e.g. where asbestos is present
  • How you will cooperate with the contractor to make sure everyone remains safe as the work progresses
  • Any checks you may need to make to ensure that good health and safety standards are maintained. 
Read our guide to managing contractors for more detailed information on the points above.