Contractor and visitor safety

This section places obligations on managers who engage and supervise contractors.

All of the University's safe working environment issues and safe working practices apply to independent contractors engaged by the University, and employees of those contractors, as if they were all employees of the University.  The University will have varying degrees of control over health and safety issues in this situation depending on the type and location of work being done by a contractor. In general less control means less responsibility under the legislation.

For example:

Electrical contractors working on a roof

  • The University is responsible for safe access to the roof and fall protection arrangements
  • The University is also responsible for inducting the contractor and informing the contractors of possible hazards on the roof and any safety or hazard information about the electrical systems the contractors may be working on
  • The University is responsible for checking beforehand the competency of the contractor and associated matters such as insurances. The University must also assure itself by observation that the electrical contractor is following University requirements
  • The contractor is responsible for following reasonable safety requirements of the University
  • The contractor is also responsible for carrying out their electrical work in a safe and professional manner.

Contractor working from their own premises for the University:

  • The University is responsible for ensuring the contractor has appropriate insurances and there are no unusual hazards involved in the work. If the work is hazardous, for example, testing electrical equipment, then the University must satisfy itself beforehand that the contractor is competent to manage these hazards and inform the contractor of any hazards the University is aware of
  • The contractor is responsible for other safety issues.

Therefore "contractor" includes any person or company engaged or invited directly or indirectly to carry out works or activities on University premises. This includes delivery persons, temporary staff, removalists, persons setting up staging and so on. Labour-hire agency staff ("temps") are employees of independent contractors engaged by the University and the University has OHS responsibilities for them.

For the purposes of this manual, a consultant is a contractor. 

All contractors, with the exception of delivery persons, must receive an induction before commencing work. The form and details of the induction will depend upon the risks associated with the work carried out by the contractor. Some contractors who carry out hazardous work regularly at the University will receive two inductions: a general (global) University induction and a job specific induction.

All University staff are required to follow the Contractor Management Standard (PDF, 35.4 KB) .  Further information and checklists are provided on the contractor safety section of Safe Work Practices. Further advice on contractor management can be obtained from the HWS unit.

Construction, maintenance and other physical work by contractors

Wherever the University has contractors engaged in construction work on University premises, contractors carrying out maintenance work, or similar, the staff member responsible for bringing (or proposing to bring) a contractor onto the premises must:

  • where there is a written contract, make sure it contains obligations on the contractor to comply with its (as it is usually a company) obligations under OHS legislation and any specific OHS requirements (e.g. to secure a site) (seek advice from the University Solicitor's Office on proposed clauses)
  • if a tendering process is carried out first, state that the contract will have to contain such obligations
  • check that the contractor and employees of the contractor are competent to carry out the work and have necessary qualifications, licences and the like
  • confirm that the contractor has current WorkCover insurance in place
  • check the area in which the contractor will be working for any health and safety risks and either attend to the risks or make the contractor aware of them
  • familiarise the contractor and employees with the surroundings, equipment and emergency procedures and contacts
  • establish arrangements for contractors to report in and out of University premises, preferably a sign in and sign out process (for major construction work in secured sites this will not be necessary but make sure that the contractor attends to this)
  • accompany contractors into work areas
  • check on the safe progress of the work
  • consider the health and safety implications of the work for staff, students and visitors by consulting with staff who are, or will be, affected, place warnings (including on the website portal) and limit access.

Facilities Services Division offers, on a fee for service basis, contractor management services for most trades and construction work undertaken by other organisational areas. These works may include erecting staging and stands or electrical works for special events. Contact Facilities Services Division for further information.

Office work by contractors

In the case of a contractor carrying out office work, the relevant manager must proceed as if the contractor were a new University staff member. This includes making sure the contractor has access to this manual.


The staff member responsible for bringing a visitor (e.g. researcher from another University, a job applicant) onto University premises must attend to their safety by making sure they know where to go, how to leave the building, safe car parking arrangements, remaining with them or knowing where they are and when they leave.

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