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.

"Contractor" includes any person or company engaged or invited directly or indirectly to carry out works or activities on University premises or on behalf of the University. 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 also.

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 OHS Contractor Management tab. Further advice on contractor management can be obtained from the Health, Wellbeing and Safety unit.

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 based contractors and consultants

Where a contractor or labour-hire employee is carrying out office work, the relevant manager must proceed as if the person is a new University staff member. This includes induction and appropriate level of training.


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.

OHS contractor management

The University uses a wide range of contractors from tradespeople to consultants to "temps". Where the contractor is working on University sites or where the University is exercising substantial control over the contractor, then the University has OHS responsibilities for the contractor. The extent of this responsibility will depend upon the circumstances of the contract and the work. The University under the OHS Act cannot contract out of its OHS responsibilities.

University staff initiating contracts or managing contractors (or their staff) must be familiar with the University's OHS Contractor Management Standard.

General principles

Wherever the University has contractors engaged on University premises, the staff member responsible for bringing (or proposing to bring) a contractor onto the premises must:

  • carry out a contract risk assessment of the proposed works
  • 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). Please see Model Contract Clauses (DOC, 44.0 KB) and/or 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 occurring within 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.

Standards and guidelines

The following OHS standards and guidelines apply to the management of contractors:

OHS Contractor Management System

The Contract OHS Management System Guidelines (PDF, 103.1 KB) describe how contracts can be classified and managed. A template is provided below for each type of contract. Each template refers to a suite of supporting documents.

(1) Templates

The following steps cover the development, establishment and implementation of a contract from an OHS point of view. Contracts may only involve some of the steps.

(2) Development of the Contract - Contract Specification

(3) Assessing the risk

(4) Evaluating the tenders or potential contractors

Tender submissions should be evaluated against occupational health and safety criteria to ensure the potential contactors have adequate systems in place to carry out the work safely.

For use of the Contract Manager:

The potential contractors can be asked to complete the following checklists:

(5) Proof of WorkCover and insurance coverage

This is required for all contracts except light deliveries. Where subcontractors are being used, their insurance and WorkCover coverage should also be checked. This can be done through iPro if your area is using this system.

(6) Disclosing known risks and hazards

The University is required to disclose to the contractors any OHS risks or hazards that it may be aware of that may affect the safety of the contractor. This may be, for example, asbestos in buildings, electrical hazards, traffic management issues and so on.

The OHS hazard disclosure statement (DOC, 46.5 KB) (6a) can be used for this purpose.

With labour hire contracts a more formal process is required via the labour hire job description checklist (DOC, 41.5 KB) (6b).

(7, 8, 9) Managing project and site safety

The contractor may be required to develop a Project OHS Plan or Site Safety Plan.  Refer to guidelines for preparing health and safety plans (PDF, 33.6 KB) (7a).

The Contract Manager should review the checklist for review of contractor OHS plans (DOC, 86.0 KB) (7b).

Where the worksite is jointly controlled by the University and the contractor, a site safety plan (7c) (DOC, 59.5 KB) should be developed.

The Contract Manager may also have to develop a traffic management plan checklist (DOC, 46.0 KB) (9).

(10, 11, 12, 13) Contract setup and coordination

Depending upon the activities carried out under the contract, the Contractor may need to develop job safety assessments or safe working methods:

(14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) Contractor induction

Induct and register the contractor and ensure they are familiar with the University OHS management system. The Contract Manager can use one of the following checklists:

Facilities Services offers works management services for trades and construction work normally undertaken by Faculties and Other Areas on a fee for service basis. These works may include erecting staging and stands or electrical works for special events.

As part of the induction process, the contractor must be informed of the University's safety rules:

(20, 21, 22) Contract supervision and monitoring

An important element of the contract management process is monitoring the contractor and undertaking inspections of the work and documenting the status of OHS performance. The frequency of inspections will depend on a range of criteria that will be determined by the Contract Manager based upon the hazards associated with the contract and the past performance of the contractor. The type of inspection or review will depend on the complexity of the contact. The following checklists and forms can be used or modified for your purposes.

(23) Evaluating contractor performance

Where areas of non-conformance are identified or specific serious risks noted as a result of inspections of the contractor's operations, the non conformance report (DOC, 42.0 KB) (23a) can be used. The report should be issued following consultation with the contractor representative and an agreed time frame should be documented on this report for the rectification of issues.

Where the contractor does not rectify the issue within the agreed timeframe a second non-conformance report may be issued or the University may consider suspension or termination of the contract if the issue is of sufficient significance.

Where a contractor may be included on a list of approved contractors, the contractor evaluation form (DOC, 73.5 KB) (23b) can be used.

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