Over the years local authority health and safety and procurement professionals, with the support of the Health and Safety Executive, have developed the Contractor Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS). The scheme is available for use by any public and private sector organizations to use when shortlisting contractors, suppliers and consultants (companies) who apply to work for them. It provides information about the health and safety part of their application.
Companies apply to join the scheme so everyone knows they meet acceptable standards of health and safety compliance. Clients from both the public and private sectors are users of the scheme and our database.
The Scheme Principles
Every month there are thousands of companies applying to select lists managed by public sector organizations (such as councils, housing associations, NHS trusts and fire services) and other companies. To get on a list applicants must meet their client standards for placement in areas such as technical ability, equalities, insurance cover, environment and health and safety. Assessing contractors is usually a lengthy process, particularly when it comes to health and safety.
Many companies apply to more than one of these organizations, this means duplication of effort for both them and the assessors. Companies can sometimes pass health and safety assessments and be successful at getting on one list but fail to get on another. This leads to understandable frustration for them. CHAS works on a logic that a company who has successfully achieved compliance with one organization is acceptable to all.
Since CHAS started, four out of five small and medium sized contractors will fail their first assessment an indication of general poor compliance in SME’s. CHAS assessment makes sure applicants have compliance with basic health and safety law and they have demonstrated they can adequately manage health and safety. A fundamental principle of CHAS is to help any company to improve their safety management should they fail. CHAS give guidance on any areas of weakness and provide the encouragement and opportunity for improvement it is found that, companies usually reapply and achieve compliance. The fail rate at reassessment decreases to about one in five. This system means member organizations provide significant help to small local businesses to improve their standards of health and safety compliance and management.
Benefits of CHAS
Participating in CHAS helps both companies and employers;
- It makes sure a company is compliant with important parts of health and safety law.
- It means members do not have to repeat the effort of assessing health and safety compliance of applications for companies who have already been assessed to our standards.
- Companies do not have to undergo health and safety assessments every time they apply to one of our clients for work – clients will know they have been successfully assessed before.
- It will get rid of inconsistency where some contractors may be judged compliant by one employer but not others.