With competition for contracts and jobs now at an all-time high, the question of how to get an advantage is one that comes up in business. What can you do to be better than your rivals? Well, there are lots of things you can do in regard to safety. Here are just a few:
- Lead by example and except only the highest of standards in safety, personally
- Manage safely through a robust health and safety management system
- Train, inform and instruct your teams in safe working practices
- Communicate effectively your safe working message
- Develop a safety first culture
- ……and join a Safety Scheme in Procurement….right?
Well, the last one is not on everyone’s agenda, but it perhaps it should be. A Safety Scheme in Procurement – or SSIP accreditation is something that more and more businesses are signing up to, in order to win work. CHAS, SMAS, SafeContractor and the like are all members of SSIP and offer audit and assessment services for contractors to become accredited members.
Is it a Legal requirement for my company to do become accredited?
No. It is absolutely not a requirement at all. However, the number of organisations asking for this badging before they allow you to tender or bid for work is growing every year. So, it’s a smart move to get one or more of the SSIP badges.
Is it just for construction?
No. Whilst it is true that lots of SSIP accreditations are in the construction and related trades, it doesn’t mean that other non-related organisations can’t benefit from going through this process.
What does it involve?
Each SSIP scheme, such as SMAS etc., have a slightly different process but essentially it comes down to an organisation proving compliance in safety (* there are other compliances such as finance that you can subscribe to, but we will deal only with the safety aspect). How they prove this is by answering an extensive questionnaire and supplying evidence of activity. For example, an organisation would be asked to supply a H&S policy (over 5 employees), copies of risk assessments / method statements, toolbox talks, training certificates, insurances etc. Essentially its about gathering a portfolio of evidence to prove your competence in your field, safety management and compliance with H&S laws. This is an annual assessment – so as to ensure that organisations maintain their safe working procedures and have competent, trained staff / subcontractors who are working and managing safely. Companies want to work with other companies that are not only safe but can be seen to be safe too.
How long does the process take?
This can vary from scheme to scheme and on the amount of information the applying organisation has to hand. However, if everything is in place (best case scenario) then it can take only a matter of days to apply and get a decision. It can take a bit longer – but we can help you with it along the way.
What’s the benefits of accreditation?
- National accreditation that is recognised by thousands of organisations within the supply chain
- Fast track to being able to access many PQQ contracts – you just don’t get past the door generally without it these days.
- It makes you a more compliant organisation – in order to become and stay accredited you have to work and manage safely. Being part of such a scheme helps to focus your organisation (with the help of your consultants perhaps?) into attaining better, safer working practices and, in turn maintaining them.
- It’s a visible and tangible method of your customers (and potential customers) seeing that you take the business of safety very seriously and have invested in accreditation in order to display that.
So, how much does it cost?
Well, how long is a piece of string? It can vary on the size of organisation and the scope of your operations. It usually is a few hundred pounds each year for the assessment. We think that its money well spent and lots of our clients have undertaken the process with great success.
Is it worth it?
If you want to access more work opportunities, then the answer is yes!
If you want to be compliant and help to ensure the safety of your team and others, then the answer is yes! In short, generally the answer is YES!
Where does Health and Safety Mentor come into all of this?
Generally, we act as competent advisors for all of our clients. This is a requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs to be able to call on H&S advice (either internally or externally). This is one of the requirements for any SSIP application – to have such a advice available. Therefore, we would be named on your application. However, the service we offer to our clients is free of charge. So if you take up a Beta or Omega support package, we will not only act as H&S competent advisors (and help and support your H&S compliance in lots of ways – see here for more details), but we will complete your SSIP application and guide you through the process. We take the stress out of the application, as we have completed hundreds over the years – so know exactly what each question means, how to answer it and what supporting evidence works best for the assessment.
Want more information?
These are the most popular schemes that we deal with – but there are lots of others – see the SSIP website for information on them.