Employee vs. Contractor: How Far Does Your Responsibility Go?

The lines between employer and employee can get blurry, so what does that mean for your responsibility to their safety?

We have a responsibility to Subcontractors

The modern workplace isn’t always fixed to a single location, and often isn’t even a single organization. The role of Contractors and Subcontractors has grown considerably, with highly-skilled professional occupying roles on a contract-based part-time or provisional basis. Are they employees, or just employed?

In these situations, the work is overseen by the Prime Contractor. They are the responsible party for all subcontractors. The subcontractors are, by definition, every organization or individual who holds a contract from the Prime Contractor.  

So what makes the Prime Contractor special? It is their job to identify, address, and work to minimize any associated hazards in the workplace, and ensure that there is a functioning two-way communication system between them and all subcontractors. This has limitations: if there is a risk specific to the particular skillset of the subcontractor, then it’s the subcontractors job to eliminate those risks themselves.  

Prime Contractors are responsible for implementing, or promoting, an Emergency Response Plan that applies to all subcontractors, as well. This includes all provisions that a regular employee would be beholden to, including Lone Working Subcontractors. They must take all necessary steps to ensure that every Subcontractor is aware of, and abides by, the Health and Safety guidelines. 

Subcontractors are expected to adhere to the health and safety regulations of the Prime Contractors. For Lone Working Subcontractors, this means using a Lone Worker solution while fulfilling a contract to the satisfaction of the Prime Contractor. This also means keeping accurate records of work; a responsibility shared by the Prime Contractor. 

For Lone Working Subcontractors, a Lone Worker solution is a clear responsibility of a Prime Contractor. To simplify the process of bringing on Subcontractors with the expectation that they’ll be working alone, the Lone Worker solution must be easy to learn, easy to train, keep accurate records, and have an easily-transferrable license from outgoing to incoming Subcontractors. What Prime Contractors need, then, is SafetyLine. 

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