Contractor’s Health & Safety Assessment Scheme
The “Contractor’s Health and Safety Assessment Scheme”, commonly known as CHAS, was originally established in 1997 by a group of Health and Safety representatives from public and private bodies across the UK alongside the Association of London Government. The aim of the group was simple: to establish a single nationally recognised standard to identify contractors as compliant with necessary Health and Safety requirements for individual organisations. Prior to the establishment of CHAS the process for hiring contractors in various sectors could be lengthy, complicated and standards varied from one organisation to another. For contractors, complying with individual organisation’s Health and Safety Standards was often complicated and required time consuming applications on each occasion. In addition, the aims of the organisation were to improve the standard of Health and Safety in the UK.
By registering with CHAS contractors can demonstrate that they are compliant in Health and Safety terms that are acceptable to a wide range of organisations; many of these include public bodies such as Local Authorities and Health Boards. Today, many privately run firms also look to certified suppliers to cut Health and Safety red-tape when hiring sub-contractors. Currently there are over 500 buyers registered with the scheme who accept CHAS registration as proof that an individual contractor has the necessary Health and Safety regulations in place for their project.
The Benefits of Registering With CHAS
The benefits of registration are largely self-evident; with competition fierce in many sectors in which sub-contractors operate, the basic need to comply with any given organisation’s Health and Safety criteria and policies is the first hurdle to jump. By registering with CHAS a sub-contractor does not need to fill in paperwork or make individual applications to each buyer but can simply demonstrate that they already comply with the organisation’s policies.
While construction companies are one of the most common type of contractor to hold CHAS registration the scheme can apply to a much wider range of industries. From catering, care and consultancies, any sub-contractor working with a huge range of public and private firms involved in the scheme can benefit from registration. In fact, whatever industry you work in, CHAS registration can help you to make you more competitive when it comes to tendering for work with a large range of buyers.
Perhaps the biggest benefits of registering with CHAS are the potential time and associated money savings the scheme offers. Contractors often find that while they may comply with one organisations policy they do not comply with another – registering removes these inconsistencies. The scheme demonstrates that a supplier fully complies with the core criteria set out in Construction Design Management (CDM) regulations. Additional benefits include access to expert guidance on Health and Safety policies and how to improve existing policies and documentation.
Application, Advice and Registration
The assessment process is now a web based system and is relatively simple, making it accessible to a range of firms from the smallest of small businesses through to larger firms. The assessment process consists of three elements; firstly the applicant’s Health and Safety Policy is assessed; secondly their organisation is examined for Health and Safety and finally specific health and safety arrangements are compared against criteria acceptable to buyers. CHAS also offers advice to those who do not fully meet the scheme’s requirements on how to improve their policies in order to meet the criteria. For small firms, with limited HR and Health and Safety resources, this aspect of the scheme can be hugely beneficial. Once successfully registered members have access to an increasing market of buyers and time is saved when tendering for jobs.