Who is solely responsible for safety on site?
Could the main Contractor be responsible for sub contract personnel who are involved in an accident?
Is it the main contractors responsiblity to ensure that the correct safety procedures are in operation re sub-contractors?
The question above was originally posed via our Ask A Guru feature and this response from 2004 was by either Dave Carr or Michael Stokes.
Responsibility for safety on site is not the sole responsibility of anyone but is the responsibility of everyone.
Operatives have a responsibility for their own safety (and that of anyone who may be affected by their activities, or inactivities) whilst employers have responsibility for ensuring a safe system of work is used by their staff.
The Principal Contractor is responsible for the co-ordination of h&s on site but individual contractors have responsibility for their own operations. Naturally if the Principal Contractor is aware, or becomes aware, of unsafe practices, he must take action to stop them. Similar responsibilities lay with professional staff.
In the event of an accident, the Principal Contractor could attract liability but so too could the injured persons employer or indeed the client if it could be shown that he did not assess the competence of any contractor that he had employed.
As will be seen, there is no 'simple' answer to this question but each incident must be viewed on the circumstances.
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