23rd January 2019
Health and Safety Accreditation Schemes
Lighthouse is seeing more and more clients being pushed down the H&S accreditation route by either their clients or in order to be in with a chance of winning tenders. This blog aims to give a full overview of what these schemes are, and how to go about getting accredited.
When the HSE published the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 it recommended that businesses use the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) system when making an assessment of a contractors H&S standards.
One way an organisation can demonstrate competence in health and safety is to be accredited by a third party. This is also known as conformity assessment. Accreditation schemes originated in the construction sector, but are now used more widely.
The SSIP system involved a third-party organisation (such as Chas, SMAS or Construction line for example) completing a desktop assessment of a contractor’s application. In order to pass this assessment, companies must produce evidence of their health and safety arrangements including such documents as policies, risk assessments and training records.
The point of the SSIP scheme is that the contractors should only need to pass one assessment. However, as we have been seeing – in reality, this is not always the case for some clients as many companies continue to ask contractors to pass their own assessment or demand additional awards etc.
It should be noted – the law does not require accreditation, and it’s only one way of meeting pre-qualification standards when buying or supplying goods and services.
If you’re a client, our advice is to save yourself some time and effort wading through a contractor’s paperwork. If they have an SSIP certification already – then there’s really no value in undertaking your own extra checks.
SSIP is an organisation that enables mutual recognition (also known as the ‘deemed to satisfy’ provision) between health and safety assessment schemes, particularly within the construction industry.
SSIP member schemes apply core criteria approved by HSE. The core criteria describe what it means for a construction business to comply with basic health and safety law, but they can also be applied to other kinds of business.
This means that:
- as a buyer, you do not need to ask for evidence of accreditation to more than one of the SSIP member schemes
- as a supplier, you should only need to be accredited to one of the SSIP member schemes
If a buyer insists on a different SSIP scheme, you can apply to have the equivalence of your existing accreditation recognised through the SSIP mutual recognition provision. This should save you both time and money.