Contractor management system spreads OH&S message

South Australia’s City of Charles Sturt has introduced an Integrated Management System (IMS) for contractor management that brings the City’s contractors up to a prequalification standard in Occupational Health and Safety. The IMS was procured through the Civil Contractors Federation and is a partnership with contractors in the City.

Charles Sturt is a large metropolitan Council located in the western suburbs of Adelaide. Servicing a population of 104,000 people, Council’s annual budget is around $80 million. Each year, Council’s Contracted Services Business Unit manages around $15 million in contracts that deliver a vast range of services for Council and its wider community.

One of the Unit’s major challenges and priorities is to deliver these services while ensuring safety and environmental protection at all times. Council’s Contracts Administrator, Mick Willis, said that a key benefit of this system is its transferability to different organisational types and its cost effectiveness.

“Other national and global IMSs can be too expensive for smaller organisations,” he said. “A lot of Council’s contractors are either self employed or employers with less than five employees. The system we have implemented at Charles Sturt is designed for both the small organisations of less than five employees to much larger employers. The principles of our IMS system are not dependent on the size of the organisation. They are based upon the Australian Standards for quality, OH&S and environment.”

Mick Willis said these principles are translated into the organisation through a series of policies, procedures and a manual of 13 accreditation purposes.

“It is much more than a ‘tick in the box’ approach,” he said. “By including contractors in this process, we are changing the culture and spreading the OH&S, environmental and quality messages throughout the wider community.”

Contracts Administrator, David Bland, said a unique element of the system is the development of practical tools. “This includes the Worksite Safety and Environment Audit Checklist, the audit calendar and the OHS and Welfare Standard Procedures for Contractor Safety and Environmental Management. These tools provide a practical method of ensuring safe work practices for contractors to set a standard that protects them, Council’s staff and the wider community.”

The IMS took out the 2005 major prize in the Metropolitan category of the Occupational Health and Safety Best Practice Awards ran by the Local Government Association of South Australia last year.

For further information contact David Bland or Mick Willis on (08) 8408 1111.