Organisations are increasingly including subcontractors in their internal training so everyone is aligned under a single Health & Safety framework.  Not only is this beneficial for alignment of safety behaviours, it also ensures organisations meet their duty of care obligations to everyone who walks on site – and this includes your subcontractors.

Here are 5 things you should do to meet your WHS obligations and make partnering with your subcontractors run smoothly.


1. Know your obligations

Do you know your legal obligations when it comes to your subcontractors?
If you don’t, how can you plan to be compliant?

PCBUs (Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking) must ensure the health and safety of all workers at work in the business or undertaking, including those:

  • who are engaged or are caused to be engaged by the PCBU – this includes subcontractors.
  • whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU.

You can also check out our video below “WHAT AM I ACCOUNTABLE FOR?” about your general obligations.

2. Align subbies with your Safety Culture

Get them involved in your internal safety training. They can’t meet your standards if they don’t know what your standards are. Training should focus on how to build partnerships with your subcontactors, rather than micro-managing them.

3. Appropriate supervision

Have regular project meetings to address whether your subcontractors’ performance is meeting the project’s safety and quality requirements. Keep a record of communications and documentation you share with subcontractors so everyone is clear on who needs to do what, when and how.

4. Two-way communication

There should be two way communications between you and your subcontractor. Always be approachable and communicate clearly and succinctly so there’s no room for miscommunication or errors.  When the lines of communication are easy and each side knows the expectations, issues can get resolved more quickly and more gets accomplished.

5. Give them feedback

When you need to give your subcontractor feedback, do it in a way that encourages continuous improvement rather than blame, remediation instead of retaliation. It’s also important to give positive feedback and acknowledge a job well done.

Want to learn how to manage subcontractors?

You can learn to manage subcontractors as part of the BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety.

Our sister organisation Safety Dimensions also offers a specific Subcontractor Management program. Download the Subcontractor Management outline here or call us on 1300 453 555.

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