Assessing suppliers health and safety competence is usually a lengthy and time consuming process thousands of contractors and consultants (suppliers) apply for work with public and private sector organisations (buyers). To win work, they must meet the buyer’s health and safety standards.
Suppliers can sometimes meet one buyer’s Health and Safety standards but not another. Being CHAS approved reduces
duplication as suppliers compliance is accepted by all CHAS buyers.
CHAS assesses applicants:
Health and safety policy statement;
Their organisation for health and safety;
Their specific health and safety arrangements to a standard acceptable to our buyers and to others.
Background In 1997 a group of health and safety and procurement professionals from across Great Britain worked with the Association of London Government (ALG) to develop CHAS. In 2001 CHAS became a web-based system.
CHAS started with two main aims.
To improve health and safety standards across Great Britain.
To reduce duplicated safety applications for both suppliers and buyers.
These days we have more than 400 public and private sector buyer organisations, such as councils, housing associations, NHS trusts, including a growing number of large private companies who employ sub-contractors.
Participating in the CHAS scheme helps both suppliers and buyers.
Suppliers show compliance with important parts of health and safety law (the core criteria described in the CDM regulations).
On achieving compliance a supplier is approved to work for all of CHAS’ buyers.(Some Buyers may require “Accredited” Status)
Inconsistencies are reduced where some suppliers may be judged compliant by one buyer but not another.
CHAS gives guidance on any weaknesses in a supplier’s safety management, including how they can improve.
Being a CHAS supplier or buyer saves both time and resources
The Stages of Assessing Competency
There are three stages in the assessment process from the time a supplier applies for a CHAS assessment, through to working for a buyer:
The CHAS assessment: if a supplier passes this assessment they have shown they can adequately manage health and safety.
The employer (buyer) checks a supplier has the ability, experience and resources to carry out the specific work they have applied to do. The buyer will look at things like method statements, specific risk assessments, references, examples of previous similar work, training and available resources.
Monitoring the supplier when they are doing the work. Buyers will check suppliers are managing the work safely, carrying out the method statements properly, have enough resources, liaising properly, managing the site effectively and providing enough supervision.
The level of assessment at stages 2 and 3 are normally proportionate to the level of risk they carry. Buyers have a responsibility to monitor suppliers, making sure they are working safely, in order to protect staff and everyone who may be affected by the work.
Accessing the CHAS Database
Buyers have access to the CHAS database, suppliers you do not have access, other than your own personal pages if you are accredited. Suppliers cannot access information that relates to other suppliers.
CHAS is registered under the Data Protection Act, but there is no personal information kept in the database about you (only factual) so there is no information a supplier has right of access to. However, under normal circumstances the scheme manager will gladly tell suppliers about details contained in their entry.
The Association of London Government Health and Safety Forum licensed Merton Council as the CHAS administrator and promoter. View the organisation chart.
In 2002, a National Management Board – made up of GMB and UCATT trade unions as well as safety and procurement professionals – was established to check the scheme is managed in line with its Constitution. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) also announced their support for CHAS.
CHAS only makes changes to the scheme following direction from the board.
Who audits CHAS?
They continued founder member status with the HSE supported Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) competence forum, is reliant upon continued annual accreditation by an Independent SSIP appointed Auditor who in turn, has been approved by the Health & safety Executive.
CHAS is also audited annually by the UKAS accredited certification body BM TRADA Certification to both the ISO9001 and ISO14001 standards, thus ensuring our quality and environmental management systems continue to deliver a high quality service and operate in an environmentally friendly manner.
Who are the CHAS assessors?
All CHAS Assessors are NEBOSH qualified, practicing health and safety professionals who also attend CHAS specific training on a regular basis. CHAS currently has a team of over 130 accredited assessors.
CHAS is established as the market leader for health and safety pre-qualification in the UK. It is a non-commercial scheme available to suppliers (those who provide goods and services) and to organisations (buyers) looking for suitably competent suppliers.
Membership includes the public sectors: health trusts, emergency services and government departments and large private companies who have a supply chain, for example Royal Mail Group, Kier and Mitie Group. Ultimately we complete the initial H&S application process for buyers, saving time and resources for all involved in the process.
CHAS isn’t just for construction companies, it assesses health and safety for all types of suppliers, from care services to demolition contractors, designers and consultants. The aim of the scheme is to save time and resources by avoiding unnecessary duplication in the first stage of competence assessment; the CDM Core criteria.