Plant Safety and Occupational Safety & Health / Safety Management with third-party companies

VCI Guidance on Dealing with External Companies and Contractors

The VCI has developed a guidance for the safety evaluation of contractors, in which concepts for the assessment of contractors are presented. The aim of the guidance is to define criteria that can be used for the assessment of external companies. Thus, a harmonized evaluation of contractors by the member companies of the VCI can be achieved. On the basis of the VCI guidance, companies can more easily develop their own assessment guidelines or checklists for external companies.

If third-party companies are commissioned with activities on the premises of chemical companies, plant safety and occupational safety and health must be guaranteed by clear rules in order to prevent endangering the employees of the chemical company as well as those of the contractor. - Photo: © dgdimension - Fotolia.com
If third-party companies are commissioned with activities on the premises of chemical companies, plant safety and occupational safety and health must be guaranteed by clear rules in order to prevent endangering the employees of the chemical company as well as those of the contractor. - Photo: © dgdimension - Fotolia.com

The "VCI Guidance on Contractor Management and Corporate-Specific Guidelines for Contractors" wants to assist the VCI membership in developing corporate-specific guidelines for contractors and in the selection of contractors. In the meaning of Responsible Care, this is about

  • ensuring occupational safety & health and plant safety by way of clear rules for contractor deployment in the chemical industry,
  • optimising the cooperation with contractors, and
  • developing a joint course of action for the comparative assessment and approval of contractors.

Improve Occupational Safety & Health also for Contractors

To protect employees from accidents at work, high standards apply in the German chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Comparing the frequency of accidents at work in different industries, it is safer in the chemical-pharmaceutical industry than in retail or public service. This is shown by the surveys of the employers' liability insurance associations. The low level of accidents at work is primarily attributed to forward-looking safety management.

However, contractor accident rates used in the chemical industry for many different activities are higher than the industry average. As a result, companies are now focusing more on reducing work-related accidents among employees of third-party companies working in one location in the chemical industry. To further reduce these numbers of accidents, effective safety management is required, especially for contracted companies.

Condensed Practical Experiences from VCI Members

If third-party companies are commissioned with activities on their own premises, work and plant safety must be guaranteed by clear rules on the use of third-party companies in order to prevent any endangering of their own employees and those of the contractor. Responsibilities and obligations must be clearly defined and their implementation regularly reviewed. This also optimizes cooperation with the third-party contractor. The VCI guidance is therefore intended to help companies to develop their own external company rules in their own company, to formulate these in a suitable form and to use safety aspects as criteria in the selection of contracting companies.

Numerous companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry have already developed such criteria and defined their own rules. An exchange of experience among OSH industry experts has shown that these corporate guides have a lot in common but are not standardized within the industry. The VCI guidance therefore also encourages a common approach for the comparable assessment and approval of contracting companies.

The structure of the guidance

  1. General observations and definitions
    • Scope of application
    • Definitions
  2. Criteria for the selection of contractors
  3. Responsibilities
  4. Corporate-specific guidelines for contractors and contractor management
  5. Safe performance of work
    • Safety measures before the start of work
    • Safety measures during ongoing work
  6. Accident reporting and investigation
  7. Handling of infringements
  8. Contractor assessment
  9. Appendix 1: Draft for a contractor questionnaire

You will find the complete VCI guide with a scope of 17 pages in the download area at the top of this page ("long version") and the corresponding VCI questionnaire for the evaluation of third-party security in Excel format is available there ("Additional Downloads ").

Legal notice

In no case does this VCI Guidance on contractor management release from the obliga-tion to comply with the legal provisions. The Guidance was elaborated with the utmost care. However, the authors and the VCI do not accept any liability for the correctness of the information, references, advice and possible misprints. Therefore, potential conse-quences cannot lead to claims being brought against the authors or the VCI. This does not apply if damage was caused with intent or by gross negligence by the VCI or by par-ties active on the VCI’s behalf and for injury to life, body or health.

For questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

Contacts

Dipl.-Ing. Bernd Berressem

E-Mail: berressem@vci.de