Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) is a membership or umbrella body for assessment schemes with the common aim of reducing both duplication and costs for both buyers and suppliers
SSIP has 27 registered members operating health and safety accreditation schemes; and 23 offering certification to third party standards such as ISO 45001.
SSIP has said that prolonged outage of the HSE’s (Health & Safety Executive) online enforcement database is a “concern” but that members’ procedures mean that business is not being badly disrupted and the HSE have suggested to SSIP that any accreditation scheme urgently seeking information on a company’s enforcement history could make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the data.
The HSE’s enforcement database holds five years of data on all the companies that have received improvement or prohibition notices, together with details of the breaches. It also indicates whether or not there was a linked prosecution. However, the database has been unavailable to web users since mid-December, and the HSE is unable to predict when it might be back online.
Checks of the HSE database to see whether a company has faced enforcement action are usually an integral part of being assessed by safety accreditation providers.
Clients often demand that suppliers undergo assessment – to provide a guarantee of compliance with health and safety and other legislation – before they can start work, and there had been fears that SME businesses could be denied work due to the non-availability of the HSE database.
SSIP has around 67,000 supplier companies are currently registered on the SSIP portal via 27 registered accreditation schemes. The accreditation providers agree to work to common criteria and recognise each others’ accreditations. Members are still able to issue renewals or new accreditations.
For contractors renewing their previous accreditation, their enforcement history would have been checked previously.
Schemes also monitor the HSE’s press releases for prosecution notifications, and that applicant companies are asked to self-certify that they have not faced enforcement action.
SSIP members also carry out audits to management standards such as BS OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001. In this case, the HSE would be contacted to determine whether there were any pending prosecutions, or whether it had requested any actions.
SSIP Core Criteria for assessments is aligned to the Government-backed construction pre-qualification document PAS 91, ensuring consistency within supply chain management.
Companies would also need to come clean to the auditor on any prosecutions or significant incidents.
Read the full article from Health & Safety at Work publication here