Gaining CHAS accreditation is a priority for many construction companies, as it shows that your business is committed to health and safety best practice.
This type of health and safety accreditation is often required to become approved or invited to tender for clients, particularly in the public sector. So it can also help you to grow your business and win more work.
But how do you go about getting CHAS?
It can seem overwhelming to contractors undertaking the assessment for the first time, particularly when trying to complete the application process without the help of a construction health and safety advisor.
The 5 steps below will help you get ready for CHAS, and you can also follow our CHAS application guide for contractors to prepare your application.
These 5 key steps will be needed to prepare your business for gaining CHAS accreditation:
You used to be able to download the CHAS assessment from the CHAS website, but since you must now apply online, you can't do this with the current version of the application.
If you are looking to get accredited, this is a good place to start. This guidance outlines the documents and evidence your assessor will expect to see, giving you a clear idea of what you need to provide to gain accreditation. The guidance notes even include a checklist of the support documentation you are going to require.
For smaller contractors, you will be pleased to know that the application form is shorter and the requirements are a little less demanding for you. You are not expected to have the same health and safety management systems in place as a larger company. It should be proportionate to the work you undertake.
Once you have had a look through the CHAS guidance notes, assess the topics and questions, and decide where your strengths and weaknesses are, and work on any areas you feel you are falling short. You can even use our health and safety documents to help you fill any gaps.
Remember, to stand a good chance of success, you need to have all these things in place before you go ahead and apply for CHAS.
If you are looking to gain CHAS accreditation, you are likely to have good control of your health and safety and have procedures in place to manage your activities. But do you have a record of this?
If it’s not written down and documented, it can’t be evidenced or assessed.
By law, if you employ over 5 people you need certain written records, but if you have less than 5 people, if you want CHAS, you're going to need written records as well. They can't assess you otherwise!
Either way, it is best practice to keep a record, to show you are complying with regulations.
Policies, forms and procedures are all well and good, but they are actually no use for the safety of your workforce if they are not implemented on site.
Documents up on a shelf gathering dust? Or hidden away on your computer? Even if they are the best documents in the world, you won't pass CHAS if nobody has ever seen them.
You need records to show that you have consulted your workforce and that the documents are in use on site.
Records of site inductions, along with evidence that your workforce have seen and acted upon your risk assessments and procedures will be needed to be submitted as supporting documentation in your CHAS assessment.
Your CHAS assessor will need to see that you have a competent workforce, from management level down to site operatives.
Training is an important part of good health and safety management, making sure your team knows about hazards, rules and procedures around certain high-risk health and safety topics, like asbestos, or working at height.
It is important to identify what the training needs are for your workforce, based on the work they do and the roles they carry out and make sure training is kept up to date.
You will need to provide your training arrangements along with records and certificates for your workforce.
You can include both internal and external training records as your supporting evidence. External training will include off-site training and formal qualifications. Internal may be your site inductions, risk assessment briefings and toolbox talks.
How do you assess if the health and safety rules and controls you have in place are successful? Monitoring of course!
Your monitoring procedures will be reviewed as part of your CHAS assessment, to check that you are continually reviewing and improving your health and safety standards.
This section will require your monitoring arrangements, along with evidence submitted to show that monitoring is carried out.
This should include site inspections, audits, action plans and minutes of health and safety meetings. You should also be able to provide accident records, including investigations into accidents and action taken to prevent reoccurrence, along with providing details of workforce consultation and subcontractor management where applicable.
So that's our 5 steps done, you should now feel more prepared now to get your business ready for CHAS.
Following the 5 steps above, and taking on the assessment one question at a time should help you in gaining CHAS accreditation for your business.
When you are ready to start the CHAS application process, you can follow our more detailed guide on passing the CHAS assessment first time.