CHAS, the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme, now enjoys membership of more than 100 local authorities, universities, emergency services, housing associations and major contactors. Launched in 2001, CHAS aims to lessen the burden of health and safety pre-qualification, as well as providing significant savings in both time and money for members and contractors and can help small and local businesses to improve safety management. More than five thousand contractors have now been assessed by CHAS.
The main objectives of the scheme are to avoid duplication in health and safety pre-qualification for contractors and clients. It provides clear and transparent assessment standards, which are acceptable to both clients and applicant. It enables a contractor to prove legal compliance and satisfactory management of health and safety. CHAS offers more than a straightforward pass/fail. Assessors are committed to helping those small and medium sized companies who may fail their initial assessment.
Normally a member opening or reviewing their approved list or inviting a contractor to tender would subject a company to an assessment. However a company who feel they would benefit from a CHAS assessment can arrange it through the CHAS web site, which is at http://www.chas.gov.uk. The company is invited to complete an appropriate questionnaire and submit it with supporting documentation to enable the assessment to be made.
The application is then assigned to an assessor who will complete the assessment within 10 working days and inform the applicant of the outcome. If there is a requirement to make improvements the applicant will be informed in writing, and will normally be given an opportunity to re-apply.
Following agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Regions (DTLR), CHAS and Constructionline formed a ‘mutual working agreement’ to work together to provide the public sector with a health and safety assessment service for their clients. Constructionline is the Government’s preferred single national register for constructors . In the same way that CHAS offers a tool for use in the health and safety element of pre-qualification, Constructionline provides the pre-qualification tool for use in financial standing, technical references and other areas. The CHAS Management Group undertook to support the principles of a single national register and as CHAS members are public bodies, joint working with Constructionline is most appropriate.
The scheme is open to health trusts, councils, emergency services, the voluntary sector