Competition can be high for contractors. No matter what trade you’re in, there are plenty of others gunning for the same jobs you are. What’s more, potential clients are busy and need to know up front whether you are trustworthy and safe.
That is the idea behind the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme, more commonly known as CHAS. The scheme is essentially a pre-approval procedure which allows contractors to immediately show potential clients that they meet all required health and safety standards, one of the most important client considerations when contracting.
Contractors with CHAS accreditation are usually ahead of the game when it comes to getting work, as it serves as proof that they are competent, safe, and most likely more reliable than those without.
Do I need to be CHAS accredited?
CHAS is not a legal requirement to trade as a contractor in the UK. Like CSCS cards and other similar accreditations, CHAS is an optional certification. However, in this case, the word ‘optional’ comes with a big caveat. Whilst CHAS certification is not a legal requirement; you’ll quite often find that it is something many potential clients require before you will be allowed to tender.
Viewing CHAS as a beneficial voluntary improvement rather than a mandated requirement can be a great way of showing willing, dedication, and improve job and tender prospects.
The benefits of CHAS
The main benefit of CHAS is the consolidation of your competence and dedication to health and safety into a clear, recognisable credential that potential clients can see from the start of any interaction.
CHAS does not just make life easier for clients and potential partners. It can make the task of health and safety within your business more uncomplicated and more straightforward. The benefits of CHAS include:
- Less time and resources spent on filling out different health and safety forms for numerous clients. CHAS accreditation shows you’ve already had your health and safety management assessed and approved. Even when a client does not require CHAS, it can still be handy to have when it comes to proof of H&S compliance.
- Awareness of weaknesses in your health and safety management via CHAS assessment. Assessment will highlight areas where your health and safety policy or management may be lacking before it becomes an issue.
- Compliance with all tenders and job opportunities. Some clients require CHAS before you can tender – others don’t. By having CHAS accreditation to hand, you’re ready to pitch across the board, opening up a host of work and making tendering for work simple. Most importantly, CHAS accreditation opens up a path to large corporate clients for whom CHAS is non-negotiable.
Other worthwhile CHAS benefits for contractors include advertising benefits, such as using the CHAS logo on websites, membership on the public database of accredited suppliers, as well as reduced liability insurance premiums.
Is CHAS just for construction contractors? Nope, not at all. CHAS accreditation is useful across the trades, with over 124 work categories available in the CHAS database – from asbestos removal to plumbing and electrics. Anywhere you might need to reassure clients of health and safety compliance, you can likely get accredited.
How long does CHAS assessment take? CHAS accreditation is usually complete within 10 days, assuming your initial application is correct. Contracting a third party to help with your application can simplify the process.
How long does CHAS accreditation last? Accreditation lasts for one year, at which point you can renew.
Can I apply if I or my business have been served improvement or prohibition notices in the past? Yes, but you need to be upfront about any notices or prosecutions in your application. Failure to include this can lead to a permanent ban from the register. When applying, you should also make mention of any corrective action you took once notice was served.
What is the difference between CHAS membership and accreditation? CHAS membership provides access to the scheme’s suite of benefits, such as their health and safety support line, as well as discounted training, fuel, and insurance, paid for with a recurring annual fee. It does not automatically confer CHAS accreditation, and you must still go through the standard application process. You must, however, be a CHAS member to be accredited.
What is covered by the CHAS assessment?
Though you can no longer download the CHAS assessment, you can still view and download the CHAS standards, guidance notes, and requirements online.
Generally, CHAS will assess you and your business’ health and safety competence by examining:
- Your health and safety policies/arrangements
- The organisation of those arrangements
- Your health and safety policy
The CHAS assessment will require you to present relevant health and safety paperwork, such as your policy and site forms. Legally, you only need to formally record certain health and safety processes if you have over five employees – but that won’t fly here. To achieve CHAS accreditation, you will need to have all relevant paperwork ready to present.
Furthermore, you’ll need to show that all your health and safety documents have been implemented. You should be able to show consultation with employees regarding health and safety, and proof that your health and safety policies are being followed.
Competence is a vital factor for CHAS accreditation. You should have documents showing that all your employees are fully trained and certified where necessary, such as with CSCS cards. You need to be able to show that everyone on your team is trained in their role and safe to be carrying it out. Evidence can include both external training certificates and internal training records, such as toolbox talks and site inductions.
Lastly, you need to provide evidence of ongoing safety monitoring and ongoing health and safety reviews. Whether this is documented site inspections, audits, meeting minutes, or even accident investigation documents, you need to show that you are always striving to improve health and safety within your team.
How can Veritas Consulting help?
At Veritas Consulting, we understand that you might want the benefits of CHAS accreditation, but don’t have the time to sit down and complete an application. As we are fully CHAS accredited ourselves, we’ve experienced the benefits firsthand, and want to make it as quick and painless as possible for others to achieve accreditation.
With our CHAS Application and Registration service, we can support contractors of all shapes and sizes – including builders, developers, architects and surveyors – achieve this vital certification and enjoy all the benefits which come with it. We do all the heavy lifting and maximise your chances of approval. We will provide you with relevant documentation as well as comprehensive support with your application.
Best of all, if you don’t pass, you’ll get your money back, guaranteed.
Ready to get CHAS accredited? Give us a call to discuss how we can help on 0800 1488 677, or use our online contact form.