We all hate paperwork, and one of the areas that generates the most hassle is health & safety. Yep, we admit it: while the work we do is hugely important and beneficial, some level of inconvenience is unavoidable. Whether it’s maintenance logs, inspections or assessments, keeping everyone safe requires a little bit of legwork.

If you’re a contractor, you may have more health & safety responsibilities than most. Because of the range of work conducted by contractors – and the range of companies they work with – it’s necessary to demonstrate compliance with multiple health & safety schemes in order to secure tenders. Thankfully, there’s a way to tick all of these boxes without having to undergo dozens of duplicate assessments – and its name is SSIP.

What is SSIP?

SSIP (short for Safety Schemes in Procurement) was founded in 2009 with the goal of reducing the cost of health & safety compliance in the construction industry. SSIP is supported in law by The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, and has grown to include over 60 health & safety schemes and 55,000 accredited suppliers.

Primarily designed for the construction industry, SSIP enables contractors to evidence their compliance with a range of other health & safety pre-qualification schemes. By qualifying for an SSIP member scheme, you’ll benefit from mutual recognition agreements with other safety schemes. In other words, if you meet the SSIP Core Criteria, you’ll also meet the criteria of the other SSIP schemes, and won’t have to pay for multiple assessment fees.

What are the SSIP schemes?

SSIP schemes is a term often used to describe the different members of the SSIP Forum. Each member offers its own SSIP scheme, which contractors can apply to. By receiving an SSIP accreditation from one of these schemes, you will have proved that your organisation is compliant with the key safety principles of SSIP, known as the SSIP Core Criteria.

Popular SSIP schemes include:

  • CHAS
  • SMAS
  • Constructionline
  • Acclaim (SafeContractor)

As the health & safety elements of each scheme are recognised as being roughly equivalent to each other, the requirements to receive an SSIP accreditation through each scheme are broadly similar. The main motivation for choosing one scheme over another is what clients are looking for, as they may ask for a specific scheme to prove that they have met their legal requirements under the CDM 2015 Regulations.

The other difference between schemes is the added benefits they confer. While the health & safety aspect is similar in each accreditation, the other aspects of qualification may differ. The Acclaim qualification also offers registration in SafeContractor’s pre qualification database, a potential avenue for new clients. CHAS on the other hand has been involved in site safety since 1997, and is thus a trustee and popular name for many clients.

What does ‘Deemed to Satisfy’ mean?

The Deemed to Satisfy agreement is how you receive accreditation from other SSIP schemes. If you have a valid SSIP accreditation, you can apply for a Deemed to Satisfy certificate from another SSIP provider. As part of this process, you may be asked for some additional information on top of your SSIP certification, or be required to carry out a new site audit.

While this will have to be approved by each provider, the process is much shorter, and will save you both time and money compared to individually pursuing each SSIP scheme. The SSIP website provides a complete list of the Deemed to Satisfy requirements for each provider, including what information you will need to provide and the estimated cost saving of each application.

Why do I need an SSIP accreditation?

An SSIP accreditation is an all-access pass for construction projects. By gaining your SSIP certificate, you will have proven that your business upholds high health & safety standards in a number of core areas. The reassurance this and any Deemed to Satisfy certificates will provide can often be the key to successful tenders, opening you up to more work.

SSIP accreditation also ensures that you have the knowledge and processes in place to work safely and effectively. The positive working culture and environment that SSIP accreditation encourages will make employees feel safer and happier, speed up key processes, and reduce the risk of accidents and litigation, leading to better outcomes.

Benefits of SSIP accreditation for construction firms include:

  • Helping you to manage and avoid risks;
  • Increasing the pool of projects you can take on;
  • Increasing the legitimacy and trust of your brand;
  • Reducing the costs associated with pre-qualification;
  • Adding you to the SSIP portal and accreditors’ websites.

How to get an SSIP accreditation

Getting an SSIP accreditation requires that you sign up to one of the SSIP schemes. As part of this process, they will assess you in a number of areas to ensure you meet the SSIP Core Criteria. At the end of this process, you will receive your SSIP accreditation, as well as any other benefits that your particular scheme provides (e.g. support or website promotion).

To successfully complete your assessment, however, you need to fulfil all of the criteria they will be looking for. The SSIP accreditation is only formal proof that your organisation is already working safely. If you begin the accreditation process without having first made changes to your safety culture and practices, you won’t receive your accreditation.

As such, it’s important to work with an SSIP consultant beforehand to ensure that you meet all of the Core Criteria. Your consultant will help you to draft and implement the processes you need to fulfil the SSIP requirements. The consultant will assess your business, report on the areas that require improvement, and help you to raise them to the requisite level.

SAMS offers comprehensive SSIP assessments with guaranteed results. Our expert assessors will help you to identify issues that may prevent you from gaining your SSIP accreditation. Working closely with your business, we can help to guide you through the SSIP accreditation process, enacting reforms and even supplying the paperwork required by the various SSIP schemes.

To learn more about SSIP and enquire about an SSIP assessment, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, visit our Construction Health & Safety Consultancy page to view all of our advisory services in the construction industry, and our relevant safety training courses.