SSIP Certification: A Triple Win for SMEs
Safety, Reputation and Tenders
Regardless of any Health & Safety Regulations or client requirements, the health and safety of your employees should be your top priority and an integral part of your business planning and processes.
You should now consider demonstrating this commitment to your employees and other key stakeholders especially clients and regulatory bodies such as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
Demonstrating your commitment to the health and safety of your employees is extremely beneficial as it can enhance your reputation, improve morale, increase productivity, and give you a competitive advantage when competing for tenders.
One of the best ways of demonstrating this commitment is to achieve a formal, nationally recognised certification.
Some of your employees may have NEBOSH or IOSH qualifications or you may use highly qualified external safety consultants which can enhance your company’s safety expertise and reputation, but they are not company certifications.
There seem to be many different accreditation schemes, but how do I know which one to apply for? You may decide to go for ISO 45001:2018 but a simpler, quicker, and more economical method is to go for an SSIP certification.
SSIP? What’s that?
SSIP (Safety Schemes in Procurement) an umbrella organisation comprising a number of health and safety assessment schemes. It simplifies and standardises the process of demonstrating health and safety competence to clients and is often a condition for winning construction contracts including public sector works or Tier one contractors.
SSIP certifications are used across the construction industry by principal contractors, contractors, principal designers and designers.
Some of the more commonly known SSIP’s include CHAS, SMAS, SafeContractor, Achilles, Constructionline and Constructionline Acclaim.
Contractors and subcontractors who have been assessed and accredited by an SSIP member scheme such as the examples above can now demonstrate their compliance with health and safety standards to a range of construction clients. This enhances their reputation, increases their chances of winning contracts, and can provide a decisive competitive advantage.
How much does it cost?
The costs of getting an SSIP certification depends on whether you decide to obtain the certification yourself or outsource it to an experienced consultancy.
Doing it yourself you are likely to pay a joining fee for the first time and then an assessment fee. You then gather all the required information and complete the application.
Just be aware that obtaining SSIP certification can be complex and time-consuming, especially for the first time. This is why you may need to consider outsourcing this task to specialists who can take you through and streamline the certification process, saving valuable time and ensuring compliance with all necessary requirements of the SSIP body.
Outsourcing it means you will pay the joining fee and assessment fee direct to the SSIP body and then a fee to the consultant for progressing and submitting the application on your behalf.
Outsourcing the SSIP certification process can allow you to focus on your core business activities without being bogged down by administrative and regulatory tasks. Essentially, outsourcing the SSIP certification process not only ensures better compliance but also frees up valuable resources and expertise allowing you to focus on your core business. Once the application has been submitted it is then in the hands of the SSIP body who may come back with queries or requests for additional information.
Which SSIP should I get?
Firstly, you need to ask yourself what is the reason for getting an SSIP certification? Is this a client request via a tender for example or you may have decided to opt for a nationally recognised health and safety certification for peace of mind that your business has the correct procedures in place to reduce the risk to employees and others when carrying out your projects?
Clients will demand different accreditations based on their own procurement systems and may state a specific SSIP in order to work with them.
If you are unsure which SSIP to get, you should try to determine which accreditation will be most suitable for your business once you are accredited, depending on what type of work or tendering opportunities you are looking for.
This is where an external consultant may be of help to you and work with you to select the most suitable SSIP certification.
For a current list of all SSIP members it is worth checking out the website at: www.ssip.org.uk
How long does it take?
That can depend on the amount and quality of the information submitted to the certification body. Essentially the more information you have the quicker the assessment will be.
There are two parts to this:
- Collation of information and completion of the application.
- Assessment of application by the SSIP body.
It is best to allow at least ten working days for the assessment to be completed. Some SSIP organisations may offer also offer a fast-track service for an extra fee.
What information is required?
To obtain a SSIP certificate your company must be able to show that you meet the SSIP core criteria. All SSIP member schemes will require this information from you and the typical information requested includes:
Additional Construction Sector Criteria
- Hazard elimination and risk control (Designers & Principal Designers only)
- Principal Designer duties (Principal Designers only)
- Supplementary Construction Industry Criteria (alignment with Common Assessment Standard)
What is Deem to Satisfy?
Following on from above, if your business works for more than one client, you may be asked for an SSIP certificate from more than one provider. The deem to satisfy (DTS) system allows you to do this more easily and helps cut the cost of paying full price for multiple accreditations.
All members of SSIP recognise each other’s Health & Safety Assessments and Standards, so generally you should only ever have to be accredited by one SSIP member to be accepted by them all.
Therefore, if you already hold a valid SSIP assessment then you can apply for a DTS assessment with a secondary assessment provider.
What benefits can SSIP certification provide?
- Compliance: SSIP certification requires companies to prove they meet specific health and safety standards. By obtaining certification, your company is better able to demonstrate its commitment to complying with legal requirements and industry best practices.
- Competitive Advantage: Having an SSIP certification can set your company apart from competitors at tender stage. Many clients especially public sector and larger commercial clients now demand SSIP certification as a prerequisite for bidding for work with them.
- Reduced Liability: Demonstrating a strong commitment to health and safety via SSIP certification can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace. This, in turn, could lead to lower insurance premiums and reduced liability exposure for your company.
- Improved Reputation: SSIP certification can help enhance your company’s reputation.
- Employee Morale: Demonstrating a commitment to your employee’s safety boosts morale and job satisfaction. Employees are more likely to be engaged and productive when they feel safe at work.
- Environmental Benefits: Often, good safety practices can mean environmentally responsible practices. An SSIP certification can highlight your environmental credentials which becoming more important to clients and stakeholders.
Essentially, obtaining SSIP certification is a valuable investment in your company’s long-term success, demonstrating your commitment to safety and responsible business practices.
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