A prime contractor is responsible for coordinating the health and safety activities at multi-employer worksites. Their duties include:
- ensuring policies, procedures, and safe work practices are used on the worksite; and
- preparing a written plan that coordinates activities and identifies the prime contractor's backup and the supervisors on the worksite.
A prime contractor is designated by the project owner or is the owner of the project.
The term "worksite" is used to describe specific locations within a place of employment where the majority of the daily work happens. In Part III of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, worksite means the area at a place of employment where a worker works or is required or permitted to be present. An example of a worksite is a laboratory area for authorized staff only.
Certain multi-employer worksites will be required to have a prime contractor, while others will not. A prime contractor is required if:
- there are 10 or more workers or self-employed persons under the direction of two or more employers; and
- are operating in the following industries:
- construction (excluding construction of, or renovation to, residential dwellings consisting of less than four units;
- forestry; and
- oil and gas.
The addition of a prime contractor provision to Part III of The Saskatchewan Employment Act is to ensure that one person is responsible for the coordination of safety for workers on a multi-employer worksite.
Under The Saskatchewan Employment Act, prime contractors' duties include, but are not limited to:
- identifying and informing employers and self-employed persons about hazards for which the prime contractor is responsible;
- ensuring, insofar as reasonably practicable, that the employers or self-employed persons at a worksite eliminate hazards identified by the prime contractor before activities or operations begin on the worksite and after they have commenced;
- ensuring that the employers of self-employed persons at a worksite reduce or control hazards that cannot be reasonably eliminated;
- ensuring that the contact information of the prime contractor is posted in a conspicuous location at the worksite;
- ensuring that all activities at the worksite that may affect health and safety are coordinated;
- ensuring, as far as reasonably practicable, that all employers and self-employed persons have adequate and appropriate occupational health and safety policies and procedures, safe work practices and equipment, and competent and informed workers;
- identifying a competent person to oversee and direct, on behalf of the prime contractor, the activities of employers and self-employed persons at the worksite; and
- preparing a written plan that explains how the requirements are to be met and delivering a copy of the written plan to all employers and self-employed persons before any work commences.
It is the responsibility of the employer and self-employed persons, to cooperate with the prime contractor to ensure information regarding health and safety programs and coordination of worksite activities are properly communicated between all parties.