As a safety professional, what we don’t want to do is use the law to avoid taking real action to ensure peoples safety including that of contractors.
However, my experience is that the process of engaging contractors has become so burdensome and complex that employers end up doing nothing because it is too hard and hope for the best, or have complex system which are half implemented, exposing them to greater liability arguably than if they had done nothing.
On the other side contractors are increasingly frustrated by the principle “meddling” in their work costing them time, money and often not improving safety. I had an example quoted to me where a contractor was onto the 12th draft of SWMS to satisfy the principle. What we need, which is what we always need, is balance and clarity of expectation.
The process I have developed allows contractors to come on board quickly and efficiently and then provides a framework to audit them against the representations they have made, if the principle has the skills to do that. Safety does not exist in a bubble. Efficiency and commerciality are realities and safety must support those outcomes, while keeping people safe so far as is reasonably practicable.