Blog • 18.02.20

Defining employee numbers

Contractors can be uncertain about whether the person they’re paying to work is classed as an employee. It’s important to determine this to ensure that you are meeting your legal and HR obligations to your employees. In the context of gaining a health and safety accreditation, the number of employees you have directly influences the documentation you are required to have in place to comply with health and safety legislation.

In order for our in-house team of expert auditors to accurately review and audit your health and safety paperwork, we need to have an accurate understanding of the number of employees your business has working for you. The number of employees you have working for you, including labour only subcontractors or temporary employees, affects the health and safety management systems you are required to evidence to demonstrate compliance and to achieve accreditation.

How SSIP defines employees

If you are a contractor seeking to gain a Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) accreditation, you will need to be mindful of the SSIP Rules and Bylaws for defining workers, and how the number of workers you have influences any health and safety assessment you undertake.

According to SSIP’s Rules and Bylaws “The effective number of personnel consists of all personnel (permanent, temporary, and part-time) involved within the scope of the Health and Safety Assessment.”

This means that even if your organisation directly employs less than 5 personnel but outsources work to additional labour only subcontractors or temporary employees, then in accordance with the SSIP rules and bylaws your subcontractors and/or temporary workers are counted as employees. You will therefore be required to provide full documentation to evidence that these workers are included within the management system for undertaking the work relevant to your health safety assessment.

Read more about SSIP accreditation and how SafeContractor assesses your business.


    1. You must accurately declare your employee numbers when undertaking a health & safety assessment.

    1. Under SSIP’s Rules and Bylaws, all workers (including permanent, temporary and part-time) are therefore considered as ‘employees’ and should be included in the scope of your health and safety assessment.

    1. Full documentation pertaining to each of these workers is therefore required for health and safety accreditation to be awarded.

How SafeContractor defines employees

As a SSIP founding member, SafeContractor is dedicated to ensuring that our members are achieving health and safety best practice. Our audit process has historically and will continue to assess our contractors in accordance with the SSIP Rules and Bylaws.

We are committed to ensuring that every contractor that works on site is qualified and safe to do so, to ensure that our client organisations have full visibility of everyone working in their supply chain. Find out more about how our 20 years of experience in accrediting contractors can help you to demonstrate your health and safety compliance.