Relevant to any organization in the EU that supplies or procures the services of contractors.
If you work with contractors, by providing or procuring their services, and you want to ensure they are operating in safe, healthy conditions with concern for the environment, then the VCA family of certificates is for you. Having a VCA, VCO or VCU certificate puts you in an optimal position to win new business and make new partnerships.
VCA – for contractors working with clients
The Dutch certification scheme VCA stands for VGM (‘veiligheid, gezondheid, milieu’ or safety, health, environment) Checklist for Contractors. It is an extensive questionnaire that can be used as an investigation and screening system for contractors who carry out work for others. It helps test service-supplying companies structurally and objectively, and certify their health, safety and environment administration system.
The VCA certificate demonstrates that your organization meets the standard requirements for safety, health and environment, allowing contractor and client to work together in good conditions. When a client assigns risky work to a VCA-certified contractor, they are reassured it will be carried out with less risk to safety, health and the environment. As such, many clients seeking to hire contractors require them to have VCA certification.
VCO – for clients hiring contractors
VCO stands for VGM Checklist for Clients. Like VCA, it is a checklist, but in this case for clients that hire contractors. It helps test the systems clients have in place and certifies their health, safety and environment administration system.
The VCO certificate demonstrates that your organization meets the standard requirements for safety, health and environment, allowing contractors you hire to work in good conditions. When you assign risky work to a VCA-certified contractor, you provide the conditions for it to be carried out without risk to safety, health or the environment.
VCU – for staffing agencies
The VCU – VGM Checklist for Intermediaries and Supervisors – is a standard based on the VCA that applies to agencies operating from different European countries.
VCU certification shows that agencies providing staff to organizations that carry out high risk work understand what that entails and act accordingly. It helps agencies hire the right temporary staff to fulfil their clients’ needs.
What you need to know
The VCA system is used widely in the Netherlands and Belgium, and applied in several other EU countries. VCA is the main checklist, and VCO and VCU have additional specialized content related to client and agency operations. Collectively, they cover contractors, clients and agencies operating in potentially dangerous situations. This could include construction, industrial cleaning, electrical maintenance or mechanical engineering, for example.
The VCA checklist looks for a health, safety and environment policy statement, a risk assessment with an action plan and a target for reducing accidents. The assessment process involves:
- Checking staff training
- Assessing the safety of any equipment
- Looking for information and instructions for risky activities
- Carrying out workplace inspections
Getting certified with Kiwa
If you are in an industry that uses contractors, either employing or supplying them, it is important to have a proven record of your safety, health and environmental systems. Depending on your position in the contractor relationship, VCA, VCO or VCU certification can help.
By partnering with Kiwa, you can understand and implement the right checklist, demonstrating your preparation to meet your customers’ or suppliers’ needs and boost your business.
- Meet employment requirements – VCA is often a requirement for a job, so contractors can remain competitive.
- Reduce accidents – with a shared approach to safety, VCA can help reduce accidents and workplace incidents involving contractors.
- Improve efficiency – the VCA approach is used across the board for hazardous work involving contractors, saving time on previously scattered schemes.
- Improve your performance – the checklists include practical tips and measures to improve performance.
- Speak the same language – by following the same certification process, the client and contractor can share an understanding of safety, health and environment processes.
- Build trust – contractors and clients can trust each other’s approaches if both have VCA/VCO/VCU certificates.
- Demonstrate your commitment – certification shows you take safety, health and the environment seriously.
- Get access to the global market – VCA is an international system, applied and recognized in several EU member states.