Engaging contractors is essential to many business operations. And while contractors are commonplace in many industries, particularly construction, engaging their services also comes with inherit risk.
When a contractor steps onto your worksite, they become a representative of your company. Poor workplace health and safety standards, and any missteps or incidents, become your company’s problems, as well as the contractors. Businesses often struggle to effectively manage this risk because they simply can’t command the same degree of control over their contractors as they do with their employees.
Things become even more complex when contractors use contractors themselves. How do you keep track of all these people? And ensure they are all following safe work practices?
Steps to successful contractor management:
Selecting the right contractors will prevent significant headaches down the line, and before any contractor sets foot on your worksite, their suitability must be assessed. Safety performance should be a key metric in this assessment. This means sensible enquiries need to be made about the contractor’s organisational capacity to carry out work safely and effectively. Choose only contractors that are experienced, knowledgeable, and can demonstrate a commitment to workplace health and safety.
This prescreening process should include reviewing any relevant licences specific to the work you want the contractor to carry out, assessing the contractor’s own workplace health and safety management system, as well as critically analysing their prior health and safety performance.
The next step is to collect all relevant contractor health and safety documentation, including competencies, high-risk work licences, insurances and safe work method statements (where applicable). Ideally, this data should be held in a centralised system that issues automatic notifications whenever there are compliance, insurance, or training issues. The system should also streamline compliance processes by managing expirations and re-certifications.
Contractors must now be made aware of the requirements to do the job safely. Contractor inductions should outline specific workplace expectations, as well as provide key health and safety information, including:
- emergency procedures
- health and safety contacts, including first aid officers and health and safety representatives
- health and safety procedures
- the asbestos register, where applicable
- the safe use of equipment
It’s important to note that not all contractors will necessarily require the same induction. While all contractors should undergo a broad safety induction that outlines the key points above, additional modules may need to be administered that directly relate to the risk profile of the workers. Contractor inductions should be short, succinct, and engaging. Where possible, bring contractors into the safety management process and get their input on procedures.
Inductions should also be easy to share, complete, track, and verify – and content should be engaging and easy to understand. Employers need to receive quick and timely notifications that inductions have been completed and that contractors are prepared for their new role.
It makes good sense to automate this process both for your organisation and for the contractor. Spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time engaging with new personnel. Email a link to a new contractor and have inductions completed prior to site arrival. New contractors can start a new position confident that they have the knowledge and guidelines in place to make a great start.
*Discover how myosh Online Learning provides an effective way to manage site inductions for visitors and new employees/contractors here.
Safety relationships are built on the three C’s – consult, cooperate and coordinate. And it’s important to treat contractor management as an ongoing business process, rather than a once-off requirement. This means ensuring contractors are implementing correct safety processes by monitoring their work activities against internal safety requirements and relevant legislation.
It also means working directly with contractors, listening to their concerns, and providing timely feedback on their safety performance.
The myosh Contractor Management Module simplifies the process of contractor engagement and compliance.
• Invite your contractors onto your HSEQ system, giving them access to the Contractor Management module and allowing them to populate it with all necessary records and documents for a specific job e.g. training and qualification records, licenses, insurance and employee details, JSA’s/SWMS.
• Contractor compliance checklists
• Receive internal and external alerts when insurances expire
• Record contractor employee qualifications and training. Receive notifications for• qualification and training expiry
• Track contractor training
• Link contractor training to online learning