If your organization uses an external workforce to complete work on your job site, you know firsthand how many little intricacies you must account for in creating a safe work environment. As a safety professional, you are well aware of the time and resources it takes to create an effective safety and compliance program that keeps you and your contractors accountable.
Creating an effective contractor safety program is essential to ensuring the safety of all employees, contractors, and visitors on a worksite. Furthermore, it is crucial in safeguarding your business from any added liability that could come from a workplace incident. Piecing together all the aspects of contractor management into one adequate process often takes time that you don’t have, so we’ve created a little guide to get you started. Here are the first, vital steps to help you develop an effective program that saves you time, doesn’t strain your resources, and most importantly, mitigates risk:
1. Establish safety policies and procedures
The starting point for any point for any organization is to clearly and accurately establish the safety policies and procedures that everyone on the worksite is expected to follow. These can be defined through determining the legal requirements of your industry, as well as what site specific protocol you must follow. Subsequently, policies and procedures should be formed in a manner that is easy to communicate, adjust, and update. It is key that all of your contractors understand and follow your safety rules and regulations from the start. Said requirements should also be communicated frequently to ensure that you mitigate any potential for noncompliance among your workforce.
2. Provide adequate training
Train all contractors on the proper use of safety equipment and processes. A contractor management program is no use if not for proper implementation. A great portion of that implementation comes from providing your workforce the required training they need to safely complete their tasks. Ensure that your contractors are adequately trained on OSHA standards, the proper use of safety equipment and PPE, and the general processes of completing site-specific tasks such as lockout/tagout procedure. Furthermore, as operations progress and change, ensure that you look at methods to update your contractor safety training to reflect current circumstances.
3. Conduct regular inspections
Regularly inspect the worksite to ensure that safety protocols are being followed and that no hazards exist. These inspections serve as a reminder to your workforce to remain in compliance with company regulations, and allows management to uncover any potential dangers that they must address. To start gathering information on what you need to look for when conducting your safety inspections, take a look at OSHA’s standards regarding required protocols such as adequate safety signage, machine guarding, slip/fall prevention, and more. In line with governmental regulations, it is also your duty to communicate any identified hazards to your workforce.
4. Develop a reporting system
Create a system for employees to report any unsafe conditions or behaviors they observe. Among many other rights pertaining to workplace safety, all workers have the right to report unsafe working conditions. Ensure that you have a framework for workers to safely and conveniently communicate their safety concerns to their supervisors. Subsequently, ensure that you have also organized a process to take reports into account to make actionable changes towards safety in your workplace. In doing that, the framework that you implement must allow for an effective stream of communication that informs all relevant parties of any reports made.
5. Follow up with contractors
Follow up with contractors to make sure they are complying with your safety policies and procedures. Hiring a third-party workforce means that you also assume a level of external responsibility. Along with completing vital components such as contractor training, enforcing the proper use of PPE, and including safety protocol in your onboarding process, it is equally important to follow up with your contractors to ensure that operations remain safe and compliant. Ensure that you conduct regular and frequent follow ups throughout the entirety of the contractor lifecycle. Not only will it assist in maintaining a compliant workforce, but it’ll also assist in making decisions to further improve your safety program for the future.
6. Manage all of your tasks
Whether it’s through the use of contractor management software, an external service that handles contractor submissions, or an internal safety team that controls the entire process, you need to find a way to efficiently handle all the complex processes of contractor management. With all the components you must account for, staying on top of your compliance targets can become a real challenge that drains your resources and time. As a safety professional, it is your duty to implement a plan that manages all aspects of the contractor lifecycle without putting a dent into productivity, or otherwise negatively affecting any other units of your business. And most importantly, you must implement a program that actually mitigates risk and provides you with the necessary insight to consistently hit your compliance targets. A great way to get started is through contractor management software. With a software solution, you can automate key compliance tasks such as prequalification, document submissions, and renewal reminders. Such systems are used to decrease admin time, improve compliance accuracy, and facilitate contractor tasks with ease and efficiency. Most importantly, implementing a software system allows you to spearhead an effective program all while keeping operations internal. Meaning that your productivity, compliance efforts, and safety practices don’t rely on any external factors
Once you organize your contractor safety program and implement an adequate management system, compliance becomes an asset rather than an arduous cycle that slows you down. It is a vital process that maintains the integrity of your organization’s safety culture, safeguards your contractors and employees, and builds a sustainable business with safe practices that keep regulatory bodies happy. By following these steps, you can create an effective contractor safety program that helps ensure the safety of everyone on the worksite.
Faris Badaro is Junior Marketing Specialist for Contractor Compliance, a SaaS software for contractor management.