Occupational Safety, Digitalization

Improve your contractor safety management

7 things companies should keep in mind

3 minutes01/29/2021

Outsourcing is a common practice in many industries today. But using external contractors is not only associated with benefits; it can also pose unique challenges. If you have contractor work done at your site, then you are responsible for the safety of external personnel.   

According to Verdantix, contractors are two to three times as likely to fall prey to workplace accidents, meaning companies must incorporate a careful contractor safety management into their safety regulations. This applies especially to companies certified under international occupational safety standard ISO 45001: the holistic approach followed by the standard means that working conditions across the entire supply chain are taken into account.  

The following tips will ensure you are well-prepared to make comprehensive occupational safety measures part of your company’s bedrock.

1. Get clear: Who says what to whom in what channel

A clear-cut communication strategy will help you avoid uncertainties about who has authority. Determine what information should be passed on to contractors and ensure regular workers can be contacted if necessary. Determine which communication channels are relevant and ensure that everyone involved can access them.

2. Get an overview: Bring all data together centrally

Start using a central contractor portal that includes information about audits, certifications, competencies and employees. Keep track of who is responsible for updating the data and how this should be done with clear rules.  

3. Get help with decision-making: Keep these criteria in mind when making your selection

Do you want to hire a contractor for a specific job? Use the contractor portal to read about various third parties and their offered services. Pay attention to their occupational safety record at previous jobs, as well as results from on-site inspections and audits.

4. Stay on the safe side: Document and evaluate

Document safety-related data from the individual companies where you hire contractors in order to better analyze their occupational safety performance. If major violations occur, you can bar them from future contracting work at your company.

5. Get connected: Contractor management as part of a bigger whole

Link your contractor safety management with other safety processes seamlessly. Make sure to connect your risk and incident management resources, as this will ensure that contractors have unrestricted access to information important for their safety.  

6. Shape the future: Get out of the labyrinth of indicators  

Don’t limit your assessments to lagging indicators like the number of lost work days or recorded incidents, be proactive with leading indicators that track approval ratings for safety regulations or the number of safety trainings successfully passed. This lets you better predict future occupational safety performance of contractors and their companies.

7. Grow relationships: Little efforts, big effects

Foster a close relationship with companies you hire contractors from. Regular contact increases the safety of both your own employees and contractors coming in.