Apr 17, 2023

Managing Contractors: A Guide For Employers

As a business owner, ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved in your operations should be a top priority. This includes not only your full-time employees but also any contractors that you hire. When it comes to managing contractors, there are some key steps you can take to promote a safe and healthy work environment.

Clearly Define the Scope of Work

One important step in managing contractors from a health and safety perspective is to clearly define the scope of work. This includes outlining any potential hazards or risks associated with the project and ensuring that the contractor has the necessary knowledge, skills, and equipment to complete the work safely. By defining the roles and responsibilities of a project pertaining to your contractors, you can get a head start on ensuring that tasks are carried out as expected.

Set Clear Safety Expectations

In addition to defining the scope of work, it's important to set clear safety expectations for the contractor, especially when it comes to dealing with newly onboarded workers that haven’t been at your worksite before. This includes outlining any safety standards or guidelines that they need to follow, as well as any safety-related training or certifications they need to have. Make sure that the contractor knows how to identify and report any safety concerns and that they have the appropriate safety equipment and protective gear for the job. To avoid obstacles in this process, ensure that you prequalify your contractors ahead of time so you know that you’ll be working with people who are well-versed in the world of workplace safety.

Maintain Good Communication

Effective communication is critical for promoting a safe and healthy work environment for both your contractors and internal employees. Make sure that your workforce knows how to report any safety concerns or incidents and that you have a clear communication plan in place for addressing these issues. Regular check-ins and updates can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any concerns are addressed promptly. Not only will this instil a sense of security in your external workforce, but it will also allow them to buy-in and contribute to safety at your workplace.

Provide Necessary Resources

Your workers require access to the right resources to be able to do their jobs safely. This includes any necessary safety equipment, as well as any relevant safety training or documentation. Make sure that the contractors you onboard have everything they need to work safely and that they know how to use the equipment properly.

Build a Strong Relationship

Building a strong relationship with your contractors can help promote a safe and healthy work environment. This includes treating them with respect, providing them with opportunities for growth and development, and recognizing their contributions to your business. By building a positive relationship, you can help ensure that the contractor is committed to working safely and following all relevant guidelines. It is in your best interest to be attentive toward your workforce’s mental wellbeing, as it can have a direct impact on their output.

Provide Feedback

Providing regular feedback to contractors on their performance is important for promoting continuous improvement and preventing accidents. Make sure to provide constructive feedback on any concerns or issues and offer suggestions for improvement. By providing regular feedback, you can help ensure that the contractor is meeting your safety expectations and have a sense of understanding of your level of risk tolerance, safety perception and overall safety culture.

Ensure Contractor Qualifications

One of the first and most vital steps in the contractor onboarding process is to ensure that they have the necessary qualifications to perform the work they’re hired to do safely and effectively. This includes verifying that they have the required licenses, certifications, and training to complete the job. You may also want to check their work history and references to ensure that they have a track record of working safely and delivering quality work. By carefully vetting contractors before hiring them, you can help ensure that you're working with qualified professionals who can help you achieve your health and safety targets as well as your performance goals as a business.

Understand Compliance Requirements

As an employer, it's your responsibility to comply with all relevant health and safety regulations when working with contractors. Similar to qualification, this includes ensuring that the contractor has the necessary permits and licenses to perform the work and that they follow all applicable regulations and guidelines. On the other hand, you need to also provide a compliant workplace as the host organization. You may need to provide the contractor with relevant safety training or ensure that they have access to safety equipment and protective gear. It's also important to keep detailed records of any safety-related activities, such as inspections or incidents, to demonstrate compliance with regulations. By understanding and adhering to compliance requirements, you can upkeep your reputation and performance all while deterring the potential of getting hit with a noncompliance penalty by governing bodies.

Collect Data

Collecting and analyzing safety data can help you identify trends and areas for improvement. This may include tracking the number and frequency of safety incidents, near-misses, or other data points. By regularly reviewing this data, you can identify patterns or areas of concern and take proactive steps to address them. This may include providing additional training, updating safety procedures, or implementing new technologies or equipment to help such as contractor software . By using safety data to inform your decision-making, you can help ensure that your contractor management practices are aligned with your health and safety goals.

Closing Remarks

In conclusion, effective contractor management is critical to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can help ensure that your contractor management practices prioritize health and safety at all times. Remember to establish clear lines of communication with contractors, adequately assess qualifications, provide thorough safety training, and regularly review contractor performance to identify areas for improvement. Additionally, make sure to stay up-to-date with compliance requirements, collect safety data, and provide feedback to your workforce. By prioritizing health and safety in your contractor management practices, you can create a safer, healthier, and more productive workplace for everyone involved.

About the Author

Addison Moore
Director of Marketing at Contractor Compliance

Addison has spent the last four years learning from and participating in the Health & Safety community. He has travelled to numerous EHS conferences, trade shows and events with the intention of helping organizations with their contractor management programs. Addison is also responsible for curating the collection of white papers, case studies and eBooks that provide real world insights into the workforce safety space.

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