May 24, 2023

Managing Contractors: Age, Experience, Risk

Key Takeaways:

- The age of contractors can impact safety outcomes, with younger workers being more likely to be involved in accidents and injuries due to lack of experience and risky behavior.

- Older workers may have physical limitations that affect their ability to work safely, but they bring valuable experience and knowledge to the job.

- Organizations should provide adequate training and resources to all workers, regardless of age, to manage risks appropriately.

- Experience is important in understanding and avoiding potential hazards, but experienced workers may become complacent or overconfident, increasing the risk of accidents.

- Organizations should ensure experienced workers follow safety protocols consistently and remain vigilant.

- Different tasks may require specific training and support, even for workers with years of experience.

- Best practices for contractor safety include comprehensive safety training, regular safety inspections, open communication, appropriate equipment, and consistent application of safety procedures.

- Encouraging participation, feedback, and reporting safety concerns without fear of retaliation are important for maintaining a safe work environment.

- Providing well-maintained equipment and tools and investigating any deviations from safety procedures are crucial.

- Balancing the potential risks and benefits of employing workers of different ages is necessary for successful safety management.

The state and performance of third-party contractors can make or break an overall safety program, particularly in high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas. While safety training and procedures play a vital role in minimizing accidents and injuries, the age and experience of contractors can also impact safety outcomes. In this blog post, we will explore the relationship between contractor safety and age and experience.


Just like in any other profession, age can at times play a big role in the outcome of someone’s work. In the case of contractors, their age has the ability to significantly impact their safety performance. Younger workers, particularly those in their 20s, are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents and injuries than their older counterparts. This is partly due to their lack of experience and exposure to hazards, as well as their tendency to engage in risky behavior. Additionally, younger workers may be less likely to speak up or report safety concerns, feeling pressure to fit in or impress their colleagues.

On the other hand, older workers may face physical limitations that impact their ability to work safely. As workers age, their reaction times, vision, and hearing may deteriorate, which can impact their ability to recognize and avoid hazards. They may also have existing health conditions that make them more vulnerable to injuries. However, older workers also often bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the job, which can help them recognize and avoid potential hazards.

Therefore, organizations need to balance the potential risks and benefits of employing workers of different ages. It is essential to provide adequate training and resources to all workers, regardless of age, to ensure that they can recognize and manage risks appropriately. Furthermore, organizations must take into account the individual limitations of each worker and how to best address them in a manner that allows them to complete safe and productive work.


Experience is a crucial factor in any line of work, especially in businesses where safety is a top priority. Workers with more experience tend to have a better understanding of potential hazards and how to avoid them. They are also more likely to recognize when a job site is unsafe and take appropriate action to address the issue.

However, experienced workers may also become complacent or overconfident, which can lead to an increased risk of accidents and injuries. They may also develop bad habits or shortcuts that can compromise their overall performance and put others at risk. Therefore, organizations need to ensure that experienced workers remain vigilant and follow safety protocols and procedures consistently.

Furthermore, experience can be relative to the specific task at hand. For example, a contractor with years of experience in one area may not have the same level of knowledge or skill in a different area. Therefore, organizations need to ensure that workers receive appropriate training and support for the specific tasks they are assigned, no matter the level of experience that their workforce possesses.

Best Practices

To ensure consistent contractor safety, organizations should implement best practices that account for the age and experience of workers. These practices include action items such as:

Provide Comprehensive Safety Training: Organizations should provide comprehensive safety training to all workers, regardless of their age or level of experience. The training should cover potential hazards that workers may come across in their work, safety procedures they must follow, and emergency response protocols should they ever be needed.

Conduct Regular Safety Inspections: Having transparent insight into your workplace can help you identify potential hazards and ensure that safety procedures are being followed correctly. Organizations should conduct inspections frequently and involve workers in the process to encourage participation and feedback. As an added benefit, you’ll always be one step ahead in your safety process and prepared for when an official inspector comes knocking at your door.

Encourage Open Communication: Organizations should encourage an effective stream of communication between workers and management, particularly regarding safety concerns. Workers should feel comfortable reporting safety issues without fear of retaliation or negative consequences.

Provide Appropriate Equipment and Tools: Organizations should provide workers with appropriate equipment and tools that are well-maintained and regularly inspected. Workers should receive training on how to use the equipment safely.

Ensure Consistent Application of Safety Procedures: Organizations should ensure that safety procedures are applied consistently across all job sites and tasks. Any deviation from established procedures should be investigated and addressed immediately.


It is important for organizations to acknowledge the impacts that age and experience have on their overall safety outcomes, but organizations can take steps to ensure that workers of all ages and experience levels can perform their jobs safely to contribute to an organization's success. Comprehensive safety training, regular safety inspections, open communication, appropriate equipment and tools, and consistent application of safety procedures are all critical components of a successful business both in safety and productivity.

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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