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The Future of Labour: The rise and risk of contract work


Advantages of Hiring Contractors

Contract and temporary labour is on the rise and offer many quantitative and qualitative benefits. Using contract workers allows businesses to focus on their core strengths. It also allows them to reduce labour costs such as compensation fees and insurances costs, as well as allowing employers to avoid providing added benefits such as paid vacation and sick days, dental benefits and pension contributions. Contract workers also offer companies greater flexibility as they can hire employees based on rising and falling demand and scale up and down depending on the needs of projects(1).


Hiring Contractors Comes with More Responsibilities

Despite the potential advantages to employers, there is a greater risk for companies using contractors and the workers themselves. Companies spend a lot of time developing a culture of safety, but it is more difficult to get contract workers to buy into that culture. Contractors on site aren’t as familiar with safety procedures, or might not adhere to them. As a result, contract labourers are unfortunately more likely to fall victim to workplace accidents.

The statistics around this increased risk for contract labour are limited, but the elevated risk is clear. Employees in their first month on the job have more than three times the risk for a lost-time injury than workers who have been at their job for more than a year, according to research from the Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health(2). Contractors can have a new job every week, even every day.

Statistically young people and new hires are more at risk of injury on the job. Nearly 20% of the injuries and fatalities happen during the first month on the job(3). Therefore it is up to employers to ensure that contract employees’ safety is prioritized.


How Your Company Can Improve Contractors’ Safety

Workers may be unsure about their safety rights and responsibilities, and might feel uncomfortable speaking up about a hazard, but responsibility cannot be outsourced. It is ultimately the responsibility of both the company to communicate with contractors about health and safety processes and procedures. 

Aside from training and proper communication and education on health and safety in the work place. Proper knowledge of and documentation regarding temporary employees’ level of training in the respective field is key. It can also involve a lot of paperwork and back and forth checking all credentials are up to date.

How technology helps

Cognibox is working to improve health and safety in this changing labour market by offering a digital solution where contract employees can share their training and certification documents with employers digitally. As the nature of work changes, the tools to manage it need to change as well to make it as easy as possible to keep everybody doing work safe. In a changing labour market it pays to stay innovative, and Cognibox prepares risk management and compliance for the future of labour with a digital approach.


  1. https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/temporary-work-canada-economy/article36144704/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&
  2. http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/14053-new-workers-higher-risk
  3. http://www.safethink.ca/resources/pdf/Canadian%20Workplace%20Injury%20and%20Fatality%20Facts.pdf
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