Do You Have the Tools to Make Contractor Safety Your Priority?
Your company acknowledges the necessity of efficiently managing the risks associated with contractor management. To do so, you have equipped yourself with an internal system—which sometimes takes the form of a rudimentary spreadsheet—to carry out this all important task. Your technique is perhaps not perfect but does appear to work.
You know full well that dedicated contractor management firms exist, but hesitate to turn to them for assistance in formalizing and standardizing processes relating to contractor management. Ditto for specialized software packages. Following are considerations intended to help you assess more properly the value and real benefits of an external contractor safety management system.
Contractor Management: An ongoing activity
How do you ensure that compliance-related contractor information remains current at all times, and that the members of your organization who require this information do indeed enjoy access to the latter? If you have different contractors assigned to different worksites, information about them rapidly takes on considerable proportions.
Additionally, files assigned at the outset, when the initial work contract is signed, are subject to frequent changes and documents expire quickly, obligating you to carry out checks on a regular basis.
Following is a partial list of compliance-related items that must be monitored:
- Expiry of insurance policies, licences and permits
- Updating of compliance requirements, including training
- Updating of safety programs
- Updating of operating manuals and emergency measures, etc.
- Monitoring of contractors authorized or not authorized to operate on different sites
- Information pertaining to worksite absenteeism (for all manner of reasons) and worker substitutes
Administrative tasks therefore begin to pile up, requiring ever increasing numbers of hours that companies often tend to underestimate.
An External Solution to Manage Your Contractor and Enhance Performance
As previously mentioned, organizations rarely analyse, in rigorous, systematic and objective fashion, the number of hours devoted to the administrative tasks intended to ensure that contributors under contract are fully compliant. This is why it is so difficult for them to determine whether an external contractor safety management solution would work for them. In many instances, however, the answer is yes.
Indeed, based on a study conducted by Cognibox, the outsourcing of contractor compliance management to a firm of external specialists generates a positive return on investment (ROI), sometimes even in less than a year. If you manage a hundred or so medium-sized contractors, the following could apply to you:
An analysis conducted by the Canadian leader in contractor risk and compliance management demonstrated that all tasks combined required an average of some 1900 management hours a year, over three years. If we extrapolate and attach to this figure a conservative hourly rate, the direct costs associated with the management of a hundred or so contractors would work out to between $75 000 and $115 000 a year. Over a period of three years, we are looking at between $225 000 and $345 000. Now you have a tangible point of reference that you can use for comparison purposes going forward.
Ultimate Goal: Zero accidents
All the efforts that you deploy, all the energy that you invest and all the resources that you assign to compliance management converge towards a single goal: the absence of accidents. Companies should indeed aim for nothing short of zero accidents in matters of occupational health and safety.
Achieving this goal is, however, no mean feat. To succeed at what could be qualified as an exploit in many industries, you must outfit yourself with the right tools and surround yourself with right resources. Think about equipping yourself with a full range of robust contractor management processes—processes that are uniform, rigorous and that leave no place for error:
- Prequalification prior to hiring
- Assessment of risks and implementation of means of control (training, working methods, individual protective equipment (IPE), permits, etc.) prior to the commencement of work
- Institution of means of control and checking of implementation
- Institution of appropriate remedial measures whenever any shortcomings are identified
- Requalification (or not!) based on an evaluation of true performance.
A leading Canadian mining company solicited the contractor management and compliance expertise provided by Cognibox, their aim being to simplify contractor safety management, enhance the performance of collaborators under contract and increase overall efficiency.
Not only did this organization meet its goals, it also achieved the ultimate goal of zero accidents. To do so, the company turned to the full suite of Cognibox modules which provide for the secure management of contractors by employing the same logic and same rigour as apply to the company’s own employees.
You, too, could achieve similarly remarkable results.
In its white paper entitled Best Practices in Contractor Management the Campbell Institute at the National Security Council of the United States identifies recourse to external contractor prequalification solutions as an essential component of best practices in contractor safety management.
Knowing that this practice, together with tools tailored to your individual needs, is both efficient and beneficial, you would have everything to gain by exploring this avenue in an effort to meet your company’s performance and profitability goals in matters of health, safety and the environment. Food for thought!