Our latest Safetip is about providing safety training and on-site orientation to hired contractors.
Growing Use of Contractors
Today, the frequent use of contractors and subcontractors is part of the day-to-day reality for many organizations. According to an ISN Analytics survey, about 45% of hiring organizations use more than 500 contractor companies across the enterprise.
The trend is likely to accelerate in the upcoming years. As a result, the safety performance of contractors will have a bigger impact on the safety performance, compliance status and reputation of hiring organizations.
Also, in many jurisdictions around the world, hiring organizations have joint or full responsibility for the safety of temporary or contract workers on their sites.
Training Mitigates Contractor Risks
A report by the National Safety Council’s Campbell Institute, Best Practices in Contractor Management, identifies the top compromising factors of using contractors. One of them consists of “Lax training and supervision of (sub)contract workers, broken information flows, and unclear work responsibilities.”
The paper recommends the following mitigating practice to address the issue: “Thorough training and orientation, maintenance of proper permits and certification, requiring contract workers to pass an orientation test, appointment of lead owner supervisors to manage (sub)contractor expectations.”
Here are some of the training and on-site orientation methods of research participants, mentioned in the report:
- Safety orientation and skills training of contractors provided on site, in order for them to be approved for work.
- Special permits or training for specific kinds of work, such as confined space entry, electrical work, hot work, energy control, forklifts, elevated work, etc.
- Specialized safety training (HAZWOPER, hazard identification, PPE, LOTO, fall prevention), some of it completed through an online program.
- Refresher programs in job-specific areas held at least annually for long-term suppliers.
- Contractors attending an alignment kickoff meeting, with hazard awareness and compliance training to be completed within one week of start of work.
- A contractor safety video with a test immediately afterwards.
- Requirement for all contract workers to attend pre-shift safety meetings, and safety awareness training annually.
- Including contract workers in the same job safety briefings given to the employees of the hiring organization.
Be sure to include safety training and on-site orientation in your contractor safety program.
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