Auditing contractor safety in the workplace

You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of your employees or contractors. Accidents cost money and in some cases lives, that is why it is important to stay on top of the safety of contractors and other third parties in your work field. Every day, injured workers file a claim for workers’ compensation at an average cost of $42,000 per claim.

According to Dodge, poor contractor safety culture and unsafe management practices are responsible for about 71% of reported injuries. When insufficient worker safety is the norm and standard operating procedure, the consequences — monetary or otherwise — are dire. Let us talk about how you can stay on top of contractor safety within your workplace.

Understand what contractors do at your site

It is critical to understand what services contractors are providing at the site, how often they are on-site, and what they are responsible for. This helps ensure the quality of their work and reduces the safety risks that may arise.

From shift scheduling and timesheets to logistical operations and employee directory, you must have a clear understanding and process underway to take the necessary actions for eliminating hazards.

Discuss the contractor management standards

The first step involves establishing a clear code of conduct for contractors working on the premises. The code should be developed with input from contractors themselves and communicated clearly. Below are some examples of what these standards might include:

  • Getting to know contractors on an individual basis, including their past work history and performance record
  • Using a prequalification process to assess the risk level of each contractor
  • Having a system in place for monitoring the contractors during their time on-site
  • Review the contractor’s certifications and training
  • Stating an applicable safety policy

You should ensure that the contractors you work with have all the required certifications and training. You need to know what is required for contractors in your industry and also what certifications are required for contractors working within your organization. Those standards may be different from the general industry standards.

There are a few ways you can check for certifications and required training. One way is to ask for copies of their certification documents and verify them with officials at certification agencies. Another option is to check online databases via agencies’ websites. It is also important to check that the contractor’s certifications have not expired or been revoked. For a much simpler method of keeping track of contractor training and orientation, resort to a contractor safety management tool.

Inspect the contractor’s projects for safety compliance

The next steps require keeping track of the standards agreed upon. So, how do you ensure each contractor is responsible for implementing a site-specific safety and health program that contains procedures to identify and protect against common site hazards?

The scope of your audit should include:

  • The contractor’s own employees’ activities,
  • Subcontractors working on the project,
  • Any temporary employees hired by the contractor; and
  • The work habits of other workers on-site.

Proper monitoring will involve:

  • Requirements for personal protective equipment
  • The site’s specific hazard profile
  • Procedures for reporting injuries and incidents
  • Requirements for training

By having a contractor management system in place, you could avoid some of the most common workplace injuries among contractors and thereby prevent a workplace accident from happening in your vicinity.