Feb 11, 2020
One-fifth of the job force is filled by a contractor. This number is expected to rise to the level of fifty-percent of the workforce by 2030. Contractors bring varying levels of experience, knowledge, and safety training. Companies across the world are realizing that they must level up their safety leadership to make up for shortfalls in dealing with on-the-job safety hazards, especially when it comes to short-term contractors. It's time for a universal contractor safety program to prequalify contractors before they are hired and prevent safety accidents from happening in the first place. Here are a few best practices for developing strategic safety training with contractors in mind. Leveraging these ideas can strengthen the safety culture of an organization and circumvent the costs and risks of workplace hazards.
Tip #1: Communicate safety expectations throughout the induction training of a new contractor. Safety training ensures readiness and compliance and should be performed as a crucial part of the onboarding process before a worker appears on the construction job site.
Tip #2: Safety training should extend to all contracts and accounts payable processes. Contracts are legal documents that can be used to spell out an organization's safety performance. Are there health and safety requirements that are company-specific? Solidify those safety cardinal rules for contractors by making them contractually obligated. A company can even make this safety training part of the accounts payable process. It's quite an incentive to say "Do the job safety, or you don't get paid."
Tip #3: Establish and keep track of safety KPIs for contractors. What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) you are tracking with your contractors? These safety metrics can include the total number of safety-related work accidents and days of stopped work due to incidents occurring. These KPIs can motivate workers to improve their job performance. It also strengthens a safety culture by promoting a constant awareness of any potential hazards and risks. By measuring success or failure against these KPIs, the safety record of company contractors can improve for the better.
Contractors fill one of every five jobs in the United States and are expected to make up nearly half our workforce within the next decade. They bring with them varying degrees of occupational health and safety knowledge, training and experience, making it difficult for organizations to manage workplace safety.
To mitigate the risks associated with disparate, and potentially inadequate safety training of contractors who work on their behalf, more than 75% of companies in a recent NAEM safety management benchmarking discussion plan to advance their contractor safety programs. It’s for good reason: Preliminary OSHA reports show that organizations across industries and trades continue to fall short when addressing critical safety hazards, including the use of personal protective equipment, operation of machinery and industrial trucks, and fall protection, among other hazards.
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