If you want to effectively manage workplace compliance, you need to manage your contractors compliance. No matter how robust, comprehensive or proven your OHS management systems may be, if you have a non-compliant, or poorly trained, contractor onsite, it could all amount to nothing if an incident occurs. A reliable general contractor management system has to be an essential part of any OHS management plan.
The five essential ingredients of an effective contractor management solution are:
1. A reliable contractor induction system
2. The ability to upload, track and manage compliance related documents
3. Comprehensive reporting capabilities
4. A reliable management plan
5. A dedication to making it all work!
Let’s look a bit more closely at these five points:
1. Reliable Induction: While most companies have a contractor induction system in place, it is often out-dated, unreliable and un-trackable. How many companies still throw a handbook at their contractors, or stick them in front of a DVD and get them to sign a form? The fact is, if you track your contractor inductions or your contractors comprehension levels, you’re doing very little to improve safety and nothing to improve compliance. Your first step in contractor management has to be inducting contractors through reliable, induction software with the capability to track inductions, measure comprehension and notify you when an induction needs to be renewed.
2. Capturing Relevant Documents: Insurances, licenses, company details they all need to be captured and checked before a contractor even steps onto your site. Once you have them, they need to be managed so that when they expire or become outdated, you are automatically notified. You can then make sure they are renewed before you allow that contractor onsite again. You will also have a record of your activities to help ensure your company’s compliance.
3. Comprehensive Reporting: The ability to report up-to-the minute activity associated with your contractor management is at the heart of demonstrating your commitment to safety. It provides you with the information you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your contractor management system and sets you in the right direction for continual improvements.
4. Management Plan: Simply having a system in place is not enough. You need to have someone to oversee and monitor how well it’s working and leading the charge for continual improvements. If you are building a system in-house, this means assigning someone to oversee the software development and maintenance. If you are outsourcing a solution, make sure you find a company that actually understands, and is dedicated to, the everyday issues of OHS managers, not just a software developing company.
5. Dedication: Without an organisation-wide dedication to making the system work, your contractor management solution can fall apart very quickly. At every level, you need to build an understanding of why an effective contractor management system is important and what the benefits to the company are. In most organisations, there are many people involved in the implementation of your OHS management systems. It is likely that they haven’t placed much importance on your contractor management in the past. You’ll need to make an effort to change that.
Once you have your system in place and have established an understanding of the real differences it can make to your company, a fully functioning contractor management system has the power to improve workplace compliance and, more importantly, contractor safety.