Emergency situations related to weather or accidents, unpredictable workloads, or specialized job needs can sometimes make it necessary to use an “unapproved” contractor, one that does not meet your company’s specific requirements for occupational health and safety compliance. You can mitigate associated risks, including the potential for injury, work disruption, and damage to your business reputation by leveraging a contractor management program that focuses on safety and includes clearly-defined processes for managing hiring exceptions without compromising safety.
Here are three powerful ways to leverage the built-in capabilities of a strong contractor management software solution to use unapproved contractors while limiting liabilities:
● Install “Guardrails” When Making Exceptions
Using a contractor that has not met your company’s health and safety prerequisites can be a less-risky business practice when you attach hiring requirements, specific to each requested exception, that reduce potential for risk. The requirements may include, for instance, additional mandatory safety training for contractor personnel, the presence of an onsite safety professional when an unapproved contractor is on duty, or periodic site audits performed by your staff or the contractor’s to gauge and monitor safety compliance and proactively address any areas of concern before they result in injury or disruption. These types of risk management requirements, which should always be documented within your contractor management system, serve as “guardrails” that offer a foundation of protection to the contractor, the job site where the contractor’s personnel will work, and also to the financial security and reputation of your company.
● Create a Clear Audit Trail
A robust contractor management software solution like VeriSourceTM Safety Compliance Management provides one-stop, easy access to all safety-related information for a contractor, such as OSHA safety statistics and safety policies. The central repository it creates also serves as a well-documented audit trail of all information related to contractor hires, including details explaining why a contractor was used despite a poor safety record; exception approval tracking and justifications, including additional documentation that may help to explain cause of past incidents; and any risk mitigation requirements you have attached to the hire as “guardrails.” A thorough audit trail might also include the results of contractor safety audits that may be helpful in illustrating that a contractor has had a solid, safety-compliant track record since working with the hiring company.
In its entirety, an audit trail created in your contractor management software is indispensable to your company and to you, as a safety professional, especially in the event of an accident or incident involving a contractor who did not meet your company’s safety standards. It provides concise, organized backup for information related to your hiring decisions and your workforce.
● Proactively Monitor and Address Risk
In addition to providing an audit trail, the data aggregated and analyzed in a contractor safety solution like VeriSource Safety Compliance Management serves as a powerful resource for monitoring and proactively addressing and mitigating third-party and supply chain risk. The data, which can illustrate trends in which contractors, work types, job site locations, and internal project managers are most often associated with exception requests, can be analyzed to flag concerns and highlight needs for corrective action or alternative hires. For example, by reviewing data, you may find that a particular contractor has been granted multiple exceptions, indicating that it may be time to invest resources into helping him or her reach approved status. (see “How to Help Your Critical Contractors Make Grade”)
Getting Work Done While Mitigating Risk
The tools provided in a robust contractor management software solution enable you to assign risk management “guardrails” to contractor exceptions, keep a clear audit trail regarding contractor hiring decisions, and proactively monitor and address risks associated with hiring unapproved contractors. This will maximize your ability to prevent worker injuries, minimize operational disruption, and protect your organization’s reputation and bottom line. To learn about how Veriforce can help, contact us today.