How to Safely Manage Contractors and External Workers
One of the biggest priorities for business owners is mitigating their risks, so how do you handle contractors and external workers onsite?
Do you have a framework for selecting and managing them? If not, you can leave your business exposed to legal and commercial risks that can damage your reputation and lead to significant financial loss.
Whether you engage contractors and external workers on a regular basis or not, you have a legal and statutory duty of care to these workers. This duty of care can be best managed by creating a contractor management system, which includes procedures for selecting, inducting, managing and supervising contractors / external workers onsite; whilst also ensuring that they have the appropriate insurances in place.
Contractor Management System
This is a document that sets out the procedures that need to be followed when you hire a contractor or external worker. It should include the steps taken to select the contractor or external worker, guidelines for their induction and supervision when onsite. You will need to ensure that all legislative and industry requirements for maintaining a safe work environment are addressed in this document. Free sample checklists (including Inductions, Toolbox meetings, Risk Assessments, Competency) can be found on your State or Territory WorkCover websites, for example WorkCover WA.
Selecting ContractorsWhen selecting your contractors, you need to make sure that they have all the necessary licences, registrations and insurances. You should also ensure that they have the correct experience and either ask for references or contact other businesses who have previously hired them.
If a contractor also brings their own employees or sub-contractors onsite, the contractor must confirm that these workers are qualified and acknowledge that they are responsible for ensuring that their workers will follow all onsite procedures. If the contractor sub-contracts the work, they need to confirm that the sub-contractors are qualified and the reasons why they were selected for the job. You as the principal need to check to ensure the sub-contractor is following all onsite procedures.
All contractors and their employees or subcontractors should attend an induction prior to commencing work onsite. Make sure that their attendance is not only recorded but also ensure each attendee signs a record of their attendance. This record should indicate the date of the induction, presenter and date of next induction, if appropriate.
At a minimum, the induction should include training on site specific safety and the procedures taken in the case of an emergency. They must also receive a copy of the relevant OHS/WHS regulations for onsite workers, as well as any specific safety procedures.
When onsite, a suitably qualified and experienced company employee should be allocated to supervise or oversee the contractor’s work. This includes the quality of their work and whether they are complying with all site regulations, including OHS/WHS. All meetings between the supervisor and contractor should be recorded, with any relevant action items identified, allocated and followed up. It’s recommended that a signing-in process is put in place for admittance to the site each day, as this allows the supervisor to know who is and isn’t onsite at any one time, especially in the event of an emergency.
Additional Steps for Reducing your Exposure When Hiring Contractors
There are two additional steps you can take to reduce your risks even further. The first is to have a formal written contract between your company and the contractor. This should include clauses that require the contractor and their employees or sub-contractors to follow all company and site specific procedures. It should also include reporting all accidents, attending inductions, and so on.
The second step is to ensure that your company has all the relevant insurances in place, including Worker’s Compensation, Professional Indemnity and Public Liability.
To review your insurance policies for your business, talk to Risk Guidance Insurance today.
This article originally appeared on Risk Guidance Insurance News and has been published here with permission.
Advisr does not provide advice and does not hold a financial service license (AFSL). All information above has been provided by Risk Guidance Insurance.