Contractor Management 101

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Construction, Engineering, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and I.T. – the use of contractors is relevant to many industries. Contractor culture is critical to the success of many projects and companies. The ability to draft in contractors as and when needed makes financial sense, providing an effective way to supplement a company’s resources during busy periods or draft in expertise that isn’t regularly needed. However, the use of contractors in the workplace does prevent safety hazards.

Contract employees are unlikely to have the same familiarity or appreciation of hazards and safety procedures as full-time employees. This poses a significant hazard where a contractor worker such as a doctor, nurse, maintenance worker, hot work engineer, construction worker or IT security engineer is fulfilling a high-risk role.

Regardless of the role they are fulfilling, employers must make it their responsibility to manage contractors effectively and ensure that their employment does not impact the safety culture of the company. Contractor workers should not present new safety hazards in the workplace.

Safety Screening

When hiring contractors, it is important to not only consider their experience and expertise in their area, but their attitude and record with regards to safety. Ask potential contractors about the safety policies and procedures they have followed in previous roles, the hazards they have identified in previous roles and how they dealt with them and their opinion of the role of safety and specific safety legislation in the workplace. Ask their referees about their safety records too. All of this should be done before any contracts have been issued or job offers have been made.

A contractor’s suitability for a role goes beyond their expertise and qualifications. No matter how technically knowledgeable or skilled they are, if they do not have the attitude and commitment to safety that other employees have, they are not the right fit for the role. Featuring a quick safety screening of potential contractors can go a long way to preventing critical safety hazards.

Keep Track of Who is On Site and Whether They Are Compliant

Given that contract workers present a higher safety risk, it’s incredibly important to know when they are on site and that is legislatively compliant for them to work for you. Australian legislation requires companies to be able to provide details on contractors currently employed including their contracts, their site status, their employment expiry date and evidence of any licences, certifications or tickets they have required to hold to perform their duties.

If contractor hires are critical to your business, you need to roll out the use of contractor management software. Such software tools enable you to keep a close eye on contractor performance and ensure that everyone on site is fully compliant.

They can immediately flag and issues notices for contractors to renew certifications, tickets etc. well in advance of expiry dates so there is no excuses for them to be non-compliant. In the event of an audit, senior management can simply open up their contractor management tool and immediately demonstrate evidence for all employed contractors to external auditors.

Training Remains Imperative

All contractor workers should receive the same safety training as permanent employees before commencing employment. They too should be tested on their safety knowledge before beginning their duties and their safety knowledge should be regularly reviewed throughout their contract period.

Although their contract terms may differ from permanent employees, their contribution to workplace safety is the same so they need to have the same knowledge and understanding of the safety policies and procedures of the company as permanent workers. You must work together with your contractors to help them to build the required safety knowledge to fulfil the role.

Working together is key to effective contractor management. With the right procedures and tools in place, any contractors that you hire can become an immediate asset to your company rather than a safety hazard.



Training is more than just a signature of completion: Checking competency

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Effective training of employees and contractors is about more than just signing off on a certification of completion. In order to get the most out of training and protect yourself, your company, and your team, it’s important that every person who goes through your training has a thorough understanding of what they’ve learned.

Checking competency is a critical part of the training process. If you’re not making sure that every person who goes through employee induction training understands the content, you’re putting yourself at risk for workplace accidents, poor work performance, and an overall negative experience.

Here are a few tips for checking competency throughout the training process that will help you assess the competency level of your trainees and make sure they fully understand what they’ve read: Read More

The importance of effective hazard management

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Accidents and injury are an ever present threat in the workplace. Slips and trips, falling from height, falling objects, repetitive injury, back and shoulder strain, muscular strains and sprains, machinery incidents – every workplace can present opportunities for employee safety hazards.

Unfortunately, the outcome of unexpected workplace safety incidents can sometimes be even more drastic. From 2003 to 2016, 3,414 workers have tragically lost their lives in work-related incidents in Australia.

While there are a portion of workplace incidents every year in Australia which can be constituted as “freak accidents”, many could have been avoided. Effective hazard management not only ensures Australian businesses can stay compliant with the many rigorous rules and regulations in place, such procedures and policies can save lives.

Safety First 

No matter what industry your business operates in, whether you run a construction firm, factory, leisure centre, cleaning company or , “safety first” should be your number one policy . This “safety ethos” should be evident in every employee from the top down. From the moment an employee begins employment with your company, they should be immediately aware of just how seriously the company takes workplace safety.

Every single employee has a role to place in hazard management, and they should recognise that. If an employee reports a potential safety hazard, immediate action should be taken by senior management. Doing so demonstrates to the workforce how much a company appreciates and how committed they are to ensuring worker safety.

A workplace that is renowned for a commitment to safety is a much more attractive place to work and studies have shown time and time again that where workers feel safe and valued in their environment, they are more productive.

Knowledge is Power

Empowering employees with knowledge of how to identify hazards, respond to safety issues and conduct their work in a safe manner is key. All new employees should be trained on how to record and report safety hazards and tested on their knowledge of safety policies and procedures. Gaps in safety knowledge are a significant hazard and a key contributor to workplace incidents.

Current employees, from every department, and of every level of seniority, should partake in regular safety refresher courses and training. Revisiting safety policies and procedures and regular meetings to discuss hazards and hazard management creates a positive safety culture.

Provide the Right Tools

The use of hazard management software can prove critical in identifying, reporting and resolving potential safety hazards. With so many processes and procedures across the workplace environment, it is easy for hazards to go unnoticed or unreported. Through the use of hazard management software, companies can ensure complete visibility of any potential safety issues.

Having such tools in place ensure recording and reporting hazards are part of everyone’s daily tasks and become immediately visible to senior management. It is all too easy for hazards to get lost in paper or in e-mail chains or miscommunicated otherwise. Hazard management software tools can be deployed across any device, meaning that workers can instantly log and report hazards on the job, anytime, anywhere.

Such software solutions provide visible evidence of a company’s efforts to ensure effective hazard management and can be used to demonstrate legislative compliance during external safety audits.

Get an External Opinion

Even if you think you’ve got safety in hand, get an external view. Employing safety auditors and consultants to regularly review your policies, procedures and processes can help to bring unidentified safety hazards to the fore.

With workers so used to operating a certain way and following the same procedures day in, day out, hazards could be staring them in the face but not be recognised. A fresh set of eyes and insight from external experts helps businesses to ensure total hazard management.

Prevention is always better than cure. Active and effective hazard management protects workers, improves company culture and can protect the longevity of your business.

Induction training: how to streamline and get new employees up to speed the quickest

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One of the most important parts of running a successful business is employee training.

When employees have a proper online training, they’re in a better position to succeed; they know how to perform the job, the policies and procedures of your company, and they become more familiar with your corporate culture and mission. Setting your team up for success with the right training is a win for them and a win for you. Read More

Legal obligations: What you need to know when training staff

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When you’re training your staff, you have an obligation to yourself and your company to provide them with the tools they need to be successful in their jobs. The better you train your employees, contractors, and other team members, the better they’ll be able to perform in their positions – and the more your company will benefit.

But when it comes to training, you’re not just obligated to yourself, your company, or even the people you’re training – you’re also obligated to the law. There are certain legal obligations you must adhere to when training staff. If you don’t adhere to these obligations, you could find yourself facing steep penalties, fines, or negative repercussions for your business.

Legal obligations for training vary from state to state, but as a general rule, here are a few important things to keep in mind: Read More

Incident reporting: What you need to know

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No matter how safe your work site and how careful your team, you’re going to have incidents. And when an incident occurs, you’ll need to fill out an incident report.

Incident reports are a must-have for any business running a work site. But what, exactly, are incident reports? Why are they important? And what’s the most effective way to report incidents?

Here’s everything you need to know about incident reports: Read More

The Benefits Of Cloud Based Solutions (And Why You Need To Go Cloud Based For Your Business)

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Cloud computing has quickly become the go-to solution for successful businesses of all types and sizes. And for good reason. Cloud computing (which is just another term for Internet-based computing) dramatically simplifies the way you do business, and by incorporating cloud-based solutions into your workflow, you can cut down on the time, energy, and money you spend managing your business.

Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of cloud-based solutions: Read More

The Basics of Visitor Management: What Do I Need To Know Before I Let Someone Onto My Site?

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When you manage work sites, it’s important to know exactly who’s visiting your site, why they’re visiting, and whether you have everything you need to give them the green light for their visit. If you don’t know who’s coming onto your site – or if you don’t have all the information you need to clear them – you can find yourself dealing with safety issues, liability issues, and potential problems.

But what, exactly, do you need to know before letting someone onto your site?
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Why You Should Say Goodbye To Paper-Based Processes And Start Managing Your Contractors Online

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When you work with a team of contractors, there’s a significant amount of management involved. You need to make sure every contractor has the correct paperwork and documentation; you need to track their hours and where they’ll be working each day; you need to make sure that each contractor has the correct credentials for the job they’re working on – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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