The vast majority of Fortune 1,000 Companies rely on independent contractors and suppliers to perform thousands of essential business functions each year. In fact, every day, 10.3 million of these independent contractors go to work in the United States. That’s 10.3 million opportunities for miscommunication or mistakes – and when just one mistake can result in catastrophic loss of profit, an environmental hazard, or even the tragic end of a human life, establishing proper protocols to ensure contractors are properly screened and safe to work at your facility is vital to the continued success of your business.
Organizational decision makers can select safer contractors by following these tips:
- Use objective criteria – Determine loss history by collecting the last three years of safety statistics. These benchmarks can assist decision makers in establishing expectations, measuring current performance and driving continuous improvement.
- Reach beyond quantifiable data – Be aware of subjective criteria like work history, written policies and past performance. Use OSHA’s guidelines to ensure that you are up-to-date with regulatory policies and consider a third-party contractor management company if you need additional assistance prescreening suppliers and contractors.
- Create standard prequalification forms – Use a standardized form to help ensure you are using the same criteria to evaluate each contractor. This form should provide the decision maker specific contractor prequalification data that is important for determining safety history, sound hazard identification/mitigation techniques, company culture and commercial details such as financial stability and insurance requirements.
- Perform contractor audits – Identify the gap between your contractor’s safety program and your required protocols by performing safety manual, implementation and field audits.
- Ensure proper inspection – Verify that the inspection of mission critical pieces of equipment and tools is being performed. Evaluate the method being used to ensure that the conducted training is based on written programs, as it relates to equipment and contractors. Also be sure that job-site inspections and other hazard identification and mitigation techniques are being used.
- Select contractors carefully – Conduct the proper research to ensure a contractor is fully vetted prior to selection and be sure that bidders understand that safety is just as important as other bid-awarding considerations.
- Consider all facets – Avoid selecting the wrong contractor by considering factors beyond cost. You are more likely to select safe and effective contractors when you invest in preferred vendors and demonstrate that you’re vested in their safety procedures and future work opportunities.
- Perform consistent reviews – Audit and monitor contractor work as it is completed. Be sure to compare actual performance with the original contract and record safety evaluations as a precautionary measure.
- Consider a consortium – Create a consortium-model database to best-manage vendor data and ensure user functionality is shared and kept fresh so that all permitted and licensed users have continual access to vendor data.
When implemented correctly, these nine game-changing tips promise to assist owners, operators and organizational decision makers in making safer and more effective contractor decisions – quite literally the difference between a safely completed job and an unfortunate loss.