Safety culture is the first and most important thing you’ll want to build on any work site. For employers, standardizing occupational health and safety best practices among contractors and workers is key to building a robust independent business.
If you haven’t designed and implemented a Contractor Safety Management program, or CSM, it’s time you do. A Contractor Safety program will streamline all the safety goals, evaluation systems, and training and orientation programs you’re already juggling into one handy, easy-to-reference tool.
Our 5-step guide to developing your CSM system will walk you through all the essentials, from pre-qualifying and induction training to imposing audits and implementing management software.
Who is Responsible for Site Safety?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is serious about the work site regulations they demand compliance on, and rightfully so. Though workplace injuries and illnesses have been steadily declining in the United States over the past decade, 2.8 million nonfatal incidents were reported in 2019. That’s roughly 2.8 cases per 100 full-time workers and a minimum of .9 days away from work per incident.
While contractors aren’t technically employed to oversee anyone in your company, OSHA puts the onus of responsibility on employers and contractors to maintain worksite safety and eliminate hazards. Employers are encouraged to develop a Contractor Safety Management program to meet this challenge. Ensuring compliance from all the members of your worksite will go a long way toward building your credibility, securing loyalty from your best clients, and building a better business.
1. Pre-Qualify, Pre-Train, and Set Safety Standards
Before even one contractor sets foot on the worksite, an employer can start shaping expectations around safety programs. Boil the site requirements, necessary permits, emergency procedures, hazards measures such as fall protection, and payroll expectations down to their simplest forms, and loop them back into your initial bid before hiring.
Once you’ve lined up a stable of candidates and are reviewing bids, note worker performance factors you tend to zero in on, whether that’s a contractor’s prior injury records, the quality of their environmental reports, or their history of workers compensation claims. Etch those in stone into your CSM and factor them into induction training.
2. Standardize Safety Requirements in Contractor Training
From temporary and seasonal employees to FTEs and contractors, everyone on your worksite should receive the same training. It’s essential to send a clear, consistent, and strong message surrounding these best practices. The contract will establish employer expectations, and the training will demonstrate how to meet them.
Training should consist of detailed breakdowns of all machinery, emergency procedure, license and permits, and hazard protocols, such as fall protection. Getting contractors and employees on the same page is vital. Requiring completion, sometimes demonstrated through earning a badge, to commence work is one of the best ways to ensure workplace safety.
3. Monitoring Work, Evaluating Performance
Fair and consistent evaluation ensures that the rules developed for contractors in your safety programs are being followed. Job site inspections, walkthroughs, and annual audits are common evaluation strategies, and they can all be conducted internally or through the hiring of third-party contractors to perform them independently.
One increasingly popular new measure that Environment, Health, and Safety Managers employ is Behavior-Based Safety observations or BBS. BBS programs use “observers” to record safe and unsafe contractor behavior, note hazards, and report it to the employer. Example checklist topics include ergonomics and how contractors use personal protective equipment.
4. Safety Management Software
Another increasingly popular intervention among EHS Managers is utilizing Safety Management Software. Essentially a way of virtualizing your CSM, these programs help standardize your process, and they track valuable data on your contractors' performances.
While you could maintain your contractor safety program in a good old analog fashion, imagine the time you’d save if all of the spreadsheets, excel files, emails, and mountains of paperwork were organized in one easily searchable place. Safety Management Softwares help employers keep the ship airtight and sailing on smooth waters.
5. Develop Post-Job Reports and Exit Evaluations
With the help of this Safety Management Software, you can develop handy rubrics for exit evaluations and post-job reports. Hiring insists can be illuminated, weaknesses in strategy throughout the project can be tinkered with, and re-conceptualized and scripts for vital exit evaluations for the entire workforce can be developed using the software aggregates’ data and breaks down.
Employers undercut all the work they put into pre-training and pre-qualifying initial hires and the monitoring and evaluation along the way if they don’t take advantage of that critical post-performance evaluation. One strategy is to target the way health and hazards claims were responded to by workers and evaluate the findings against the goals in your CSM.
The Bottom Line
Occupational safety and health should be the chief priority for all contractors. Whether you’re training to get licensed and can’t keep all of OSHA’s emergency and hazards regulations straight, or you’re a working pro and need help streamlining safety best practices, Contractor Training Center is here for you.
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