Establish a Contractor Safety Management Policy
EP Editorial Staff | September 1, 2021
By Ryan Dobbins, CSP, CHST, CIT, CUSP
A ll establishments and industry leaders strive for a common goal: Provide a work environment free from hazards that cause injuries, illnesses, and property damage. In general industry environments, safety and health programs primarily focus on routine procedures and conditions. To maintain these relatively stable environments, contractors are often used for repairs, renovations, and/or construction upgrades. Contractor work introduces non-routine activities and changing work conditions that may create new hazards and expose workers to unanticipated risk. An added factor is that the contractor activities will likely expose plant production workers to new hazards, potentially creating additional safety issues.
To best prepare your establishment and employees for construction activities, your safety and health program should include a Contractor Safety Management Policy. This policy ensures that all contractors who enter your facility are qualified and prepared to safely perform work while keeping production employees safe throughout the project. At a minimum, a Contractor Safety Management Policy should include the following:
Pre-qualification: This process should provide consistent procedures for reviewing, assessing, and monitoring a contractor’s safety and health program; safety performance, e.g., injury rates and experience modification rates (EMR); qualifications; and overall safety culture prior to executing a contract for services. This process ensures a contractor has the proper qualifications to safely perform work in your facility.
Orientation training: This ensures all contractors are trained to understand facility hazards, expectations regarding safety and health, and procedures required to maintain a safe work environment while on site. Orientation training records should be collected and maintained as you do for your internal employee records.
Site-specific safety and health planning: This process ensures that all contractors have an execution plan that integrates safety with production to complete the desired goals of the project scope. The plan should include:
• contact information for key project stakeholders and emergency contacts
• a detailed project scope of work that specifically describes how the work will be performed
• a hazard risk assessment to identify site-specific hazards and procedures to control or mitigate
• an emergency action plan to prepare and respond to emergency situations
• a hazard communication plan to share anticipated hazards, chemicals, or other information that might expose facility employees to potential risk during the scope
• any other procedures or information that demarcate the construction work area from normal facility operations and employees.
Managing contractors and non-routine work in your establishment is a critical aspect of keeping your employees safe. To best prepare your employees and establishment for non-routine or contracted work activities, proper evaluation, training, and planning must be consistently performed and communicated. The safety and well being of contractors and service providers should be valued just as highly as your internal employees to establish a cooperative safety culture. EP
Ryan Dobbins is a Safety Services Manager at Safety Management Group, Columbus, OH, (safetymanagementgroup.com). He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Project Management Professional (PMP), Construction Health & Safety Technician (CHST), Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT), and Certified Utility Safety Professional (CUSP). Contact him at RyanDobbins@safetymanagementgroup.com.