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Integrating health and safety into the contractor lifecycle

Gideon Bernto

Contractor numbers throughout the UK and Europe have undergone a sustained period of growth post-2000, and this looks likely to continue as more workers choose to start their own contracting business and more organisations look to outsource specialist tasks.

While organisations can reap many benefits from working with contractors – lower costs, access to specialist skills, added flexibility, improved productivity, and so on, they also take on much greater risks – health and safety risk being one of them.

With many people from different businesses roaming sites, plenty can go wrong if there isn’t a clear process to help manage contractors’ health and safety.

Beyond the moral obligation of not harming anybody, the risk of shut down, litigation and loss of reputation can be perilously high if contractors are not onboarded or their health and safety behaviours are not aligned to yours.

Forward looking companies are investing in a well thought through life cycle approach to managing their contractors. The process has health and safety requirements integrated directly into the contractor procurement process which, not only ensures that the contractor is pre-qualified but the contractors are proactively managed from the pre-qualification stage to the post-job evaluation, including stringent pre-job task and risk assessments, state of the art training and orientation, and on the job monitoring.

Mapping out and embedding that life cycle approach in how they operate will be a step change in contractor management for many organisations who have previously seen health and safety requirements start and stop with the health and safety induction video.

How well is your organisation approaching the challenge?

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