Contract Workers Safety: Effective Ways to Protect Contract Workers
Many studies have shown that contingent workers (temporary, part-time, and contract workers) are at higher risk of occupational injuries and even deaths than employees in traditional full-time situations. This could be due to reasons such as inadequate safety training; lack of experience and familiarity working in dangerous workplaces; outsourcing of more hazardous tasks; lack of necessary protective equipment; and limited access to preventive measures including medical screening programs.
A good number of contingent workers in most workplaces are contract workers. And as much as contract workers are normally responsible for themselves and their safety, you need to ensure the safety of everyone in your workplace. When discussing safety policies with the contractors, you need to make certain assumptions about them, especially if this involves small contractors. Some of the assumptions to make include:
They lack formal safety training programs for their workers.
They lack a formal safety and health program.
Their knowledge of workplace safety rules is likely to be inconsistent.
Their workers have widely divergent experience levels.
With these assumptions, it will be easier to protect the contract workers and everyone involved. We’ve prepared a list of some of the steps you should take to bolster safety compliance when working with contract workers.
Include Safety Requirements in the Contract
Ensure to include all the safety requirements in the contract and ensure to remind the contractors to comply with the requirements. You should only allow competent personnel who have completed relevant training to operate on equipment and carry out other duties in the workplace. You can force compliance or terminate the contract for breach of contract if they refuse to follow the rules.
Set Safety Compliance Ground Rules Up-Front
Before the contractors begin the work, ensure to communicate ground rules and make sure they are okay with them before signing the contract. You may choose to prepare different materials such as guides and handouts containing the rules and print enough copies for the contractors and their workers. For instance, you can encourage the contractors to only use products and equipment that meet the relevant health and safety requirements to be used in your workplace. You can advise them to acquire CE marked fabrications for enhanced safety and compliance with relevant EU health and safety directives.
Offer Assistance to Contractors
The contractors may not have any knowledge of the hazardous conditions and processes in your workplace. You should explain the situations to the contractors during the orientation to create awareness. Ensure to highlight any restrictions required to perform work in different areas in the job site, including lockout/tagout, confined spaces situations, and any special work permit requirements.
Document Communications Held with Contractors
You need to document all the communications with the contractors and provide them with a document to sign when resolving relevant safety issues. Also, ensure to communicate any changes and updates in safety policies and requirements as soon as possible.
Any incident that occurs under the supervision of your contractors may not be legally your responsibility. However, this can still affect you in some other way. Sharing accountability with your contractors can, therefore, help make operations safer and efficient.