Why you should have a contractor management system

By Andrew Hobbs on October 6th, 2017

CHECKING the licences and insurances of contractors before you hire them is vital for meeting your obligations under work health and safety (WHS) legislation, an OHS expert has recommended.

McConville OHS & Risk Solutions principal consultant Daniel McConville says employers have a broad obligation to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that your workplace is safe and that the health and safety of your workers – including contractors – is monitored.

He says this can be helped by setting out a process for approving and managing contractors, including:

  • reviewing workers’ compensation and public liability insurances; and
  • completing inductions, including familiarising contractors with their work environment, the specific hazards they may be exposed to and your safe work procedures.

Companies can keep track of these, and meet their monitoring obligations under WHS legislation, by building a contractor management system.

Such a system should store copies of:

  • your contractors’ licences and qualifications, along with any training certificates that will help to verify that the contractors are competent to undertake their tasks;
  • any insurances, such as WorkCover and public liability, so you can verify that your contractors have some form of insurance should an issue arise; and
  • completed company inductions so you can verify that contractors have been made aware of any on-site hazards, as well as emergency, first-aid and other relevant contact details.

Mr McConville says these systems are not hard to implement and maintain – potentially through a spreadsheet or company emails – though a contractor management software package could be used to keep track of when licences and qualifications are due for renewal.

Liability

While companies are not expected to implement contractor management systems and procedures overnight, if there is an incident and you haven’t properly inducted or managed your contractors, you could be held liable.

If you are visited by your regulator while the process is being implemented, you will able to demonstrate that you have identified the issue and are in the process of eliminating the hazard.

Even if you appoint an outside expert, the onus on providing a safe workplace remains on the owners and managers of a business – to remove hazards where possible and keep risk to a minimum where not.

This means that all workers, including contractors, should be inducted and given regular training in your safe work procedures.

But what should these procedures be? Who should develop them? Who should they apply to, and when should they be reviewed?

How to Develop a Safe Operating Procedure, written by Health & Safety Handbook Editor-in-Chief Michael Selinger, has all the information you need to help design a long-lasting program specific to a particular company activity.

The 23-page eBook is a step-by-step guide to building and maintaining safe operating procedures, including a series of templates for the background research you need, including for a:

  • hazard register;
  • document control register; and a
  • training and induction record.

If you deal with changing hazards on a daily basis, it can be easy to miss a point or skip a step – and a bit of extra assistance will never go astray.

Don’t delay. Click here to order your copy of How to Develop a Safe Operating Procedure and help protect your staff.





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