In the world of safety management, planning is crucial in every step of the process. Adequate planning ensures that your company has identified the current risks and weaknesses and a mitigation strategy for unforeseen circumstances. In the most fundamental stage of building a long-term contractor safety process, a solid safety management plan is essential. This plan covers all aspects of safety management that an organization must address. From physical resources to third-party vendors, companies must address in full detail exactly how they plan to protect their business from any potential risk, decrease liability to safeguard their bottom line, and comply with state and federal safety regulations.
Just like safety itself, planning is an effort that is fluid and continuous. An effective safety plan is built to scale as the company grows and is adaptable to different settings as times and circumstances evolve. This guide will provide you with everything you need to implement a strong safety management plan that accounts for all facets of your business. If you already have a plan, this is the perfect resource to help you evaluate your existing process and how it can be further improved.
Before diving into the details of onsite protocols, safety audits, and other essential aspects of safety management, you must first explicitly state and communicate your policies in a clear and effective manner. These policies combine company-specific rules and state and federal regulations that all organizations must follow. This may include regulations regarding your industry, site-specific rules dependent on setting and equipment, and the enforcement of OSHA guidelines. It is the first step in ensuring that your entire team is on the same page regarding safety-related matters.
It is imperative that all functions within an organization know their role and what is expected of them in terms of safety. Furthermore, a safety plan includes a management structure specifically designed to address safety-related matters through an appropriate communication funnel. Environmental health and safety directors, managers, and specialists are primarily responsible for putting together this plan. These roles are often at the top of the command chain and involve high-level safety management. They also carry the highest burden of responsibility as all operations reflect their efforts. Other positions, such as site supervisors, safety engineers, and EHS coordinators, fulfill more operational roles.
Risk and Setting Assessment:
An effective safety management plan offers a wide scope of analysis of existing risks, especially about the site setting. Persons responsible for putting forth a plan must first identify all hazards that may pose a potential risk and unforeseen risks that otherwise would’ve been unaccounted for. These risks should be measured against existing conditions such as the location, layout, equipment, and tools. Assessing these settings can bring up several questions, including:
- Where is your worksite located?
- Is your location climate-sensitive? (E.g., outdoor settings)
- Is your worksite elevated? (E.g., high rise, condo construction)
- Does the layout of your worksite restrict visibility?
- Does the layout of your worksite accommodate the safe movement of moving vehicles?
- Is the equipment present at your worksite up to code?
- Do you have all the necessary equipment to complete tasks safely?
- What tools are required to maintain the work site?
- Which tools/equipment require repair and maintenance?
Solid safety planning accounts for future and unexpected events that may take place. As much as we safety managers like to believe that we’ve done everything we can to be safe, the risk of injury will remain an unfortunate but inevitable fact of the job. The key lies in ensuring that you have built a comprehensive action plan addressing how to deal with hazards and injuries should they arise.
This plan will ensure that your company knows the necessary steps to take after an incident, as well as what liability they willingly take on following the injury of a contractor or employee. Incident management should also branch out and cover the protocol required when a non-injury incident (E.g., a vital piece of equipment breaking). Knowing how to address scenarios like this will ensure that non-injury incidents do not turn into hazards or disrupt productivity.
Contractor Safety Management:
If your company works with external contractors, it is essential that you include contractor management in your wider safety plan. Naturally, third parties may bring on unassumed risk to your company, further increasing your liability. Having contractors on-site also requires extra provisions and separate regulations that you’re required to implement.
External contractors will need their own checklist of best practices when planning, from aspects such as prequalification all the way down to onboarding protocol. Furthermore, contractors must be appropriately integrated into your existing safety plan to ensure that operations are not disrupted by the extra work required. Many parts of your safety plan, such as documentation of required PPE, will remain the same for your third parties.
In contrast, aspects such as onboarding will require you to craft a separate plan to address how you can safely manage your external hires. What is arguably the most powerful tool in helping you achieve this aspect of your safety planning is a contractor management software. Contractor Compliance is an all-encompassing digital solution that enables hiring organizations to track, manage, requalify, and collect contractor data. This solution turns contractor management into a seamless operation by cutting admin time by 70% and significantly reducing the potential costs of dealing with third-party vendors.
Contractor Compliance easily integrates into a wider safety plan and allows safety managers to allocate time and resources to the things that matter most. By automating your contractor management systems, your company can prioritize productive output, all while knowing that its operations are consistently safe and compliant.