CONTRACTOR SAFETY IN FOCUS: CHALLENGES, OVERSIGHT AND SOLUTIONS

Contract workers are five times more likely to be involved in a serious accident compared to direct employees

WE MUST ASK OURSELVES IF OUR CURRENT EFFORTS ARE TRULY ENOUGH.

Navigating Contractor Management Challenges and Compliance

In the last two decades, industries have made significant strides in enhancing safety measures for their workforce. Yet, a jarring revelation from the 2019 Brady review commissioned by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines, and Energy demands our attention. It exposes a disconcerting fact: contract workers are five times more likely to be involved in a serious accident compared to direct employees. We must ask ourselves if our current efforts are truly enough.

In 2019, we started working with mining companies to implement contractor management processes aimed at improving safety outcomes for contract workers. Australian health and safety legislation places obligations on all parties involved in a work environment to ensure the health and safety of everyone, including contractors. While specifics might vary across jurisdictions, the general approach is consistent. Common provisions include obligations of the company to provide adequate information, training, instruction, and supervision to contractors to ensure that they can work safely. They should provide the contract workers with information about the risks associated with their work and before the work commences, the company should ensure risks are identified, assessed, and controlled. While these contractor management obligations and measures are increasingly embedded in the company’s safety management system, practical implementation often hits roadblocks.

CAPTION: Disconnected systems and rudimentary tools add more burden to the already demanding role of a supervisor.

Overcoming Challenges in On-Site Contractor Supervision and Management

Traditional contractor management systems have zeroed in on the initial engagement process, ensuring that prerequisites are met before allowing entry to the site. But once the contractor is on-site, where most accidents take place, there’s a concerning oversight regarding the contractor’s tasks, their exact activities, and who’s overseeing them. Even when these workers are under direct observation, the supervisors are usually navigating with disconnected systems and rudimentary tools like spreadsheets and paper documentation, which only adds more burden to their already demanding roles.

These challenges lead to a lack of proper supervision, which is crucial to ensure:

  • A clearly understood job scope
  • Comprehensive risk assessment
  • Clearly understood and implemented controls
  • Confirmation of the contractor’s training and competence
  • Work is conducted safely, efficiently and to the required standard.


Enhancing Processes with Corehesion’s Technology-Driven Approach

In partnership with industry, Corehesion has spearheaded efforts to tackle these challenges using technology-enhanced process improvement. By integrating all parties and streamlining steps in the process, the system alleviates the pressures on supervisors while ensuring accuracy and improving communication of safety critical information. Enhanced interconnectivity, real-time updates, and mobility ensures all contract workers are supervised and supervisors are better equipped to fulfill their contractor management responsibilities. An added benefit is supervisors having more time on the job focusing on safety, productivity, and quality rather than being tethered to their desks.

CAPTION: More time on the job focusing on safety, productivity, and quality.

What percentage of your workforce are contractors?

What more can we do to improve safety outcomes for contract workers?

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