As your company grows in sales and expands to accommodate more SKUs, greater inventory, new machinery, and additional employees at one time or another, your business is going to need help from an outside contractor. They may be in the form of an engineering consultant, general contractor, painter, or other types of specialists needed for a project well beyond your or your staff’s current expertise.
When you make that final selection on your outside contractor before you sign anything make sure to do your homework and check up on their history. If it all comes back good and you’re ready to offer a contract for the work to be done, on their first day at your facility they should be treated like any other new or temporary/seasonal worker that you bring in and participate in a safety orientation before doing anything.
Why? They don’t know what your expectations are on safety and you don’t want to assume they do. They don’t know your facility very well and you want to make sure as heck that they don’t contaminate your staff with their bad habits. You also want to make sure they know that if their workers don’t follow those rules at your facility they’ll be banned from entering. It’s your facility, your rules and you don’t need additional headaches because an outside contractor couldn’t follow directions and is now in need of medical attention.
You’d be amazed how many outside contractors are injured or killed every year on the job because they either cut corners on safety procedures, were traveling (via foot, electric cart, forklift) in an unfamiliar layout, lack of training or the company didn’t communicate instructions to them properly or incorrectly. Here’s a contractor who’s paying a hefty fine for not following safety rules. OSHA Fines Contractor $94K After Worker Burned At McDavid Sawmill and here’s another contractor being investigated for a chemical spill, OSHA investigating contractor B.L. Harbert over Birmingham Water Works chemical spill
As I stated earlier, it’s amazing the number of contractors injured or killed and it appears this is becoming a more serious problem as the numbers have increased. A sharp rise in US contract workers killed on the job
We hired an outside contractor to do some work on a new production line we were installing and it involved electrical and concrete work. The main mode of transport within the facility was by man-lift, elevator, or stairs with man-lift the main one, and the rule was if you rode the man-lift you didn’t carry a backpack, tools, or other cumbersome items. If you dropped it someone could be injured below or if it got caught riding up you could fall. Our maintenance crew knew to take their carts and equipment by the elevator. The outside contractor didn’t go through any safety orientation as the company assumed all would go well.
A few days after the work began there was a commotion on one of the upper levels in the facility and our in-house emergency team responded to a call at the north man-lift where someone had fallen. It was one of the contractors and it was bad enough that a call was made to 911 for an ambulance. He was in a rush and had decided he didn’t want to wait for the elevator but took his tools up the lift with him and wound up falling the equivalent of two stories. He broke both ankles, a leg, two ribs, and a shoulder and sustained back and head injuries.
The very next day the company had every manager do recertification on every employee in their department for the man lift. I had to watch all 60 of my staff get on the lift, one at a time go up one flight, dismount, and then come back down one flight. Documented it for all the world to know and then had myself recertified. A fun evening was had by all. Here lies the problem. When you don’t take care of business the right way the first time, with proper training, and proper documentation, you wind up spending and wasting time documenting while trying to keep production going full speed just to cover the company’s ass.
However, this will not be a problem at your facility and you will be in full control if you follow these guidelines:
- This is your facility, your rules, you are in charge! As the supreme leader responsible for what goes on, it’s your rules of the road that are followed to protect everyone from employees to outside visitors.
- Any individual from the outside contractor must complete your in-house safety orientation. This is important especially if your facility has man lifts, elevators, confined spaces, dangerous areas, and flammables.
- Constant sustained communication between the contractor and you, the hiring company is critical to everyone’s safety. What equipment will they be using that day, noise level, dust level, and so on?
- To achieve #3 designate a point person at your company for the contractor to communicate with, answering any questions at any time while the contractors are physically on-site.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate.
- Check-in and check-out daily with the contractor. Greet them upon arrival, go over any new details and see them when they leave.
- Stop by periodically to touch base and see how the work is progressing and that the contractor’s workers are not wondering anywhere they shouldn’t be.
- Don’t hesitate to ban any outside worker not following the rules or committing an unsafe act.
- It’s your facility, you are in charge, be in charge.