Standardising Training for Contractors
GEMMA COLLINS DOYLE
Health and Safety Consultant
Before we get into the details of the best way to train your contractors, let’s define what a contractor is:
“A contractor is defined as anyone who undertakes or carries out work either him or herself or through their employees or who is self-employed and undertakes or carries out such work. This person or persons will work on site and will not be accompanied for the duration of the work by a staff member of the company. It will include contractors; sub-contractors, cleaners and service callout staff etc.”
Now we know what is considered a contractor, let’s see how they can keep themselves safe while working on your site!
Managing contractors on site can be a challenge for many companies, which is why the training aspect is so important. Speaking from experience, you are fighting a losing battle with the management of contractors, unless they have been trained correctly, from day one.
“If your own employees are adhering to safety rules on site and then they observe a contractor doing the opposite, it will only lead to a lack of confidence in safety on their part.”
You could be the best company in the world for safety, ensuring all your employees are fully trained and zero accidents on site. However, if you don’t have the same view on contractor safety, then you have to understand that this will have a very negative impact on your own employees. If your own employees are adhering to safety rules on site and then they observe a contractor doing the opposite, it will only lead to a lack of confidence in safety on their part.
The same rules must apply to any person working on your premises, contractors and employees. How do you ensure that this is done? Safety training for contractors is the answer.
The best place to start in relation to standardising your training for contractors is an induction process. As well as contractor induction training, it is important that you compile and maintain an Approved Contractor Control Register. In order to have their name added to the register, the following items must be supplied by the contractor:
- Copy of all employers and public liability insurance certs.
- Copy of the Contractor Company Safety Statement, Method Statement or Code of Practice (2005 Act).
- Copy of applicable statutory test or examination certs for any equipment brought or used on site.
- Copy of the signed off company contractor control procedure.
Contractor Induction Training
Some companies like to do one-to-one contractor training or classroom training (usually carried out once a year) while others like to use an online induction.
Carrying out a one-to-one session with a contractor (or more than one) will be time-consuming for the individual who is giving the training. While it is nice to have human interaction during an induction, the cons outweigh the pros for this style of induction.
Other companies like to get all their contractors together once a year to deliver their induction training. A few sessions may be needed to capture all contractors, but no doubt you will miss out on some, so this is not ideal either.
From my experience, the easiest and most convenient way of training all your contractors (new and old) is to use an online induction system.
Online Induction Training
There are many benefits of training your contractors online:
- The contractor induction course can be designed the way you want it. It can be site-specific to include your own logo, photo’s, maps, procedures, SOP’s, etc.
- The course can be completed online before a contractor even steps on site.
- A quick knowledge test can be added to the end of the induction, to ensure the participant was paying attention!
- Security and Reception staff can have access to the system and see who has completed the course and then issue them with a contractor pass.
- You will be reminded of when any contractor is due to re-sit the induction.
Once your online induction is set up, it should be easy to add to or take away from the training as you need to.
Make sure you include information on the following:
- PPE required on site.
- Restricted areas.
- Emergency Response procedures and assembly point locations.
- First Aid Policy.
- Accident Reporting.
- The requirement for method statements and site-specific risk assessments.
- Work permit procedure.
- Lockout Tagout procedure.
- Working at heights procedure.
- Roof access.
- Any other hazards or safety info that you think contractors should be aware of.
On-Site Company Training:
For long time contractors who work on site on a regular basis, you may decide to include them in any specific on-site training that you organise. If your own employees are being trained in something that contractors are also involved in, then it is important that they are educated too. Don’t miss an opportunity to educate, just because that person is not an employee of the company
When you are reviewing your contractor’s credentials to add them to your approved list, be sure to request a copy of their training. Make sure they have covered the basics and any other specific training required for their type of work.
By ensuring you are managing your contractors correctly and ensuring you have trained them on your site safety, you will be another step closer to protecting your own employees and contractor safety. Keep in mind that contractors may be at particular risk, as they could be strangers to your site and therefore unfamiliar with your company’s procedures, rules, hazards and risks. Even your regular contractors need to be reminded and not to become complacent.
Streamline Your Induction Process
We help companies to prevent injuries by making safe behaviour and workplace conditions part of their work culture.
Well, this is an interesting topic for discussion! If you ask a small business owner or someone in management, they will probably say that health and safety is costly, takes up time and can be a barrier. Ask a health and safety professional and you will get the opposite answer!
Everyone that visits your site should have some kind of formal induction. Each induction will need to cover different topics, for example, Visitors won’t need to know how to fill out a permit to work form, but they will need to know where their assembly point is, in the event of an emergency.
Safety Culture is probably one of the most important aspects of safety management, and probably the most difficult to implement. Whether you are a safety professional, supervisor, manager or an employee of a company, you need to consider the importance of creating a strong safety culture within your Organisation.