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Five Contractor Management Best Practices

Contractor management goes wrong without established protocols

Contractor management is tough, with high potential for safety incidents occurring without appropriate protocols.

But what should those contractor management protocols be? This article lays out five best practices for more effective contractor management.

Contractor safety management begins at procurement

Well, the process itself should begin at the contractor procurement stage, where integrating safety requirements can provide a valuable opportunity for sharing knowledge.

What should those consultations consist of, though? They should include the following:

  • Provide relevant information
  • Give a reasonable opportunity for all parties to express their views, raise safety issues, and contribute to the decision-making process
  • Lay out different hazards and risks to health and safety, including
    • Management of asbestos and asbestos removal
    • Major hazard facilities
    • Hazardous manual tasks
    • Confined spaces
    • Falls
    • High risk work
    • Hazardous chemicals, including lead

What are the five contractor management best practices?

Of course, the contractor management lifecycle doesn’t end with procurement. Safety teams will still need proactive processes for managing contractors from pre-qualification to post-job evaluation.

According to our research, those contractor management best practices consist of the following:

1. Use a broader range of stakeholders for contractor pre-qualification

Rather than relying on third-party prequalifying entities who base their vetting decisions on a limited number of factors, home companies should involve a broader range of stakeholders to assess pricing, usage, and process-related costs in addition to safety history.

Why? Well, obtaining a clear picture of the engagement during pre-qualification enhances efficiency and productivity in the long run. Using safety management software, host companies should also establish a dedicated centralized database to manage all contractor data, facilitating easy sharing and updates throughout the engagement.

2. Consider a contractor’s detailed work procedures in the pre-job task and risk assessment

Host companies often err in relying on an overly broad scope of work for initial risk assessment. However, accurate calculation of a contractor's risk rating requires considering the contractor’s detailed work procedures.

As a result, host companies should employ a dynamic risk matrix that allocates points based on project risk factors such as severity, frequency, incident probability, cost, schedule, and security.

What then? Projects with higher risk ratings receive increased safety attention, including more frequent hazardous job meetings and walkthroughs.

3. Go beyond mandated contractor training and orientation

Most jurisdictions mandate on-site safety inductions and skills training for labor hires before they can begin working. Following these procedures will ensure compliance. But these trainings often represent a floor. To reach the ceiling, trainings will have to be tailored to specific sites.

4. Routinize job monitoring

Irrespective of a project's risk rating, though, host companies should be receiving regular safety observations and updated incident logs from their contractors. Routine performance reviews and field verifications should also be conducted.

What’s more, host companies should be inputting these findings in an easily accessible database. And so, host companies should consider integrated safety management software with contractor relationship management capability to track safety observations, report contractor non-compliance, communicate unsafe conditions, and measure time to resolution.

5. Don’t neglect the post job evaluation

The result of a lack of rigorous standards for evaluating contractor work once the engagement has ended is that subpar contractors get rehired. To avoid this, companies should perform post-job work assessments, with particular emphasis placed on safety compliance, customer service, and, of course, the quality of the finished project.

Companies should also be upfront with contractors about these post-work evaluative measures during the procurement process.

COVID and contractor relationship management

Now, what about COVID?

Indeed, the pandemic and associated labor market disturbances have complicated contractor relationship management. And so, best practices will have to be adapted to ensure contractors remain safe and their work productive.

How to go about it? Download our Guide to Maintaining Contractor Relationship Management in a Post-Pandemic World to find out.

Download A Guide to Maintaining Contractor Health and Safety after COVID-19