Best Practice Guide
COVID makes managing contractor safety even harder
In the decade before the outbreak of COVID, the ranks of contractors increased by leaps and bounds. Forecasts showed that the contractor labor force would swell to half of the entire U.S. workforce.
In Australia, the numbers weren’t too far behind. The contractor labor force there boomed to more than a million workers.
For host companies, the advantages were clear: lower internal labor costs, increased flexibility, and less need for direct management oversight.
However, regulation dictated that third-party workers were due the same safety protections as their full-time counterparts.
That duty of care obligation became all the more difficult to maintain as the pandemic broke out.
Contractors, clustered heavily in people-centric industries, were at high risk of virus transmission.
Host companies and other stakeholders, in their turn, finally woke up to the fact that regulation placed them on the hook for civil and criminal sanction if they couldn’t take reasonable care to maintain the health and safety of contractors and subcontractors.
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