When managing the risk of engaging contractors, prequalification may be one of the first things you think of. The process enables you to ensure that potential contractors have all the necessary experience, qualifications and insurances to perform the work to your required standards. However, prequalification isn’t the only piece of the puzzle when it comes to risk management. The qualification process actually starts before you consider which contractors to use and carries on for the whole time they are on site. When it comes to effective contractor management, you shouldn’t stop at prequalification.
Let’s Start with the Meaning of Due Diligence?
Contractor due diligence is everything that is reasonably expected of an employer both before hiring a contractor and during the time of a contract with them. It includes all engagement and investigation processes that an employer carries out to ensure compliance and in many cases isn’t explicitly compulsory. Due diligence is a legal standard that is used to ensure companies take reasonable measures to keep all their workers safe and is fundamental if businesses are to protect against liability in the event of an incident.
As a business leader, you need to understand all the legal safety requirements that your contactors are subject to and have up-to-date knowledge of general and site-specific workplace hazards. Moreover, as well as checking all these aspects are in place before a contract is agreed, you should conduct ongoing monitoring to ensure workplace compliance throughout a contract. Ultimately, a large number of due diligence obligations must be undertaken before any contractor is hired and even before the prequalification process.
The Key Stages to Contractor Management
Engaging contractors to provide business services comes with a certain level of risk. You need to be certain that they not only have the ability to complete the task competently, but that they will work in a safe and professional manner. To do this, you most certainly need a solid prequalification process, but you also need a comprehensive risk management program for your contractors. This will help you to ensure that your contractors carry out work in the appropriate manner and adhere to all workplace health and safety procedures. To support your businesses safety culture, your contractor management process should include five key stages:
1. Risk Assessment
Before you can consider prequalification, you need to fully understand what you are qualifying contractors to do. This is the step in the contractor management process where you conduct a thorough risk assessment of potential hazards in the workplace. You need to be able to identify and prioritise every potential risk so that mitigation measures can be put in place. The risk assessment process is certainly not a one-off task. You need to ensure you identify and manage risks throughout every project. After all, new hazards can arise at any time that might require additional safety measures.
Now that you understand what knowledge and skills your contractors need to manage your project’s workplace hazards, you can begin the prequalification process. Prequalification is a vital step in risk management that enables you to ascertain the competence of a contractor before they are hired for the job. To prequalify contractors, you will need to gather information regarding their capability, capacity, resources and performance. Once you have all the documentation regarding their qualifications, safety systems, insurance coverage, licenses and registration, you will need to verify it is correct and up-to-date.
3. Induction and Training
After you have ensured that a contractor has all the necessary qualifications, you will need to review what additional training they require. While this may include general training that is given to all workers, you will also need to consider job and site-specific training. This will include things such as proper storage and handling of hazardous chemicals and the usage of specialised equipment. While there will always need to be some level of on-site orientation so that contractors can get a feel for your workplace and safety culture, much of the induction process can be carried out virtually. This gives more flexibility to your contractors but also gives them more time to digest the information. What’s more, you are able to customise the training for specific audiences so that it has maximum impact.
4. Ongoing Verification
Although your contractors may have ticked all the boxes during the prequalification process, there are no guarantees that things will stay that way. To ensure continued workplace compliance, you will need to verify that all documentation, such as licences and registrations, remains up-to-date. After all, if documentation is left to expire, then your business may no longer be compliant, which could put you at significant risk. As well as the documentation, you will need to monitor that work is being carried out to your specification and that safety procedures are being adhered to at all times.
5. Constant Communication
Constant two-way communication is a vital part of the contractor management process, which helps to develop strong working relationships. Lines of communication should be clearly explained from the outset so that contractors know who to speak to in the event of an issue and how to get hold of them. Regular planned communications give you the chance to give timely feedback on what is and isn’t going well with a project. Moreover, by communicating effectively, contractors also have the opportunity to feedback on any problems they are encountering. With constant communication, you can build a culture of trust with your contractors.
Empowering Your Prequalification Process
While having a pool or reliable, pre-approved contractors can be a huge asset, enabling you to get your projects off the ground more quickly, it only forms part of the puzzle. To empower the process, you need to manage the whole contractor lifecycle. That means fully understanding workplace hazards, ensuring contractors have received all necessary training and orientation, while constantly monitoring and communicating.
A comprehensive contractor management solution can help to manage all the stages of risk management, not only prequalifying your contractors, but ensuring they remain compliant throughout so your projects can run smoothly and safely. To find out more or organise a free demonstration, visit the Conserve website.
For over a decade, Conserve has helped organisations overcome contractor management challenges. We can help you develop a contractor management service that will be not only effective but will make your organisation safer, while minimising your overall risk. Request a demo now or visit the Conserve page for more great content.
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