Contractor Safety Management

Many organization hire contractors to perform a variety of services. Contracted services can vary from office cleaner to major construction activity. Health and safety law across Canada gives employers and work site owners duties and responsibilities for their own directly hired employees as well as for the employees of contractors.

In order to protect its own employees and its liability an organization that engages the use of contractor must establish a comprehensive Contractor Safety Management Program. A written contractor safety program must start by recognizing the legal concepts applicable to contracting, and the concepts that have become entrenched in health and safety decision making by courts as constituting due diligence. A contractor safety program must recognize and distinguish between situations where a “hands-on” due diligence strategy is required when contracting, and where a “hands-off” strategy may be utilized when contracting with a party such as a prime contractor or constructor.

A Contractor Safety Management Program must be designed to establish a process that will manage the risks related to the use of contractors. The contractor safety management process provides consistent direction for managing contractor safety, and helps protect employees and contractor personnel from workplace injury and occupational illness, and from losses associated with incidents related to the contracted work.

A well designed program will include:

Contract Preparation and Bidding

Contractor selection involves evaluating, selecting, and awarding the work to the most appropriate contractor; and ensuring the contractor meets all the health and safety requirements before commencing work. Establishing a contract that clearly outlines the health and safety requirements is a critical first step.

Employees authorized to hire contractors will work with the health and safety profession to ensure contractors enter into a written contract. The contract will establish not only the WSIB and insurance coverage requirements but also include minimum liability insurance and the compliance requirements related to the health and safety legislation and standards specific to the contracted work.

The standard contract document which includes general health and safety requirements will be used for all work that will involve the use of contractors (i.e. cleaners, carpenters, painters, maintenance, temp agency employees, etc.).The roles of the contractor will be clearly defined based on the work being contracted.

Contracts will also include a section specific to each contracted service or project that addresses any unique hazards and the expectations of control measures that will be required by the contractor.

Contractor Selection Process

Contractors must be prequalified by an organization using a “Contractor Pre-Qualification Health and Safety Review Questionnaire & Declaration”. Once the contractor has been approved they will be added an “Approved Contractors Listing”.

Only contractors on an organizations approved contractor list are hired to perform any contracted work. The approved contractors listing will be maintained by the health and safety professional or contracting department.

Pre-Job Meeting

The selected contractor may be requested to attend a pre-job meeting as an important step in working with the contractor to prevent incidents and to resolve site-specific health and safety issues that may develop. The depth and duration of the pre-job meeting varies with the scope of work and risks associated with the work. This meeting must be documented by the organizations employee responsible for hiring the contractor.

Contractor Health and Safety Orientation

Prior to the start of any work all contract employees working onsite will complete the contractor health and safety orientation and sign-off on an orientation checklist. Only contract employees having completed the “RE4 Contractor Health and Safety Orientation Checklist” will be allowed to perform work related to the contract at any company worksite. The depth and duration of the orientation varies with the scope of work and risks associated with the work. Safety orientations include two parts: (a) a basic safety orientation, and (b) a site/project specific safety orientation.

Contractor Monitoring and Enforcement

The person hiring the contractor must regularly monitor the contractor’s heath and safety performance onsite, and document the results of the monitoring activity. For remote worksites the contractor may be requested to submit their own worksite health and safety inspection report. Safety meetings should be scheduled with the contractor as required based on the ongoing results of the health and safety performance monitoring. Meetings must be documented. Any non-compliance with the worksite health and safety requirements must result in verbal and documented warnings and, if necessary, removal of the contractor from the site.

Post Contract Health and Safety Performance Evaluation

All contractors’ health and safety performance will be reviewed and evaluated by the employee hiring the contractor in order to determine the overall level of health and safety compliance and the possibility of awarding the contractor any future work. Poor performance may result in the removal of the contractor from the approved contractors listing.