As you know, contractors that aren’t engaged in your Health and Safety system can be a ticking time bomb of liability if something goes wrong. Here are some quick tips on how to effectively engage contractors in your Health and Safety system.
1) Make it easy
Your contractors may have to deal with the Health and Safety systems of several different businesses in any given week, including their own! They, like you, want to ensure the Health and Safety of their employees and will be more motivated if they’re going to be part of an easy process.
Health and Safety documentation that is hidden in spreadsheets or pinned to a noticeboard is hard to interpret or reference and becomes obsolete as soon as updates are made.
To make it easy for your contractors, you should have an online system that is available to them on their mobile phones at all times and is as easy to use as checking their social media accounts.
The information that your system shows to the contractor should also be related to their specific job and site. Having to wade through information that isn’t relevant to them will hinder their ability to engage with your Health and Safety system.
2) Tell your contractors the ‘why’ not just the ‘how’
Your Health and Safety system loses its effectiveness if it isn’t used. It’s important to communicate your company’s Health and Safety values to your contractors along with your policies, systems and procedures.
Defining shared Health and Safety values with your contractors means that they can use those values as a foundation for engagement with your health and safety system and even champion its use internally and with their subcontractors.
Common Health and Safety values can be the difference between whether contractors use your system to report a near miss or take the “she’ll be right” attitude and not report on it at all – missing critical information that informs your Health and Safety programme.
3) Learn from your contractors
Involve your contractors in the process of refining your Health and Safety systems. Make some time to ask for their suggestions and review their feedback. By exchanging ideas on how your Health and Safety system can work better for both parties, you’ll end up with a better mutual understanding of issues, a better Health and Safety system and better overall engagement from your contractors.
This doesn’t have to be a big overhaul to your system – A little change of wording to make it more relevant to them or adding additional risks that they’ve identified to your risk register will help your contractors adopt your system as if it were their own.