Contractor Compliance in 2020 – Needs Vision not Hindsight

Neil Hartleye-permits Use CasesLeave a Comment

Contractor compliance 2020 - Needs vision not hingsight

Greg Markham, Technical Director of EMCOR UK described e-permits as, “The Best Way to Control Contractors that I’ve Ever Seen”. He further described the pros and cons of e-permits as follows:

e-permits Pros

  • Logical, easy to use and covers all aspects of Contractor Control.
  • Places the onus on the Contractor to supply the necessary detail, but also on the controllers to review and approve in a timely manner.
  • The software can flex to suit any application or Client requirements.

e-permits Cons

Not much not to like, just wish more customers had this system and it was in wider use across the industry.

Why is contractor compliance such a growing issue in 2020?

Rapidly changing technology and general skills shortages together with global political and macro-economic trends are already impacting the worker landscape in the UK where we have 5.5 million self-employed and one in four employees with a side hustle. This undoubtedly adds complexity to the supply chain despite the associated benefits of capacity flexibility.

ISO 45001 has already mandated that the safe working standards afforded to employees are extended across the full supply chain, thereby, extending both the moral and legal responsibilities of the business to (sub)contractors.

What does this mean to day-to-day facilities management activities? More (sub)contractors arriving on-site? Yes. More checks to perform to ensure the competence and compliance of those (sub)contractors? Yes. Greater risk to the business? Yes, both in terms of operational risk and reputational risk.

Particularly where permit-to-work processes are reliant on paper as the delivery mechanism of choice, then these increased activity levels are going to be the ice in any small cracks in those processes. After all, those familiar with the modus operandi already know how to work around any process deficiencies, as we previously covered in our post The Human Oil in the Process Engine.

Of course, (sub)contractors aren’t aware of those work-arounds which consequently increases the safety risk and the associated business risks – not to mention the burden of increased worked at the permit office.

Regular readers of this blog will recall our previous analysis of the HSE injury/fatality statistics that showed that, actually, contractors are safer than employees, which is counter to the arguments above. However, what we subsequently realised was that the HSE definitions of employees and the self-employed were such that an employee of a contractor company was categorised differently to a self-employed worker for that contractor – thereby, obfuscating the intended analysis.

Regardless, managing the increased risk of using more (sub)contractors and maintaining productivity through the permits office is a real, pressing issue and one not best dealt with using processes relying on paper.

So, how do you ensure your contractors are working to safe standards, are competent and have the relevant, valid training and insurance for the job at hand without having the whole process grind to a halt? How can you:

  • ensure your (sub)contractors adhere to the same safe working standards as your employees (as mandated by ISO 45001)?
  • ensure that all workers have relevant and up to date training for the job at hand together with appropriate insurance?
  • ensure these checks can be conducted ahead of their turning up on site?
  • lighten your workload by having (sub)contractors do the heavy lifting of data entry/management?

This is what e-permits was designed to do. The UK’s first, pioneering, web-based permit-to-work system addresses all of these issues.

If contractor compliance is a topic of concern to you, then you can find out more about the broad issues and the specifics of how e-permits addresses them in our recent webinar – please click here for access details.

If You Like This Post, Please Share It!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *