How to Review a Contractor’s Health and Safety Plan

contractors reviewing work plans

Most employers, at some point, must hire contractors or external vendors to work on-site. These outside parties generally perform non-routine work without much oversite. Hiring contractors introduces risk to the company.  

Contractors can be beneficial for accomplishing a site’s goals when sourced and managed correctly. Investing time and effort into finding the right contractor for the job in the beginning stages will minimize risks that can occur later. 

When you do find a dependable contractor with the proper qualifications, experience, and skills, you will want to review their health and safety plan (HASP) to ensure they are committed to keeping their employees safe and healthy while on the job.  

Use the HASP review tips below to ensure that you are hiring a contractor dedicated to the health and safety of its workers. 

Established Health and Safety Plan 

First, ensure that the contractor you hire has an established and comprehensive HASP. Some contractors do not understand the importance, so they may not have invested in developing one. Not having a HASP is a red flag, and companies should stay away from contractors who have not yet implemented a HASP. No HASP shows that the contractor is not focused on the safety and well-being of its employees.  

Contractors with health and safety plans are more committed to providing a safe and healthful workplace than those without plans. Therefore, hiring contractors who have taken time and energy to develop a comprehensive plan is essential. 

Detailed and Specific Content 

While reviewing the HASP, you want to check that the content is detailed. The content should include safety and health topics and procedures that apply to the contractor’s work. It should describe potential hazards that workers may face and the controls to reduce their risk.  

The HASP should also be specific to the contractor. For example, if a section of the HASP is on Injury and Illness Procedures, it should specify the person’s name and phone number of whom to call in the event of an incident and the reporting process. There should be a primary and second contact if the primary cannot be reached. These details must be in the HASP and up to date. 

Compare Procedures 

The contractor’s HASP should discuss various safety topics such as the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout Tagout), Fall Protection, Powered Industrial Trucks, Respiratory Protection, and more. Your site should have its health and safety procedures for these topics. When a contractor is on-site, you will want to ensure that the contractor’s policies are the same or stricter than your safety policies. Their procedures must also be the same or more stringent than OSHA standards. Having the same health and safety requirements will ensure that contractors are on the same page with your expectations for how they work safely on-site. 

Suppose the contractor has been hired at your site to perform daily work that requires personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). Your fall protection site procedure says that workers must inspect their PFAS before each use for wear and damage, and defective parts must be removed from service. It is an issue if you review the contractor’s HASP, and it says that the PFAS only needs to be inspected weekly. Their HASP must be the same or be stricter than the site’s procedures and OSHA’s requirements. Having the same health and safety standards ensures that the contractors understand and comply with what is expected while on-site. 

Trained Contractors 

Contractors must train their employees on the contents of the HASP. Companies often create an overarching HASP but do not communicate it with their employees. Ensure contractors have been trained on the health and safety plan by asking the contractor for the sign-in sheet documentation of the training. The contractors working on the site must have their names on the documentation to ensure they participated in the training course. It is a best practice that the training occurs on an annual basis at a minimum. It would be a red flag if the training class was conducted three years ago. The contractors should be retrained in the HASP if you hire them to work on-site and should be trained once a year to keep them refreshed on safety and health requirements. 

As well as being trained on the plan itself, there may be more specific training that the contractors need to perform the on-site work. Contractors must be trained to use the particular tools and equipment you are hiring them to perform. For example, if you hire contractors to help you move heavy machinery using Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs), the contractors must be trained on the forklifts they are planning to use during the job. The training documentation would include classroom training, demonstrations performed by the trainee using the forklift, and an evaluation of the trainee’s performance. Ensuring that the contractors have the proper training and reviewing the training documents will help minimize the injury and illness of the contractors while on-site. 

Reviewed and Updated 

You will want to check the contractor’s HASP for the last time it was reviewed. Was it reviewed six months ago or six years ago? If six years ago, this is a red flag. Checking the HASP’s information on an established basis is essential because if specific details such as emergency contact names and phone numbers change, and there is an emergency, the contractors will not be able to reach the proper personnel. HASPs should be reviewed annually to ensure that the information is still correct. If there is incorrect or out-of-date information, the HASP should be updated.

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