Health and Safety

How to effectively engage a new contractor

Engaging new contractors has its risks and administrative challenges

Having a timely and effective onboarding process helps you find the right contractors and is one of the biggest cost-saving elements to a successful project.

Making sure that your contractor or labour-hire workers are compliant has many benefits to your business and the project you are engaging these workers for.

The benefits of hiring compliant contractors

Hiring contractors who comply with the relevant workplace laws in your state provides the following advantages:

  • Lowers the risk that careless or illegal actions of a contractor or subcontractor will damage your brand and reputation
  • Reduces the likelihood of litigation and costly court proceedings for shoddy workmanship
  • Improves service delivery and quality assurance as well as building strong relationships both internally and externally
  • Gives stakeholders in the supply chain confidence that contractors will be engaged in accordance with legal requirements.

The FairWork Ombudsman has resources to help you build these actions into your compliance framework.

Asking the right questions at the time of engagement will mitigate the risk of non-compliant contractors further down the track.

What to look for when engaging contractors

To ensure the process of hiring compliant contractors is simple and easy, consider these three questions:

1. Do they have the correct licences and insurance?

Contractors who adhere to the Workplace Health and Safety laws in your state are the ones you want onboard.

You can check whether a contractor is reputable and professional, verifying that their company details are registered correctly and that they have an Australian Business Number (ABN). To do this, head straight to ABN Lookup and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to find out addresses, their type of business and to ensure they are not banned or disqualified. If you’re using contractor management software like Rapid Contractor Management the ABN can be checked automatically as part of the company registration process.

Knowing that they have the correct insurance and that licences are not expired is essential to getting the right person or business for the job.

Make sure you sight these licences and insurance papers or use an online verification system before you sign them up. Rapid’s online contractor management system can handle this for you, as well as offering a tool to check the credit risk score of your new contractor with Creditorwatch.

Building in contractor pre-qualification to determine legal compliance at the outset will save you headaches later on. Plus, if you are in the process of procurement or requesting tenders, you can review a list of already compliant companies online using a resource like Rapid Contractor search before you even engage with them.

2. Are your contractor induction procedures structured and easy to understand?

Do you have easy and well-structured induction materials available online or in hard copy? Can they be delivered in a toolbox setting by an instructor, or self-managed online before your contractors arrive onsite?

Using online induction software like Rapid Induct allows for flexible online training that is available 24/7 from any web-enabled device or computer. Contractors can even complete these inductions before they arrive on your site.

Inducting contractors through an online onboarding process that identifies the risks and job hazards relevant to their area reduces the need to know about all other departments as well. It can be specific to their area of expertise only.

Supplementing your own induction courses with our free courses, including Fire Safety Awareness, Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace, Privacy of Information, Safe Manual Handling and Code of Conduct, will clearly set out your expectations to your contractors.

The use of interactive graphics, questionnaires or videos makes sure everyone is on the same page. In our experience, it’s hard to misinterpret images but easy to get text and phrasing wrong. Words can mean different things to different people. It also makes the induction process faster, enabling contractors to quickly move on to their assigned tasks.

Recommended reading: How to create an online employee induction that actually works

3. Can your management team readily see a contractor lifecycle?

Access to site and work performed by unauthorised contractors can be a significant risk for the management team.

By using an online contractor management system like Rapid Contractor Management, they can make sure that contractors have uploaded the necessary insurance, for example, before they start.

Increasing security and system permissions within our platform can help your management team track who’s completed their induction and provided the necessary licences.

Being able to issue tailored pre-qualification questionnaires, determine legal compliance, store all company documents online, and track expiry dates, makes choosing the right contractors a simple process. You can easily verify compliance and be well-prepared for future audits or accreditation checks at the same time.

A system that can be customised to your requirements and grow with your business will streamline your contractor compliance management. Custom fields enable you to manage unique site requirements and can accommodate changes in your business operations, such as the addition of new sites.

Considering further integrations with software that manages access or work orders is an additional step that can streamline the rest of the lifecycle. By automating such processes, it removes a large amount of administrative time for both the internal team and the contractor.

Recommended reading: Contractor Management Systems: Everything you need to know

Streamline your contractor management process with Rapid today

To get your contractors onboarded efficiently and reduce the risks they pose to your business, speak to our experts and request a demonstration. We help businesses of all sizes, across all industries, to improve their workplace safety, contractor compliance and risk management practices.

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