An efficient contractor management system is an invaluable business tool to cost-effectively manage your company’s health and safety duty of care, explains Assura Sales Manager Mike Oliver.

In our discussions with clients and the many other companies we work with, managers often identify contractor management as a specific area of stress – particularly when it comes to the all-important assurance of workplace health and safety and the pre-qualification process.

Contractor management is also a key focus for the country’s health and safety regulator, whose role includes conveying the important duty of care that companies at each stage of the supply chain.  The below serious harm case would have led to a company being fined more than $400,000, had it not simultaneously gone into liquidation at the time of sentencing.

A contractor engaged by Central Siteworks Limited to do forestry work at its Auckland site was pinned under a falling tree, resulting in significant chest injuries. Despite being directed to do the work, it was discovered the seriously injured contractor held no forestry or arboriculture qualifications and no one in the crew could demonstrate that they had received any training. While they had experience in undertaking small scale tree removal, the workers had never done forestry work or extraction and removal of a large-scale woodlot.

It was clearly the hiring contractor’s responsibility to ensure the workers they engaged were capable of doing the job and the essential health and safety plan was complete and sufficient.  This Central Siteworks case is a sobering example of why contract management documentation is so essential at both the pre-qualification and active stages of a project.

Companies have no choice but to get this right.

Some organisations stipulate at tender release exactly what pre-qualification information contractors must provide, and even what contract management platform should be used. However, this means suppliers must repeatedly pre-qualify against several industry standards and health and safety regulations. What’s more, there could be multiple companies and tasks involved in a project, or person(s) conducting a business or undertaking (known as PCBUs in the 2015 Health and Safety at Work Act).

Health and safety is always top priority, but repeated efforts to provide similar information within a single project (or across several projects) can cost contractors considerable time and money. It’s also one area where important corners might be cut.

Contractor management can be a nightmare for organisations engaging multiple contractors, especially when those contractors are covered by different standards.

Industry group Construction Health and Safety New Zealand recently developed a streamlined health and safety pre-qualification process, called Tōtika which is now the gold standard for health and safety pre-qualification.

Our partner Safe365, with their Qualify365 offer using Tōtika allows contractors to show clients they meet health and safety standards, and can fulfil mandatory requirements for RFP, tender submissions and/or procurement.

However, some of our larger clients want to manage the end-to-end process themselves, and don’t want to push the costs of that onto their contractors.

Assura contractor management is an efficient and simple solution, where clients enter their pre-qualification requirements, before inviting contractors to input their data through the online portal.  The client is only presented with details of contractors who meet their requirements and is then free to manage the process from then on.

Once a contractor starts work for the client, the system generates reminders for key events, such as pending expiry of contractors’ insurance certificates.  It also has an audit function, where companies can audit and score their contactors.

This solution is popular with local authorities, which typically manage multiple contracts and contractors, and have had to do this using paperwork and a myriad of contract management systems in the past.  We offer our clients a very efficient, cost-effective way to manage their health and safety requirements and to reduce the burden on contractors.

The assurance of a healthy and safe workplace, along with considerable time and money savings, may be just what your company needs.

Keen to know more?  Contact us directly on 021 635 237.