AMSJ » Time for a plan D in safety: Digitisation

Time for a plan D in safety: Digitisation

David Smith, Commercial Director EHS at SAI Global takes a look at how to better manage contractors in the midst of the global pandemic.

First published in the SPRING 2020 edition of Australasian Mine Safety Journal

As industries move forward into the new normal, one thing is certain. Effective management of the new risks posed by the pandemic — as well as the already existing risks — will be crucial to the safety and sustainability of businesses everywhere. And now more than ever, businesses cannot afford contractors to be the weak link in the safety chain.

Contractors are essential to your business for their specialised skills, training and expertise. At the same time, without a proper understanding of your site, your operations, their specific jobs, and safe work procedures, contractors can put your company’s reputation and brand at risk. That’s why moving forward, digital solutions will be a major part of an effective and pandemically-enhanced Contractor Safety Management Program.

According to Darwin’s Theory of Survival, it’s not the strongest that survive, it’s those that are the most adaptable. Adapting in these upending times also requires being agile. That’s why it’s imperative for Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) and Operational Risk Managers to be on the forefront of risk mitigation. Because your businesses are often the frontline — essential businesses that can’t afford any kind of interruption — an integrated, holistically managed system of digitised workflows might just be the smartest way forward.

What are the contractor risks facing Environmental, Health & Safety and Operational Risk Management today?

According to our customers, these are the challenges they face and often struggle with to mitigate those risks:

  • Decision and data silos that prohibit the sharing of information.
  • Lack of end-to-end information management, which limits a complete view of contractor companies, their workers and the risks they pose.
  • Numerous and different safety practices make it hard for contractors to do the right thing.
  • Loss of visibility on who is onsite and undertaking what tasks, which can endanger employees and contractors.
  • Effective performance monitoring to assess which contractors pose greater risks and areas for improvement.
  • Paper-based systems or many systems which creates red tape overload.

 With so many companies struggling to remain viable, supply chains are being dramatically impacted.

Many of us are now facing additional contractor safety risks that COVID-19 presents:

  • How do we continue operations and keep contractors safe with the additional controls for COVID-19?
  • What shape are contractor organisations in? Do we need to pre-qualify new contractors or re-qualify existing?
  • What documentation do we need to create and what records do we need to retain?
  • How can we tighten engagement and monitoring to ensure any new processes and procedures are being followed?

You can overcome these challenges by carefully considering the technologies available. Digital technologies can help connect the dots for all contractor safety management practices and can support companies in improving the safety performance of contractor and sub-contractor workers, which will mitigate risks to your business.

An adaptable and agile workflow solution can offer several benefits and help overcome these challenges. Consider cloud-based software with integrated Contractor Safety Management, like the SAI360 Covid Essentials Pack + FastStart. This solution has an integrated suite of modules that support, and end-to-end approach aligned with the four-step management method, Plan-Do-Check-Act, to support your COVID-19 recovery with confidence and sustain productive business operations.

“With so many companies struggling to remain viable, supply chains are being dramatically impacted.”

Here are some of the benefits EHS managers will derive from using integrated workflow software with mobile technology to get a more holistic view of Contractor Safety Risks:

  • A central register of all current and prospective contractor companies
  • Take control of past, present and future hires in one accessible central register. Also, easily administer pre-qualification assessments, store all relevant documents and set up automated alerts and reminders of key expiry and review dates.

Training and competency tracking

  • Assign competencies, track training requirements, generate a training needs analysis and receive automated alerts of expiring qualifications.

Use existing digital tools to engage contractors

  • Engage contractors with a portal to access safety information, and digitised mobile tools to undertake self-assessments, Take 5 and critical control verification.

Leverage a Permit to Work process

  • Associate permitted work tasks, review the risks and hazards, send a job safety card, gain visibility on who is onsite and leverage pre and post checklists for safe completion of work.

Streamline data capture to monitor performance

  • Allow contractors to report incidents and hazards; establish portals to collect contractor safety information or set up regular feeds from contractor solutions.

Improve performance

  • Track corrective and preventative actions, capture and share lessons learned with contractors.

Enhanced integration

  • Effortlessly integrate with other software solutions and different technology devices so that all the data may be analysed centrally for a holistic view of contractor risks.

To further assist EHS professionals in managing and monitoring the health and safety of their contractors, SAI360 has newly added COVID-19 Case Management and Self-Assessment modules for pre-configured checklists that include:

  • A COVID-19 workflow to report and manage cases — online and offline through a mobile app.
  • Simplified mobile workflow with easy-to-use configurable checklists for contractors to perform self-assessments such as health screening and voluntary check-ins.
  • Interactive dashboards to view trends and analyse the impact of COVID-19 cases.

 As resilience and risk-readiness is being redefined daily, today’s EHS professionals will benefit from smart, swift, and easily integrated solutions so that their businesses remain adaptable and agile. And their employees and contractors remain safe.

To learn more about how EHS technology can help recalibrate your plans for the next normal, contact us today for a personalised demo of the SAI360 Covid Essentials Pack, or download our EHS Technology Buyer’s Guide for more information visit


David Smith

Commercial Director EHS / SAI Global

David ?Smith is Commercial Director EHS at SAI Global. A seasoned EHS, sustainability risk management professional and thought leader, David has more than 20 years of experience delivering EHS strategies for leading organizations across a wide range of industries, including energy, defence, pharmaceuticals, and financial services. As part of the EHS portfolio at SAI Global, David utilizes his EHS practitioner perspective to help drive product innovation, the commercial growth of the portfolio as well as helping to identify the needs of our customers to enable them to achieve operational excellence. David has a first Honours Degree in Environmental Science and PG Cert focused in Occupational Safety and Health from the University of Greenwich.

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