Having contractors & suppliers on your premises is becoming increasingly risky and therefore costly. The responsibility is placed squarely on the business using their services and/or products to ensure they are compliant, safe, and working in a healthy environment.
Misplacing a single document or missing a single step could result in significant financial loss and time burden to your business. Miss a COVID safety step and you could inadvertently introduce COVID into your factory, causing a partial or full factory shutdown.
Making sure you dot all the I’s and cross all the t’s however requires significant time and resource. If you don’t find ways to do this effectively and efficiently, the cost of compliance could result in an unnecessary financial loss for your business. Fortunately, there are ways you can be compliant with minimal administrative burden. Here’s how…
Businesses need to ensure their contractors and suppliers achieve both Statutory and Health and Safety Compliance. Statutory compliance includes things like:
- VAT registration
- Tax clearance
- Company registration
- BEE certification
- Proof of banking details
Health & Safety compliance includes:
- COVID safety protocols being followed, and pre-attendance checks being completed
- Understanding the level of compliance required from a contractor or supplier
- Inducting contractors and suppliers to requirements for your business based on the services &/or products they will offer
- Safe work method statements
- Proof of certification
- Permits to work
- Proof of employee credentials
Completing these checks BEFORE your contractor or supplier even arrives at your premises will assist with:
- Significantly reducing the risk of introducing COVID into your workplace
- Making sure you can prove you have taken all the necessary steps should COVID occur in your workplace
- Avoiding unrealistic time allowed to ensure compliance when your contractor or supplier arrives on site, especially if their service or product is urgently required
- Minimising costly disruptions in your business planning and process, when a contractor or supplier arrives on-site and cannot carry out their services or supply their products as scheduled when they are found not compliant
- Reducing the number of resources your business needs to consume assisting contractors or suppliers with compliance when they are on site
- Minimising errors made with validation and checks due to time pressure
- Allowing time to find an alternative if the current contractor or supplier is found to not be compliant
Imagine paying a contractor or supplier on presentation of their VAT inclusive invoice for a service or product, only to find after they have been paid that they are not VAT registered! Your business is at high risk of being accountable to SARS – not the contractor or supplier!
Achieving compliance before your contractor or supplier arrives on site is very feasible with the help of EHS software solutions available today. Solutions like Rapid Contractor Management will, depending on the level of service &/or product they will supply, automatically send compliance requests to your contractor or supplier in advance of the scheduled date of supply AND allow them to complete their compliance online themselves. It will also alert your employees of non-compliance in time to rectify any problems.
Don’t duplicate data
One of the biggest causes of administrative inefficiency is the duplication of data. Because there are multiple users of the compliance data required, data must be supplied in different formats and at different levels of detail. As a result, multiple forms, often containing the same basic data, must be completed.
Duplicating data is always inefficient and risky, especially when being supplied by different people. It results in conflicting information, increases the risk of errors, and causes delays, as data required, is often interpreted differently.
How many times have you wasted precious time verifying the incorrect contractor because their name has been incorrectly abbreviated or misspelt?
Using a software solution that consolidates data into 1 platform allows data to be input once, and then extracted into multiple different formats with the relevant security and permission controls. This means that each person who must input data need only input data that is not already supplied. Understanding what is required for input is easier because the basic data they need can be pre-populated from the already supplied data.
Make sure to get engagement from your team:
Wasting time looking for information causes a great deal of frustration and often results in people avoiding or putting tasks off. Delayed or incorrect compliance therefore increases.
In todays COVID world, data needs to be accessed offsite – all while navigating the minefield of security and protocols required to keep your data safe
Quick access to data is also critical because, as this year has seriously taught us, life does not go as planned and a business needs to be able to quickly process information when this happens.
EHS software solutions like Rapid Contractor Management will not only store data centrally, but will also allow the authorised personnel to access that data from anywhere, from any device and at any time. Cloud-based solutions allow data access from your smartphone/tablet/laptop or computer. They will also ensure that the information requested complies with security protocol.
The use of dashboards that EHS software solutions offer also make monitoring compliance easy – no need to spend time understanding what has & has not been done correctly, time can be spent dealing with non-compliance!
Communicate your compliance requirements clearly & consistently
What would you do if the contractor you hired to hot weld on your site burnt your business down because the welder they used was an illegal immigrant without a hot welding certification? Incidents like this could easily occur if someone forgot to ask the contractor, who your business had been successfully using for several years, to supply the proof of identity of the employees they would be using on-site that day!
It is critical that you are able to categorise your contractors and suppliers and then to ensure that, based on their risk category, all their compliance requirements are correctly requested. It is equally important to ensure that the instructions they are given are clear, easy to understand, and easy to supply. When they are not, much time is wasted in chasing the contractors or suppliers who are struggling to comply, checking data supplied and amending and clarifying required with the contractor.
Different employees in your organisation requesting this information also puts you at risk and causes inefficiency.
Below is an example of a common contractor compliance process – with many steps. EHS software solutions allow you to set your requirements up once, automatically request the right data with clear and concise instructions every time. Significant time is saved in this way and the risk of error is also much reduced!
These are a few examples of how you can genuinely save your business time and money and also increase compliance and reduce risk. It does require you to spend time planning and putting these controls in place on a platform that can deliver these results for you. The investment is worth it – do the job properly once and it will be right every time after that!
OVS Solutions, the Africa Licensee of Rapid Global, have a great contractor management solution that is used by over 3 million users worldwide. It services both SME’s and large international corporations. OVS Solutions, the Africa Licensee of Rapid Global, also have a great support team who are available to assist with live demonstrations, user guides, and relevant information you may require.