Under the Chain of Responsibility legislation (CoR), compliance is everyone’s concern – anyone that holds influence, is responsible. It’s not just a case of implementing policies and then hoping for the best, or assuming you’re only accountable for your own actions. If anyone in the logistical chain breaches regulations, you’re potentially liable and not just in regard to the drivers actions; this can be the warehouse manager, the 3rd party logistics service used, or the CEO.
This extends to subcontractors. Given the fact that all large transport operators use subcontractors in some capacity, it’s obvious that businesses need to consider how they supply the necessary information and tools to complete work safely, efficiently and within regulatory guidelines. You can’t just contract compliance out with the work.
Here are three ways to ensure that both you and your contractors are covered.
Provide Effective Inductions
Too often, subcontractors are treated differently to an organisation’s full-time employees. But if they’re doing work as part of your project, site or operation, it’s your duty to provide a proper induction into the company’s policies & practices. This means ensuring they’re aware of the necessary requirements when operating vehicles or machinery, and offering hands-on training to apply safe practices. It’s not enough to bury induction materials on your corporate intranet and expect workers to find them. A full orientation and training session should be the first step in their time with you – including testing that they’ve understood and absorbed information before they start work.
Document Your Policies
To avoid putting your business at risk, include safety policies and compliance requirements in any official documentation, such as contractor agreements. These should detail what is expected of them in terms of compliance, and explain your right to enforce these policies or take appropriate action, if they’re found to have breached regulatory guidelines. Including this information in your company-wide health and safety policy can help you to enforce the same expectations across all your employees, no matter their capacity.
Managing compliance is particularly challenging when you have little visibility into how your drivers and operators are working. If you’re dealing with contractors that are out of the depot for long stretches of time, or working in remote areas, you need real-time data from telematics and GPS tracking devices to give you the full picture. Monitor rest breaks to check if they’re meeting fatigue management regulations, and get current information on maintenance and mass checks to confirm that vehicles are up to standard. An in-cabin display that provides the driver with all this information, as well as updates on speed and safe driving practices, will empower contractors to manage their own obligations to the CoR while providing verifiable objective evidence of compliance.
Don’t Leave It Up To Chance
It’s not worth the risk. Safeguard your business by giving employees the tools they need to stay compliant and documenting your safety policies and expectations. Contractors only pose a risk if they haven’t been effectively trained and advised on the requirements of the job, so make compliance second nature with comprehensive induction processes coupled with an effective monitoring and review process.