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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard Magazine

Contractor management: Facility to manage

Facilities management companies employ a mix of in-house staff and external contractors. We asked two major players about their approach to managing contractor health & safety.


Risk management is a critical part of our outsourcing offering to our clients. We self-deliver a large proportion of our services, but we maintain a core group of contractors to provide specialist services. Service quality, reliability and safe working practices are critical components of our contractor supply chain, as they have a direct impact on our clients’ workplaces and our reputation.

OCS has a robust and systematic approach to contractor engagement and management, based on prequalification, induction and ongoing communication. We supply all prospective contractors with a pre-qualification pack, which outlines the importance of health and safety to us. This pack includes a detailed checklist, assessment criteria and an obligation to provide evidence of their safety systems.

This material sets the tone for our relationship and what we expect of each other. The assessment material is designed to determine the contractor’s understanding and ability to manage health, safety, quality and environmental risk.

We acknowledge that there are differing levels of capability, and where a smaller contractor shows a genuine commitment to health and safety but might not have all of the procedures in place, we partner with them to ensure they have the right documentation and practices embedded into their business. In the early stages of the relationship, more direct supervision by OCS FM Managers is required to support that understanding.

Once approved, we upload the contractor data into our online risk management system (Vault), which is monitored regularly by the HSEQ team. A full review is undertaken annually. An OCS FM Manager then inducts the contractor’s employees via the OCS Contractors’ Passport to Safety programme, which each contractor employee signs off on.

Regular safety updates and initiatives are then communicated to the contractor’s employees and nominated H&S representative, to ensure current knowledge.


OCS itself is accredited to several schemes, via major clients. These are updated every two years, where we demonstrate an effective health and safety management system, as well as providing specific information on the management of hazards and risks (including contractor management).

Given that the majority of our contracting chain are smaller businesses, we have found that these schemes can be quite daunting. We have elected instead to adopt the same principles into our own prequalification systems and work in partnership with our contractors to build H&S capability and compliance.


We regularly observe, review and audit our work activities and those of our contractor supply chain. The frequency of these observations and reviews will depend upon the nature and circumstances of each contract, but are addressed consistently by way of an observation checklist which is then logged into our risk management system.

Any non-compliances or examples of poor practice are identified, with remedial measures and timeframes agreed with the contractor. Any incidents which arise are investigated and a similar root cause and remedial action process followed. OCS is committed to Zero Harm, but this does not equate to zero tolerance, with Just Culture principles being applied. We believe that a partnership focus to improving safety compliance is the most effective approach.


We recognise that the tone is set from the top of the organisation, and that senior OCS managers must lead by example. We have made a commitment to our contractors via the Contractors Initiative from the Business Leaders’ Health & Safety Forum, where we have committed to the three key tenets of Ownership, Management and Measurement.

Health and safety is an integral part of OCS strategy. We regularly demonstrate this through executive site visits or frontline supervisor reviews, specific H&S KPIs and safety updates.

We see our contractor chain as an extension of our business. The health and wellbeing of all who engage with us is one of our core values as a private family owned business. By stressing the importance of H&S to us as individuals (as part of our “Personalising Zero Harm Culture” strategy), and regular communication, we believe we can make a positive change to the way H&S is viewed in our industry.


As a facilities management services provider who manages our clients’ risk, we recognised early that the ground was shifting dramatically. Consequently, we have invested heavily in technology through our online Vault system. This enables us to enhance our reporting immediacy and transparency, to benchmark risk, and allows senior management to review compliance and demonstrate due diligence. We continue to engage with our technology supplier to develop better contractor management tools, including portals for the free flow of contractor worker information and evidence.

We have also taken the opportunity to engage closely with our clients, as they too consider the impending changes, to establish consistent reporting regimes, evidence of cooperation and consultation and compliance evidence.

As part of a global business, our managing director and GM HSEQ participate in a global sector focus group dedicated to H&S. This enables us to draw on best practice from the 53+ countries in which we operate, including the UK and Australia which have more stringent standards. This enables us to import and refine pre-tested processes and effective communication methods for our staff and contractors.

Lastly, we have embedded H&S-related questions into our employee engagement surveys to ensure that we track whether the key messages have been understood.


PAE (New Zealand) provides facilities and asset management services through a 350+ strong in-house team of trades, services and facilities management specialists located across 16 sites. The core team is supported by a network of over 500 sub-contractor relationships.

Our contractor strategy is to select subcontractors which are ethical, have a cultural alignment to PAE, stand by the work they deliver, operate in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, and are willing to work openly and collaboratively.

Each subcontractor is selected for a contract individually or nationally depending on regional or site characteristics or restraints. This ensures they are selected based on the best possible solution they can deliver to a specific PAE customer and ensures that they have an understanding of the requirements on site. For example, when selecting subcontractors for a petrochemical customer, an understanding of this type of environment is evaluated at a much higher level as part of our subcontractor selection, than if we were selecting a subcontractor for a non-petrochemical site.


PAE is prequalified with CPNZ (now called Prequal) as a requirement of some of our commercial customers, but many of the typical subcontractor companies we engage are smaller operations and are not currently prequalified through a third party supplier. We manage the selection and engagement process by requiring a potential subcontracting company to complete a robust prequalification questionnaire. This must be completed before any contractual arrangement is entered into, the objective being to screen all potential subcontractors to ensure they have the relevant systems, experience and capability to undertake their tasks safely, to the highest standard and with environmental aspects considered.

The screening criteria cover the following main areas:

  • • 
    General business information.
  • • 
    H&S, including commitment, performance, accreditation, and having a robust H&S management system.
  • • 
    Quality, including commitment, accreditation and evidence of insurance.
  • • 
    Environment, including commitment, accreditation, waste management and incident management.

Of course price is also a factor to be considered in the engagement process, but PAE considers it critical to have assurance that it is engaging a company capable of managing its risk when carrying out work for PAE on customer facilities.

PAE sets KPIs for each subcontractor, based on service performance and compliance with relevant safety requirements. We currently monitor subcontractor performance by holding formal performance meetings to keep communication channels open, as well as ad-hoc meetings as required in order to maintain a high standard of service delivery.

All subcontractors also undergo an induction as part of the engagement process when clear health and safety and performance expectations are set. This is followed up by a refresher on an annual basis. On some of PAE’s customer sites, it is also a requirement for all subcontractor workers to be inducted into the customer site.


If we become aware – from our auditing or reporting processes – that a subcontractor is not meeting our H&S expectations, we will arrange for a meeting to investigate the reasons for the poor performance. If the issue is isolated and minor in nature, PAE will require the individuals concerned to undergo a re-induction and to be provided with evidence that the subcontractor company has also addressed the issue with the workers as appropriate. A timeframe will be set for improvement and if this is not met the contract with the subcontractor will be terminated. This provision is built into all contracts entered into with subcontractors. In the case of a serious breach, PAE has the ability to immediately terminate the contract with the subcontractor. PAE cannot allow sub-standard H&S performance to occur on its customer sites.


By setting clear expectations at the time of engagement of a subcontractor, PAE has the ability to positively influence the subcontractor’s approach to health and safety. It has been noticeable over recent years that smaller subcontractor companies have been slowly coming to the realisation that they can no longer continue to operate without a robust health and safety system and well trained workers. There have been many instances where PAE has proactively assisted a subcontractor to raise the standards of its systems by sharing information and providing guidance on how they can achieve this. In the past there has been a real disincentive for small subcontractors to invest money in H&S systems as it affected their ability to be competitive in a tender process. Today, a company cannot take the risk of engaging a subcontractor without good health and safety systems and as a result the tendering process is becoming more evenly balanced.


PAE has always encouraged the establishment of strong relationships and a collaborative approach to health and safety with its customers, subcontractors and employees. We anticipate taking this one step further when the new Health and Safety at Work Act is introduced by taking the lead in encouraging all parties at each of our contract sites to work closely together under a more formal structure. It is envisaged that one initiative could be the establishment of a health and safety committee which could comprise representatives from a customer company or organisation, key subcontractor companies, and our own people. This would enable a more effective level of consultation, cooperation, development of processes and procedures and wider sharing of information to occur, with a consistency of approach across all parties involved in the service delivery.

Thomson Reuters

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