The use of contractors for electrical maintenance and service work is critical to the ongoing operations of many organizations and the economy. The past many years has seen continued growth in the use of electrical contractors by commercial and industrial organizations as well as public institutions. Electrical contractors offer many advantages to the hiring organization, including:
- Staff Augmentation – contractors augment permanent staff for short term projects, such as shut-downs,
- Cost Savings – contractors can help reduce an organization’s labour costs in some situations compared to hiring permanent employees,
- Talent – hiring contractors can be a way for companies to access specific skills and experience not available within their electrical staff,
- Labour Shortages – the recent skilled trades shortage – especially electricians – means that many organizations have no choice but to turn to contractors.
However, bringing on contractors can also introduce some risks to the hiring organization.
- Local Knowledge
While the contractor might have the skills to perform the necessary work, they lack the critical knowledge of the organization’s electrical infrastructure and equipment and access to Single Line Diagrams, electrical lockout points, equipment diagrams and service manuals to name a few.
Staff electricians have experience servicing equipment and can rely on that inherent wisdom to work safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, this experience often resides “in their heads” and not written down where others with less experience – like contractors – can access it.
Even though contractors are not employed by the hiring organization, there is a duty to ensure they work safely and comply with electrical safety regulations and practices. While hiring organizations can ensure that contractors have necessary qualifications during the hiring and on-boarding process, task-specific compliance steps and the associated documentation – such as job safety plans or risk assessments signed-off by the contractor and approved by the supervisor – can be difficult and time-consuming for contractors to provide.
This is where a solution like e-WorkSAFE can help. The e-WorkSAFE mobile app provides workers – both employees or contractors – with information about the equipment and infrastructure right through the app. It also provides a place for permanent staff to capture the experience they’ve gained over the years making it available to others. Finally, the e-WorkSAFE app ensures that the contractor completes job safety plans compliant with CSA Z462 and approved by the supervisor and creating an audit-ready, digital document.
Contractors are most effective when they can integrate into the hiring organization’s team/operations.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have the contractors use the same safety systems as permanent employees. In the case of e-WorkSAFE, contractor access can be provided seamlessly as part of the contractor on-boarding process.
Investing in proven technologies such as mobile apps for electrical job safety planning can benefit both employees and contractors and can also significantly reduce the risks to the hiring organization as well.
For more information on how e-WorkSAFE can improve your workplace electrical safety and compliance measures please visit at eworksafe.ca.