Time for Plan D in EHS – Digitization

May 26, 2020 Christine Adeline

Tackle the complex issue of contractor safety by using digital solutions. 

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 specialized 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.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”  ~ Charles Darwin, 1809

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 digitized workflows might just be the smartest way forward.

Let’s consider 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 organizations 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 a number of benefits and help overcome these challenges. Consider cloud-based software with integrated Contractor Safety Management, like SAI360 for EHS from SAI Global.  SAI360 is a cloud-first risk management platform with modern ethics and compliance learning content.

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 digitized 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 setup 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 analyzed 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 analyze the impact of COVID-19 cases.

As resilience and risk-readiness is being redefined on a daily basis, 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.


Visit our pandemic information center, which includes reading materials, podcasts, videos and other best-practice guidance around managing business continuity, compliance, and health and safety risks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Learn more about our EHS solutions.

Or, contact us to see how SAI Global has helped organizations like yours.           

About the Author

Christine Adeline

Christine Adeline, VP Product Management and Product Marketing at SAI Global, has worked in the EHS software industry for more than 14 years. During this time, Christine has worked for some of the largest organizations in the EHS software market in numerous capacities from implementation, project management and advisory roles through to her current position. Through working closely with leading industry analyst firms such as Verdantix, Gartner and Forrester Christine has an enviable knowledge of the EHS software industry and its vision for the future.

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