Security Badge – How to Spot the Fakes

When monitoring large sites, such as those in industries like rails, utilities, and event venues, security can become a major issue. Many of the workers are contracted and, as a result, are unfamiliar with one another. These types of scenarios make it easier for strangers to stroll in and create a security concern, which is why ensuring the authenticity of every security badge is critical. Some of the benefits of security badges include:

  • Prevent theft of equipment and construction materials
  • Control access to the construction zone and work site
  • Keep accurate records of all individuals who enter and leave the construction site
  • Ensure that only qualified individuals are working in the area
  • Provide a safe and secure working environment

These benefits are completely compromised if someone creates a fake security badge. That’s why, in this post, we’re sharing just how easy it is to replicate a security badge as well as anecdotes of people getting into places where they shouldn’t be.

Spotting A Fake Security Badge

First things first, a security badge is very simple to make. Unless you’re using a scanning system that reads an internal chip or uses other technologies, making a simple identification badge is as simple as scanning a badge, switching up the person’s name and photo, printing it out, and then laminating it.

Identification fraud is becoming a huge issue, especially with the crackdown on illegal immigrants in the United States. According to Senator Charles Schumer, identification specifications only require social security numbers, names, and dates of birth, which makes it easy to create fraudulent IDs.

And while fake IDs may be primarily associated with college kids trying to get into bars underage, these span much deeper. For example, a man in Florida allegedly created fake identification and business ID cards to create fake checks, cashing them out at local stores. He got away with more than $300K before being caught.

It’s important to understand that with the advent of more and more online security breaches, personal identification information is becoming easier to steal. As a result, fraud is on the rise. This can directly relate to the security of your worksite if the stolen information is used to gain access with a fake security badge.

Utilize Digital IDs to Avoid Fraud

Overall, digital identification is safer than physical badges. Switching over to digital security badges is an investment of time and money, but the ROI, especially around incident prevention and remediation, makes the transition very valuable in the end. Typically, digital IDs use multiple layers of validation and can include everything from fingerprints to facial recognition. Similar to the technology used to access the latest versions of the iPhone. This is a beneficial and more secure method of access to worksites because it’s much harder to manipulate, especially when using one of the aforementioned methods of identification. Read more about digital IDs in this post.

Identifying Fake Security Badges

With so many different security badge options on the market, it can be difficult to identify a fake.  But if your team isn’t ready to make the switch to digital IDs, here are tips for identifying fakes:

  • If someone is unfamiliar to your team, ask them for a second form of identification
  • Look closely at their picture and make sure it matches
  • Try asking the person about details on their card or their position

Finally, it can be as simple as feeling the security badge. You will have a good idea of how your particular security badges feel. Make sure that you ask to hold it if you have any concerns.

Fraudulent badges are nothing new. Thanks to tighter security methods and stricter check-ins, fake IDs have been on the rise over the past 10 years. There are ways to create secure badges and monitor badge security. We suggest working with professionals to ensure that your worksite has the strongest security measures possible, especially when managing large teams of contractors.

If you have more concerns or questions about managing safety and protection in the rails, utilities, or even venue management industries, we’re your resource. If you have any questions about contractor identification, do not hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!



**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

How to Implement Site Safety Measures Using the POLICE Method

You likely have a tried and tested contractor security program in place.  You have invested time and money in training for your employees as well as your contractors on how to avoid the relevant hazards. But are you sure that your site safety protocols are being upheld? Or even effective? We are proposing something we call “The POLICE Method” to help maintain daily awareness of site safety requirements and keep your entire team engaged in the process.

Defining the POLICE Method to Help Increase Site Safety

The POLICE Method is a simple way to develop, implement, and monitor the security on your worksites, especially in rails and utilities, take a look:


All good site safety programs begin with a solid, detailed plan of action. Whether it’s planning for emergency situations or preparing the site for new contractor relationships, your team should always create a consolidated plan that details every scenario and aspect of your various work sites. To learn more about streamlining safety plans and protecting your company and its workers, take a look at this post.


Train and monitor your team and managers on all of the site safety measures and the plan you’ve developed. To ensure ultimate success, make sure you have all the necessary tools for overseeing contractors and for monitoring safety. Today, there are a growing number of technology solutions that can help with real-time monitoring, identification, and emergency reporting. Stay informed on the latest advances available to increase efficiency and safety.


One of the most effective aspects of an effective safety program is leading by example. To be an effective leader, you must follow the established protocols such as wearing the helmets, participating in the training, etc. Don’t expect your team and the contractors on your worksites to implement your site safety measures if you’re not.


Always keep an eye out for hazards on your worksites and push for timely corrective actions. Basically, if you see something, say something. And encourage your entire team to do the same. This goes beyond reporting an incident. Investigate why the conditions exist, look for the root cause, and again, strive for mistake-proof solutions. Today’s technology allows for real-time reporting, which can be extremely beneficial in emergency situations or for keeping hazard reports accurate and organized. Learn more about real-time reporting in this post.


A great coach notices when an issue arises aims to solve that issue in a timely manner, and shares best practices for ensuring those issues don’t continue. Act like a coach when implementing and enforcing site safety measures on your worksites. And most importantly, commend your team and contractors for following through with safe activity and high performance. Positive reinforcement and encouragement can increase productivity and lead to more efficient performance overall.


Once you have successfully implemented a site safety plan and encouraged your team to follow through with the new processes, you’ll want to perform regular evaluations to ensure everything is running smoothly and effectively. Look at performance and ask, “How is the program functioning?” Then, develop solutions and encourage continuous improvement through hands-on leadership.

The POLICE Method is one way to ensure effective site security. If you or your team have had success with a different method we’d love to hear about it. And, if you need assistance developing a process to make your worksite safer, get in touch with our team to talk through different solutions.



**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Is Your Contractor Safety Program Prepared For The 10 Most Common OSHA Violations?

There are many sources of potential hazards to consider when creating your contractor safety program. In this post, we’ll help you get better prepared for the 10 most common OSHA citations. We’ll also outline the guiding principles for how to build a complete contractor safety program if yours is in need of a reboot, while also defining a few of the common risks associated with typical contractor relationships, which your team likely deals with on a regular basis when working with large work sites.

Preparing Your Contractor Safety Program: 10 Most Common OSHA Violations

Below are the most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA. These are a great source for helping prepare your work site against to avoid safety citations and keep your contractors protected.

1) Fall Protection in Construction (29 CFR 1926.501)

Since falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths, it’s critical to establish preventative measures on the work site to prevent employees from falling off platforms or other areas in the building or site.

2) Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)

To ensure chemical safety in the workplace, you’ll need to provide the identities and hazards of the chemicals on the work site and make those clear and understandable to your workers. If your business works with hazardous chemicals, you must make sure they’re labeled and you’re displaying safety data sheets, also training workers to handle the chemicals properly.

3) Scaffolding Requirements (29 CFR 1926.451)

In a Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) study, 72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these incidents can be prevented if managed properly through OSHA standards.

4) Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)

An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect workers against harmful environmental hazards, which could cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases, or death. If you’re dealing with any harmful air pollutants, make sure that your team members are supplied with proper protection.

5) Control of Hazardous Energy (29 CFR 1910.147)

Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, or other sources of machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers. Proper training on how to handle this dangerous equipment can help prevent incidents and injury.

6) Ladders as a Fall Risk (29 CFR 1926.1053)

Ladders and scaffolding are common elements on many work sites, including those in rails and utilities. Your company must set up work sites to prevent your contractors from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry work sites, which is in general, not that high.

7) Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)

There are many types of powered industrial trucks, each with their own hazards. Whenever machinery like trucks are involved on your work site, you must ensure that your contractors receive proper training and follow all protocols to prevent unnecessary incidents.

8) Machinery (29 CFR 1910.212)

Moving machinery parts on the work site have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed limbs. Safeguards and training are essential for protecting your contractors from these preventable injuries.

9) Training Requirements for Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.503)

With falls being so prevalent on work sites, and one of the leading causes of injuries, there are a few training requirements to instill to help prevent accidents. These include preventing known dangers on the work site, keep floors in work areas clean and dry, select and provide required protective equipment at no cost to contractors, and train contractors about job hazards in a language that they can understand.

10) Electrical Components and Equipment (29 CFR 1910.305)

Working with electricity has its risks. When work sites contain hazards such as overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies, there is special training required. Always provide the appropriate training for these work sites to prevent hazards.

How to Build a Complete Contractor Safety Program

If you feel like your current contractor safety program is vulnerable, there are steps to take to build your program and make it more robust to meet OSHA standards. First and foremost, conduct an internal audit of your program based on the above hazards and common violations. If you’re not addressing the safety concerns specific to your work site, take the proper steps to mitigate these risks by boosting training protocols or reducing hazards on the job sites.

Other steps include:

  • Monitor all contractor activity at their location with real-time tracking or digital identification
  • Ensure the area in which the contractor employees are working are maintained safe and free of hazards,
  • Provide contractors with specific safety program requirements and monitor training and supplement as needed

If you didn’t see an alarming safety concern on this top 10 list and have one of your own to address, please send it to us by clicking the contact us button below. We want to make sure we address all prevalent concerns.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions on contractor safety or screening as well.



**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

4 Reasons Why A Digital Contractor ID Is a Safer ID

One of your top priorities is keeping your work sites safe and secure at all times. Whether you’re concerned about vandalism, theft, or incident prevention, there are many obstacles facing your team in today’s world. That’s why it’s the perfect time to start leveraging technology to ensure that only authorized personnel are on the work site at any given time.

Making the switch from an old-school physical ID to a digital contractor ID is an investment of time and money, but the ROI, especially around incident prevention and remediation, can make the transition worth your while tenfold. In this post, we’ll discuss the reasons why digital contractor identification is worth the effort.

Digital Contractor ID: Discovering the Value

Overall, the more precise and accurate your identification system, the more secure your operations. This simple mindset will lead to more peace of mind on a daily basis and likely, less incident reports especially those involving unknown personnel on your work site.

Increased Security with Digital IDs

Digital identification is definitely a move into the future. Rail, utilities, and venue management are among the industries making changes to protocol and with the large contractor workforce, are in a similar vein to the construction industry. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, it’s estimated that industries as a whole will need to spend $57 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to keep up with global GDP growth. This infrastructure includes digitizing work sites. But, as mentioned, this move to digital presents an automatic increase in increased security.

Digital IDs are custom to each contractor, subcontractor, or vendor and cannot be lost, stolen, or replicated. Think of identification you may currently be using on your work sites. ID cards, badges, etc. can be easily misplaced or replicated, opening up holes in your security systems.

Typically, digital contractor IDs use multiple layers of validation and can include everything from fingerprints to facial recognition. Similar to the technology used to access the latest versions of the iPhone.

Controlled Access to Work Sites

A digital contractor ID allows your team to create controlled access to different areas of the work site. For example, if there is a security breach or an emergency lockdown needed, you can easily restrict access to different areas by simply overriding the system and placing specific controls on entryways and exits. Controlled access can also limit the amount of concern around unauthorized personnel wandering into sensitive areas of a job site.

Secure Temporary IDs

In addition to your contractors and vendors having controlled, secure access, you can also create highly controlled and secure access for guests that need more temporary time on your work sites. Digital identification makes the process more simple and secure because you can set access for a certain amount of time and cut it off once the assignment or visit is finished. This control is very important matters because guest ID’s can be anonymous on some job sites, which makes the ownership vulnerable.

Cloud Access for Real-Time Information

Digitization of identification is typically connected to the cloud, which gives your team real-time access to every person on the job site at any given time. Real-time reporting and access can help retroactively, such as in the event of an emergency or incident. It can also be imperative if a leader wants to check on the location of a contractor or members of teams if someone is needed for an assignment or task.

Cloud technology also opens the door for more integrations that connect directly to the digital contractor ID. This includes critical factors like training, emergency updates, and status reports, which can be shared directly with your operations team members.

In addition, cloud-based security technology provides access to one or multiple locations from any device, for moments when you need to quickly remove access to an area or use a lockdown mode to mitigate vandalism or a security breach. This comes in handy when you’re managing multiple operations and locations at once.

We’re your direct resource for safety and protection for those working in the rails, utilities, or even venue management industries. If you have any questions about contractor identification, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!



**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Calculating Worksite Safety Improvement ROI in Rails & Utilities

If you are managing risky environments in industries like rails and utilities, implementing effective worksite safety protocols can make all the difference. We understand the difficulties faced every day while maintaining effective operations with large teams of contractors and subcontractors. On first glance, an investment in worksite safety improvements may seem like an unnecessary expense but we’ve pulled together reasons why the ROI far outweighs the initial costs.


One company that participated in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program saved roughly $930,000 per year and reported 450 fewer lost-time injuries than its industry average.


Plus, as workers’ compensation costs increase and become more and more prevalent due to injuries on the job, OSHA continues to ramp up its enforcement efforts for companies that ignore safety altogether. In 2010, for instance, OSHA conducted 41,000 inspections resulting in over 96,000 safety and health violations, which was a 15% increase over the previous 5-year period.

When comparing the costs of implementing safety protocols versus the cost of a workplace incident in the rails and utility sector, you’ll likely always end up dishing out more dollars compared to what’d you save with prevention.

Worksite Safety: Types of Costs for Workplace Injuries

Before understanding the benefits of investing in worksite safety, you’ll need to know about the common costs that can occur when managing large contractor teams on vast sites like those in the rails and utility industries.

• Direct Costs

There are the direct costs involved in workplace injuries, which should be planned. These can be either expected or more common. For example, workers’ compensation is an expense that your organization will be required to pay, which is ultimately a protection for you. Expect to pay roughly 3% of total compensation for your team members for the insurance coverage.

In addition to workers’ compensation, you may also run into a situation in which it will be less of a headache to reach a settlement than battle out a dispute in court. For example, if one of your contractors gets a back injury while on the worksite, they can file for workers’ comp, but they may also try to get additional compensation directly from you, the employer.

• Indirect Costs

You’ll also need to include the not-so-obvious costs such as days out of work if a contractor gets injured on the job. This can directly lead to decreased productivity. In fact, rails and utilities are had the highest segment of workers out of the job in 2014. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 200 team members out of 10,000 were out of work for an average of 10 to 12 days. That’s nearly four times as much as office jobs. Those days off the job are costing your organization time and money.

There are also other costs that can occur if an injury occurs on the worksite including accident investigation and corrective action, training and retraining, repairing damaged property, the negative effects of decreased employee morale, which can lead to increased absenteeism.

Worksite Safety: ROI of Money Invested into Worksite Safety Programs

• Cash ROI

You may see benefits fast when you make a direct investment in worksite safety. According to Liberty Mutual, every dollar invested in safety can return three dollars. That’s a direct benefit that can easily be measured and appreciated. For example, one fall protection program implementation reduced an employer’s accident costs by 96%, taking costs from $4.25 to $ 0.18 per person-hour.

Also, investing in worksite safety can lead to lower workers’ comp costs. According to a 2012 study by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), there was a 9.4% drop in injury claims and a 26% average savings on workers’ compensation costs in the four years after investments in safety precautions on the worksite.

• Increased Employee Productivity

Similar to the indirect costs listed above, there are indirect ROI benefits when your organization invests in worksite safety. For example, when you make the work environment safer by taking a proactive approach, you increase morale and can reduce injuries. For one organization, that led to a 13% increase in employee productivity, which has a huge impact on your organization’s bottom line.

• Less Waste in Work Product

When worksites are safer by choice and through direct improvements, there can also be a direct impact on the amount of waste of actual products used during the job. According to OSHA, there was a 16% decrease in scrap product when the Ford New Holland implemented the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

• Greater Innovation

One of the most unexpected outcomes of investing in worksite safety is the increase in innovation. Overall, implementing programs such as better training protocols and monitoring can lead to better business performance outcomes, such as lower overall costs, innovation, continuous improvement, and higher profitability.

Don’t leave safety to chance. Start making proactive investments and choices to protect not only your workers but also your organization from liability and risks. To learn about direct ways in which you can mitigate risks on the worksite, contact our team today!



**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Contractor Risk Management Considerations in Modern Procurement

We have specialized in contractor screening and worksite protection services for many years. This means we also have a deep appreciation of the supplier qualification and review process that procurement leaders drive every day. It truly is the first wave of contractor risk management for your organization and critically important to your success. In fact, according to D&B Organizations, companies often lose as much as 7% of spending due to fraud.

In this post, we’ll share a resource for each type of business risk that can occur when you’re working with a large team of contractors and subcontractors.

Contractor Risk Management – Areas to Monitor

Strategic Risk

If your organization is unprepared or selects an ineffective procurement strategy, you may be left with inappropriate results. These results often lead to a lack of value or other negative outcomes. According to the UN Procurement Practitioner’s Handbook you can prevent strategic risks from the start by collaborating on the desired outcomes and objectives with your vendors or contractors. If you’re not initially satisfied with the results, you can continue looking for a better provider that’s more aligned with your internally agreed upon strategy.

Compliance Risk

Compliance risks come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s managing OSHA standards or keeping your contractors up-to-speed on training, you’ll need to work with your entire organization to manage compliance within your work sites.

According to D&B, the best practices for mitigating contractor risks include:

  • Establish standardized processes.
  • Validate potential contractors with rigorous due-diligence before hire.
  • Monitor contractor risk after hire.
  • Adopt a portfolio view that assesses and manages the collective risk of contractors across the entire organization.
  • Use automated reporting tools to strengthen management, transparency, and oversight.

While the D&B best practices are targeted for government contractor work, these can easily be applied to contractors hired for positions in rails and utilities. It’s critical to assess qualifications for contractors before, during, and after they are hired then monitor their training with real-time applications or reporting tools.

Another area of concern regarding compliance is contractor misclassification. Overall, your contractors must be completely autonomous, and not subject to the strict requirements expected of permanent employees. For more information on contractor misclassification and areas to monitor, check out this article.

Operational Risk

People are a primary cause of operational risk, which is defined by Basel Committee on Banking Supervision as the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people, and systems or from external events. This can result in fraud, theft, or human error and leave plenty of damage behind.

Operational risk is most critical in areas of rails and utilities that revolve around standard technology, such as a circuit board or any other hardware or software. When imperative data is exposed or able to be tampered with, contractors may have access, which leaves plenty of room for theft or human error.

Be sure to provide proper background screening and regular monitoring of all contractors on your work sites as a part of any complete contractor risk management strategy. For more information on operational risk, check out this presentation from the International Finance Corporation.

Financial Risk

There are plenty of costs surrounding waste that will begin to add up if not monitored. For example, the costs of partial, incomplete, or inadequately executed contracts can be huge, especially in rail or utility maintenance. In fact, these costs could lead to an avoidable failure. To mitigate these costs, you can implement a Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) to assess your contractor’s performance, both positive and negative, and get an up-to-date record on a given contract during a specified period of time. Read more about this service here.

In addition to monitoring waste, there is still a time and a place to perform credit checks on your vendors. Similar to the construction space, many vendors are heavily leveraged, these checks can help you ensure they’re financially stable and can help prevent a default or abandonment, which could fall back on your organization through heavy costs.

Finally, reputation matters. If a theft, attack, or data breach occurs within your organization, it can severely damage your brand and result in hefty financial implications. One way to prevent this type of risk is through proper contractor screening before and during the hiring process. Find out more about protecting your brand in our previous post on this topic.

We’re your resource for contractor risk management, especially for those working in the rails, utilities, and venue management industries. If you have any questions about ongoing screening and monitoring to manage your contractor and subcontractors, reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!




**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Site Security Best Practices for Large Mobile Workforces – Rails & Utility Focused

Maintaining site security in vast areas with limited resources and a far-from-unlimited budget can be difficult. But there are tools to that have a high ROI due to cost effectiveness and improved efficiency. In industries with widespread jurisdiction, such as rails and utilities, general safety is a priority, but in this post, we will focus on securing the valuable assets in these large areas.

Working solely with clients that have increasingly mobile team members, we’ve grown to understand the security challenges specific to large contract workforces. When access is granted to a high number of contractors, it’s increasingly difficult to maintain checks and balances.

For example, in the rails industry, vandalism can be common and seemingly unavoidable, especially when people are entering and exiting the work sites in high volumes. After an act of vandalism, the cost to refurbish a single railroad car can be upwards of $10,000. Thanks to the advent of perimeter security technology, it’s now fully manageable to increase site security for freight railroading. In one particular case, perimeter security was utilized through thermal cameras, which created highly reliable, real-time detection. Now, these cameras can be used to stop an incident in progress or prevent it altogether.

In addition to damage to physical assets, companies are also considering the world we live in and evaluating the potential risks involved with cyber-attacks. In Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility Survey, 600 utility professionals named cyber and physical security the most pressing concern for their companies. Nearly 75% of those professionals described cybersecurity an important issue. One way to mitigate grid security risks is to properly check contracted workers through comprehensive background screenings.

Let’s explore other best practices for increasing site security for large mobile workforces.

Site Security Begins Before Hiring Vendors and Contractors

Prevention is the name of the game when managing large mobile workforces across vast work sites. Work directly with your procurement team to develop strong supplier qualification criteria. Keep this criteria top of mind when performing background checks to guarantee consistent quality levels for all incoming employees, contractors, and subcontractors.

Stay Up-To-Date on the Latest Identification Technology

The future is mobile and the future is now. More and more apps and technologies are becoming readily available for managers with large mobile workforces. These applications allow you to track incidents in real-time and monitor your workforce and their qualifications easily and efficiently. As the costs of these technologies decrease, the overwhelming benefit of mobile identification and badges will become more widely available, making real-time reporting the new standard.

Move Towards a Cloud-Based, Centralized Access Control System

It’s virtually impossible to be in all places at once on your work site. But thanks to cloud-based technology, you can get close to making this a reality. Cloud-based security technology allows your team to manage one or multiple locations from any device, for moments when you need to quickly remove access to an area or use a lockdown mode to mitigate vandalism or a security breach.

Utilize Real-Time Location Tracking and Virtual Site Check-In

Tracking and GPS systems allow you to monitor contractors’ locations from any device, at any time. That’s why companies are moving towards digital vendor tracking for their mobile workforce. For example, some programs allow you to create a geofence perimeter to monitor when a contractor has entered and exited a work site. The benefits go beyond security and can help streamline billing and invoicing.

Perform Ongoing Screening to Ensure Consistent Brand Protection

It’s likely that you’re performing initial background checks prior to hiring, but you shouldn’t stop there. Regular screening throughout the vendor relationship is critical for consistent management of site security. Factors can change and if you’re not continually screening your vendors and suppliers, there could be changes, such as legal trouble, that could trickle down to your work site through vandalism or theft.

Remember that first comes prevention, then comes security management. By taking steps to mitigate risk from day one of your contractor and vendor relationships, you can help reduce overall issues when it comes to site security.

We are here to be a resource for anyone working in the rails, utilities, or even venue management industries. If you have any questions about contractor and subcontractor tracking or screening, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!



**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Establishing Contractor Best Practices as Operations Leaders in Rails & Utilities

To manage the safety and security of unsecured environments, communicate effectively with line management, and maintain compliance to keep OSHA away, you’ll need to establish benchmarks for your worksites. In this post, we’ll help you understand why it’s critical to create goals and contractor best practices around timeliness, budget, specifications, and safety to achieve the greatest success.

We’ll discuss how the best methods for establishing these goals and then how to approach the next steps for attacking and measuring for positive long-term results. Let’s get started.

Importance of Establishing Contractor Best Practices and Benchmarks

Some of the most highly sought after companies are setting quantifiable goals and measuring those on a regular basis to achieve amazing results. It’s much too easy, and common, to create an action plan, kick it off, and then forget to stick to the plan as time goes on. In fact, out of those who set personal goals around the New Year, nearly 90% fail to follow through. It happens to the best of us. But companies that attack their goals, measure results, and change the course of action based on those results are coming out on top.

Execution Example – OKRs

Take tech giant Google, for example. The innovative company borrowed an employee grading system, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), from Intel as a simple way to create structure around managing teams. To achieve success with OKRs, you’ll start by establishing an objective, then you’ll set up key results that are quantifiable and will help you hit your objective. It’s critical that your objectives are measurable and not general. You should also break the larger goal into smaller, bite-sized goals, which are easier to comprehend and thus, easier to achieve. For instance, let’s say you want to reduce worksite errors. Instead of making that a general statement, say that you want to reduce worksite errors by 15% then come up with three ways to achieve that goal in a six or twelve-month timeframe.

When working with multiple contractors on large worksites, such as those in rails and utilities, establishing best practices and quantifiable goals will ensure that you’re meeting your OKRs, while better managing your dynamic workforce. For example, if safety is one of your OKRs, you can create specific standards around your safety goals. These must then be understood and practiced by each vendor and measured to track incidents. Based on your results, you can adjust your standards to achieve better results.

Other Benefits of Benchmark Setting

Establishing best practices can also help innovate processes. When operations managers fail to benchmark, there is no way to evaluate performance and aim for higher performance. Best practices and benchmarking are critical, but they cannot simply be measured and forgotten. While measurements can identify problems, they don’t lead to actionable solutions. A qualitative approach is also essential in the benchmarking process to understand how to mitigate issues and come up with a plan to increase success moving forward. You can also work with other teams to bounce ideas back and forth to see how they handle similar issues and work together to create innovative solutions that will benefit the entire organization.

Executing a System of Tracking Contractor Best Practices to Maintain Compliance

Establishing best practices and benchmarks for success is the first step in increasing efficiency. Now you’ll need an effective method for tracking. Thanks to the advent of technology in the vendor space, there are digital tracking platforms that can help operations managers monitor contractors and subcontractors on worksites.

These platforms use GPS and wifi to provide real-time access to worksites with widespread workforces to help monitor contractor best practices such as safety and location check-ins. This technology can even potentially serve as an in-ear expert to walk individuals through tricky situations. And, as the cost of these technologies decreases with increased adoption and use, it will make post-incident reporting to OSHA, other regulating bodies, or contracting companies like Union Pacific much easier. Plus, the data collection will give real-time access to results, which will allow your team to evolve benchmarks as needed, allowing teams to stay agiler.

We are here to be a resource for anyone working in the rails, utilities, or even venue management industries. If you have any questions about establishing contractor best practices and the methods for monitoring, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!


**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Modern Supplier Qualification Strategies for 2018 in Procurement

On the dawn of a new year, there are a number of trends expected to influence the way procurement teams kick off relationships with suppliers. Working with these teams day in and day out, we understand your needs in the modern age. With technology making an impact and nearly every solution turning to digital, the methods for supplier qualification are changing… Fast!

In this post, we’ve compiled a collection of some of the bigger movements regarding supplier qualification, which are expected to make an impact in 2018. For procurement leaders working in rails, utilities, and venues, these strategies can contribute to reduced risk, more reliable service level agreements (SLAs), and higher quality relationships that begin on day one.

Leverage Various Digital Reviews to See Behind the Curtain

Many consumers today don’t buy a product on Amazon without reading the reviews. User-generated feedback is a trusted mechanism for making purchasing decisions and can also be a method used to verify the quality of a supplier or vendor. Online reviews do represent the truth and are increasingly impacting the B2B space.

In fact, a Corporate Executive Board survey found B2B buyers complete 60% of the purchase process before they ever directly engage with a vendor. Some of that “pre-purchase research” will be reading online reviews, on sites like Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List.

Also, each negative review costs the average business about 30 clients. These reviews matter to suppliers and are taken seriously. Before you engage with a supplier, you can look at how they handle their online reviews. Are they responding to negative feedback and offering a solution, or just ignoring the comments?

Another great place to find insight about your prospective supplier is by checking Glassdoor for employee feedback. This direct insight into the supplier’s culture and way of operating can help your team determine if the supplier is legitimate and treats their team members with respect. Online reviews from those on the inside and outside increase transparency and can reduce issues on your end if you catch red flags before starting a relationship.

If those two are not enough for you, here are 12 other sites to check business reviews.

Consider the Future of Procurement Technology for Supplier Qualification

In a world where digitization is king, integration of data is key. Advances in technology are allowing businesses to predict and respond more effectively to incidents and inquiries. Also, with the advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), digital technologies are opening the door to new, more efficient and intelligent ways of operating, which have a direct impact on procurement.

These digital platforms use data integrations to empower procurement leaders to make smarter, faster decisions across all levels of the supply chain by increasing the efficiency of the processes leading to better spend visibility, reduced risk, and improved relationships with suppliers.

Procurement teams are already starting to fully embrace these technologies. In a study conducted by Digitalist Magazine and the University of Applied Science Würzburg/Schweinfurt, the top priorities for 2018 are embracing Big Data and predictive analytics (72%) followed by AI (including machine learning) and cognitive computing (22%).

Check out our top five trends for increasing efficiency with subcontractors through improved tracking systems.

Integrate with your Operations Team Members

New technologies and digital platforms are impacting all levels of the organization, including operations teams. When you integrate with various levels and connect digital platforms to share data inputs and outputs, you can improve rating systems for speed and quality of delivery.

For example, mobile app-driven identification for worksites will allow for real-time access-control with a centralized manager dashboard. This will help improve supplier qualification for procurement teams by monitoring all contractors with up-to-the-minute data. For instance, if a contractor has not completed training, they will no longer have access to the worksite, which can lead to reduced risk.

In turn, by implementing technologies and these supplier qualifications strategies, you can help mitigate risk and increase the quality of SLAs. Better relationships can lead to less waste, reduced costs, and eventually, bigger bonuses for you and your team.

To learn more about tracking subcontractors for rails, utilities, and venues, get in touch with us today.


**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

5 Subcontractors Worksite Safety Tips for Rails and Utilities

For operations managers, managing contractors and subcontractors worksite safety in rails and utilities is a complicated responsibility to say the least. Working alongside many people in your shoes, we understand the challenges you face, every day. With more than 140,000 miles of rail in the United States, at least 200,000 miles of high voltage lines, and 5.5 million local connection lines, you’re monitoring large masses of land with multiple vendor relationships including lots of subcontractors. Plus, add on to that, extremely high daily burn rates and hazard potential as well as the problem with real-time reporting due to widespread worksites.

If you want to get on top of you subcontractors worksite safety in the rails and utilities industries, take a look at these five tips that can lead to lower risks and increased efficiency.

Top 5 Subcontractors Worksite Safety Tips:

1) Digital Verification for Multi-Employer Safety Policy

Based on OSHA policies, jobs with various types of contractors have varying rules for each type of employer regarding the reporting of worksite incidents. According to OSHA, the Multi-Employer Policy identifies the types of employers present on a construction project site, helps to determine the scope of safety duties and responsibilities for each employer type, and defines the reasonable care they are responsible for providing to ensure the safety of their employees.

When managing large rails and utilities sites with multiple contractors and vendors, you’re acting as the controlling employer and as the operations manager, it’s important that your team effectively communicates the responsibilities of each subcontractor to ensure quick and accurate reporting, reduced downtime, and minimal safety risks.

One method for minimizing risks and ensuring that protocol is met is implementing a digital tracking system to monitor relationships with subcontractors. Through these platforms, you can verify that each new team member has read the safety documentation and have them sign off on it before entering the job site.

2) Emergency Communication Protocols

In the event of an emergency or safety hazard, it can be difficult for subcontractors to file a report if they do not have cell phone service. Given the vast amount of ground covered by rails in the U.S., communication has always been a key challenge.

Using a digital tracking platform for contractor management can help improve reporting and can get you closer to real-time incident awareness for operations managers and stakeholders thanks to improvements in technology. In time, it’s expected that system integrations will grow more seamless and cellular/wifi reach will increase to about 95% coverage, which helps in more rural areas.

If using digital systems on smartphones, it’s important that your subcontractors keep their devices fully charged and have a backup charging device so they’re able to submit reports as soon as possible if and when necessary.

3) Safety Hazard Tracking and Remedy Process

To ensure proper tracking of safety hazards in rails and utilities, there must be a standard protocol for reporting and follow-up. To increase subcontractors worksite safety, they will rely on a trusted process to make you, the controlling employer, aware of any safety hazards. According to OSHA, the best way to mitigate risks and decrease the time to finding a remedy is by following these steps:

  • Create a site-specific safety program
  • Enforce the safety policy on each project site
  • Provide regular supervision of project activity and safety
  • Fulfill budget and schedule requirements
  • Exercise authority to correct safety hazards
  • Exercise authority to require other specialty employers to correct safety hazards
  • Conduct and document frequent and regular inspections of subcontractor site-specific work
  • Conduct and document frequent and regular safety meetings with subcontractors

Standardizing the documentation process helps create a log that can be easily referred to and tracked in the case of an incident, which can help lead to quicker resolutions and reduced fines for your organization.

4) Pre-Planning for High-Risk Days of Work

The number one contributing factor for fall-related injuries is a lack of pre-planning. As the operations team for the controlling employer, it’s your responsibility to adequately communicate if there will be specific hazards at any point during the job and send reminders before, on, and during those days. Consider using an automated notification system or management system for your contingent workforce needs.

5) Digital / Online Training for Worksite Risks

Over the past few years, we’ve seen increased adoption of digitally driven onboarding, training, and certification platforms. In the rails and utility industries specifically, the deeper adoption of web-based training and certification for contractors and subcontractors will empower operations managers and allows for real-time tracking and monitoring for these vendor relationships. This can create higher efficiency on work sites and reduce the need for in-person training. As a result, no more wasted days of in-person training or excuses when it comes to contractors or subcontractors not being up to speed.

We understand the needs of operations managers working in the rails and utilities industries. If you have any questions about how to increase the safety of subcontractors on your job sites, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!


**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.