How Contractor Screening Can Go Wrong and How To Get It Right

Effective contractor screening is imperative for maintaining your company’s culture and for limiting mishaps on the worksite. Without systematic screening measures in place, you’re leaving plenty of room for error or accidents because you don’t have a clear snapshot of your workers’ backgrounds.

Essentially, contractor screening is the preventive medicine that makes the doctor irrelevant or at least far less frequent. Avoid the mishaps and take care of this now, if you haven’t already.

There are a lot of contractor screening services out there. In this post, we’ve pulled together some best practices for determining that you’re moving forward with the best partner.

Basic Requirements That a Contractor Screening Service Needs to Check

If you’re working with an effective company, they’ll be sure to take care of these basic contractor screening factors when onboarding new hires. If they don’t cover one of these items, they may not be the best partner for your business.

  • Criminal Background Check
  • Drug Testing
  • Education, Employment & Reference Verification

Now, most contractor screening services will advertise that they check all of these areas, but the real question is, are they checking them effectively? You can find out by researching their reputation and asking for references. Luckily, reputation management is critical in today’s digital world. Online reviews are easy to find and easy to verify.

Also look for the speed with which they perform screenings, as well as checking to see if they’ve ever had any contractors with significant red flags slip through the cracks. Do your due diligence in research before signing any contracts to save headaches in the future.

Ensure Industry Specific Contractor Screening

After you verify that your service is covering the necessary bases in a thorough and efficient method with plenty of verification to back them up, you should consider whether or not they are experts in your industry. Every worksite has its own unique needs, so all contractors should be able to meet your requirements.

Industry-specific contractor screening programs will go the extra mile to screen prospects for whether or not they have proper training. Also, these focused solutions may offer training tools so that untrained prospects that pass a background check (and provide a clean drug test) can graduate and become members of your team, which is always beneficial in this difficult labor market.

Benefits of the Right Contractor Screening Partner

Save Money: Overall, contractor screening will save you money. Your organization will avoid the high costs associated with accidents that occurred from a lack of training, theft, or some other unfortunate accident. There are also costs you need to consider that might not be glaringly obvious. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that for workers in construction, each nonfatal occupational injury or illness in 2015 resulted in 13 median days away from work.

Save Time: Proper screening will also save your organization time. Most importantly, the screening partner will manage all of the time-consuming information gathering processes. In a way, this is also a cost-saving — opportunity costs, but savings nonetheless. They will also help increase the speed of the process by helping vet and hire new contractors more efficiently so you can begin training and onboarding them quicker.

Leverage Expertise: When you work with a reliable contractor screening partner, you’ll be able to take advantage of their insight and knowledge of your industry. They can help you determine if the contractor is the right fit before they step on the worksite. They can also help protect you from liability due to improper background screening, which keeps your organization compliant and able to perform its work without interruption.

This is an incredibly important vendor partnership. Make sure that you consider the gravity of this decision. Perform plenty of research on the success rate of all your potential vendors and have real conversations with them before entering an agreement. Finally, prioritize a vendor that specializes in your industry.


If you have questions about the contractor screening process of finding a vendor, contact our team today by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

3 Key Tips for Effective Contractor Risk Management

Every rail and utility company would rather prevent risks and errors than have to deal with the clean up after an incident. That’s just common sense. When you put effective contractor risk management solutions in place, you can effectively work to prevent disasters or incidents. It’s almost always less costly to prevent a problem than to mitigate one. As a result, the right habits can help save you time, money, and give you peace of mind. Here are three steps you can take to ensure that your risk management is preventative, not reactive.

Effective Contractor Risk Management Tip 1: Contractor Screening

Contractor screening is one of the first steps to making sure you mitigate risk in the people you hire. It’s also the easiest method for problem prevention, saving your organization valuable resources like time and money while protecting the lives that matter most.

A proper screening process can:

  • Provide peace of mind and safety
  • Onboard workers that will fit the company culture
  • Save time and money from reduced training costs for contractors that may not fit the mold

How do you set up a good screening process? The fastest and most reliable way is to find a company that does an industry-specific screening. General screening programs may miss details specific to your industry’s needs, opening you up to more risk.

In addition, it helps to vet the company before you contract with them. Ask them to:

  • Explain their protocols to make sure that they have the right process for you
  • Show a proven track record for screening contractors
  • Provide references to check on their performance

Effective Contractor Risk Management Tip 2: Easy, Reliable, Current ID Cards

Contractor ID cards help you make sure that the only people who are on site are the ones who should be there. Accidents happen when inexperienced people are in places they don’t know how to navigate safely.

Don’t think that you can sit down at your computer and whip out a design for a new set of ID cards. A reliable ID card system incorporates measures that make the cards difficult to fake to prevent people from fraudulently gaining access.

Don’t think you need ID cards? Here are some good reasons to consider them. They are:

  • Easy to manage and distribute
  • Ease of tracking employees
  • Easy to quickly revoke access in the event of a red flag situation

Also, consider the benefits of digital identification, which is definitely the trend moving into the future. Digital IDs allow for increased protection and quick revoke of access when needed. This form of identification also provides real-time tracking technology, which can help you identify where contractors are located at all times and increase the efficiency of processes such as timesheets.

Effective Contractor Risk Management Tip 3: Install Effective Safety Training

Ongoing safety training is a key factor in risk management. Here are some things to consider when developing your organization’s effective safety training:

  • Keep it current. Update safety training programs when you acquire new technology and when the industry develops new best practices.
  • Keep it consistent over time. Long jobs can lead to complacency, so the best safety training programs focus on upholding standards through the whole project.
  • Include special training. When dealing with high-risk projects or high-risk micro jobs, special risks can arise and these circumstances typically require special training to keep your contractors safe.

Contractor risk management requires constant vigilance. The right systems, however, can make a seemingly daunting task much easier. Essentially, enacting a contractor risk management system that enforces good habits will reduce the risk of problems.


If you have questions about keeping your contractors safe on the worksite, do not hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking here or below. Thank you for reading!

 

How Does Your Contractor Training Program Answer These Three Questions?

No one can tell the future, nor can we know the exact causes of each and every accident in the past. What we can do, however, is be as prepared as possible. Preparation for your contractors begins with your background screening process, which helps ensure that you’re hiring trustworthy people.  After that, you have to rely on your contractor training program. As technology changes, we need to change, too. If you haven’t updated your contractor training program recently, it would be wise to do a review. Here are three lenses through which you can look at your program.

Are We Doing Enough Contractor Training Program Repetitions?

Accidents are an unfortunate reality in the rails and utility business. Occasionally you read about them in the paper. When that happens it’s an opportunity to take a look in the proverbial mirror. No matter how good your training program is, it never just stays the same. It will always need to grow and evolve with the technology and the equipment.

Here are some suggestions to help you make sure you have the right repetitions in your standards:

  • Review the standards set for your repetitions before you have approved a contractor to execute the job.
  • Ask your team whether these standards fully prepare a contractor to safely execute the job. Does the number of repetitions reflect the complexity of the new equipment and new designs?
  • Ensure that your training programs enforce your standards. Standards mean nothing if they aren’t put into practice.

Do Our Contractor Training Landmarks/Goals Meet Current Needs?

The old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” But that’s not quite true. Practicing the wrong thing or practicing inadequately will only reinforce poor performance. Perfect practice makes perfect. Consider how your training landmarks reflect the actual skills your contractors will need.

Top performers study past accidents and ask how those employees were trained. You can learn a great deal about safety from incidents where training has failed. If you can identify skills they lacked that might cause an accident, you can include it as a landmark in your own training program. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What exactly were they required to do before completing their training?
  • Are your contractors getting training on each step of their work?
  • Do you need to add more landmarks for your new contractors to achieve before the training wheels come off?

Setting the right landmarks ensures that your repetitions teach the skills that your contractors need to ensure safety.

Have We Done Enough “Game Speed Training?”

Training does not begin with full speed, high-pressure activities. New employees aren’t asked to parachute into new environments and operate machinery at top speed. Progression is required. What’s important is that, at some point, your trainees do reach full speed while still within the training program.

When the job heats up and the pressure mounts, you want your employees to have trained in high-speed situations. That way, they can remain calm and react as they were trained to do, minimizing mistakes and accidents.

The goal of every safety program is zero accidents, but it requires a well-designed, up-to-date safety training program. As technology changes, your training program should, too. Use the above guidance to help you review your training program.


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

 

 

9 Reasons to Modernize & Simplify Your Contractor Management

Communication is paramount when you’re working on a large, fast-paced, and layered project that includes a lot of moving parts. One of the most important factors to success is that the field and its workers communicate efficiently with the main office.

For example, every work order, no matter how small or large the adjustment, must be tracked to ensure total accuracy. Plus, at the end of a job, you’re going to have to explain why certain projects required more hours than you had anticipated. The swiftest way to increase efficiency and to track every moving part is to leverage software.

To help you prepare your worksite for the most effective contractor management, here are nine reasons why your company should embrace field software management technology:

  1. When used effectively, the software can cut your paperwork time in half.
  2. It allows you to access more accurate details for every aspect of a project, with minimal effort.
  3. Provides real-time status updates for multiple jobs and worksites, which can be helpful for leaders managing large crews, especially in industries like rails and utilities.
  4. Enhances communication between the field and the office thanks to dedicated tools for reporting data.
  5. Daily reporting allows you to clearly justify the hours worked on a job that perhaps went over budget, because of unforeseen obstacles or added scope.
  6. Allows for GPS Tracking to monitor the location or contractors on the worksite.
  7. Easily integrates with your accounting software and HRIS platforms.
  8. Creates an opportunity to track payments and ensure that finances are on track.
  9. Map View of all your active jobs across the country.

To learn more about contractor management systems, here are some software options that you can research to see what fits best with your organization and its needs.

And for more software options, visit this post.

 


 

We’re here to be your resource for contractor risk management, especially for those working in the rails, utilities, and venue management industries. If you have any questions about how to make your worksite as efficient as possible, 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.

Photo ID Badges vs. Digital ID Badges — What’s the Right Fit for Your Company?

If you think it’s time to reconsider how you identify contractors and vendors, you’re not alone. Many organizations assess the pros and cons of different types of ID badges to keep a constant focus on the increase in worksite security. Outside of security, you’ll also need to consider how easy it is for your team to get buy-in from contractors, distribute the new badges, and then revoke them when the job is done. Also, it wouldn’t hurt if the cards didn’t take a big bite out of your budget, right?

In 2017, the two most secure options were photo ID badges and digital ID badges. In this post, we’ll review the benefits and downsides of both options to help you decide which is best for your company.

Factors to Consider with Digital ID Badges

Digital identification can offer greater security for your worksite and allow for real-time tracking. Here are some of the factors to consider when looking into options for digital ID badges.

Security

Adoption and Distribution

  • All your team needs to do is download an app and claim your business, making for a simple adoption process.
  • After downloading the app, you have access to a web-based management system of your company. Then, you can invite employees and contractors to download their digital ID by downloading the application.
  • One minor issue with these types of digital ID badges is if your employees do not have smartphones. Although this is rare with an estimated 80% of all adults in the United States owning a smartphone in 2018, there are hybrid solutions available where employees without smartphones can use printed photo ID badges instead.

Cost

Factors to Consider with Photo ID Badges

Photo ID badges were once the standard and while there are still benefits to the physical badges, there are some drawbacks especially with the advent of digital options.

Security

Adoption and Distribution

  • If your organization opts for photo ID badges, you’ll need to work with a reliable provider to get off the ground quickly. Then, in the future, you may choose to purchase the whole printing system for in-house use.
  • You could also buy an identification card printer so that you can print your own. This option may not always provide the same level of security as working with a professional provider.
  • If you decide to print your own, your team can go through a one-hour training session with the card manufacturer so that you know how to make your own.
  • You’ll need to purchase a barcode scanner only if you buy a system that prints barcodes onto cards.
  • Temporary passes are more difficult to manufacture when using photo ID badges and take a lot of manual monitoring to ensure the cards are returned once access to the worksite is revoked.

Cost

  • Buying a card system is going to start at around $1,000 and can go up to $2,400 or beyond.
  • If you decide to print in-house, you will need to buy the actual cards and the ink.

Overall, digital ID badges appear superior to the photo ID badges, specifically in regards to security and costs. Also, when you think about how each of these products is positioned to evolve moving forward, the digital ID app is going to keep your organization updated on new features that will make your life easier and more secure. In general, photo ID badges remain static. If they do evolve, it requires you to buy an entirely new system.


If you have any questions about contractor identification, do not hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking here or below. Thank you for reading!

 

 

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

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.

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.

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.