Category: Contractor Management

Avetta® – BROWZ® Merger: What it means and why it matters

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Avetta BROWZ merger

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Hurdle and Leah Spaulding – Safety Services Company

Avetta® – BROWZ® Merger: What it means and why it matters

Last month, Avetta® and BROWZ®, two of the major Third Party Auditors (TPA) in the Contractor compliance management space, announced that they are merging.  The merged entity will take the name of Avetta® and is now one of the largest TPAs in the industry.

What does this merger mean for Contractors?

How does this merger affect contractors, who are wrestling with the day-to-day challenges of meeting TPA requirements in order to win work with Hiring Clients?

Although it’s a little too early to know for sure, our initial view here at Safety Services Company is that this Avetta®/BROWZ® merger will be good news for Contractors.  Why? In a nutshell, we feel it will ultimately help reduce the total compliance burden on the average Contractor.

As the market leader in helping thousands of Contractors get onto TPA platforms and meet their compliance requirements, Safety Services has witnessed firsthand the growing use of TPAs by Hiring Clients.  In order to obtain the Hiring Client work they want and need, many Contractors must meet compliance requirements that are increasing in number and complexity – and must do so on multiple TPA platforms!

TPAs are effective tools in Safety Compliance.

Third Party Auditors were created to solve a crucial need in contractor safety management.  Workplace health and safety is one of the most important focuses of Hiring Clients and Contractors alike.  Major injuries and loss of life are immeasurable and intolerable, making these requirements a vital part of the industry.  This has become a real challenge for many Contractors, especially Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that cannot afford their own Safety Department to oversee these constantly evolving requirements.  Therefore we believe TPA consolidation is a good thing – and we expect more to come.

Safety Services makes the process seamless for contractors.

At Safety Services we pride ourselves on being the Contractor’s friend. With a customer base of over 25,000 SMEs and Contractors, we understand what it’s like to manage a small business. The growing pressure on Contractors is strenuous enough, in terms of the administrative responsibilities from federal and local government.  Adding to that are the ever-increasing costs in labor and taxation. So, it’s no surprise that the requirements from the TPAs, such as completing lengthy questionnaires, can feel like one more burden to bear. We know that as the number of TPAs has grown, there are impacts on the Contractors that need to be understood and supported.  We also can appreciate and agree that for Hiring Clients the Contractor compliance management process is made simpler and more effective through the use of a TPA like ISNetworld®, Avetta/BROWZ®, PEC® or others.

We believe the Avetta®/BROWZ® merger is a positive step in the safety space.  This will mean fewer TPAs for contractors to navigate through in order to gain more work.  We also believe a company like Safety Services has an important role to play in making the TPA system function without excessive strain on smaller Contractors.  We have experience with and are experts on all of the various TPA platforms. Therefore, we can be an efficient and effective solution for Contractors, Hiring Clients and TPAs.  

At the end of the day, people matter most.

Here at Safety Services, we know that the most important thing at the end of the day is that each and every employee makes it home safely.  We are committed to helping you get the most from your safety programs to ensure this is achieved. In addition to helping you gain more contracts with Hiring Clients, implementing a great safety program will save lives, save you money and help you grow a successful business.

Have questions? Call (866) 730-1095 today to speak with one of our friendly safety consultants.

Walking Working Surfaces: Know the OSHA Rule Update

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Walking Working Surfaces OSHA Rule

On November 17, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Final Walking Working Surfaces Rule, for the purpose of better protecting workers at risk of falls from heights or on the same level. The Rule updates and clarifies standards, and adds training and inspection requirements. It will incorporate technology advances, best practices, and national consensus standards. OSHA updated “1910 Subpart D – Walking-Working Surfaces” (also known for covering “slip, trip, and fall” hazards) and added personal fall protection system requirements to “1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment.”

The rule will affect a variety of workers in the General Industry, from painters to warehouse workers. It will not have an effect on Construction or Agriculture standards.

The idea is to get General Industry caught up to the fall protection procedures already in place in Construction and improved upon by industry best practices. These changes also affect the fall protection elements throughout the General Industry regulation such as: “Subpart F Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle Mounted Work Platforms”, “Subpart I Personal Protective Equipment”, “Subpart N Materials Handling and Storage”, and “Subpart R Special Industries.”

OSHA Estimates

Annually, an average of 202,066 serious injuries and 345 fatalities occur as a result of falls from heights or the same level. By implementing this Final Rule, the agency hopes to prevent at least 5,842 serious injuries and 29 fatalities on average per year among affected workers. Employers are currently required to install guardrails as their primary method of fall protection; the Rule will allow those same employers to select their own fall protection system from an approved list of options to address specific fall hazards with targeted solutions.

The Final Rule

Will allow non-conventional fall protection methods in some situations, like low-slope roofs. Additionally, it will replace outdated General Industry scaffold standards with a requirement to follow the more current Construction scaffold standards, as well as phase out a dangerous exception for the outdoor advertising industry that allows qualified climbers to forego fall protection.

The General Industry

Will see updates to fall protection requirements in specific situations, such as hoist areas, runways, areas above dangerous equipment, wall openings, repair pits, stairways, scaffolds, and slaughtering platforms. Standards involving the performance, inspection, use, and maintenance of fall protection systems will see upgrades as well.

Under circumstances where fall protection is required (such as when individuals are working 4 feet or more above a lower level, or on runways, near wall openings or stairways, etc.), there are now numerous additional protection options. Here are some examples:

Guardrail System

A barrier along on unprotected side of a walking working surface.

Safety Net System

Stops falling workers before they hit a lower level or obstruction

Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)

A device (or combination of devices) which stops a fall before worker hits a lower level. It uses a body harness, anchorage, connector and even a combination of a lanyard, deceleration device, and lifeline. Body belts are not a PFAS.

Positioning System

A device which allows an employee to be suspended on a vertical surface and work hands free using a body harness or body belt.

Travel Restraint System

Eliminates the ability of falling off an unprotected edge using an anchorage, anchorage connector, lanyard, and body support.

Ladder Safety System

Eliminates or reduces the possibility of falling off a fixed ladder using a carrier, safety sleeve, lanyard, connectors, and body harness. Cages and wells are not a ladder safety system.

Rope Descent Systems

OSHA will mirror its current Powered Platforms standard by codifying Rope Descent Systems (RDS) used by window washers using a roof anchorage, support rope, descent device, carabiners, and a chair to perform work while suspended. Also, the Final Rule includes a 300-foot height limit for RDS use, and requires building owners to ensure in writing that anchorages have been tested, certified, and maintained to support 5,000 pounds per worker.

Ladder Safety Requirements

According to OSHA, 20 percent of workplace fatalities and injuries are a result of falls from ladders. To help remedy this, the Final Rule addresses fixed ladders, portable ladders, mobile ladder stands, and platforms. Current standards regarding the use of ladders in emergencies, or those which are an integral part of or are designed into a machine or equipment, will not be affected.

Fixed Ladders: These are permanently attached to a structure, building, or equipment. The Rule will phase in requirements for ladder safety systems or PFAS on fixed ladders which extend more than 24 feet, and phase out cages and wells.

Portable Ladders: Portable ladders are either self-supporting, or lean against a structure. The changes incorporated by the Rule focus on performance language rather than specification and design requirements. Examples include ensuring rungs and steps are slip resistant and that ladders are not placed on unstable bases, such as boxes or barrels.

Training

Employers who use personal fall protection and work in high hazard situations must be trained by a qualified person about fall and equipment hazards and fall protection systems so they can correctly:

  • Identify and minimize fall hazards
  • Use personal fall protection systems and rope descent systems
  • Maintain, inspect, and store fall protection equipment and systems

Retraining is required whenever:

  • Change in workplace operations
  • Change in equipment
  • A worker can benefit from additional training because of a lack of knowledge or skill

For help ensuring your business is prepared to incorporate the changes found in OSHA’s Final Rule, please visit www.safetyservicescompany.com.

Call (877) 849-1149 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

 

How to Effectively Maintain Your Contractor Management Account

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Maintain

 

Effective Contractor Management Solutions

In many industries, to work with Owner Operators (also known as Owner Clients), such as Chevron®, BP®, Shell Oil Company®, Pfizer® and many others, you must be qualified by a prequalification site. Some prequalification sites include – ISNetworld®, Avetta® , PEC Premier® , BROWZ, ComplyWorks®, Veriforce, Textura and Others. These auditors review, verify, and grade potential contractors and determine the eligibility of the contractor to work on their jobsites.

Most prequalification sites grade contractors based on the following elements:

  • Statistical Information: OSHA 300/A Logs, OH&S Statistics, TRIR, TRF, etc.
  • Health, Safety, & Environmental Program: Safety Manual, Safety Management System, HSE Manual, etc.
  • Insurance Documents: General Liability, Automobile Liability, Limits, Workers’ Compensation, Experience Modification Rates, etc.
  • Safety Training Programs: Weekly safety meetings, safety training videos/online courses, etc.
  • Questionnaire Information: Found in the MSQ™, PQF®, SSQ®, or equivalent

It is important to Maintain Your Prequalification Site Account to remaining eligible to work with these important Owner Operator companies. So, how can a company most effectively maintain these accounts? Below are 5 key best practices to ensure your ISNetworld®, PEC Premier® , ComplyWorks®, CQN® , or other online accounts are kept in compliance.

1.    Monitor

Consistent monitoring of your account is the backbone of effective maintenance. You should log into your account at least once a week. Many changes can happen between quarterly updates, such as the addition of new requirements, expiration of insurance documents, and renewal notices—just to name a few! Consistent monitoring and a hands-on approach will be very helpful when the more extensive prequalification site quarterly update requirements come around.

2.    Review

In addition to monitoring your account on a regular basis, it’s important to be proactive with your safety programs. Most important, your safety program should fall in line with and meet the requirements of your health and safety administration (OSHA for the United States, OH&S for Canada, HSE for the UK and Australia). Review the applicable codes and federal regulations and make sure your safety programs are compliant. After this is done, thoroughly review your Owner Client safety program requirements—they may actually be stricter than the legislative standards!

3.    Update

Whenever a change is required in your programs, review the changes requested against what you currently have written. Changes in policy requirements can be quite extensive and take substantial amounts of time to properly research and write, so be sure to set aside the proper time and resource.  Brand new requirements may have to be written from the ground up if you do not already have a written policy on them. Owner Clients may require you to have programs that don’t pertain to your company specifically, but must have because they may be present on the job site.

Outdated account information that doesn’t meet ongoing regulation changes affects your prequalification site account compliance score. A low score can be detrimental to your business and may even keep you off a job site— proper attention should be given to these changes and updates right away. A safety program is a living document; it should be updated each time there is a legislative or requirement change, and changes should be communicated to employees.

4.    Document (Correctly)

The most common mistake companies make when maintaining their accounts is incorrectly-submitted documentation, or mistakes on the company’s end. When filling out OSHA logs or submitting statistical information, be aware that not every incident is required to be recorded!  Learn the differences between recordable and non-recordable incidents, otherwise it may appear that your company has a higher Total Recordable Incident Rate than it actually does.

Always double check that your documents have been filled out correctly.  Training documents should include the type of training received, date, location, time, supervisor that held the training, and a list of attendees, with a supervisor’s signature. Insurance documents must have the same company name (exactly) that is on the account, and abide to all of the requirements and limits. OSHA logs reflect exactly what is entered underneath statistical information.  Experience Modification Rates can be obtained from your workers’ compensation provider.

5.    Implement

Most important, it’s not a matter of just having the proper policies and procedures, training, and documentation—but it must be implemented throughout the company. Some prequalification sites will actively come onto the jobsite to ensure you not only have the policies and procedures they are looking for, but that you are following them. Communication of the policies and training should be given to each employee so that everyone knows what to do.  Simply having policies and procedures doesn’t keep job sites safe—following them does.  Actions speak louder than words!

Keeping these five best practices (Monitor, Review, Update, Document, & Implement) in mind can help to maintain compliance with any prequalification site.

Call (866) 735-0959 today to speak with one of our highly skilled safety experts.

*Safety Services Company is an independently owned company, specializing in compliance with Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, Avetta®, Complyworks® and Canqual®. Safety Services Company is in no way sponsored or affiliated with ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, or Avetta®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, RAVS® , SSQ®, PQF® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation®, PEC Premier®, and  Avetta®.

Top 5 Reasons to Maintain Compliance in Contractor Management Accounts

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Reaching a level of compliance in any Contractor Management Account requires commitment, attention to detail and a cadence for regular monitoring.  However, the benefits of properly utilizing a Contractor Management Account more than outweigh the effort!  Below are five important reasons to keep your ISNetworld®, Avetta® , PEC Premier® , BROWZ®, ComplyWorks®, Veriforce, Textura or other accounts in compliance at all times.

1.    Visibility

When owner clients are beginning the contractor selection process for a project, they search for contractors who meet their requirements to the highest standard.  To put it in perspective, when you are looking at job résumés, would you hire an applicant that does not meet the requirements of your job description?  An owner client (or owner operator) will not hire a contractor that does not meet their requirements.  They are mandated to hire only the highest scoring contractors.  Keeping your Contractor Management Account in compliance will ensure that you remain at the top of their eligible contractor list, giving you the most visibility!

2.    Accountability

After an owner client has connected themselves to your account, their requirements are mandatory.  As a contractor, the owner client will hold you accountable to meet the requirements they have placed on your account.  This is usually a major part of master service agreement (MSA) contracts as well!  If you do not meet the requirements that the prospective owner client has inserted onto your account, they may keep your company off the jobsite until the requirements have been satisfied.  Contractors are responsible for maintaining compliant accounts – and owner clients are much more likely to hire someone that they can count on!

3.    Financial Investment

As with all financial investments, close attention and care should be given to your account.  Almost every Contractor Management Account requires some sort of financial transaction, from yearly subscriptions, initial start-up costs, or for certain custom features that are required by the owner clients.  The worst thing that a contractor can do is pay for an account on a Contractor Management Account website and not utilize it to its full capability.  Bringing your account to a passing score and maintaining that score can guarantee you a return on your initial investment costs!

4.    Greater Market Share

When you have a fully compliant account, it can be easier to reach out to new markets and connect to new owner clients.  It is important to note that although owner clients cannot view what grades you have with other owner clients, they are able to view your account and compare it to their requirements.  This means a prospective owner client can see how your programs stack up against their requirements.  Not all owner clients grade on the same criteria, but having an account that is at in compliance with one owner client can make it much easier to become compliant with another.

5.    Profitability

Ultimately, being highly visible, accountable, expanding your company to new markets, and investing in a third party prequalification account all lead to the most important reason of all: winning contracts and increasing profit.  Having a compliant account will definitely make you more desirable to prospective owner clients.  In fact, once an owner client finds a contractor that they like, and that meets their requirements, they will typically continue to use them for future projects – meaning consistent work from a great company!  It is not uncommon for owner clients to utilize third party pre-qualifiers for projects that venture into the multimillion dollar range.  With a compliant account, you can put yourself higher on the list of eligible contractors.  All this boils down to winning more contracts, completing more projects, and increasing revenue for your business.  There is nothing to lose!

These five reasons should be all the motivation a contractor needs to maintain a compliant account, and there are an abundance of other benefits as well!  Having a compliant safety program and trained employees means bringing safer operations and greater operational efficiency.

In fact, statistics show that direct and indirect costs of incidents add up.  For each dollar spent on direct costs, indirect costs can multiply 3 to 20 times more!  Indirect costs can be retraining employees, replacing or repairing equipment, higher insurance and worker’s compensation fees, etc.  However, statistics also show that for every dollar spent on safety and training, four more are earned in revenue.  Safer operations and greater operational efficiency equate to less time spent completing a job, increased productivity – and most importantly, the safety and health of all of your employees.

Why let your account deteriorate and bring you unnecessary stress when you can utilize it to its fullest potential and bring in exponentially increased revenue?  Use your account to its full capacity – be safe, and make more money!

Call (866) 716-0938 today to speak with one of our highly skilled safety experts.

*Safety Services Company is an independently owned company, specializing in compliance with Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, Avetta®, Complyworks® and CQN®. Safety Services Company is in no way sponsored or affiliated with ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, or Avetta®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, RAVS® , SSQ®, PQF® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation®, PEC Premier®, and Avetta®.

Get Struck By Lightning Safety

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What Should You Know About OSHA Lightning Standards?

Storms are always a big threat to employees working outdoors.  They bring about harsh winds that may cause falling trees, downed power lines, swaying of scaffolds and erosions in trenches. The OSHA lightning standards are designed to keep your business and workers safe. While anyone can be a victim of this natural phenomenon, it’d be a costly mistake to take safety for granted.

Preventing Natural Electrifying Hazards

  • Always monitor weather conditions, especially when going outdoors.
  • Be prepared to shut down the job if thunderstorms are forecast.
  • Keep an eye on the weather throughout the day.
  • Stay tuned to the radio for updates on the weather.
  • If lightning threatens, seek shelter indooors.

Shelter Sites

Always seek the appropriate shelter immediately.  Here are examples of safe shelter sites:

  • Substantial buildings
  • Low ground — seek cover in clumps of bushes
  • Fully enclosed metal vehicles with the windows rolled up
  • Trees of uniform height

Unsafe Shelters

The following are unsafe areas to seek shelter in:

  • Electric/power poles
  • Electrical equipment
  • Heavy and road machinery
  • Solitary trees
  • High ground and caves
  • Water
  • Open fields
  • All outdoor metal objects, like gates and fences
  • High mast light poles
  • Metal bleachers

Determining Lightning Distance

You can determine the distance of lightning by listening carefully to the thunder that accompanies it.  If you hear thunder, the associated lightning  is at most 6-8 miles away.  The distance lightning can strike ahead of a thunderstorm can also be a number of miles.  If you hear thunder, immediately suspend activities while allowing enough time to seek shelter.

Or, if you feel your hair standing on end, and/or hear “crackling noises”, you are in lightning’s electric field and it is close.

If lightning is extremely close to you and you are caught outside without shelter, immediately remove baseball cap and other metal objects and place them away from you. Put your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low in baseball catcher’s stance with hands on knees.

Wait at least 30 minutes from the last observed lightning or sound of thunder before resuming activities.

Be cautious in following a thunderstorm as the lightning may not be over.

Administer first aid, promptly, if a co-worker is struck by lightning. Remember, that it is safe to touch them as they do not carry an electric charge. Seek medical assistance immediately.

Call (877) 959-9893 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

Protect Your Business: PPE the Right Way

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Top 5 Advantages of Wearing PPE at Work

Yesterday we talked about the benefits of using head protection, eye and face protection and respiratory protection. Now it’s time we go into the importance of hand protection, safe footwear and hearing protection. It pays to know the right way to use and choose the best PPE for the job. Read on for the top 5 advantages of wearing PPE at work.

HAND PROTECTION

Did you know that every year, in the world of manufacturing, construction and service industry, about 150,000 injuries to the hands and fingers are reported? No wonder this is the case with virtually all jobs in these industries requiring the use of hands. But this fact does not justify such a large number of hand and finger injuries.

With the use of gloves, hazards are more manageable in tasks that involve working with chemicals, glass, sheet metal, electricity, hot materials and slippery objects. Of course gloves are specially designed according to the type of work you need to perform. Some may be made of leather or rubber, while others may be electrically insulated or nitrile coated.

Keep in mind that the risk of accidents are higher if you wear gloves while operating power tools or machinery that present the risk of entanglement. This has been the case of many incidents before that led to the loss of hands or fingers.

SAFE FOOTWEAR

Any kind of construction or manufacturing work calls for the need for proper footwear. Without it, slips, trips and falls are likely to occur. Worse, employees are more prone to ankle, impact and puncture injuries. Most specially designed boots, shoes, foot guards and leggings serve as your protection against chemicals, hot substances and slippery floors.

Whatever footwear you use, remember that it should fit properly and comfortably. Make sure also to keep your laces securely tied.

HEARING PROTECTION

Hearing protection is perhaps the PPE type most taken for granted.

Here is an excerpt from our collection of safety meetings:

Noise-induced hearing loss is the term for hearing damaged by excessive noise. People differ in their sensitivity to noise, however, and there’s no way to determine who is most at risk. Factors such as sound pressure (decibel level), frequency (hertz), and exposure time all play a role in determining whether noise is harmful or just annoying. However, you should consider your hearing at risk if noise affects you in one of the following ways:

  • Having to shout above noise to make yourself heard
  • Have ringing in the ears for several hours after exposure to noise
  • Have difficulty hearing normal sounds for several hours after exposure to noise

The best way to control noise in the workplace is making use of engineering controls. If this is not feasible, though, employers must provide their workers with proper hearing protectors. These come in the form of earplugs or earmuffs.

It’s important to note that earmuffs are more effective in reducing high-frequency noise, while earplugs are for reducing low-frequency noise. Both of these hearing protectors are used to control noise and not to eliminate it. That’s why they’re only effective if you wear them the whole time you’re exposed to hazardous noise.

This ends our two-part series on PPE. Remember to be always safe in your workplace by wearing the proper kind of PPE. Make sure also to maintain it well by referring to the safety program or training manual that comes with your PPE.

It won’t hurt to speak your mind so feel free to share with us your own tips about PPE or whatever thoughts you have related to safety.

Call (888) 658-3871 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts about the top 5 advantages of wearing PPE at work.

Helpful Links:

  • PPE and How It Can Save Your Life – Part 1
  • Remember Your Safety Gear
  • How Workplace Safety Applies to Every Business
  • Disregarding Safety Will Cost You Twice (and so much more)