Choosing the Right Contractor

February 5, 2015

An organized and implemented regime of safety inspections is critical to the overall maintenance of facility management. However, the inspection is only as good as the individual or the company engaged in the work. Do you know your contractor?

Price alone should never be the deciding factor when an annual audit is the single most important method of reducing accident, injuries or fatalities on equipment in a facility. It is pertinent for the Inspection company to fully understand all relevant codes and standards from all the governing bodies such as; Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Ministry of Labour (MOL) which references the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Ontario Building Code, ASME, ANSI and OPHEA Guidelines to name a few. This protects you, the owner, should there ever be litigation due to what is considered underperformance of the inspector and inspection company.

Insurance such as a WSIB clearance should always be up to date and provided to the Facility owner upon start of work, however there are additional insurance(s) that your contractor should be providing to protect you. Errors and Omissions Insurance, which is also known as professional liability insurance is a product that is designed to protect your business in the event that a client alleges that an error or neglect on your part resulted in a financial loss. An errors and omissions policy covers damages that are not covered under a general liability insurance policy. General liability coverage only covers property and physical damage. What it does not cover is professional errors, negligence or malpractice. Ensure that the contractor carries Liability insurance specific to the work being performed. We recommend a minimum of 2 million and a maximum of 5 million in coverage as the standard.

When you hire a contractor, you want to ensure it will be the actual contractor doing the work.  The use of sub-contractors should be minimal if at all, as this type of inspection work is specialized and involves specific training. When the contractor signs in at your facility, ensure he has a photo ID with the company name on it and a recognizable company uniform. Upon signing out, the contractor should notify the appropriate person of any deficiencies that are safety concerns.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act defines a competent person as “qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance, and has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.” Any reputable contractor or firm should provide documentation of the following upon request or prior to the start of any work. Ask to see the following; relevant certification and training, manufacturers training certificate, In-house training programs and certificates, Trade certificates, Certificates of Qualifications for relevant staff and Company references.

Lastly, the report or documentation is the end product of the work performed and when selecting a company for the work, should be one of the biggest deciding factors for selection. The importance of a quality report with online documentation, available with a customer web portal is a seamless and efficient way to have information readily available.  The importance of the information provided becomes relevant when it is clear and concise due to overall completeness and the ease of the how the report reads. Proper record keeping is a must to hold your facility harmless for any possible liability claims.

Accidents can always be avoided but without qualified competent contractors inspecting your equipment, inspections can be a waste of time and money.

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