Monitoring contractors by supervision and management is key to keeping workers safe and preventing injuries. To better understand the difference between supervision and management, it is wise to separate the two and explain the responsibility of each role.

Once the roles are properly understood, companies should pay attention to behaviors as supervisors and managers monitor their contractors. Properly observing contractor schedules and work habits will increase safety performance and better awareness of specific risk issues.

The Role of Supervision

As a supervisor, you are the contractor’s guide. You are responsible for giving appropriate direction to your team and controlling workforce safety.

Properly Monitoring Contractors by Supervision

The amount and type of supervision necessary are based on two things: the client’s management arrangements for a given project and risk assessments carried out by the contractors. Once supervision requirements are set up, you must specify the details of that supervision. Questions to ask are:

  • Who will supervise?
  • How will supervision be organized?
  • What circumstances will require supervision?
  • How much supervision is needed?

Some contractors and projects will need more supervision. Some examples include younger and newer contractors, migrants with poor native language skills, those unfamiliar with basic safety requirements, and high-risk projects.

Specifying the details of supervision. Some workers and activities require more supervision than others. Contractors will ask questions for clarification, so be ready to offer explanations. The leadership qualities of the supervisor set a positive example through their consistent actions and a problem-solving mentality.

If the supervisor doesn’t set the example, then the contractors will. This leads to miscommunication and taking shortcuts. Decisions may be made in an attempt to reduce costs, but they can increase workplace accidents. Encourage contractors to get involved in worksite safety issues and monitor their actions to make sure shortcuts are not occurring.

Supervision helps achieve contractor involvement and is the link between contractors and management. Ultimately, collaboration leads to better efficiency and safety standards on the site.

When supervision fails. Without proper supervision, everyone is subject to unnecessary risks and inefficiency. Each project and worker will follow different processes and safety considerations. You will know there is a problem when contractors are asked about job details, and each gives a different answer.

A lack of consistency when addressing contractor issues will eventually breed negativity. As people begin questioning the proper procedures and decisions made by multiple contractors, they begin speaking negatively about others and management. This is a major red flag.

Additionally, supervisors that leave contractors out of discussions may miss shortcuts taken by contractors who fast-track performance but diminish safety.

The Role of Management

Managers are in charge of planning, decision making, and organizing the goals of a company to reach its safety goals efficiently and effectively. Management also supplies information resources.

Properly Monitoring Contractors by Management

Properly monitored contractors require having the correct procedures in place. Management needs to make sure contractors are competent by initializing a site induction or meeting before a project begins. Managers do this to prevent incorrect assumptions between contractors.

Contractors must be appropriately monitored and the necessary supervision considered before the contractor starts. Managers also go over the contractor’s health and safety plans to include them in inspections and checks during the project. They will hold regular progress meetings to raise health and safety issues.

Management safety procedures and updates. Managers ensure everyone will understand what safety practices are in place and how to reduce vulnerability to accidents at work. As a result, contractors are confident and know where to find procedures and resources if they have any questions.

Management puts a contractor safety plan together that includes a minimum of work to be performed and an expected operation location. They should create an in-depth description of the safety program itself, organizational structure, responsibilities for monitoring safety, and onsite personnel contact information.
It is important to hold monthly meetings to monitor the progress of contractors and allow them to raise safety concerns and feel included in inspections processes and checks.

Disorganized Management. Not having a procedure that sends contractors through a pre-start or site induction meeting results in an environment where actions and safety are not clearly defined.

When that doesn’t happen, there may be contractors on the job site that are incompetent at their tasks. They may be unaware of safety measures related to their role, the procedures, and where to locate them. Contractors could make dangerous assumptions when answers aren’t readily available.

A Combined Effort is Always Required

It is critical to understand supervision and management in their separate roles and how they collaborate for the best outcome.

Effective communication between contractors, supervisors, and management is of the utmost importance. Poor communication leads to delays and issues in projects, equipment and property damage, and worst-case scenario, injury or death.

Properly monitoring contractors by supervision and management will ensure a safe and successful project. With clear and open communication, you will establish a safe environment where team members feel valued, satisfied, and heard.