The tools of evaluation

EVERY mine, quarry and extractive industry site must have a formalised system to manage risks – a contractor is expected to have the same. But sometimes sites may need to help contractors establish, implement and maintain their occupational health and safety systems. A new tool on the market is designed purely for this purpose.

Claire Svircas

The Contractor OHS Assessment Tool has been developed by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council to assess contractors’ OHS performance before engaging them onsite and, where necessary, identify areas where additional support is necessary.

The tool provides five key steps for principals to follow: the principal of the contract determines risk; inform potential contractors of the hazards involved; check whether a contractor is already on a “preferred contractor” list; evaluate the potential contractor’s OHS performance; and compare competing contractors on value for money and health and safety.

The first step is for the principal of the contract to determine the risk level of the contract – high, medium or low. This information is then made available to potential contractors.

Contractors who have already been assessed with the tool are re-checked prior to each new job to ensure competency and all insurances are still current.

Set up like a chart, the fourth step is to evaluate each contractor using five key performance indicators including policies, plans, implementation, results and ongoing improvement. A scoring system – with 0 meaning that nothing currently exists, through to 5 reflecting the contractor has an advanced system in place – reflects the contractor’s response in each subject.

Each subject is given an overall score out of 20, with all scores added up to be out of 100. This score is then used to help prioritise competitive contractors.

The system might also be useful in identifying an area in which a contractor may need additional support and supervision.

The Contractor OHS Assessment Tool is available to anyone in the industry and is compatible with Australian Standards AS4801 and AS4804-OHS management systems and techniques used by regulators and the Australian mining industry.

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