The gig economy has created high demand for third-party service providers. Many of these providers work at multiple customer locations. Providing services primarily off-site places an emphasis on proper training and equipment to assure worker safety.
A parking attendant service, for example, has little to no control over the physical environment in which they operate. Garage structure, pavement conditions, and lighting are all under the control of the customer. Parking service companies must equip workers with proper tools (lighted batons, fluorescent vests, orange traffic cones) to conduct work safely, in addition to any PPE (eye protection, ear protection, gloves, and footwear) appropriate to the conditions.
Formal policy and procedure is important when providing off-site services to assure workers understand the expectation, regardless of the physical environment. Supervisors should survey the lot or garage conditions upon arrival and significant potholes or trip hazards should be cordoned off to reduce risk to pedestrian traffic (both workers and guests). Lighting should be assessed; should the provider set up temporary lighting on-site?
As a third-party provider, you equip and protect your employees to the extent possible, but you cannot foresee every hazard. For example:
Parking attendant was directing traffic into the paid parking lot when a large sign, affixed to the building, came loose and fell from above, striking attendant on the shoulder and arm. Attendant suffered multiple injuries, leading to a lengthy lost-time workers compensation claim. Attendant reached MMI and returned to work after 11 weeks.
Since workers often report directly to the customer site and are not routinely at the office location, routine safety meetings are critical. Quarterly meetings should be scheduled to bring employees together at one location, assuring that a consistent message is being delivered to all workers, and providing a forum for discussion of any near-miss incidents. Provide workers the opportunity to discuss concerns, and provide them with timely industry news. Encourage employees to participate, and document attendance at each meeting. Maintain either a formal agenda or minutes of the meeting to document topics discussed.
Formal safety practices are critical when providing services off-site, with a workforce that operates at different locations, on different shifts, and in different team configurations. Establishing policy in advance sets forth specific expectations and provides staff with the necessary knowledge to perform their duties safely and consistently, regardless of conditions.
Does your company have formal safety policies in place? Are you responsible for a workforce that delivers services at multiple locations? Contact us at (816) 349-0850 to see how we can help design a safety and risk management plan that meets your unique needs.