How Can Contingent Workforce Health and Safety be Managed?
A company’s success builds on high productivity and engagement of its employees. A number of research studies have supported that focusing on the well-being and safety of workers is good for the business. According to the UK Health And Safety Executive (HSE), some of the significant opportunities that occupational health and safety bring to the company are:
- Reduced cost
- Reduced risk
- Lower employee absence and turnover rates
- Fewer accidents
- Better reputation for corporate responsibility among investors, customers and communities
Addressing workforce health and safety should be seen as an advantage rather than a regulatory burden. It is also part of risk and compliance that should not be overlooked because it has human and financial costs such as:
- Workplace illnesses reached 400% in 2020
- Sick employees missed an average of 12 days away from work
- Stress, depression and anxiety is the highest cause of ill-health cases followed by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
The cost of poor workplace health & safety
In the same study by the HSE, 36.8 million working days were lost between 2021 and 2022 due to work-related ill health and non-fatal injuries. Employers spent £3.5 billion of the £18.8 billion total cost of work-related injuries and new cases of ill health. In addition to these financial causes, legal cases and negative PR will hurt businesses violating occupational health and safety policies.
Contingent Workforce Health and Safety
Work-related hazards and injuries also impact contingent workers. Independent contractors, remote and freelance workers who are part of the gig economy are not entitled to the regular benefits that permanent and full-time employees receive.
However, there should be a policy or program in place to protect contingent workers from occupational hazards. Both the contingent worker and the company are at risk and exposed to workplace safety violations that have costly fines or can lead to business suspension.
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that contingent workers have a higher risk for occupational injuries and illnesses than workers in traditional employment. Some of the personal health concerns involved are the unpredictable work schedules that may cause poor eating and exercise habits, which can lead to obesity and diabetes.
Ways to Protect the Health & Safety of Contingent Workers
Companies who are new to navigating contingent workforce management should partner with a reliable global contingent workforce solutions provider to guide them through managing their compliance status and analysing their risk exposure. CXC has the expertise, network and technology to help organisations administer the implementation of health and safety programs for contingent workers.
Here are 4 ways that organisations can protect their contingent workers and improve their occupational health and safety programs:
1. Strengthen existing policies on worker safety
Follow safety policies and regulations set by the government and enforce compliance with your contingent workers.
2. Share accountability for safety compliance with your contingent workers
Employers will always be held responsible for the safety of their workers. Therefore, it’s only best to discuss, clarify and share accountability with your contingent workers.
3. Provide basic and job-specific safety training
Contingent workers are expected to be highly skilled and knowledgeable about the job they are hired to do. However, workplace safety still depends on the culture and environment of the business. Provide safety training and consultation programs to discuss hazardous conditions and processes to prepare the contractors.
4. Document communications and keep up with reporting
CXC ensures clear communication with its clients when it comes to contingent workforce health and safety management. We have a five-step scale for health and safety risk assessment of on-hire contingent workers.
CXC is a global HR outsourcing organisation with 30 years of experience in workforce management. Our innovative and cost-effective solutions help companies gain a competitive advantage by improving efficiency while reducing risks.
Have a question or need help?
If you would like to find out more about how we can help, please contact our friendly contingent workforce experts for a FREE consultation.