Many ag businesses utilize contractors on a regular basis as electricians, millwrights, veterinarians, nutritionists, mechanics, engineers, technicians and other professionals. If they are working on your operation and get hurt, are you liable even if they aren’t an employee? The short answer is YES, but there are ways to limit your liability and most importantly, ensure their safety while at your operation.
Here are some basic guidelines:
- When they start a job, do a walk-through of the area to point out the hazards and safety features where they are working. Power lines, electrical disconnects, production equipment, fire extinguishers, building exits, Emergency Action Plans, vehicle traffic and other general operations should be located and explained.
- Tell your staff about contractors at the business, what they will be doing, assistance they may need and anything they can do to keep them safe.
- Have a designated person on your staff that is responsible for contractor safety, and be sure you know the safety contact for your contractors.
- Be sure that the contractor has the proper safety equipment for the job they are doing, and require them to use it.
- Hold them accountable for the safety of their workers, and if violations occur, stop work until those situations are resolved.
- Tell them how to report an incident and the paperwork that must be completed in the event of an injury.
All contractors must provide documentation that all their people have had the required safety training for the work they will be doing. If they cannot provide this evidence, it is your responsibility to train them—or find a different contractor. Many businesses require this documentation, including titles and dates of the training, as a part of being a contractor for the business. This documentation should be stored and readily available for review when requested.