Contractor compliance, documentation and on-site management are not top of mind for many manufacturing professionals. Oftentimes, management teams don’t consider contractors, vendors or drivers as “visitors.” While everyone knows how important safety and policies are, the specific tasks surrounding visitor management can be monotonous. Since visitor policies are often covered by corporate policy or certification processes, facilities typically do things the way they always have, rather than reevaluate their operation. If nothing has ever happened that draws scrutiny to the process, they are rarely thought about. But, when the safety of others is at risk, no amount of money can replace the regret of not having done things differently. For example, each workplace injury costs an average of $44k, plus an additional +$15k in fines, and doesn’t include legal proceedings.
A Harvard Business Review study found that the more complex and detailed rules are the most likely to be broken. However, since regulatory and safety compliance can never be optional or even enforced inadequately, your staff and visitors must consistently execute properly…regardless of how challenging/complicated/annoying the procedures may be.
When you have lackadaisical or inconsistent policy enforcement, it spills over into visitor behavior. If you don’t enforce signing in and out of the logbook, your visitors won’t do it. If your vendor sees multiple other vendor vehicles in the parking lot, but the last person to sign the logbook was him, last week… he will skip the sign-in. If your employees are propping doors and allowing contractors/vendors to bypass the lobby, they won’t go out of their way to sign in. If you skip the orientation because you can’t find the pamphlet or the PowerPoint, your visitor doesn’t have clear expectations for their visit and is missing crucial information. Other employees greeting the same visitor at a later date might ask if the visitor has been here before, and when he confirms, they assume all required procedures were already executed. Since you have no signed acknowledgments or non-disclosure agreements, you can’t prove you ever informed your visitor about your policies. This creates liability for you when that visitor violates them.
If all employees that host visitors aren’t trained on the compliance requirements and don't collect required documentation, other employees won’t learn, and eventually, policies become lost and forgotten. They always resurface, though…during an audit, either regulatory or from your corporate office, due to an injury or other unexpected situation. For example, if a contractor isn’t required to keep updated certificates of insurance, forklift licenses, confined space, or hot permits, how do you know they have them? Imagine the mess a contractor on a forklift with an expired license and no insurance would create if they injured themselves, your employees or damaged your facility.
Visitor badges aren’t just to show off a name. It shows authorization to be in a facility. Allowing unattended visitors to enter your facility without identification means that any roaming unauthorized visitor could easily be overlooked. According to OSHA, workplace violence typically falls into one of four categories: criminal intent; customer/employee; personal relationships (which overwhelmingly targets women), and worker/worker. Displaying your employees' full names and phone numbers on a list hanging in the lobby for anyone to see exposes them to unwanted solicitation and potentially ill-intentioned people. You can reduce the risk of your employees being interrupted, or even harmed by people who don’t belong in your facility, by identifying the reason a visitor is here before sending an employee to greet them. Any unidentified person presents a safety concern, and anyone who encounters them should know their reason for being inside your facility.
According to Veroot, the supply chain industry’s leading provider of full-service CTPAT compliance solutions, says “Under new MSC regulations, companies must have a documented process to vet non-company personnel on the premises. Specifically, this rule applies for office visitors and drivers responsible for picking up or delivering cargo. One of the processes we see fall through the cracks most often is the Visitor Management Process Flow.”
Veroot elaborates on what it takes to stay compliant: “When a driver arrives on the premises, they must not only pass the sign-in and standard ID check procedures that apply to all visitors, but they should also be required to provide employer/company name, truck,trailer and seal numbers. The cargo pickup log must be kept confidential - meaning the driver should not see it - because the log contains certain information that could theoretically be used in criminal activity (i.e. seal numbers, company name, etc.). Therefore, the logbook must be kept behind a desk or locked away out of sight.”
Investing in a system that can automate visitor management and enforce compliance can be as valuable as an insurance policy for your company, employees, and everyone on-site. LobbyFox can streamline visitor check-in by serving safety orientations, collecting legal signatures on legal documents, notifying hosts that their visitor has arrived, and much more. In addition, LobbyFox eliminates inconsistent human error and ensures that non-employees adhere to your visitor policy. The key to avoiding chaos starts with creating a comprehensive visitor policy or enforcing your current visitor policy. EHS Daily recommends the following 14 points to be included in your workplace visitors policy.