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An Approach to Contractor Engagement

25 February 2022

This document provides a high-level perspective on contractor engagement in the mining and metals sector with the aim of promoting a move from ‘service providers’ to a ‘delivery partner’ model for contractor management.

  • The use of contractors in the mining and metals industry is widespread and central to how the industry performs. With contractors making up a substantial proportion of the workforce, the industry needs to continually discuss, reflect on, and learn from efforts focused on the elimination of contractor fatalities in the industry
  • The model of using contractors in the industry has traditionally focused on the view that they are simply service providers, and a possible source of risk. This command-and-control approach to contractor management is now being challenged to focus on creating a ‘delivery partner’, single team mindset of supportive engagement and collaboration.
  • This document includes an eight-step process for contractor engagement and a maturity framework that can be used to identify how companies are currently engaging with contractors, help map the path towards a ‘delivery partner model’ and enable companies to understand underlying socio-organisational aspects related to the development of a positive, 2-way, partnering relationship between companies and contractors.
  • The suggested 8-step process consists of the following:
    • Define scope of work
    • Establish contractor expectations
    • Conduct contractor pre-qualification and selection
    • Choose and develop the appropriate agreement
    • Partnering with the contractor
    • Keep records and exercise due diligence
    • De-mobilisation
    • Final evaluation and close-out.
  • Implementing a delivery partner model for contractor engagement requires a shift in an organisations culture to one where everyone feels like they are part of one team, with joint accountability and ownership of the work that takes place. The maturity model helps provide an idea of what aspects can be considered for a company on its journey towards contractor engagement. It considers 4 key concepts:
    • Mindset, leadership and behaviours – what mindset, leadership and behavioural qualities are visible and felt to demonstrate the importance and the inclusion of contractors?
    • Symbols – what are the physical symbols we see that indicate the value and inclusion of contractors in the organisation.
    • Contracting strategies and organisation – are you applying the most appropriate structure to achieve the objectives around safe and healthy production?
    • Systems and processes – what systems and processes are in place to drive actions and behaviours that support contractors.