6 Things You Should Know Before Hiring A Safety Consultant

In today’s marketplace, there is no shortage of “consultants” willing to share their advice for a fee.  But when it comes to your worker’s safety, there are a few things you should know about him or her before you write them a check.

  1. Academic Qualifications – Academic qualifications are important and, as a result, degree programs in safety have become more prevalent in the last decade.  But just because your prospective consultant has a degree in safety doesn’t mean they are a good fit for your company. Of greater relevance is “real-world” experience and results. Look for consultants who have both education and experience.
  2. Professional Organizations & Memberships – This is another potentially confusing area for the average business owner / decision-maker. While some organizations and professional safety designations such as ASSE and CSP are highly reputable and require documented credentials for membership, many are latecomers with questionable standards.  Look for certifications that don’t just require the candidate to sit through a class or pay an application fee to receive a credential.
  3. On-the-Job Experience – Look for evidence that the consultant has previously dealt with problems similar to yours through their previous work history. A capable safety consultant can easily transition among many different industries in applying sound principles of safety management.  Does their experience indicate satisfactory knowledge of both the technical aspects of safety management as well as the “human” factors?
  4. Clients & References– Who are their clients? Are they known to you? Are they established companies? Don’t hesitate to ask for contact names and phone numbers for current (and former) clients. Avoid placing undue weight on any single recommendation. Seek a balanced, overall assessment of the previous work. A great indicator of a valuable safety consultant is when a former employer becomes a current client.
  5. Will they solve your problem? – Certainly, there are never any guarantees. In fact, one should be extremely wary of the safety consultant who “guarantees” that his work will produce a given dollar result.  Explain your problem thoroughly and listen closely to the answers. Do the answers appear to match your needs? Do they speak plain English or do they frequently fall into jargon? If you can’t understand what they’re saying, what good is their advice? Anyone can recite passages from OSHA Standards. The true skill is in understanding and applying them to a client’s individual circumstances.  A competent consultant will explain safety requirements in everyday language and be able to clearly communicate the ways that compliance can benefit your business.
  6. Finally, Insurance – The professional safety consultant cares enough about his business (and the client’s) to protect it with, at a minimum, $1,000,000 of professional liability and $1,000,000 of general liability coverage. He will willingly produce certificates of insurance as evidence of this.  Please note that legitimate certificates are sent directly from the insurance carrier to the client, NOT provided by the consultant. Anyone with a copy machine and a bottle of “white-out” can phony-up certificates of insurance.
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Contractor’s Guide To ISNetworld® Compliance

GETTING STARTED

About ISNetworld®

ISNetworld® is a data management company that offers verification services for large companies who contract with numerous suppliers. By contracting with ISNetworld®, these companies outsource the review and verification of safety, insurance and other requirements.

How it works:

  • If you are a supplier to one of these companies, called “owner-clients”, you will have to pay a fee to join ISNetworld®
  • You submit your safety programs, insurance policies, and other requested documentation.
  • ISNetworld® issues you a Dashboard Grade

The Dashboard Grade is critical to your continuing to be eligible to perform work for your owner-client, and ISNetworld® Compliance is what keeps your grade high. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be able to maintain a high Dashboard Grade.

Your Company Information

The first step to tackling ISNetworld® compliance, once you have your account set up, is to gather your company information. It is very helpful to have the following documents at your finger tips before you begin.

  • Your OSHA 300 and 300A forms for the last 3 years
  • Experience Modification (“EMR”) letters from your workers’ compensation insurance company for the last 3 years
  • Employee hours worked, including overtime, for each of the last 3 years
  • Average number of employees for each of the last 3 years
  • Your NAICS number (Tip: It is critical that you get this right because the safety requirements that apply to you are determined in large part by your NAICS number)
  • Your insurance certificates
  • Your written safety programs
  • Training documentation for your employees, both formal and informal

Once you have gathered all of these documents, you are ready to tackle the next step, the Management Safety Questionnaire.

THE QUESTIONNAIRE

 

Tips for Filling Out the Questionnaire

This is a very important part of the ISNetworld® compliance process, because how you answer the questions will determine what requirements will apply to you. There are 2 types, the general questionnaire which is applicable to all companies and a second questionnaire that is specific to each owner-client.

  • Block out 4-8 hours to complete this process. It takes some time to go through all of the questions and you do not want to rush and make mistakes
  • The questionnaire will ask specific questions about your company’s safety policies
  • Be truthful and accurate in your responses
  • Tip: Make sure the information you enter into the questionnaire matches the documentation you are submitting. Otherwise it will be kicked back.

The questionnaire must be submitted initially when you first join ISNetworld®, and you must update it every quarter.

INSURANCE VERIFICATION

Tips for the Insurance review process

One of the areas of ISNetworld® compliance that causes a lot of headaches for our clients is the insurance verification process,. Each owner-client has specific liability insurance requirements, and you will be notified of them after you enroll in ISNetworld® and complete your preliminary questionnaire.

The insurance verification process is very strict and you should carefully review your certificates of insurance before submitting them to ISNetworld®. Common reasons for rejected certificates of insurance include:

  • Company names were misspelled due to to typographical errors, or were truncated
  • Company address was not listed correctly on the certificate
  • The name of the contractor on the registration with ISNetworld® did not exactly match the name on the insurance certificate
  • The insurance questionnaire was not answered correctly
  • Requirement to notify owner-operator of policy cancellation was not expressly stated on the certificate of insurance
  • Missing policy types
  • Inadequate policy limits
  • Language of waiver of subrogation did not exactly match the requirements

Your insurance agent should be able to work with you to make sure all of this information is accurately reflected in the certificate of insurance. ISNetworld® allows insurance agents to log in directly to the site and with your permission, upload insurance certificates on your behalf. This can be a great way to expedite the process.

 

EMR & OSHA 300 INFORMATION

Reporting Requirements

EMR (Experience Modification Letters) – These letters are issued annually by your workers’ compensation insurance agent. The main thing to watch out for when submitting these into ISNetworld® is to make sure you are inputting them in the appropriate drop box for the previous 3 years. This is the most common reason EMRs are rejected. ISNetworld® usually reviews these within a week of submittal.

OSHA 300 Forms – These are straightforward to submit, assuming you have them. The biggest obstacle our clients run into with respect to this requirement is that they have not met this requirement on an annual basis and need to go back and file them for prior years. Accuracy and completeness is key here. ISNetworld® will reject any forms with missing information or any forms that are not consistent with the information entered into the MSQ.

SAFETY PROGRAM VERIFICATION

Best Practices

When working with our clients on their ISNetworld® Compliance, we find that many of them have problems with their safety programs. Many contractors purchase cookie cutter safety plans online just to be able to submit them to ISNetworld® but the plans are never actually properly customized to reflect their actual operations or even implemented. This practice, while it may help you pass your initial review with ISNetworld®, is not a good idea for the success of your company in the long run.

  • Figure out the safety requirements that are imposed by the owner operator you are seeking to get qualified with and compare your existing safety programs against the requirements. You are basically doing an internal audit to make sure your programs meet all of the requirements.
  • Make a list of the areas where you have gaps and determine what corrective actions are needed to ensure ISNetworld® Compliance. It is important not to misrepresent training records or documents just to get through this step.
  • Determine what safety programs are missing or need to be amended to comply with ISNetworld® requirements. Or if you have the necessary programs, make sure you document the implementation of these plans.
  • Make sure the safety programs you develop for submittal to ISNetworld® accurately reflect your company’s operations and address the relevant hazards. A cookie cutter plan downloaded from the internet can be a good starting point but will need to be carefully reviewed and customized to fit your company.
  • Make sure you actually implement the safety programs you submit to ISNetworld®. A safety program that is just on paper does not do you or your employees any good, and could end up hurting your company. You may be audited by the companies you do business with and they will need to see evidence that any required safety programs or training were actually implemented by your company.

If you are strapped for time and need help making all of this happen, you may want to hire a safety consultant to assist you with this process. Many safety consulting firms offer turn-key safety management services and can support you on a monthly basis to make sure your company has the right safety programs to comply with ISNetworld® and that these safety programs are actually implemented so your employees stay safe.

TRAINING VERIFICATION

Depending on the type of work your company does, your owner-client may impose training requirements for your employees. You will need comply with these requirements and upload documentation to verify that the training took place. ISNetworld® will verify your training records to make sure they meet the owner-client requirements as part of the training verification process. Acceptable training records must include the following information:

  • Date of training
  • Signature of employees who attended
  • Subject matter or type of training
  • Signature of trainer Training records are usually reviewed within a week of submittal

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Be prepared to meet additional requirements from the owner-clients from time to time. Examples of these may include:

  • Site tracker requirements
  • Site identification cards
  • Other signed contractor documents
  • Contractor orientation is commonly required by owner-client before employee can enter on jobsite.

These generally don’t affect your Dashboard Grade that much, but it is important that you complete them.

ONGOING MONITORING OF YOUR ACCOUNT

Getting set up properly and getting a good rating up front isn’t enough. Your account needs to be monitored at least monthly to make sure that there are no issues affecting your grade, such as new OSHA citations.

GETTING HELP

Choosing a Safety Consultant

If you find that keeping up with ISNetworld® is simply too much for your limited office staff, you may want to consider seeking outside help from a consultant. A qualified safety professional can take over this task for you, and keep you in compliance with ISNetworld® and all other applicable safety laws and regulations.

If you are looking for help with ISNetworld® compliance, a quick google search will yield the names of numerous companies offering downloadable safety programs and monitoring services to assist you. But how do you know if these companies are qualified to help you with both ISNetworld® and OSHA safety requirements? And how do you choose one among the many choices?

Here are some tips and red flags to look out for:

  • Avoid ISNetworld® consultants who only provide cookie cutter, downloadable safety programs and no real safety advice. Although a cheap downloadable program may solve your ISNetworld® compliance problem in the short run, it is not enough. A professional safety consultant will provide customized safety plans that fit your company’s operations and will advise you on implementation so that the ultimate goal of a clean safety record for your company is achieved. If you are audited, the cookie cutter plan that was never implemented will not be sufficient to keep your company in compliance, so it’s best to do it right the first time.
  • Check your consultant’s professional safety credentials and certifications. A certification indicates that your consultant meets the highest standards for professionals in the safety industry. Two of the most highly regarded certifications in the safety industry are the ASP (Associate Safety Professional) and the CSP (Certified Safety Professional). An individual with an ASP certification has met an experience requirement, an academic requirement, and has passed the first of two examinations leading to the CSP credential, the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) examination. The CSP certification marks individuals who have met educational and experience standards and passed rigorous examinations validated against the practice of hundreds of safety professionals. For more information on these safety certifications, see the website for the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
  • Make sure you understand the scope of the services to be provided. There are many levels of ISNetworld® consulting available in the market place. Some companies just provide data maintenance and document processing services, which means that they simply take care of drafting cookie-cutter safety programs and uploading them into ISNetworld® for you. Monitoring of your information is usually available for a quarterly or annual fee. Other companies will offer enhanced safety services on a monthly or quarterly basis (for example, safety meetings, OSHA representation, and accident investigations), and some will offer turn-key, full service safety management services for your company. Make sure you understand what you are getting when you sign on with your consultant, and that they are qualified to provide the level of support your company needs.
  • Check your potential consultant’s references and reputation. Referrals from your industry peers are a great source of names of potential consultants, as well as local safety organizations, such as your local chapter of the American Association of Safety Engineers. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to ask for client names and references. Your ISNetworld® compliance grade directly impacts your company’s bottom line, so make sure the consultant you are hiring is competent.
  • Remember that safety management is about more than just your ISNetworld® compliance. A good safety consultant can help you understand and comply with OSHA requirements, improve your safety record, and maintain your company’s reputation as a safe company to do business with and work for.

Letting a qualified safety professional handle  your ISNetworld® compliance can help free up your time to focus on what you do best.

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What are RAVS®?

RAVS stands for the Review and Verification Services section of your account. Here, you upload your safety program. Generally, most accounts can have anywhere from 16-40 programs that need to be custom written and submitted for review.

Contractors often assume that RAVS® and safety programs serve the same function in the ISN® compliance process, but in reality they are distinctly different. In the same way that Cliff Notes provide a summary of a book, RAVS provide a brief overview of the content that is contained in a contractor’s safety program.

ISNetworld® requires RAVS® to be submitted as part of the ISN® compliance process, but without a compliant safety program, contractors are still at risk. 1 Stop Compliance can provide RAVS® for contractors based on their safety programs, but is not held liable for the content of contractors’ own safety programs. It is the responsibility of contractors to ensure their safety programs meet industry standards for compliance, and that their employees adhere to the practices outlined in those programs. If you are unsure whether or not your safety program is up to par, Blakeman & Associates can review and suggest revisions or create an entirely new safety program specifically for your company.
Unfortunately, some third-party data providers do not clarify the difference between RAVS® and safety programs and the importance of having them both, which can lead to a misunderstanding of liability.

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I Received an ISNetworld Letter! Now What?

I received an ISNetworld Letter! This suddenly lands in your mailbox: “We are pleased to announce (COMPANY) has recently established a business relationship with ISNetworld® to further enhance our contractor/supplier management program. As a result of this action, contractors/suppliers and their subcontractors performing services for (COMPANY YOU WANT TO KEEP WORKING FOR) are required to become subscribers to ISNetworld®.”  Everyone receives this ISNetworld® Letter if you are being requested to join because of a client. We know there can be many questions as to why you received this letter and what happens from here. After receiving your ISNetworld® Letter we are here to help you through the process of getting ISNetworld® compliant!

Companies and contractors both pay to secure an account with a third-party auditor, such asISNetworld®, PICS® , PEC Premier® , BROWZ, ComplyWorks®, Veriforce, Textura, and others. After establishing an account, the client uploads requirements specific to their companies, projects, and job sites to ensure the prospective contractors post detailed qualifications of their company and employees. If a contractor wants to work for an owner, they must ensure they meet all of the needs of the owner.

Throughout the process, the third-party auditor inspects and validates the documentation uploaded. Common types of documentation and requirements include safety programs, training programs, insurance information, workers’ compensation information, incident statistics, financial stability, and past performance.

Bringing any third party auditor account to a 100% score can be a daunting and time-consuming task.  However, we know this requires time, money, and close attention. But the benefits of properly utilizing a third party auditor more than outweigh the cons!

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Hiring A Safety Consultant For Your ISNetworld® Compliance

If you are looking for help with ISNetworld® compliance, a quick google search will yield the names of numerous companies offering downloadable safety programs and monitoring services to assist you. But how do you know if these companies are qualified to help you with both ISNetworld® and OSHA safety requirements? And how do you choose one among the many choices?

Here are some tips and red flags to look out for:

  1. Avoid ISNetworld® consultants who only provide cookie cutter, downloadable safety programs and no real safety advice.   Although a cheap downloadable program may solve your ISNetworld® compliance problem in the short run, it is not enough.  A professional safety consultant will provide customized safety plans that fit your company’s operations and will advise you on implementation so that the ultimate goal of a clean safety record for your company is achieved.  If you are audited, the cookie cutter plan that was never implemented will not be sufficient to keep your company in compliance, so it’s best to do it right the first time.
  2. Make sure you understand the scope of the services to be provided.  There are many levels of ISNetworld® consulting available in the market place.  Some companies just provide data maintenance and document processing services, which means that they simply take care of drafting cookie-cutter safety programs and uploading them into ISNetworld® for you.  Monitoring of your information is usually available for a quarterly or annual fee.  Other companies will offer enhanced safety services on a monthly or quarterly basis (for example, safety meetings, OSHA representation,  and accident investigations), and some will offer turn-key, full service safety management services for your company.  Make sure you understand what you are getting when you sign on with your consultant, and that they are qualified to provide the level of support your company needs.
  3. Check your potential consultant’s references and reputation.  Referrals from your industry peers are a great source of names of potential consultants, as well as local safety organizations, such as your local chapter of the American Association of Safety Engineers.  If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to ask for client names and references. Your ISNetworld® compliance grade directly impacts your company’s bottom line, so make sure the consultant you are hiring is competent.
  4. Remember that safety management is about more than just your ISNetworld® compliance. A good safety consultant can help you understand and comply with OSHA requirements, improve your safety record, and maintain your company’s reputation as a safe company to do business with and work for.
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Labor Law Changes in 2018

2018 is just around the corner and with it changes in labor laws in many states, now is the time for employers, business owners, & HR compliance professionals to educate themselves on upcoming labor law changes that take effect 1/1/2018. Below we have a list of the different states and which laws that are changing.

The most expected update to occur is state minimum wage rates. Since the Federal Minimum Wage hasn’t changed since 2009, most states have issued their own minimum wage laws to match the cost of living in their areas. Many highly populated states increase their minimum wage rates the first of every New Year. Minimum Wage posters are one of the required posters that come included in the All-In-One 2018 Labor law Poster which also includes OSHA, Paid Sick Leave, Discrimination, Workers’ Compensation and all additional mandatory posters applicable to your state.

Alaska: Minimum Wage
Arizona:  Earned Paid Sick Time(new posting) & Minimum Wage
California: Transgender Rights in the Workplace(new posting)
Colorado: Minimum Wage
Connecticut: Pregnancy Discrimination & Accommodation(new posting) & Discrimination
District of Columbia: Minimum Wage
Florida: Minimum Wage
Louisiana: Earned Income Credit
Maine: Minimum Wage
Massachusetts: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
Michigan:  Discrimination Posting & Minimum Wage
Minnesota: Minimum Wage
Missouri: Minimum Wage
Montana: Minimum Wage
Nevada: Domestic Violence Victims (new posting)
New Jersey: Minimum Wage
New York: Minimum Wage & Paid Family Leave(new posting)
Ohio: Minimum Wage
Oregon: Minimum Wage
Rhode Island: Minimum Wage
South Dakota: Minimum Wage
Vermont: Pregnancy Accomodation
Washington: Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave

With all these changes means that new Labor Law posters are required in the work place. Make sure to contact 1 Stop Compliance today to order your new updated Labor Law posters!

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Common Questions About ISNetworld®

Did you receive a letter requiring an ISNetworld® membership has someone suggested that you become ISNetworld® certified?

What is ISNetworld®(ISN®)?

ISN® is an online contractor management database for hiring clients and owner clients to use for streamlined  contractor safety and pre-qualification of contractors to work on job-sites. ISNetworld®, which is designed to meet internal and governmental record keeping and compliance requirements, collects health and safety, procurement, quality and regulatory information. ISN’s subject matter experts review and verify this information to assess the accuracy, relevance and timeliness of the data. The ISN online contractor management database then allows the connection of Hiring Clients with safe, reliable and sustainable contractors and suppliers around the globe allows these organizations to use ISN® as an integral part of their management systems.

ISNetworld® simplifies the procurement process and easily allows clients to communicate changes in safety requirements or expired documents.

Why Become ISNetworld® Compliant?

ISNetworld® can be found as a requirement in several industries such as, all energy sectors (Oil, gas, electric, & wind), manufacturing, packaging, and even some supply chains utilize ISNetworld® certification as a requirement.

Becoming ISNetworld® certified will allow you to pre-qualify for work with current clients and for potential clients in diversified industries.

What is an ISNetworld® number?

An ISNetworld® number is a number specifically assigned to your company ISNetworld® profile. This number and your profile is now searchable to thousands of hiring clients.

What is an ISNetworld® grade?

Your grade is populated primarily by the quality of your MSQ® answers and documents, your company statistics.

What documents will I need?

  • 3 years of OSHA 300 & 300A logs (For new companies this is not required but will affect your grade with ISNetworld® slightly)
  • EMR, RAVS® 7-30 (safety programs)
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • And any documents specific your client.

What is required to become ISN® certified / compliant?

Once your connection is made to your client you will then be able to access specific client requirements.

  • Answer the 800-2000 MSQ® questionnaire.
  • Upload your documents.
  • Submit for review
  • Monitor your account and address any rejected documents.

What are the benefits of ISNetworld®?

  • Efficient and standardized way to meet Hiring Client requirements
  • Improve internal safety and information systems
    • Written safety programs are audited by safety professionals
    • Track individual level data
      • Ability to track individual training and qualifications
  • Marketing and exposure to Hiring Clients

Not every company has the time or man power to spend on ISNetworld® compliance. Which is why 1 Stop Compliance has created the service of customized, quick, & inexpensive to help and support your business through its compliance needs.

At 1 Stop Compliance we are happy to help you with all of your compliance needs, call us toll free: 844-532-6090

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