If you’re a subcontractor or supplier that provides services for other companies and contractors, you’ve likely heard of procurement clearinghouse companies like Avetta, ComplyWorks, Veriforce, and ISNetworld®. These virtual companies help manage the relationships between hiring clients and their contractors, offering certification for those who pass their verification process.
The evaluation process from these verification companies can impact the trajectory of your entire business depending on your grade. Not only do you need a grade of ‘B’ or higher to pass and gain certification in most cases, but any OSHA citations on your record will be directly reported to the owner-clients you do business with.
To ensure your company doesn’t suffer from a poor ISNetworld® rating, let’s take a closer look at the organization itself, how they communicate with OSHA, and steps you can take if a citation is placed on your record.
What is ISNetworld®?
ISNetworld® is one of several procurement databases for online contractor safety management. They are designed to help streamline compliance pre-qualification processes for contractors and hiring companies.
Essentially, companies like Avetta, Veriforce, and ISNetworld® utilize their websites where hiring clients are able to locate and hire subscriber suppliers and subcontractors. The organizations collect and organize data that can be found publicly or is voluntarily submitted by participating subcontractors and suppliers, and produces a certification and rating based on this information. Hiring clients are able to use this data to inform their hiring decisions, making it easy for them to prioritize safety.
Because this process makes vetting subcontractors and suppliers incredibly simple for hiring clients, an increasing number of large companies—like Chevron, BASF, ExxonMobil, Georgia Pacific, or Apache— are requiring companies and contractors to be certified by either ISNetworld® or a similar procurement site—like Avetta or Veriforce. It appears that use of these procurement sites will continue to grow in popularity, and gaining that certification can be a great way to set your company apart from the competition.
Typically, joining a procurement site involves an application and fee. The application process requires you to upload specific information and documentation, which can be confusing and time-consuming for those with less experience in safety compliance. Any company, especially smaller organizations without a full-time safety staff member, can find peace of mind by hiring a safety consultant to take this application process off your plate.
How Does ISNetworld® Find out about Your OSHA Citation?
ISNetworld® utilizes a variety of information to determine your overall score, one of which is the number of OSHA citations received in the last three years. Since OSHA citations are public record, and can be easily found by searching the OSHA enforcement records, there is not much you can do to get the deduction removed from your company’s ISNetworld® safety record.
ISNetworld® also uses the HSEQ, or Health, Safety, Environmental, and Quality, category as a key part of their rating system. This involves collecting relevant documents during the pre-qualification process to evaluate workplace and environmental safety compliance.
During the review process, each subcontractor and supplier is scored based on loss history and workplace injuries, along with recent OSHA citations. However, not all categories are weighted equally. In fact, ISNetworld® gives particular weight to OSHA citations—for example, a company that suffers a work-related fatality may lose 10 points off their score, but if there’s an OSHA citation from that fatal incident, there could be an additional 25-point reduction.
It’s imperative that subcontractors and suppliers keep OSHA guidelines in mind at all times, as the ripple effect of a citation can keep you from ISNetworld® certification and prevent you from acquiring big contracts. However, if an OSHA citation does show up on your ISNetworld® record, there are few steps you can take.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE AN OSHA CITATION IN YOUR ISNETWORLD® ACCOUNT?
Having an OSHA citation on your ISNetworld® record is not ideal, but it’s not a death sentence for your business either. If that happens, here are a few steps to take:
1. Review the Citation
If you receive that dreaded email from ISNetworld® saying an OSHA citation was added to your record, the first thing you should do is confirm the citation is correct and was actually issued against your company. The email you receive should have a direct link to that citation, making this step relatively easy.
While it’s not common, mistakes can happen. You may accidentally receive a citation for a company with the same or similar name as yours, or a parent company may receive a citation that was wrongfully associated with all subsidiaries. Review the citation and compare it with your own records, and make sure it accurately reflects any predetermined resolution.
If you feel the citation itself was unfair, you can contest via an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or even schedule a hearing before an administrative law judge. There are typically options available to negotiate a penalty reduction, deletion, or reclassification of the violations.
2. Contact ISNetworld®
If the OSHA citation referenced does not apply to your company, contact ISNetworld® immediately and request the incorrect citation be removed. ISNetworld® even provides an easy-to-use template to prepare your request.
There is potential for you to get the citation reworded in a way that results in a smaller point deduction. This often requires getting a lawyer involved, but if you’re able to negotiate the precise language of the OSHA citation and decouple it from the underlying incident, ISNetworld® may reduce your point penalty.
3. Make a Change
Ultimately, if the citation is correct, there isn’t anything else that can be done to get it removed from your record. Your next course of action should be to take this as a warning that your safety program needs to be evaluated and improved.
Related Content: Top 10 OSHA Violations and How to Avoid Them
Hire a professional safety consultant to get the answers you need. Safety consultants can help you understand citations and conduct their own safety audit to check for other safety concerns or potential hazards, develop a corrective action plan to address OSHA’s concerns, and help you improve your company’s overall safety program.
Takeaway: Avoid a Low ISNetworld® Rating with a Robust Safety Program
OSHA inspections are unpredictable, and frequently changing regulations can make it difficult to stay compliant. Don’t let a preventable OSHA citation tank your ISNetworld® rating and ruin your chances of gaining big-name contracts. Talk with a professional safety consultant today to make sure your safety program is air-tight.