In business the idea of "outsourcing" is nothing new.  Many facilities outsource functions such as lawncare or security services.  But what about safety related functions, such as confined space entry and response?

Confined space entry and response operations are an important part of many industrial manufacturing operations.  Whether it is a quick equipment repair or an extensive maintenance function, a confined space entry is commonly required.  With strict OSHA regulations governing confined space operations, every facility needs to carefully consider the best plan for ensuring safety and compliance with all regulations.  This is typically where the "outsource" versus "in house" question first comes up.  It really is as simple as it sounds.  Should the facility hire, train, and equip an internal team of professionals to oversee and conduct all of their confined space operations, or should they bring in a third party contracting firm.  Finding the "right" answer is important for a number of reasons.  Things such as safety, experience, liability, and cost should all be considered when developing your plan.  Listed below are some questions to consider when considering the benefits of working with an outside contractor.

1. How will your internal team react in an emergency?

One of the most important things to consider is how will your internal team react in the event of an emergency or a rescue situation.  There is a big difference between a simulated rescue in a training environment and a live rescue situation.  Since most internal teams are made up of people who spend most of their time performing other duties (maintenance, engineers, etc.), they may lack "real world" rescue experience even after being trained.  FCS Industrial Solutions employs staff members who not only receive monthly training, but who routinely perform actual emergency response and rescue.  It is reasonable to assume that a more experienced team will respond quicker and more effectively in an emergency situation.

2. Are there financial benefits?

The answer to this question is typically "yes".  Using a contracting firm allows you to have staff on site only when needed, versus employing people full time.  Most manufacturing facilities only perform confined space entries during scheduled maintenance and shutdowns.  FCS Industrial Solutions can provide flexible scheduling on any shift, including nights and weekends.  The project can be for several weeks or several days, but you only pay for what you need.  There may also be insurance premium savings by outsourcing, which should be explored with your insurance provider.

3.  Will outsourcing create a safer worksite for your employees?

Having a second set of eyes or a second opinion is always a good idea when it comes to safety.  An outside contractor is used to coming up with safe ways to complete projects in many different environments, while an internal team is really only used to their facility.  A good contracting firm should be able to foresee "worst case scenarios" and identify other potential hazards that may have been encountered on other job sites.  This experience can be a major benefit in both job planning and emergency response.  In all safety related operations, pre-planning and identifying potential hazards is the first and most important step in creating a safe work environment.

4.  Can outsourcing free up resources that can be dedicated to your business?

In almost all scenarios, a company is committing serious financial and management resources to a proper "in house" confined space team.  It is worth considering whether or not those resources would be more beneficial if they were directed towards the core business of the plant.  Outsourcing allows management teams to focus on how to best and most efficiently conduct profitable daily operations, and let the contracting firm focus on safely handling confined space operations.

Give us a call today to see if outsourcing your confined space operations with FCS Industrial Solutions is the safe move!