Creating a Culture of Safety Through Contractor Prequalification

How Xcel Energy achieved >90% compliance in contractor safety

Contractor prequalification and management continues to be a very critical part of most business's operations. As you know, the partners you choose to work with can greatly affect your supply chain and impact the overall performance of your company. Owners, prime and subcontractors are no longer insulated from one another’s safety liabilities. Employing organizations will be held accountable for the decisions they make on who they hire – including third-party contractors.

As such, a contractor’s prior safety performance should be part of the standard evaluation criteria. In the age of global harmonization, it makes good sense that each party looks after one another. Looking out for one another can take the form of an establishing safety performance protocols, thorough contractor prequalification, and work area oversight.

Companies like Xcel Energy are taking a proactive approach to managing the relationships with third-party contractors, suppliers, and vendors. By taking a close look at these third-parties and drawing a line in the sand of who they will work with based on key safety and performance metrics, they are able to reduce the risk to their organization improve their safety performance. 

Key Takeaways:

  • How to foster a culture of safety by prequalifying and managing contractors and suppliers.
  • How involving executive leadership is key to a widespread adoption of contractor management
  • How to achieve high levels of compliance throughout your contractors and suppliers.
  • How to maintain positive relationships with contractors while having a high level of scrutiny for safety and performance indicators.

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Gil Diekhoff

Gil Diekhoff

BROWZ Director of Professional Services | Former Divisional Safety Manager for Caterpillar

Gil Diekhoff, BROWZ Director of Professional Services, is an industry expert in the areas of supplier qualification, and health and safety. Before coming to BROWZ, Gil had 20 years of experience in health and safety at Caterpillar Inc.

In 2008 he led a multi-functional team that benchmarked 13 Fortune 500 companies and used this data to develop Caterpillar’s corporate level contractor safety management process.

Joe Conrad

Joe Conrad

Manager, Safety & Training, Xcel Energy

Joe has worked at Xcel Energy since August, 1997 and in those 18 years has held numerous positions in operations, safety and leadership. His start with Xcel Energy began in Fargo, North Dakota as a temporary laborer on a natural gas construction crew. Joe spent two summers running a shovel and then was placed into a Journeyman apprenticeship program. As a journeyman supporting natural gas trouble and customer related issues he found his way to safety.

Joe was active on his local safety teams supporting the safety of his peers and work group. This involvement opened opportunities for Joe to move into safety fulltime as a Safety Consultant supporting the transmission, electric distribution and gas distribution organizations. Joe then took a leadership position as the Manager, Safety & Training supporting Xcel Energy’s generation portfolio across the eight states. After five years in this role he transitioned to his current role where he manages Xcel Energy’s contractor safety team, program and processes.

Brett Armstrong

Brett Armstrong

Vice President of Marketing, BROWZ

Brett Armstrong is Vice President at BROWZ. He's been with BROWZ for over ten years, and he's had experienced managing teams that have supported the world's leading organizations, during the implementation and ongoing management of supply chain qualification programs.

Earlier at BROWZ, Brett led the operations team for more than 7 years, this experience provides him today with the foundation and understanding necessary to support the communication needs of our clients and contractors.


Join Us

Thursday April 25, 2019

1:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM MT


How to Evaluate the Safety Performance of Contractors Using Lagging & Leading Indicators

This webinar takes place on

Thursday April 25, 2019

1:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM MT

Joint responsibility is the new normal for managing safety between employers and the contractors they hire. Any contractor, subcontractor, or vendor that comes on your site is now part of your risk profile. How do you manage this risk and desire for contractor continuous process improvement?

Progressive companies know they cannot limit their supply chain safety assessment focus to compliance alone. Contractors and suppliers that are compliant on paper still experience employee injury, leadership challenges, production errors and near miss events. Thought-leading organizations such as the National Safety Council are challenging industry to 'Move the Curve', and go beyond compliance – to look deeper into safety management systems and company safety culture.

Join us for a webinar discussing using both lagging and leading indicators to evaluate the safety performance of contractors. We will be discussing how to track a contractor's safety statistics and OSHA/MSHA violations, auditing safety programs, and also performing safety management systems assessments.

Key Topics

  • Why evaluate safety performance of contractors
  • What information to look at to track safety
  • How to interpret the safety data
  • How to manage the data
  • Auditing safety programs and safety manuals
  • Performing safety management system assessments


Dennis  Robinson

Dennis Robinson

Business Development Specialist

Dennis Robinson has been in the supply chain industry for more than 10 years. Before his current role, Dennis managed the assessment specialist team responsible for the validation of all contractor documentation. His experience provides him with firsthand knowledge of the details and documentation organizations rely on to ensure they are working with safe, responsible contractors.

Laurie Knape

Laurie Knape

ASP, CSP, CLCS, HSE Professional

Laurie has over 20 years of HSE experience. She is a CSP, ASP, CLSC. She is the regulatory chair for the Gulf Coast Safety and Training Group, chairperson for Safe Gulf, chairperson for API RP T8, member for API RP 75, member of ASSP for 13 years. Laurie attended the Univ of CT for HSE, Columbia Southern Univ for Science and Business.