All businesses must comply with Health and Safety at Work legislation. In a company of a reasonable size, there will be staff responsible for ensuring compliance with the law while consultancies may be employed to address specific areas.
What will a consultancy offer?
Employing a health and safety consultant should give a company more than just someone coming in and carrying out a quick risk assessment. A top quality consultancy should help a company set up systems to assess and manage risks in the future and qualified staff will ensure that the company continues to use the new systems. Attendance at health and safety at work courses will ensure that staff keep up-to-date with their knowledge.
Some consultancies will offer internal health and safety training courses, which has the advantage of being very specific to the business. It enables the managers to know exactly what their staff have been taught and should help in devising safe working practices, risk assessments and correct record keeping.
How to choose the right one for your business
What qualifications do the consultants have? Are they qualified to deliver health and safety at work courses if required?
Are they experienced in the relevant field and familiar with the risks and methods of addressing those risks?
What follow up service do they offer? Will they welcome contact after the contract has been completed?
Are they members of IOSH (Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) or a similar organisation?
Are they registered with the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register?
Do they set out what you can expect from them before you agree to employ them? Do you know what training or documentation they will provide?
Why use a Health and Safety consultant?
If there is a change in the work of the company, it may be that employing the services of a consultancy is the best way of addressing this change and new risks that may occur.
An expanding business may bring increased risks and require a fresh approach. A larger business may bring a company into a different set of regulations.
Moving to a new site may bring its own particular risks. For example, the layout may need to be different due to different space.
A new process or the use of different materials will require fresh risk assessments.
A consultant may be the best way of meeting the requirements of new legislation
If there has been a specific health and safety issue in the company, employing the services of a consultancy may be the best way of addressing this problem.
Companies may often use the skills and experience of their own qualified health and safety experts, but there may also be occasions when they prefer to rely on the services of a consultant. Keeping staff up to date with health and safety at work courses will also help the company meet their health and safety responsibilities.
AUTHOR BIO: Joana has worked in the health and safety field for a number of years, both in industry and as a trainer. She is familiar with the benefits of health and safety at work courses and writes about her experience for a number of blogs and websites.