The Right Health and Safety Consultants for Your Business
Posted by Tracy Seward
As a business owner, you have a responsibility to keep your employees safe. Health and safety consultants can help you assess your business and identify where you need to focus your resources to reduce the risk. Under Regulation 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations, you are legally obliged to appoint a responsible person to ensure that you comply with health and safety.
Choosing a consultant can be a complex task but it is essential that you find a qualified and competent firm to handle your health and safety. Some consultancies will be able to evaluate your business as a whole and advise on how you can improve procedures while others will focus on a specific area or process. A consultant could advise on the best monitoring systems and conduct in-depth audits, so you can highlight areas that you need to closely manage and control. Furthermore, a good consultant should be fully conversant with health and safety legislation and be able to hand pick specific pieces of legislation that are applicable to your business.
When you choose a consultancy, it is important to understand that there are different levels of support. Some of the main areas a consultant can help with include:
Management of health and safety – Development of policy, monitoring performance and coordinating employee relations
Occupational Hygiene – An assessment of airborne contamination and environmental conditions and how to reduce the risk as well as the use of personal protective equipment
Engineering – The deployment of equipment to reduce risk such as electronic process controls, ventilation and machine guards
Noise, electromagnetic radiation, and vibration – An assessment and detailed measurement of levels and proactive steps to help you reduce risk
Ergonomics – An assessment of workstations where staff spend a lot of time at their desk, working on Display Screen Equipment (DSE).
Finding the Right Consultant
Before selecting a suitable consulting firm, it is important to understand your requirements. The first step in the process is to define what you would like the consultancy to do. Would you like them to assist with your entire health and safety function or a specific area such as risk assessments? Draft a comprehensive brief for the consultant to include:
Information about your organisation
A set of objectives – what do you want the consultancy to achieve
A detailed description of the main issues that you face, perhaps your own assessment of risks
What resources you have available to implement any changes
Budget and timescale
Special working environments or conditions that the consultancy will need to know about
Good health and safety consultants will work with you to help you achieve compliance with health and safety regulations. When working with a firm, be very clear about why you require assistance from the consultant and what you would like them to do. It is important to remember however that a consultancy can only advise or carry out instructions that you provide.