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#1 Posted : 22 October 2000 17:23:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Ralph
This is a plea to health and safety consultants.

I am employed as health and safety officer for a medium sized organisation. On five occasions now (three of these by the same department) health and safety consultants have been brought in from outside the organisation. On only one occasion, a training sesison, did the consultant bother to make contact with the employed health and safety officer (thanks Bruce S.). Even then I knew this consultant from IOSH branch meetings and had in fact recommended him.

I came across the latest of this line of consultants on a site owned by my employer and he boasted to me how he had invited HSE to another of the sites on my patch (without informing me first). This problem of ignoring the employed health and safety professional is not restricted to small consultancies as two of the consultants were from a well know national organisation.

My plea? If you are a consultant brought in to advise an organisation please make an effort to speak to the appointed competent person (i.e. appointed under reg 7 of MHSWR 99). Remember you are being brought in for a reason. It might help you to understand why if you speak to the employed health and safety officer. Some of us employed health and safety professionals work under very difficult circumstances and I know that some of the issues that I have been pushing hard have proved unpopular (to say the least). It does not help the cause of health and safety for the employed professional to be undermined by consultants brought in from outside the organisation.

Oh and before I get the expected flurry of "deeply offended" replies asking why I did not make contact with the consultant, on only two out of the five occasions was I informed that a consultant was being brought in. One of these (as mentioned above) was on my recommendation to give a specialised training course.
#2 Posted : 26 October 2000 17:41:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By David Allan

Point taken, finding the on site professional can sometimes be a problem. However it sounds like you have an internal communication problem, perhaps you should be consulted on consultant appointments?
#3 Posted : 27 October 2000 16:35:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Lawrence Bamber
As a matter of course, Norwich Union Risk Services consultants will always establish who the relevant competent person is, and will always make contact prior to any site visit / in company training course. It greatly benefits both organisations when OSH professionals can be seen to be working together.

Lawrence Bamber
Principal Consultant, NURS
#4 Posted : 30 October 2000 12:04:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Paul Craythorne

It seems you have an internal communications and policy problem. I have worked as both a company HS&E Manager and a consultant and therefore can speak with both hats on.

Firstly, as a company HS&E Manager I would have made it company policy that any requirement for external H&S consultants would have been assessed by myself and I would have decided which consultancy to use.

Secondly, as a consultant, I would only report to the person who had engaged me unless otherwise requested to do so. If the engaging person was the Chief Engineer then all contact and correspondence would be via him/her.

As company H&S Manager/Officer/Adviser then you have been vested with a high level of authority. You need to exercise this right by making it company practice/policy that all external HS&E consultancy requirements are initially vetted by yourself and you should give your recommendation on who to engage based on your knowledge and experience.

I hope this information helps you to realise that the consultant is not at fault here.

Good luck for the future.



#5 Posted : 31 October 2000 21:36:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By steven bentham, MSc, FIOSH
I would not get too hung up on this, if your managers wish to seek advice eleswhere - so be it, also let them use the consultants to do the donkey work afterwards.

As for consultants who cannot work in a professional way and at least have the common decency to speak to you - well this is the best bit, save up all the crappy jobs for the future - you know the ones! guess who would be doing these in future in my organisation! (only joking you should always work in a professional way)

Consultants well, next time suggest another.
#6 Posted : 03 November 2000 19:55:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Bruce Sutherland
Nice to be thanked Ralph, we do try to give a decent service, and I think that I would be pretty P****d off if someone was wandering around on my "patch" without my knowing it

Some of the replies that you have recieved do not make for good reading as far as external consultants go. Whilst I accept that contractually one may have a direct report, then I believe that there would be few occasions that it would not be appropriate to try to contact the safety department if there was one. It also makes good commercial sense as if you do a good job you get noticed. ( If you do a bad job then please leave the consultancy field......)


Bruce Sutherland Noble Health and Safety Consultancy Ltd

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