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Jimmy Smith  
#1 Posted : 11 April 2022 14:37:45(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Jimmy Smith

Hi all, I’m a former HSE Health and Safety inspector working in Construction. After reading a few posts in this forum I’m giving some serious thought to contracting/ consultancy work in the South East. The work I would want to do would mainly involve site inspections/ inspection of LAR work and possible RIDDOR investigations, ie the more enjoyable parts of the inspector role. Is this viable, if so how much could I reasonably charge as an hourly or day rate? Here are some other considerations, for and against the idea: 1. I have unique insight into the way HSE operate, which companies would value. 2. I’m not a technical expert in anything, ie an engineer, rather I’m a generalist. The most insightful advice I would be able to give would be application of the law, but with less expertise than a solicitor in most cases. 3. I have no network outside HSE that could help me get clients. I have interacted with companies, but they probably wouldn’t be thrilled to hear from me again, especially where the relationship ended in prosecution. Where would I begin with building a client base initially? Presumably just website, marketing, cold approaches etc. 4. Knowing HSE I’d be worried about taking on legal duties under CDM and possibly being the target of enforcement action myself. Ultimately I suspect HSE wouldn’t have much appetite for this, as they don’t like companies that ‘contract out’ their responsibilities, but it is still a concern. Appreciate any thoughts from anyone with experience on any of these points. I’m just looking for a change, and to be more in control of my own workload. Cheers, Jim
peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 11 April 2022 18:26:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Jim

Welcome to the IOSH Forums!

Not clear from your posting whether you were an HSE Inspector and are now doing something in the Construction sector, or whether that was the sector you worked in when you were in HSE.

But, I guess it might help if you gave readers a bit more information about your experience and spelt out the acronym which after thinking about it I assumed probably means Licensed Asbestos Removal.

Now I know that HSE policy has changed but when I joined HSE you were not allowed anywhere near the sector you had previously worked in until all your preconceptions about acceptable custom and practice had been put to bed. Then to keep you fresh they moved you from sector to sector, typically every four or five years.

By the time I got moved into Construction and Fairgrounds for a 4 year stint (24 fatals and much more), I had already done 7 years looking at other things. We didn't spend much time on asbestos removal for the simple reason that there were too many accidents happening AND HSE was very strict about keeping the numbers of Inspectors needing to get fully togged up down to the bare minimum.

However, I did do one year in Metal Manufacture, Minerals (which included Asbestos) and Timber but I only got fully togged up once to look at the project to sort out a botched asbestos removal job under a public building. Served a couple of Crown prohibition notices on the Client (long before CDM) - but I was also the Nominated Noise Inspector for the Area which was a grand title but in practice meant that I got a noise meter which cost 10 times as much as those all the other Inspectors got and I was supposed to make good use of it - and did.

To be honest I don't recognise doing the investigations as being particular enjoyable - some very intersesting, some very challenging but it was not enjoyable sitting at the bedside of a man who had just blown half his arm off when a firework went off in an uncontrolled manner at a major display and my colleague was interviewing him under caution.

Perhaps slightly more enjoyable managing to agree with a labourer that if he hadn't been wearing a hard hat - before the Construction (Head Protection) Regs 1989 - he would probably be dead, but then the large part of the piling rig should not have fallen nearly 30m and my main priority in interviewing him was to collect evidence for the prosecution. 

Plenty of HSE Inspectors have ended up working for Contractors, including Contractors they may have prosecuted. The better end of the market understand that sometimes they get things wrong and an Inspector may conclude that prosecution is merited. In my experience, those being prosecuted generally didn't hold it against me whether they were construction contractors or most of anyone else. Once in while they would plead Not Guilty and we would go to trial.

One former Inspector who visits these Forums makes much of his subsequent income precisely because of his detailed understanding of asbestos work.

I chose a different course and ended up with a major Consultant - in simplistic terms a major design practice. Consultants were not used to often dealing with HSE and despite over 25 years of CDM it's still quite a rarity.

If you want to go into construction H&S consultancy possibly you could identify who on these Forums has lots of experience in the sector and PM them to pick their brains.

Good luck, Peter

#3 Posted : 28 April 2022 14:08:54(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

I went freelance for a couple of years – mostly contracts on installations and construction/maintenance in large food factories. I picked up most of this via an agency – enquired about one job that had gone but they asked for CV and put me on the next one. They already had the network and credibility. You go in as part of a fixed-term project team and if the client likes you, you get asked back to do more and then you start to make contacts. Example: Places like Indeed feature contract work for H&S site managers for client or PC, often with day rates shown so you can see what’s out there, although I’d say they’re on the low side and some better paid ones come through agencies/private networks.

 Gave it up because too much demand impacted family life. That’s a risk to consider, too.

 I’m sure sometimes we get work because in-house management can’t be *rsed to do it themselves!

#4 Posted : 05 May 2022 14:27:44(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

You could consider doing a google search of H & S consultancies already established in your area and contacting them for an informal chat about options etc.

Some consultancies make a big deal of having former inspectors on their books, (by this I mean working with them), 

You may be able to be Freelance with an ad hoc arrangement with a consultancy, or 'employed'

Also, what are you going to bring to the table ?  do you want just Inspection and Audit services, or do you want to provide guidance and advice, ie - create a working relationship with the 'client' or just turn up, inspect, submit a report, and then go back a month later and see what's been done, or needs adding to the list of things to do.

As I say, consider make informal contact with some established consultancies and have a chat.  (There are as you well know, local and national outfits).

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