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christine.miller  
#1 Posted : 09 August 2017 17:27:43(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
christine.miller

Hello all- I just wanted to get some opinions on this one. I have been offered work as a self employed H&S Advisor/Consultant doing freelance work, usually for smaller companies that cannot afford H&S staff and/or large consultancy retainers. I work in H&S full time now as H&S Manager for a group of agricultural/engineering companies, and have done so for 3 years. I have a NEBOSH Cert.... Before this I was at University as a mature student, where I got a Bsc in English Lit and a Masters Degree by research. Before that I worked in H&S Risk Management for about 2 years as Risk Management Administrator, where I did all the accident investigations and reports, some audits etc for a large dairy co-operative. I have done a few courses in the last couple of years in CDM, DSEAR.I have been doing some freelance work for smaller companies that we deal with in my full time job, mainly doing risk assessments and safe systems of work for works that are undertaken on customer's sites, as more and more companies are now asking for these before letting contractors onsite! I really enjoyed this work and have always received very good feedback in terms of customer's or companies commenting on the quality of RAMS submitted by the companies I have worked for.I do wonder however if I should really have a NEBOSH Diploma or similar to be working full time as a self employed H&S contractor? This would probably take me 2 years as i have children to support/look after, and it would have to be funded by my current employer, who would tie me here for at least that long if paying for my CPD. I feel ready to move sooner than this and know I have work lined up to crack on with straight away if i want it. Thoughts please?

Edited by user 09 August 2017 17:53:48(UTC)  | Reason: Forgot a relevant piece of information!

biker1  
#2 Posted : 10 August 2017 13:34:02(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

Yes, would be the basic answer. There would be an expectation that you hold a higher qualification than a NEBOSH certificate. The advice of IOSH many years ago was that a certificate was for people who had h&s as part of their job, whereas for a full time h&s professional, a NEBOSH Diploma or equivalent was appropriate. Time has moved on, and it might also now be expected that you would be on the OSHCR register, for which you would need to be Chartered. This is not only for the level of knowledge you would need, but you would also need professional indemnity insurance, and I would imagine the insurance companies would get a bit twitchy about anyone embarking on a role of freelance consultant who is not at least diploma level qualified.

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christine.miller on 10/08/2017(UTC)
Hsquared14  
#3 Posted : 10 August 2017 14:54:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Hsquared14

I would support what Biker1 has said.  Most consultancy companies want associates who are CMIOSH and usually insist on Diploma or equivalent.  Some consultancies take on "Junior" consultants as full time employees and put them through the relevant training so this might be something you might want to look into and look out for.    I would say you need to look before you leap because there are a lot of things to consider such as no sick pay, no paid holidays and the fact that the workload can be very fickle.  I did very well as a freelance for 12 years until last year when all my usual work streams dried up for no apparent reason virtually overnight (other than the Brexit vote!).  I would think twice if I had dependents especially small children.

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christine.miller on 10/08/2017(UTC)
Ian Bell2  
#4 Posted : 10 August 2017 15:57:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Ultimately only a Court can decide if you are competent. There is more to competence than simple qualifications.

Equally there is more to competence than IOSH/NEBOSH qualifications.

I would say the bigger issue is that the self employed consultancy market is flooded with such people. The longer term work security/work flow is just as important. For example, I was offered a contract recently offering £290/day in London - I declined, simply not commercially viable after travel/hotels factored in.

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christine.miller on 10/08/2017(UTC)
christine.miller  
#5 Posted : 10 August 2017 15:58:55(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
christine.miller

Thank you both, I think this is the way I will go, my field of knowledge is still fairly specific to the agricultural/engineering/industrial biomass heating areas in which i work currently.  I would feel much more confident with a diploma behind me, even if I still chose to work mainly in those fields!  I better get sweet talking my boss, although he is usually pretty supportive when I want to do courses.  Advice much appreciated 

christine.miller  
#6 Posted : 10 August 2017 16:19:26(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
christine.miller

Thanks Ian- its not so much the availability of work or the money that I worry about, more that I need to feel absolutely comfortable in my own work.  I am also very aware that these people need to be able to say that they have as far as possible checked the competency of the person they are contracting and formal qualifications will help with that.  I am very lucky that there the company I will be working under have alot of contacts and sway in the industry we work in, and their is other work i can be doing as and when the contracts have dry spells!  I really wont be chasing large corporate contracts in the big smoke- its the rural industries and lifestyle all the way for me!    

SallyOD  
#7 Posted : 10 August 2017 18:16:52(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
SallyOD

Hi Christine,

Basically agree with those above!  NEBOSH Cert is a good base to start from, but just be aware that there are other options than NEBOSH Diploma out there.  I went the NEBOSH Cert, and followed with NEBOSH Construction and then the went the NVQ route.  With two kids, work and home to run I found this a lot easier to underpin my knowledge and gain other experience than the NEBOSH Dip gives? If you are looking at working in the same type of industry the NVQ route is more tailored to this than the NEBOSH, which although covers a wide range of items, may not be specific to your area?  Worth thinking other options.  Also dont forget PI insurance, rates can be higher for lower band qualifications or cover may have area restrictions.   Happy to chat!

RayRapp  
#8 Posted : 11 August 2017 07:17:31(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Hi Christine

I can't disagree with any of the comments, my only comment is that one of the most important elements of competency is understanding your own limitations. Clearly this you have considered within your original posting. There is nothing wrong either with broadening your own knowledge otherwise we would never learn anything new.

Shopland23872  
#9 Posted : 16 August 2017 19:26:00(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Shopland23872

As said above, you do need to recognise your limitations and stay within them, however as the code of conduct states, you can venture outside your limitations as long as you are mentored by someone competent in the field that you are not competent in. If one of your clients is asking you to, for example prepare suitable RAMS for a specific activity that you don't know about, there is nothing to stop you seeking help from a specialist in that particular area. I was recently asked to prepare RAMS for a food outlet, well I know diddly squat about food hygiene and I don't know anyone else who works in that field, so I had to decline the work but referred them to the OSHCR website instead. It is always better to be honest, rather than give inaccurate advice, even though you are trying to help. Also if that did happen, it is likely that your PI would be voided. Your level of qualification is not overly relevant, your competence is the most relevant thing. As long as you stick to the code of conduct you should be fine. It is actually a very helpful tool.
Bigmac1  
#10 Posted : 27 August 2017 15:37:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Bigmac1

Doing work for companies through your main job.

Just a caution!!! Be careful of conflicts of interest. Do not put yourself in this position.

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