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Jezbot  
#1 Posted : 08 July 2021 17:32:33(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Jezbot

Hello,  I am a very new IOSH member and not used to using online forums so I hope I'm posting in the correct format, etc.  I couldn't find an existing thread regarding this subject but I imagine this isn't a new query.

In the professional OSH world, what is considered to be the minimum IOSH membership level to be able to operate successfully as an independent self employed H&S consultant?

Thank you in advance for your time and responses.

Ian Bell2  
#2 Posted : 08 July 2021 19:24:56(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

IOSH membership level or qualifications?

Your title is Consultant Qualifications but then you ask about IOSH membership levels - quite different things.

There is no requirement to be a member of IOSH to be a safety consultant. I haven't been a member for best part of 10yrs or more. 

Qualifications, again stictly there are no requirements to hold certain qualifications before calling yourself a safety consultant 

thanks 1 user thanked Ian Bell2 for this useful post.
Roundtuit on 08/07/2021(UTC)
Jezbot  
#3 Posted : 08 July 2021 21:04:31(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Jezbot

Thank you Ian for your reply.  I think I haven't worded my question clearly so apologies for that.  I guess I'm really trying to establish that, putting relevant H&S qualifications/competence aside, would there be a perceived minimum IOSH membership grade that would hold sufficient gravitas in this role?  From experience, employers often mix up/miss-quote NEBOSH qualifications and IOSH membership so maybe this isn't an issue but I'm interested in what the professionals think amongst themselves.  Membership grade is based on experience and qualifications so naturally the higher the grade, one would expect these to be potentially more competent consultants.  I suspect I've answered my own question.  Having worked in isolated H&S roles for a number of years, it's good to be amongst like minded people within the IOSH framework.

Ian Bell2  
#4 Posted : 08 July 2021 22:46:40(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Membership of IOSH proves very little. Relevant industrial / sector experience is just as important, if not more so.

thanks 1 user thanked Ian Bell2 for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 14/07/2021(UTC)
peter gotch  
#5 Posted : 09 July 2021 09:36:45(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Morning Jezbot - your question has been asked here in various forms over the years.

Must now be over 10 years when various bodies including HSE sat down to try and find the answer to "life, the universe and everything" and came up with the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants' Register with individual and corporate memberships.

This set some criteria for an individual member of OSHCR, and mandated that to get corporate membership an organisation had to have at least one individual membership of OSHCR.

The company I was working for decided that some of our clients might think this was a good idea so we took out corporate membership and a number of individual memberships. In practice it didn't catch on with our clients (but it might have done with smaller ones - I don't know).

A couple of years into the scheme, we had one large client who stipulated that each tenderer for some packages for health and safety training had to have an individual member of OSHCR. We didn't win any of the work and a couple of years later, I concluded that continuing to pay for my individual membership was a waste of my employer's money (even if it wasn't much money).

Within the last couple of months, the administration of OSHCR was handed over to IOSH and perhaps there will be some sort of re-energisation of the scheme. The OSHCR website sets our criteria for individual membership so you could look to that for one answer to your question.

However, it is probably reasonable to assume that many health and safety consultants will simply carry on as usual, and win work on the basis of who they are and what they have done rather than reliance of whatever qualfications and memberships, espcially if they have expertise in particular topic specialisms.

Good luck, Peter

Roundtuit  
#6 Posted : 09 July 2021 10:32:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Originally Posted by: Jezbot Go to Quoted Post
one would expect these to be potentially more competent consultants

Customer experience can sometimes prove otherwise.

Then you have to factor in iosh does not have a closed shop within the UK nor globally.

"other membershipd schemes are available"

Roundtuit  
#7 Posted : 09 July 2021 10:32:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Originally Posted by: Jezbot Go to Quoted Post
one would expect these to be potentially more competent consultants

Customer experience can sometimes prove otherwise.

Then you have to factor in iosh does not have a closed shop within the UK nor globally.

"other membershipd schemes are available"

Robson22526  
#8 Posted : 09 July 2021 12:55:47(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Robson22526

Afternoon Jezbot; further to the previous replies of which I fully agree, there is no minimum qualification/institute membership level (Any Institute) specified regarding this. Personally, I began consulting on H&S issues with an NGC and Tech-IOSH grade of membership but have found that more doors opened with CMIOSH. I also joined the OSHCR but have had no work from this throughout the six years since joining. I have found people and passed work their way using OSHCR but generally it is not known, even amongst agencies looking for temporary personnel.

As mentioned earlier quals and membership are no recommendation although they should be. Experience and application of such builds reputations and helps to spread the word about you, good or bad. Qualifications and professional registrations only indicate that you have reached a certain level of knowledge and demonstrated using it. 

It takes time to build a consultancy. I started mine, as a limited company in 2013, although I had worked as a consultant previously. I took interim roles and only last year did I manage to develop my business so that I now have multiple clients coming to me for advice and work on a day to day basis. It takes time and application so if you want it, keep going and good luck. Contact me if I can help at all. Kevin

Ian Bell2  
#9 Posted : 09 July 2021 13:58:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

The hardest part of being an independent consultnt is not the safety bit, it sales and finding clients/get a consistent feed of work - especially when you first start.

JohnW  
#10 Posted : 10 July 2021 12:29:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

Jezbot, I have operated as a sole-trader consultant for over 10 years since I completed the NEBOSH gen cert. I also have a science degree and had 25 years in a chemical industry and management roles including some safety responsibilities, so I considered with my knowledge and experience I could start an H&S consultancy. Initially I chose clients who used chemicals and learned everything else working with those clients, and attending training sessions, so I now believe I have competency in risk-assessing engineering equipment, lifting equipment, work at height, construction contractors. I will get help from other professionals on things like ergonomics and manual handling, stress at work, asbestos and other topics. I only work within my capabilities, with clients who have 5-50 employees. John
Brian Hagyard  
#11 Posted : 12 July 2021 11:25:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

Originally Posted by: Jezbot Go to Quoted Post

In the professional OSH world, what is considered to be the minimum IOSH membership level to be able to operate successfully as an independent self employed H&S consultant?

Considered by who? it all depends what the customer is looking for - compitance is not just initials after your name. I may be CMIOSH but there are areas where i would not attempt to advive - and we have others on this forum (such as Chris Packham0 who cannot even get CMIOSH but many of us would consider the guru in his specialist area.

Leagaly as others have said - anyone can call themselves a H&S consultant.

chris.packham  
#12 Posted : 12 July 2021 20:31:55(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

As I see it, the main problem for all of us is to know the limits of our competency. This is where uncertainty and potential for error creeps in. We may feel competent in a specialised area, but without the in-depth knowledge of that area how will be know. There are many aspects of health and safety where traps await those who - on the basis of inadequate knowledge - think they know, wheras the reality is somewhat different. I have yet to find a simple, foollproof system that can indicate with any certainty whether I know enough about a topic, even my own. Its a constant learning process and experience is the most effective tutor.

MrBrightside  
#13 Posted : 13 July 2021 12:02:19(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MrBrightside

I had a recent job interview where the previous H&S Manager (who was retiring) carried out the Interview, with the HR Manager. 

I'm not a member of IOSH and it was like blasphemy to this person, how would I defend myself in court they asked if I wasn't a member of IOSH and they questioned how I kept myself up to date. Was slightly worrying that they expected me to end up in court defending the company, when in over 20 years of doing this role its never happended.

Being a member of IOSH should be a choice, not a definition of competence or knowledge.

Roundtuit  
#14 Posted : 13 July 2021 13:34:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

In certain professions it is beneficial to have the legal protections afforded by union membership e.g. education.

I have never seen such protection stated as a benefit of iosh membership.

Roundtuit  
#15 Posted : 13 July 2021 13:34:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

In certain professions it is beneficial to have the legal protections afforded by union membership e.g. education.

I have never seen such protection stated as a benefit of iosh membership.

WatsonD  
#16 Posted : 28 July 2021 10:26:45(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
WatsonD

Hi Jezbot

As you can see if you ask a question of 10 H&S bods you will get 10 different replies. Not-to-mention  a few rabbits holes along the way.

Put simply it would be generally expected for you to be a CMIOSH grade (there are other institutes such as CIEH for example - but as you are on the IOSH website it stands to reason that your are aware of this one.) If you want to see a full list go to Using a health and safety consultant or adviser: Find a consultant - HSE).

Qualification criteria wise this means either a diploma (NEBOSH / NCRQ) or NVQ Level 5 - there are other equivalents, but for simplicity these are the main three.

This is the level you would need to be to join The Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR).

However, as others have said it is not necessarily the rule for all and there are many whose path veers from this. Though I suspect they are largely those who also have years of experience in their field and have built up many connections over the years who have come to know and trust them and their work, resulting in word-of-mouth referrals, rather than anything as oblique as a faceless register of consultants.

Some companies, however, will be reassured by the chartered and OSHCR status. Few though, I'll wager, will find their consultants by simply trawling this register rather than the above method.

So, the best bet is to get out there: get experience, make connections and a name for being good at what you do and; depending on the types of clients you have, whether you feel it is right for your career to tread the OSHCR path.

Gavin Gibson  
#17 Posted : 31 July 2021 07:54:37(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Gavin Gibson

Can I suggest that the level of risk will dictate the level of qualification / membership that I would want from a consultant. To complete a tick-box inspection of a process is very different from reviewing the implications of an offshore access plan. The responsibility sits with the company that requires the service to do its homework.

There is no "one size fits all" solution.

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