Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting rid of 'elf & safety cowboys?

Some sort of "good news" on the safety front for a change.  IOSH report here that a new scheme to accredit "Health and Safety" consultants will be announced in the "next few weeks".  This scheme will be chaired at first by the HSE. 

Currently anyone can call themselves a "safety consultant" and small organisations in particular are prone to being ripped by inexperienced unqualified "cowboys". 

"IOSH members working as consultants will have to be Chartered to join the scheme, so that clients can be confident that they will get advice from someone with a degree level qualification in safety, practical experience, and a formal commitment to Continuing Professional Development".

But the scheme will be "voluntary" and therefore have no real teeth.  Big companies usually (not always) get competent advice.  Small companies and organisations will continue to be sold unsuitable "off the shelf" safety policies and risk assessments that will gather dust on office sleves.   Guess what size organisations tend to have most deaths and serious injuries at work?

This is I suppose a start and better than nothing but it needs to be put on a legal footing and properly regulated.  It should be a criminal offence to sell safety advice without adequate experience and qualifications.  The HSE need to continue to Chair and lead this scheme.  

Trade union safety reps should check on the competency of all advisers employed by their organisation (see SRSC regs Brown Book reg 4A).

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