Getting help withhealth and safetyPractical guidance on workingwith a consultantwww.iosh.co.uk/gettinghelpInformation guide
Workers are your most valuable assetand you need to look after them. Itmakes good business sense – and it’syour legal duty to keep your people safeIf you have any comments or questions about this guide,please contact Research and Information Services at IOSH:t 44 (0)116 257 k/consultancygroup02
To help you do this, you may needprofessional health and safety adviceBut where can you get it, and how do youknow you’re getting good value? This guideanswers these questions and more, helpingyou to make sure the health and safetyadviser you choose has the right level ofexpertise and professional membership foryou, your team and your business.Why do you need help?As an employer, you must “appoint one or more competentpersons to assist” with health and safety – it’s the law. Butthat’s not the only reason to get advice. We know thatyou’re not in business to hurt people, and getting health andsafety management right will help to protect your team. Italso makes good business sense. Making people ill at work,injuring or even killing them, can be costly – not just in termsof business losses, but reputation damage too. Making sureyou get good advice can save you money in the long run.You can get advice in-house, from a professional outsideyour organisation, or a combination of both. What’simportant is that it comes from someone who’s competent.If you need outside help, we recommend that you choosesomeone suitable from the Occupational Safety and HealthConsultants Register (OSHCR), the UK government-recognisedaccreditation scheme. To find out more, visit www.oshcr.org.When do you need help?It’s usually best to get someone in-house to deal withhealth and safety, as they’ll know a lot about yourbusiness and operations. Find out how to get the rightperson for the job by having a look at www.iosh.co.uk/thebestpeople.aspx, or by downloading the freeIOSH guide, ‘Setting standards in health and safety –raising performance through training and competencedevelopment’, from www.iosh.co.uk/standards.Of course, in small organisations, it’s not always possible toget someone internal to look after health and safety. Andeven if you have in-house help, getting independent advicefrom an external consultant can be invaluable, whatever thesize of your organisation.There could also be times when you need help to cover areasoutside the skills, experience or resources of yourin-house team. For example, if you want to:- introduce new products, processes or procedures- give your staff training- investigate incidents- have an independent audit carried out- use chemicals safely- test samples – say, for asbestos or legionella.For some pointers on getting outside health and safetyadvice, have a look at ‘Questions to ask yourself’ onpages 06–07.01
Who can help you?Before you begin looking for a consultant, you first have todecide what sort of consultant you need. For example, youmay need someone to help you with general health andsafety management, or you may need a specialist to dealwith a specific issue.Specialist health and safety consultants can advise youon a wide range of issues, including:- dealing with harmful substances, from asbestos toclinical wasteCompetence and suitabilityConsultants need to be competent to do the work theycarry out. ‘Competence’ is a mixture of experience, skills,knowledge and qualifications in the service that a consultantis offering, as well as the employment sector they work in.You can check a consultant’s competence by askingthem what qualifications, experience and professionalmembership they have. If you’re hiring the services of aconsultancy with a large team, make sure you check thecredentials of the person who’ll actually be carrying out thework. You should also check whether the consultancy hasenough resources for your project.Whether you’re looking for general health and safetyguidance or advice on complex, strategic or high-risksituations, we recommend you consider a CharteredSafety and Health Practitioner (CMIOSH or CFIOSH). Theconsultant you choose also needs to have experience ofyour sector. Depending on the work you need help with,they may have to have specific qualifications relevant tothe sector or project, too. Visit www.oshcr.org to getthe details of accredited Chartered Safety and HealthPractitioners, as well as those in other professional bodieswho have accredited consultant members. You can use02-health problemslegal questions and challengesnoise and vibration problemspolicies and proceduresdesigning a safe workplacesample testingstress and strainshelping people back to work after they’ve been off with aserious injury or illness.OSHCR’s free online client ‘matching service’ to find anaccredited consultant for the work you have in mind.It’s important to remember that accreditation applies toindividuals only, not consultancy organisations and thosewho work for them. For more information about theexperience, skills and qualifications our members musthave, visit www.iosh.co.uk/thebestpeople.aspx.You should ask consultants for references and examples ofwork they’ve completed that are similar to yours, or workthey’ve carried out in your industry. You could also talkto their previous clients to find out if they would use theconsultant again and how they rate their performance.It’s essential that the consultant you appoint has the correctlevel of insurance, including professional indemnity. Infact, this is a requirement if they are to be included on theOSHCR Register. So, check that their insurance covers thework they’re offering to do for you. If, for example, you’relooking for help from an asbestos consultant, it’s importantthat they’re insured to give this advice.Because you’ll be working closely with the consultant, arrangeface-to-face meetings with all prospective candidates beforeyou decide on who you want to do your work.
Where do you go?As the world’s largest body for health and safetyprofessionals, IOSH has worked with the HSE and otherbodies to set up the OSHCR.- To find out more about the Register and how you canfind the health and safety consultant that’s right for yourbusiness, visit www.oshcr.org.Other professional bodies have members who offer servicesfor specific specialist areas. These include:- the British Occupational Hygiene Society, which has aDirectory of Occupational Hygiene Consultants –www.bohs.org- the Institute of Acoustics, which can link you up with anoise engineer – www.ioa.org.uk- the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, whichcan put you in touch with an environmental health officer– www.cieh.org.Choosing and hiring aconsultantOnce you’ve decided on the type of help you need andidentified sources of competent advice, you’re now ina position to begin the process of choosing the rightconsultant for you and your organisation.When you select a consultant, make sure they improve yourhealth and safety management system (if you already haveone). Be careful that you don’t end up paying for a generic‘package’ of information, a set of risk assessments thataren’t tailored to your circumstances, or just a health andsafety manual. One size doesn’t fit all. Any information theconsultant gives you should be specific to you. You shouldlook beyond general information that will merely help you‘tick the box’ if an inspector calls or an insurer asks for it.You need practical, proportionate and customised ways tomanage your risks effectively and improve the health andsafety of your business.You may also be able to find a consultant by contacting yourtrade association, or through a personal recommendation.For a fuller list of specialists, what they do and their relevantprofessional bodies, have a look at ‘Who to go to’ on pages08–09.It’s worth remembering that, as well as having entryrequirements that members must meet, professionalbodies such as IOSH enrol their members on ContinuingProfessional Development programmes to keep skills,knowledge and expertise up to date. Our members alsohave to comply with a strict code of conduct. With thesesafeguards in place, you can be confident that when youhire the services of a consultant with the appropriate level ofprofessional body membership, you’re taking on someonewith high standards of professional practice.Step 1: Develop your brief- Write down what you need and discuss it with other-people in your organisation. Once you’re clear aboutwhat your objectives are and what your timetable is,use your notes as a blueprint to brief your prospectiveconsultants.Be open-minded. Once you’ve told prospectiveconsultants what you need, you may find that thereare alternatives that you hadn’t thought of, or thatyou’ve focused on the symptom rather than the cause.Remember – part of the consultant’s role is to give youa vital outsider’s view.03
Step 2: Define the scope of project and tender workStep 3: Consider value- Scope: define the work you need doing – list theOnce the consultants have given you their list of fees, makesure you’re comparing like with like. If you’re in doubt,check that the consultants understand what you need andask them how their proposal is structured – how muchtime they’ve budgeted for, if they’ll have other expenses inaddition to a daily rate, and if they charge VAT.---04outputs, milestones and standards you need, and anybudget, time or other constraints.Type of help: develop a list of competences, skillsand resources you need from a consultant – read‘Competence and suitability’ on page 02 and‘Questions to ask yourself’ on pages 06–07. If it’sgeneral health and safety management you needhelp with, visit www.oshcr.org. Alternatively, contactone of the organisations or trade bodies dealing withspecialist areas – have a look at ‘Who to go to’ onpages 08–09.Communicate: take time to brief prospectiveconsultants properly on a one-to-one basis so thatthey fully understand what you need.Compare: invite more than one consultant to tenderand interview, even if you like the first one, so you cancompare their approaches and credentials.Proposals: allow enough time for consultants toprepare their tender proposals, according to the sizeand complexity of the project.Clarify: ask each consultant to give you a presentationon what they can offer you and their tender proposals,so that everyone is clear about what’s needed andwhat’s to be delivered.Trust: remember, for all projects, especially if the project islikely to be long term or involve major change or sharingsensitive information, you and your staff need to developtrust and rapport with the consultant you choose.If you want to introduce a programme of continual healthand safety improvements, check with the consultant aboutthe number of days each month or quarter they intendto provide a service to you, and what they’ll charge – say,a fixed daily rate or monthly fee. This type of ongoingsupport – often where an organisation doesn’t have inhouse competent help – may have no specific end-point,and you should agree review dates to make sure that theservice your consultant is providing meets your needs.
Step 4: Appoint and agree termsStep 5: ReviewOnce you decide which consultant you want, you needto agree business terms and decide whether you wanta written contract or agreement – you may need to getlegal advice. Your consultant may have standard contractconditions, but make sure you review them before youenter into a contract. Agree any changes to standardconditions before you sign – don’t simply delete clauses.Make sure you have a formal review once the work iscomplete so that you can assess how well it has gone.This may not be the final review, as you may havedeveloped an ongoing relationship and want to continuethe existing arrangement or start another project. Don’tbe afraid to ask questions. Once you’ve studied anyrecommendations, you need to make sure you fullyunderstand them and know how to implement them.You may prefer to use your own organisation’s standardterms. Here, make sure the contract is relevant to the typeof work, uses defined and objective terms, and avoidssubjective measures of performance such as ‘satisfaction’.Remember to include a schedule in the contract oragreement, detailing the agreed outputs, cost, timescaleand payment terms. This will need updating if changes or‘extras’ have been agreed.You should check the consultant has enough and thecorrect type of insurance cover for the work. And youalso need to address intellectual property rights issues,both current and those that emerge during the project.Some consultants like to keep ownership of tools andtechniques, but you may want to own them if they relatespecifically to your project.Agree with your consultant a statement outlining theway the project will be carried out, including a plan, whatthey’ll deliver, and when. This may contain a ‘risk register’,detailing what the risks are, what could happen, how likelyit is that something will go wrong, what to do if it does,how to prevent it and who’s responsible for which risks.In general, make sure that ‘ownership’ of a risk lies withwhoever has the greatest ability to manage it.Remember.Check that your consultant:- is competent- is a member of the right professional body,at the right level- is experienced- has references- is insuredMake sure you:- define the scope of the work- carry out interviews- have a written agreement, including a timescale- agree terms and conditions, and outputs- review progress05
Questions to ask yourselfWhat would I want a consultant to do?Different health and safety consultants will be able to takeon a wide range of projects. Here are just some examples:- carry out an audit to see if you’re complying with the law- advise you on how to improve the effectiveness of yourhealth and safety management- identify the hazards in your workplace and suggest waysof getting rid of or reducing them- carry out a sampling or other fact-finding exercise to seewhether you need to do more to protect people- advise you on particular issues, such as how to change aprocess to make it less hazardous- carry out or help you with accident investigations- identify what training you need, and either give advice onor carry it out- prepare a written report of their work and recommendationsNot sure what you need?If you know you need help with health and safety, butyou’re not quite sure what to ask for, call our team forguidance on 44 (0)116 257 3199.06How specialised is the work – could I do any of it myselfor within my team?- Is there someone in-house with the competence and timeto carry out the work?- Would it be better to give a member of staff the trainingto do the work, recruit a competent professional or call inoutside help?- Would it be best to have a combination of in-houseadvice and consultancy support?It’s worth thinking about the resources you’ll need to get theright member of staff trained or qualified, how long it willtake, and the commitments they already have in the business.What type of help do I need?- a broad-based health and safety practitioner, with theappropriate skills, qualifications and experience?- a specialist in, for example, radiation?- an adviser, facilitator or a ‘doer’? Should theconsultant be advising on what should be done, orworking under my direction?
Can the consultant or consultancy I’m thinking abouthiring meet my needs?- Have I compared different consultants for suitabilityand value?- Does the consultant who’ll do the work have the rightknowledge, qualifications, skills, experience and level ofprofessional membership?- Are they a member of the government-recognisedaccreditation scheme, OSHCR?- Do they have enough professional indemnity and publicliability insurance?- Can they give me references for work they’ve completedthat’s similar to my project?- Do they have enough resources to carry out the work?- Can they complete the task in an acceptable timescale?- Will any of the work be subcontracted, and how will itbe controlled?What should be covered in the agreementor contract with the consultant?- the detailed scope of the work- the basis for the fees, including dates for payment- any possible conflict of interest- dates for completion of the work and a report, if that’spart of the project- how any changes or new work identified during theproject will be agreed- terms and conditions of the agreement or contractOnce I’ve received the consultant’srecommendation or report:- do I fully understand the results and recommendations?- do I know how to implement them?- can the consultant provide continuing support?07
Who to go toHere’s an alphabetical list ofwhere you can get help. The listisn’t comprehensive, and apartfrom IOSH, the inclusion of anorganisation doesn’t imply anyendorsement by IOSH.More information- Faculty of Occupational Medicinet 44 (0)20 7317 5890www.facoccmed.ac.uk- Society of Occupational Medicinet 44 (0)20 7486 [email protected] services engineersEnvironmental healthpractitionersKey areas- air conditioning- energy- fire detection- heating- lighting- plumbing- refrigeration- security- ventilationMore information- Chartered Institution of BuildingServices Engineerst 44 (0)20 8675 5211www.cibse.orgDoctors (occupational medicine)Key areas- diagnosis- monitoring and treatment ofoccupational ill health- disability and fitness for workassessments- rehabilitation- return to work and healthpromotion programmes08Key areas- food safety and hygiene- enforcing environmental healthlegislation for local authorities- advising public and private sectorbodies on environmental healthconcerns and best practiceMore information- Chartered Institute ofEnvironmental Healtht 44 (0)20 7928 [email protected] Royal Environmental HealthInstitute of Scotlandt 44 (0)131 225 [email protected] areas- ergonomic design of equipment,tasks and systemsMore information- Institute of Ergonomics& Human Factorst 44 (0)1509 ealth and safety practitionersKey areas- occupational safety and healthadvice- guidance on management systems(policy, strategy and best practice)- risk assessment and effectivecontrols- audit- inspection- investigation- benchmarking- performance monitoring andanalysis- trainingMore information- Institution of OccupationalSafety and Healtht 44 (0)116 257 [email protected] For information on finding aconsultant, visitwww.iosh.co.uk/consultancygroup- Occupational Safety and HealthConsultants Registerwww.oshcr.org (free onlineresource)
Noise engineersKey areas- specialist workplace noise riskassessment and control- environmental noise measurementMore information- Institute of Acousticst 44 (0)1727 [email protected] (occupational health)Key areas- occupational health monitoring andscreening- return to work assessments- rehabilitation programmes- injury treatment and counsellingMore information- Association of Occupational HealthNurse Practitioners (UK)t 44 (0)845 225 [email protected] Society of Occupational HealthNursingt 44 (0)20 7409 3333www.rcn.org.ukOccupational hygienistsKey areas- measuring the significance of workrelated exposure tochemicalbiologicalphysicalergonomicpsychosocial health hazards.- recommending controlsMore information- British Occupational Hygiene Societyt 44 (0)1332 [email protected] managersKey areas- risk management inindustrycommerceconsultancythe public sector- business continuity and contingencyplanningMore information- Institute of Risk Managementt 44 (0)20 7709 [email protected] sources of informationBusiness Linkwww.gov.uk/businessEquality and Human n pean Network of Safety andHealth Professional Organisationswww.enshpo.eu/homeHealth and Safety Executivewww.hse.gov.ukInstitution of Occupational Safetyand Healthwww.iosh.co.ukInternational Labour cottish Centre for HealthyWorking Liveswww.healthyworkinglives.comTrades Union Congresswww.tuc.org.ukWorkboost Waleswww.workboostwales.comFebruary 201409
t 44 (0)116 257 3100www.iosh.co.uktwitter.com/IOSH Institution of OccupationalSafety and HealthFounded 1945Incorporated by Royal Charter 2003Registered charity 1096790IOSH is the Chartered body for health and safetyprofessionals. With more than 44,000 membersin over 120 countries, we’re the world’s largestprofessional health and safety organisation.We set standards, and support, develop andconnect our members with resources, guidance,events and training. We’re the voice of theprofession, and campaign on issues that affectmillions of working people.IOSH was founded in 1945 and is a registeredcharity with international NGO status.FS 60566POL3726/150716/PDFIOSHThe GrangeHighfield DriveWigstonLeicestershireLE18 1NNUK
- Type of help: develop a list of competences, skills and resources you need from a consultant - read 'Competence and suitability' on page 02 and 'Questions to ask yourself' on pages 06-07. If it's general health and safety management you need help with, visit www.oshcr.org. Alternatively, contact