How to make the best decisions when choosing your outsourced Health & Safety
13 Jul 2020

How to make the best decisions when choosing your outsourced Health & Safety

Health & Safety has endured a bad reputation in recent times, as overzealous health and safety practitioners exaggerate obligations and discard common sense.

However, in the real world, health and safety regulations are simple and exist purely for the common goal of keeping people safe.
With the right support, small businesses can easily ensure their employees, visitors and guests are safe, without employing expensive teams or irritating hard-working staff.

According to the 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act, almost every company in the UK has to appoint one or more competent persons to assist with health and safety.

Whilst larger firms might employ a team, smaller organisations, who have to follow the same basic principles, can benefit from bringing in outside experts to help with compliance.

I hear many stories of health and safety consultants billing costly hours for telling business owners all the things they’re not doing, before walking away, leaving behind colour-coded, jargon-based action plan to ‘get on with’.

In reality, finding out where you’re not complying is not the tricky part. Putting in place a simple, practical action plan and managing the health and safety system going forward can be challenging and requires expertise and a hands-on approach. Look for a Health & Safety package that suits you.

Simplicity is key. Health and safety becomes arduous when it is overcomplicated and doesn’t fit with the company’s operations.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Most organisations have at least something in place, whether this be dusty, old policies or previous risk assessments. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and many of these can be updated rather than rewritten, saving time and money.

Keep on driving

This is a key part of any H&S system and the area where most organisations fall down. They go to all the trouble of finding out where they don’t comply, implement recommendations, but leave it there.

Simple tools are available which can ensure that your team, with the support of an external expert, can keep on top of and manage your obligations moving forward.

Inevitably, someone in the organisation is going to need to be appointed to help implement any actions recommended, but with the right support this should be a regular and simple task.

Choosing your co-driver

Recruiting an external consultant to support your team requires the same attention as taking on new staff. It’s vital to get the correct type of person in to help you, who will understand your business and work with you to find the solutions that fit how you work.

Top tips for choosing a health and safety consultant:

Make sure the consultant will visit your premises

This sounds obvious but many of the large H&S consultancy organisations in the UK are centralised and will provide advice over the phone.

Use someone local

This will help with a hands-on approach, particularly if something goes wrong. Not only will they understand your business better but they’ll also understand your customer demands better as they will be part of the community.

Use someone with a pragmatic approach

Health & Safety can have a reputation for being a bit unreasonable and over the top. This isn’t the law. The best consultant will work with you and your business to find the best solutions.

Get a fixed cost

Get the costs for advice as fixed as much as you possibly can. Bear in mind that the more an hourly-paid consultant is in your business the more money they make, so ask yourself do you really need to be paying for consultancy fees for the more basic jobs such as sticking up signs, tidying up your workplace or filling in basic forms.

Work together

Health and safety is an integral part of business, and your consultant should fit seamlessly into your organisation and make life easier- and safer - for you and your employees.