• Gary Clarkson

Elf 'n' Safety innit

The health and safety industry often gets a bad rap and has a real hard sell to get people to pay for good solid advice which prevents harm and makes good business sense.

I know that the good consultants in our industry feel the same way.

But it really makes me angry when I see clients who are genuinely seeking health and safety advice, end up being steered down the wrong road, or no road at all.

Check this out to see what happens when it all goes wrong.

To summarise;

Company engages a health and safety consultant to assist them in managing risk. Consultant doesn't identify an obvious risk which results in workers being exposed to dust which affected their health. Result the company paid out nearly $80k. It could have been over $400k, had the courts not discounted it to allow them to stay in business.

Sadly there are a lot of "snake-oil" salesmen out there, chancing their arm selling health and

safety advice (You know who you are) and giving our industry a bad name.

So what can you as a client do about it ?

There are a few things to look for which will help you avoid the

1. Get references.

Ask for a list of previous clients and call them. Find out how the consultant performs, do they keep regular contact, are they proactive ?

What specifically have they done to help the client?

2. Ask if they belong to a professional organisation

Now there are professional organisations and "professional organisations" just like every industry.

I highly rate the NZISM as they have a requirement for their members to undertake ongoing professional development. IOSH are top notch, but most of their members in New Zealand have joined the NZISM.

HASANZ is growing as a concept to bring all safety related professionals under one umbrella group and has the benefit of not just showing just safety people, but also Occupational health professionals, Ergonomic specialists and many more.

3. Get them to tell you what they can do for you

Ask for a presentation of what they will bring to your organisation, ask to see evidence of their previous work. If you hear "I will keep you out of jail" or "I guarantee you won't be prosecuted" be very wary. Some of the worst I have seen and heard of use this as their mantra.

4. One size does not fit all

A lot of the cowboys out there role out "off the shelf" solutions. You have got to ask yourself, is your business exactly the same as every other business? Do you do things the exact same way as your competitors? - You wouldn't last among in business if you did.

As your potential consultant what they see as your main risks, how they would envisage helping you to manage them. - If you don't like what you hear, walk away.

5. Lastly, if they tell you that they will do all the health and safety for you and you don't need to worry about it, call them a cab.

You have legal duties to manage the risks in your organisation, not someone else. Look for a consultant who will work with you to build solutions which fit your business practices and needs.

Take your time in selecting the right health and safety consultant for your business.

You are investing a lot of time, money and effort, get it right and select someone who not only has the knowledge and experience to assist, but also knows their own limitations.

If your stuck, you could always try the folks at Alba Consulting NZ. Just saying :-)

Competition winner

On a happier and less serious note, as we end the year.

In my last blog I asked for caption on this picture of the dangerous brothers painting the outside of the South Dunedin Liquorland bottle store.

"New low cost height access solution trialed by Hangingon Byathread Scaffold Ltd in Dunedin"

We had a few goodies including honourable mentions for Mike Restall of the DCC who's

"and he's climbing a stairway to heaven" made me giggle.

Adrian Birkbeck from Southern DHB came up with " Its paintedly obvious that this is not safe…." - Good one Adrian.

But our winner is Che O'Neil of Logic Group who gave us"

"New low cost height access solution trialed by Hangingon Byathread Scaffold Ltd in Dunedin"

I'm sure I have seen their name on a van or was it on a scaffold in town?

Che wins this hand crafted Walnut bowl which I made last month.

Che, get in touch and let me know how to get this to you.

Thanks to everyone who entered.

It just leaves me to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a successful and prosperous New Year.

As we say in the old country

Slainte Mhor

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