We work for many businesses across a wide range of industries and are often asked to assist clients to complete submissions for the various accreditation schemes that exist. One frequent comment we get from the clients is asking why these schemes are requesting so much more than they did in the past.
Take for example the CHAS scheme that has now moved from a bi-annual accreditation to annually; is this really necessary? It certainly seems to be a move in the opposite direction from the Government who are suggesting red tape needs to be removed.
It’s also the case that the amount of evidence requested has increased over the last few years; in the past just completing the questionnaire was enough but not now. Evidence is generally asked for to show how health & safety issues such as risk assessment are applied, and to evidence training etc.
Now we do agree that just completing and signing a form does not really evidence how a business applies health & safety; but think many schemes are asking too much. We have an example of a client who has to produce evidence of asbestos awareness training when they don`t undertake any construction or intrusive works that would potentially disturb asbestos – we have to ask “why?”.
The problem seems to be that the schemes are working for large organisations that have a need for certain boxes to be ticked, no matter whether they apply to your business or not. In fact, we see this for a number of larger clients we work for where the first step is to get onto their authorised supplier lists and the rules for contractors are applied the same to us as consultants.
What we do find frustrating is that a number of the accreditation schemes appear to be asking for more than the legislation actually requires. An example recently was a request to see the COSHH assessments had been updated in the last 12 months which is not what COSHH asks for. The HSE website suggests that:
An assessment should be revisited to ensure that it is kept up to date and an employer should do this regularly. The length of time between reviews will depend on type of risk, the work, and the employers judgement on the likelihood of changes occurring.
So why therefore should the scheme be insisting on evidence of updated COSHH assessments?
The same applies in other areas such as Asbestos training where clients are being instructed training must be update annually. But surely not if they are not actually working on or disturbing asbestos?
The problem as we see it is these schemes are unregulated and are not just focused upon improving safety levels in businesses; rather they can be seen as adding un-necessary burden in some cases. The truth is that most generate money so is this part of the problem and also why can`t a general agreement be reached so that if the standard is achieved on one scheme, that this removes the need to gain accreditation on the others?