You may have seen recently that a business and health & safety consultant have been fined for a lack of competence to understand the risks in the business. The business was ordered to pay over £11k and the consultant £2.5k, as can be seen in our blog http://www.consultmesh.co.uk/blog/2013/01/company-and-consultant-fined-for-coshh-failures/
So why do I bring this up again you may ask; well it’s for two reasons:
Firstly, last week we received a call from a scaffolding company working on a high profile site in London. The call was about whether we could we assist them that same day by coming to site, as it transpired that their consultant was not suitably qualified and they were about to be ejected from the site. How is it that a business can get to this point; why did they not ask about qualifications and experience before employing this consultant? Unfortunately we could not free someone that day but offered the following day, so they continued their frantic search.
The second point was an email received today. It was about the OSHCR scheme, which, in our eyes, has been a white elephant because in 2 years we have not received a single call based on being found on the register. It appears that the OSHCR website is imminently being updated to improve the search functions and add in more information about the consultant, with social media links. OSHCR has also identified that there has been an ongoing campaign to promote the register to UK businesses. This has included attending conferences and events; magazine advertisements in trade press; circulation of promotional postcards and search engine optimisation to improve finding the website through search engines such as Google. Sorry, but this seems to have passed us by and it’s not something that would naturally appear in Google under the search phrases most businesses use; that said the HSE website does point towards it.
So my question to you is: where would you search for competent health & safety advice? Also, conceivably more importantly, would you know if the consultant really was capable of protecting you and your business?
It might be unusual for the HSE to take the step of prosecuting the consultant (although clearly it does happen) but the important message here is that you are responsible for who you employ. Any failings on their part automatically become your failings when it goes to court and it’s your business that suffers. As for the Scaffold company, their failure to check was likely to prove to be very expensive indeed.