The consultant client relationship is a two-way street and relies on communication, transparency and trust. In the risk and safety industry this is particularly important as getting it wrong puts lives at risk.
The law requires you to have access to a qualified safety advisor. Risk and Safety Plus act as safety advisors for businesses that don’t need a full-time member of staff in this role, offering this as a retained service. However, in order to do our job properly we need to find out what the risks actually are.
This means we need to carry out a fact find to discover what the risks are so we know what we’re dealing with and what our liability is. We put our heads on the client’s chopping blocks!
It’s our responsibility to ensure that the organisation takes their risk management and safety practices seriously. This includes ensuring appropriate training is carried out and refresher ‘top-ups’ when take place needed.
These are all part of operating responsibly and having a retained safety advisor won’t help you if you haven’t taken their advice, or in some cases haven’t actually had a meeting with your safety advisor for over a year. If the enforcement agencies come to call we’re not an insurance policy that will save you from receiving an enforcement or prohibition notice!
Whilst we carry professional indemnity as consultants, if we can’t find out what our liability is, we’re taking unacceptable risks. Sometimes the risk is too high!
What does this mean to you? If you’re paying a retainer for a safety advisor, use their skills to help you ensure you’re operating safely.
A retained advisor will:
• Ensure that you have appropriately trained personnel in place for your type and size of business
• Identify risks and suggest strategies to deal with them or, better still, reduce or eliminate them
• Help you to maintain a safe working environment so you have a low incidence of accidents and ‘near misses’
• Keep your insurance company happy – you’ll have far less likelihood of having to make a claim (so your premiums will stay at a reasonable level)
• Check you are compliant with current legislation
These are all part of being a responsible organisation – whether you’re a small business or a big one.