As health and safety consultants the recent HSE paper “Understanding the impact of business to business health and safety rules” has made interesting reading. Our initial focus has been the parts on external resources and the impact they have on business.
The paper considers where the rules come from and the impact they have. It also considers the burden there is on businesses. In our Hundred Acre world we are fully aware that there is a huge amount involved in running a business. There are the parts we know, the parts we learn and the parts we have external support to help us to manage. That’s exactly where consultants like us fit with helping clients to understand what they don’t know about health and safety.
One item the report quotes as a source of burden is as follows,
‘The overall value of third-party advice to duty holders can be compromised where a segment of the market delivers advice that is neither tailored to the user nor (in some cases) even competent. Maintaining and improving standards in this area is key.’
Over the years we have met companies who have previously received a mixture of advice. We have regularly seen large volumes of generic documents that aren’t helpful, reports where the key details are so well hidden we also struggle to find the critical bit, repetitive detail that just makes everyone want to switch off and go and do something else. A real mixture, none of which is helpful.
What matters most to us is getting people home at the end of every day in the same, if not a better state, both mentally and physically than they arrived.
So how do you know who to work with?
We understand that it can be difficult to find the right support. There are so many health and safety consultants out there to choose from, the profession is not regulated and as no two businesses are the same requirements are always different.
While the report covers 72 pages of detail, we thought we’d take time to share some of the benefits of working with an external Health and Safety Consultant.
- An independent pair of eyes can sometimes see things a little differently bringing a fresh perspective to your business
- A consultant can provide interim cover for periods of absence, such as maternity leave or long-term illness
- Additional support from a Consultant can complement and strengthen existing internal health and safety provisions
Why work with a consultant?
At Hundred Acre, we help companies to ensure their workforce returns home. While some of our clients appoint us because they haven’t got the resource internally, others have chosen to hire us as additional support for specific projects or to help them work through unforeseen situations that have arisen.
Whatever the case, we always start by getting to know our clients and their business. Ideally, we visit your site for a bespoke audit, where we consider your people, property and processes, as well as analysing your policies and procedures. By getting to the heart of a business, we’re able to understand the culture and suggest the health and safety services that best suit your business needs.
An external fresh pair of eyes can sometimes help to identify areas for improved safety and health efforts as Bridget explains,
“I always remember a client who had a good health and safety record and wanted an even better one, they just couldn’t see how to make a difference. By spending some time with their staff and asking the right questions, we came up with some steps to help improve upon their already impressive record.”
We also find that companies need support on an interim basis, whether that be support whilst a member of the team is away from the business for a while or in the instance that they’re recruiting a new member of staff. A specialist Health and Safety Consultant can step in as a temporary measure, picking up from where your resource left off.
Sometimes companies find they benefit from additional resource to help support their in-house health and safety staff, whether on a short or long-term basis. This can be for a number of reasons;
- the employee might work limited hours
- they might not have the necessary specialised expertise or experience
- or the company might need support that doesn’t warrant recruiting another permanent employee
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Whoever you employ, all businesses need to know that there is a competent person, or people, in charge of their occupational safety and health practices. People sometimes struggle to understand what is meant by this and we think the best way to explain it is to start with reference the HSE’s definition:
“Competence is the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them to perform a task safely.”
Our competence in the field comes from years of experience, constantly working to support our clients’ workforce getting home safely and healthily every day. Bridget often says: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” While this is true of our clients when it comes to health and safety, it’s also true for us, which is why there are times we ask experts to support us in other areas and subjects where our knowledge is limited.
One of our passions at Hundred Acre is training. We love to help employees understand the environment in which they work and the risks they’re subjected to. As an external trainer, we’re able to determine the strengths and weaknesses in a workforce that they’re too close to the business to realise. It links back to having an independent pair of eyes to spot potential pitfalls in practices and procedures.
The reason some of our clients choose us over other companies is because they want to work with a local consultant, others choose us because they prefer to work with a small business, rather than a large, potentially more impersonal, firm. It’s the same reason people like to buy from small, independent shops, which is something we’ve always liked doing.
We hope this blog post has given you a few points to think about when it comes to the wellbeing of your employees. If you’re in any doubt about how we can help, please feel free to email us or call us on +44 (0)1933 201103.
– Hundred Acre – everyone’s safe place –