One of the most important decisions a Health and Safety professional (client) will do is select a safety consultant. On the surface it seems easy. Complete a quick internet search for firms which provide safety support in your geographic area. Browse their website to get a feel for the company and perhaps contact them via message or phone. Once contacted, a general conversation about the specifics of what prompted the call in the first place transpires between the client and the consultant.
This is often done in a “rushed” manner after the client has been served with Orders from the Ministry of Labour or after a major safety concern/incident has transpired.
In our opinion, establishing a solid foundation with your safety consultant should start by asking the following questions:
- Is the consultant easy to communicate with (i.e. verbal and written)?
- Is the consultant eager to help reduce client stress by providing guidance?
- Does the consultant respond to your questions or site visit requests in a timely manner that suits your needs?
- Is the consultant’s knowledge based on education, experience and training? Ask for examples of their work and or referrals.
- Does the consultant “walk the talk”? Do they come to your site fully equipped or do they ask for safety equipment that they have forgotten to bring?
- Does the consultant listen to your concerns regarding operational requirements?
- Is the consultant collaborative and inclusive of your employees’ concerns?
If the answer is No to any of the above questions, raise a warning flag and perhaps reach out to another firm.
In the end, a solid relationship with your safety consultant will help to reduce safety risk in the workplace. This relationship should begin before you are in a compromised position when you have time to ask the questions listed above and make an informed decision.