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Can you meet your safety obligations?

Has Your Safety Advisor/ Consultant The Experience, Qualifications And Credibility To Help You Meet Your Safety Obligations?

Why safety is cheap

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Beware of false knowledge; it’s more dangerous than ignorance”.

  • Workplace Health and Safety is an issue imposed on employers by legislation, exposure to expensive common law claims and even their own moral values.
  • Unlike other parts of the business (environment excluded) there appears to be no tangible ‘thing or product’ that the employer can see or touch to show them they have received value for money.
  • If an employer contracts an electrician to install lights, the employer can see the light fittings and gets immediate benefit from the extra light provided. They don’t even complain about the ongoing costs because the benefits of having light seem to outweigh the negative costs.
  • In the same way that an employer would not employ someone other than a qualified electrician to do such work, so an employer should ensure that any health and safety person they employ or contract has suitable qualifications and experience.
  • There are numerous “health and safety” people out there canvassing for work and the costs vary significantly but the employer needs to be aware.
  • Services termed “audits” by some of these contractors are being offered with the end result being a visual inspection of the workplace. Hardly what you paid for or expected.
  • Employers are being told that various safety issues or services (eg racking audits) must be conducted annually “because it is in the WHS Act or WHS Regulations”. Others within the Offices Industry have been told by WHS Consultants, WHS Officers and even by electrical Test and Tagging Companies who only hold restricted electrical licences that all their electrical equipment must be tested and tagged every six months or annually dependant on the company the employer speaks to. None of these statements can be verified in writing when referring back to legislation or even Australian Standards. Indeed even the terminology used is often incorrect.
  • So, in the same way that you would want to ensure your heart surgeon has not only the qualifications, but the proven experience/ track record before you sign the dotted line and they start work, you should be ensuring that the person providing you with health and safety advice or assisting you to implement safety has the experience, qualifications and proven track record or credibility.
  • Australian Business Consulting & Services (ABC&S) has the staff and associates with the qualifications, experience and credibility to assist you.

This article was provided by Len Collie, Senior Workplace Health and Safety Consultant