The role of a consultant in occupational health and safety cannot be overemphasized. These professionals develop, protect and maintain safety and health standards within private and public organizations, according to latest safety and health laws.
A consultant for health and safety is generally employed by numerous government and private sector companies and organizations. These include local authorities, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, engineering & construction companies, universities and food packaging & processing plants.
Strategic Safety Australia breaks down the responsibilities of health and safety consultants as follows:
- Formulating internal safety and health strategies / policies
- Working out operational procedures that ensure safety.
- Undertaking of risk assessments
- Pointing out potential hazards and ways to reduce risks accordingly.
- Working out plans for safe practices and implementing necessary changes whenever necessary.
- Monitoring compliance with current laws on safety and health issues. Ensuring that industrial equipment is maintained and installed in a correct manner to guarantee safety.
- Drafting bulletins, notices, reports and newsletters on safety and health issues.
- Providing safety and health training courses to managers and employees.
- Recording / investigating cases of accidents, incidents, complaints and ill health.
- Compilation of statistics
- Making recommendations for remedial measures following incidents /accidents.
- Liaising with appropriate government authorities
- Attending / organizing safety and health meetings.
- Ensuring that hazardous substances are handled safely.
- Regular inspection of industrial and construction sites.
- Making presentations on health and safety issues to groups of managers / employees.
In order to qualify as a Consultant, one need sample work experience in the specialized areas of health and safety; a degree or diploma is not mandatory to enter the profession.
A consultant may choose to be a member of the IOSH or Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. However, membership is given to those, who have a relevant degree in occupational safety and health and this may be a diploma or Masters Degree in the subject.
Three years of professional experience is required at least to qualify as a consultant. Coupled with excellent communication, negotiation, analytical as well as interpersonal skills are necessary to make a successful professional.