Monday 31 January 2011 could turn out to be a landmark date for health and safety consultants in the UK.
Because that’s when the all-new Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) was launched.
The register was set up in response to Lord Young’s review of the health and safety laws in the UK – Common Sense: Common Safety, and has been established by a number of professional bodies representing health and safety consultants in the UK.
It’s intended to become a benchmark for standards across the profession.
Importantly, for those consultants wanting to join, the OSHCR is asking all members to meet various minimum entry criteria – including having health and safety professional indemnity insurance.
So, although registration is voluntary, membership is likely to prove to be an important feather-in-the-cap for health and safety consultants that sign up.
Assurance for businesses
The register’s aim is to provide organisations seeking commercial health and safety advice with an assurance that its members have fulfilled various standards within their professional body.
This gives those same organisations the confidence to know that they’ll be able to access well-qualified and experienced consultants able to give good quality advice.
Until now, knowing how and where to get this kind of reliable expertise in such an important subject has been something of a struggle, particularly for small businesses.
Health and safety consultants who wish to join the register will need to achieve at least one of the following:
- Chartered status with IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health); CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health); or REHIS (Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland) with health and safety qualifications
- Fellow status with IIRSM (International Institute of Risk and Safety Management) with degree level qualifications
- Member or Fellow status with BOHS (British Occupational Hygiene Society) Faculty of Occupational Hygiene
- Registered Member or Fellow status with IEHF (Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors)
In addition, consultants will also be asked to declare that they will:
- Demonstrate adequate continuing professional development
- Abide by their professional body’s code of conduct
- Provide sensible and proportionate advice
- Have PI insurance or equivalent to cover the nature of their duties
Protection for all
For consultants not seeking to register, the last four points are particularly relevant and worth bearing in mind.
It might seem like common sense but being able to demonstrate you take your business seriously is important and it shows you’re a credible professional. That credibility is the reassurance and protection your clients look for when they come to you for advice.
By the same token, a professional indemnity insurance policy will provide you with the reassurance and protection you need to give that advice with confidence.
If an allegation of negligence is made against you by a client – justified or not – it will help fight your corner, meet your legal costs and, ultimately, keep you doing what you do best: running your business.
You can read more about the register and its requirements by visiting: http://www.hse.gov.uk/oshcr/business-qa.htm
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