• Jan Hall
    23
    One of my clients received an impromtu visit from a Worksafe inspector. The inspector told my client that H&S Consultants were " expensive, created a whole lot of useless documents. didn't help clients to learn about health and safety" and the client could do it all himself.

    I'm sure we've all encountered the 'paperwork' of such Consultants. Recently a new client showed me their existing 31 item commercial construction induction, one item of which was "I have read and understood the HSWA 2015 and will abide by the provisions contained therein"!

    Interested to see what others think of this. Myself I consider it inappropriate for any member of Worksafe NZ to disparage all H&S consultants for the failings of some. I don't hesitate to tell people of the availability of on-line, do-it-yourself alternatives: Site Safe SSSP, Worksafe NZ's Farmsafe tookit etc. ( My client thought it especially amusing since he initially tried to engage me to "do all the h&s stuff" for him and I told him I would not!)
  • Andrew
    106
    If its a statement of fact (as evidenced by the 31 page Induction and dodgy sign off) how can a comment be disparaging.
  • Rob Abraas
    3
    It could also be said (I am not suggesting this to be the case) that it is inappropriate for members of the public or H&S consultants to disparage all Worksafe NZ inspectors for the failings of some.
  • Simon Lawrence
    60
    Those last two comments by Andrew and Rob probably sum it up. Neither party should make petty generalisations about the other.

    My sympathies lie to some extent with Worksafe. At least they go out on most days pointing at real things to say they are unsafe. Their strong suit just isn’t going to be about safety systems. That’s too long term. They are on the front line.

    But the landscape is full of “consultants” waving bits of paper as solutions. Unless they can back the paper up with some glue to hold it all together, they need to be called out for the charlatans they are.

    Simon
  • Jan Hall
    23
    Agree Simon.

    Andrew a 'statement of fact' would be about one dodgy practitioner. Besides: that was MY experience. A generalisation about ALL practitioners is a disparagement not a 'statement of fact'.

    Rob Abraas of course! Just - Worksafe NZ is the NZ Government H&S regulator. Some expectation of professional behaviour might be legitimate.

    My experience of Worksafe NZ personnel so far is that they've all been excellent! Helpful, practical, with demands for records pared down to essentials. Excellent attitude. I'm surprised at the attitude of the one who visited my client.
  • Phil Wilkes
    0
    Hi Rob.
    Could I meet you for a coffee early next week?
    Phil Wilkes
  • Admin
    8
    Nothing to do with this thread's topic, but a timely moment to point out that there is a direct messaging facility within the Forum, so that any member can contact any other member privately. As administrator I can't read anyone's DMs, but I do get the statistics which suggest this facility is little used at present.

    How to use it? Find the member you wish to contact, then "Send a message".
  • Tania Curtin
    78
    That's an interesting (and sad) experience. It seems to me that he inspector has made a massive generalisation, which in my opinion is not fair, professional, or helpful.

    While I'm a consultant myself, I agree that there are many consultants generating a lot of paperwork and little value, while charging $100+/hr for the privilege... HOWEVER it's not appropriate, nor fair, to make disparaging statements about an entire profession.

    For example, I've recently did some work for a client that would have earned me less than minimum wage. But I did it because I wanted to support their small business and make a difference for them, because although they did not have a big budget, they wanted to do the right thing. So for someone to say all consultants are "expensive" is frankly a bit of a slap in the face.

    Personally, I consider a large part of my role to be educating my clients, and up-skilling them to take control of H&S in their business, rather than relying on me for everything. Many consultants would think I'm mad for giving away easy 'billable hours,' but it's not what I'm about. It offends me that someone in a position of authority would state that consultants don't teach their clients anything.

    And lastly, generally my clients engage me because they don't have the time or expertise to do H&S really well... to discourage businesses from seeking external assistance seems illogical to me. Sure, they could do it all themselves, but maybe it will take ten times longer, not be as robust or based on the most up-to-date knowledge, and maybe it won't get the same results. To me, that's akin to saying, oh you don't need an accountant, you could do all that yourself. Sure.... you could.... but is that the right thing for the business to do? Will that get the best outcomes?

    I only hope this inspector was having a bad day and made a careless remark, rather than this being an indicator of how he/she normally operates. I agree with some of the other comments, on the whole, my experience with inspectors has been largely positive (though not 100% of course, they are only human). Fingers crossed this is an isolated incident.
  • Annalisa
    17
    Hi Jan,
    The unfortunate situation is at times a fabulous H&S consultant provides advice, suggestions as well as overarching guidelines, with the expectation the client may refine & develop (with their expert technical knowledge), and maintain the system. The client can then file it off as their HS system without any further development or maintenance. They've paid money and think "Good 2 Go" If they are not maintaining or refining the system or components of, then potentially a Worksafe Inspector sees a generic underdeveloped system. The Inspector in an instance like this should never disparage the consultants work. Perhaps the inspector is burnt out or over H&S, but I just hope they are able to provide constructive criticism to aid your client to improve rather than put down a H&S practitioner. May the force be with you! Ignore the noise... Best wishes and kind regards, Annalisa.
  • Stuart Keer-Keer
    5
    Why dont consultants teach people how to do it themselves?
  • Jan Hall
    23
    EXACTLY how I operate Tania.
  • Jan Hall
    23
    .But you may well ask "why don't health and safety persons in permanent employment teach 'people how to do it themselves'?
    Worker involvement. Is one of every good H&S practitioner's overriding objectives.
  • Stuart Keer-Keer
    5
    I have read a few health and safety documents prepared for builders. There is a big pile of papers, The guys say the submit them to sites to meet safety requirements. What is in them I ask. "All that safety stuff".

    I tend to agree with the Worksafe inspector do it yourself. If you cannot get help but do it and learn yourself.

    Then there is the plethora of safety system auditors. Why are there so many doing the same thing?
  • Jan Hall
    23
    Stuart, haha! The man the Worksafe inspector spoke to most emphatically does NOT want to do it himself. He's not a fool, he could do it easily, he knows what I do and it's not what he wants to be spending his time on. Why should he?

    Actually, for big commercial construction sites? "Do it yourself' setting up documents etc, would be far too time consuming. May's well say they can do their own accounting or any of 'their own' specialist writing. Quality for instance.

    Yes, for small builders but not if they're wanting to work for Hospital Boards, Councils or doing work on some of the larger commercial construction sites. I have prepared documents for commercial construction sites, I know what the project managers and main contractors look for; I create working documents my clients can use.

    And I audit to make sure they are creating a record of their safety activities on site. Everyone wants a health and safety policy that nobody wants to write and few ever read! By 'safety system auditors' you mean organisations like Sitewise and Impaq Prequal? Some client organisations want one, some want another. My clients just apply for whatever assessment organisation they're asked to.
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