External Safety Consultant vs In-House Safety Advisor

Did you know that as an employer, you must appoint a competent person or people to help you meet your health and safety legal duties?

So, the question now is which is best? Going for a directly employed safety advisor or appointing an external safety consultant?

Both approaches can work but it is important to understand the pros and cons of each option which we will outline below. We also look at the benefits of combining both approaches.

Competent Person:

What is a competent person?
A competent person in the context of health and safety in construction is someone who has the knowledge, training, experience, and skills to identify and manage the risks associated with construction work.

This person should be capable of making informed decisions to protect the health and safety of workers and others on construction sites. They should understand the relevant laws and regulations, as well as industry best practices, and can apply this knowledge effectively to ensure a safe working environment.

Essentially, a competent person is someone who can keep everyone on the construction site safe from potential hazards.

As a business, you could appoint as a competent person one or a combination of:

  • Yourself.
  • One or more of your employees.
  • Someone from outside your business.

In-House Safety Advisor:

Opting for a directly employed safety advisor may mean:

  • The safety advisor will have intimate knowledge of the company, its operations and the key risks faced on the typical projects they work on whether residential, civil engineering, commercial, refurbishment etc.
  • They will have detailed knowledge of the company organisation, culture and current issues.
  • The safety advisor usually develops good relationships with employees and managers and be responsive to employee concerns.
  • Cost of employment and availability of suitably competent individuals need to be considered when opting for this approach.

External Safety Consultant:

While the above all sounds good, the advantages of hiring an external consultant could be a better option than a directly employed safety advisor.

  • Firstly, unlike an in-house safety advisor, an external consultant would not be emotionally invested in the company. External consultants are objective and unbiased in their assessments of safety issues and risks.
  • External consultants generally employ professionally qualified, highly experienced consultants who spend their working week on a wide range of projects across the UK building up a deep understanding of the different safety issues in the construction industry.
  • Most external consultants have fully trained personnel and conversant with all the relevant health & safety regulations, industry trends and best practices, so they can help your company be compliant with all relevant safety regulations.
External Health and Safety Advisor

So, in summary, an external consultant can be less risky because they are more objective, have more experience, and are more clued up on safety regulations.

Additionally, external consultants are fully independent as opposed to in-house advisors so they can speak freely and only about safety concerns in an objective manner.

So, hiring an external consultant can be a good fit for your company to improve health & safety performance, culture and accident records.

External Consultant together with an In-House Safety Advisor:

You may already have a directly employed safety advisor and hiring an external consultant to complement your advisor can offer some distinct advantages:

  • Your safety advisor may be doing a good job but a key advantage of bringing an external consultant on board can bring a fresh perspective and a new pair of eyes that will give independent, unbiased, objective and honest appraisals of any issues found together with suggested solutions.
  • Supplementary audits / inspections alongside your own safety advisor inspections can often identify emerging trends missed due to over familiarity by your safety advisor.
  • Specialist experience and up to date knowledge, understanding of new regulations and short training / awareness sessions are also a help to safety advisors.

Hopefully this will show that hiring an external health and safety consultant can be a valuable investment for your company whether in lieu of or working alongside your own health and safety advisor.

Either way, hiring an external consultant can help you to continuously improve your health and safety performance, reduce your risk of accidents and incidents, and stay compliant with the latest regulations.

Green Hat on site health and safety visit

Still unsure of which approach to take?

Contact us at hands@greenhat-consulting.co.uk or call us for an unbiased discussion on 01792 798833.