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We all know we have a duty to appoint competent health and safety advice for our business, so what are our choices?

Internal vs. External

Internal competent advice can sometimes be best for businesses who need a large amount of resource and can justify full time posts, or multiple full time posts.  It works best where there is some progression for team members and a pooling of business specific experience.

External competent advice can work very well where resource flexibility is required and where a higher level of H&S experience is needed for some aspects of health and safety management.  It can also provide oversight of in-house departments to give an objective measure of compliance and improvement.

Relevant Experience to Your Business

A competent person must have existing experience that is relevant to your business sector, and be able to explain its relevancy.

Higher Hazard Business needs Higher Qualified People

Have you looked at the risk profile of your business?  Low risk industries can benefit from the lower costs of using people with introductory health and safety qualifications.  High risk industries look towards higher level qualifications because of the breadth of understanding and experience that comes with this.  Where do you sit?  Do you have customers or accrediting bodies who set an expectation of what qualifications your people should hold?

Training Up Existing Employees

I’ve worked with a number of businesses who have taken this route and found that, once qualified, employees are keen to pursue a health and safety career and quickly move on, leaving the business back where they started.  This works best when they are part of a health and safety team in the business.

Make Sure It Happens

Whatever your conclusion is on the best way forward, make sure you take a decision and get the advice in place.  It is your legal responsibility to make this appointment.