Safety & Access

Should Your Business Hire a Health & Safety Consultant or an In-House Employee?

March 15th, 2019

For any business to grow and succeed, the health and safety of employees should remain a top priority. Whether you’re running a relatively low risk business, or one whose team is dealing with dangerous tasks on a daily basis, health and safety measures must be in place to keep staff out of harm’s way and to maintain the reputation of your organisation overall.

In order to stay on top of health and safety within in a business, it makes sense to have a team member whose sole responsibility is maintaining a safe work environment. However, sometimes there’s a debate as to whether a full-time employee is needed to carry out that job for a business, which is where the role of a health and safety consultant comes into play.

In this post, we’ve highlighted various benefits and drawbacks of both health and safety consultants and full-time, in-house health and safety employees, to help you decide which route to take for your own business.

Questions to ask yourself

How urgent are your business’ health and safety needs?

There will be businesses whose health and safety needs are much more urgent than others. A newly established business might need to spend more time on health and safety processes than a more established organisation, or a marketing agency may have fewer health and safety requirements than a restaurant or construction site, for example.

Once you have worked out how urgent your business’ health and safety needs are, you can then begin to calculate how much needs spending on health and safety processes in a month and whether that requires someone full-time or part-time. This insight will help you determine whether a full-time in-house employee is required, or whether a part-time employee or health and safety consultant will suffice.

Top Tip: You should also think about how much emphasis health and safety procedure has on your business’ day to day activities. Do strict health and safety policies need to be followed all day, every day, or is it just certain elements or projects that need strict health and safety policies?

How much budget can your business dedicate to health and safety?

A health and safety consultant who attends to your business’ needs once or twice a week or month, will typically cost less than a full-time in-house employee who works on health and safety needs every working day. With that in mind, you will need to think about how much budget your business can allocate to health and safety policy and from there, which option is best for your business needs.

If your business has to deal with risky environments regularly, you’ll no doubt want to allocate a large budget to health and safety processes and with it, have someone working on maintaining health and safety full-time. Whereas if you’re running a business with very few risk elements, a lower budget may be more suitable, as would a consultant who can set up health and safety policies and revisit them every so often.

Benefits of hiring a health and safety consultant

There a number of strong benefits that comes with hiring a health and safety consultant, just as there are with a full-time in-house employee. Find out more about what advantages a consultant could bring, here.

Firstly, they would be able to provide an unbiased, outside view of how your business’ health and safety situation fares. They are hired to provide an honest overview of where your business is excelling and where improvements need to be made. From there, they can either offer advice on how to make positive changes to health and safety, or you can prolong their contract to carry out the changes for you.

As consultants typically work for a variety of different businesses from a range of different industries, they usually have a vast amount of skills, experience and knowledge that they can bring to your business. Their experience will enable them to better your business’ health and safety, in a way that’s specific to your business needs and to the industry your business sits in.

Health and safety consultants won’t be affected by internal affairs or past safety records. They will start working for your business with a clean slate, and won’t be biased towards making health and safety appear better than it is.

Finally, as consultants are usually self-employed, they take the time to attend seminars, meet with industry agencies and keep up to date with changes to safety protocol or training, all of which can greatly benefit the businesses they are working for.

Benefits of taking on an in-house health and safety employee

Of course, in-house employees certainly have their benefits too, some of which have been listed here.

A full-time, in-house health and safety employee will spend a great deal of time learning about the business, its processes and the risks associated with its everyday work. As such, they will be much more in tune with what health and safety elements are required and how to go about implementing them.

In-house employees are a much more appealing choice for businesses within a high-risk industry. Should any emergency cases come about, it’s reassuring to know there’s always going to be an expert available to assist the company with health and safety procedures during that vital time.

Finally, an in-house health and safety professional will be able to take the time to assess the business and its current standing, before slowly introducing a new and improved health and safety culture to the organisation and its members. This is a luxury you might not necessarily receive when taking on a consultant.

Both health and safety consultants and in-house employees have their benefits and, at the end of the day, it really does come down to which one would best suit your business and its specific needs. That being said, this guide should help you on your way to deciding which route is best to take for your own organisation.