What do H&S consultants do?

Most people see health and safety consultants as fumbling clipboard carrying fools who have no idea of the real world and who just tell everyone to wear PPE, the truth is a health and safety consultant is a professional service role, offering advice and guidance to organisations and employers. Their job is to assist organisations to reduce health and safety risks in the workplace, as well as providing best practice consultancy to manage the process internally more efficiently. When management, promoters and event organisers what to cut budgets the first thing to go or be cut back on is usually health and safety,  this is a false economy that we seem to be endlessly fighting against, if you think health and safety is expensive, try having an accident! 

The service we offer varies depending on the type of organisation we are dealing with, it may be an artist preparing for a tour, we are usually brought in by the Production or Tour Manager to provide the essential documentation such as risk assessments, the Tour Health and Safety Plan (that incorporates a health and safety policy), Tour Safety Rules, check lists, sign off certificates, prequalification contractor questionnaires, and procurement procedures etc. This is normally followed by production rehearsals and then the actual tour.

If you are a business such as a hire company etc. we start with a health and safety audit, this usually leads onto producing a health and safety Policy and risk assessments before the work of helping you implement everything to produce a health and safety management system or program that you can administrate yourself with a little help from us, we are always there to support you when required.

There are four basic elements to all good health and safety programs:

  1. Management Commitment and Employee Involvement. The manager or management team leads the way by setting up the policy, assigning and supporting responsibility, setting a positive example, and involving employees.
  2. Worksite Analysis. The worksite is continually analysed to identify all existing and potential hazards.
  3. Hazard Prevention and Control. Methods to prevent or control existing or potential hazards are administered and maintained.
  4. Training for Employees, Supervisors, and Managers. Managers, supervisors, and employees are trained to understand and deal with worksite hazards.

Festivals and Events are a bit like preparing for a tour but on a bigger scale, there is more equipment and more people and unlike a tour it remains the same place.

We are used to jobs of a relatively short duration and of a temporary nature, after a period of essential planning people and kit come together, an event happens and then we all go our separate ways again. We try to audit festivals and tours to give future guidance but this is not always possible.

Day to day tasks of a health and safety consultant include producing safety policies and procedures, auditing business processes, advising and training on health and safety practices, carrying out risk assessments and much more.

We are highly knowledgeable consultants to the live music industry and are able to adapt to your organisation. Many public service organisations outsource their H&S services as they do not have the capacity to handle this internally.

Implementing new processes can be hard as employees can be resistant to change. Measuring health and safety performance and efficiency is also difficulty as you cannot gain quantifiable data. What health and safety tools give your organisation, is the ability to measure performance as a result of efficient health and safety procedures, whilst providing a safe working environment for everyone by identifying and reducing hazards in the workplace.

As health and safety consultants we offer a range of services to employers and organisations that improve their H&S processes. These services can start with an audit of your existing processes, procedures and standards. The health and safety audit gives employers an indication of where they are at with regards to managing safety and recommend improvements on how to best approach health and safety management in their business. Consultants begin by assessing key practices against both legal responsibilities and best practices. Your consultant will investigate where you may be liable from a statutory or civil perspective and provide an easy to use action plan that will outline priority areas. We will spend time with you and your staff, and seek to fully understand the culture and climate of the organisation. We will study your risks in detail, and also the systems you currently use to manage them. We will give you detailed, with clear recommendations that covers all applicable risks.

The aim of the health and safety audit is to identify the key areas where your organisation can improve their health and safety practices and processes. Your consultant will then work with you to deliver the tools and put in place best practices to make your health and safety management a more efficient process.

After the audit we normally move onto the H&S Policy. How you manage your health and safety processes will tell your staff, stakeholders and shareholders how committed you are to the safety in your workplace.

After auditing and advising on best practice Health and Safety processes, a useful and legally required document to refer to is a health and safety policy. This official document is used by employers as a set of commitments and arrangements for managing health and safety practices in the workplace. A H&S Policy is a legal requirement if you have five or more employees and is best practice if you have less than five.

This official document doesn’t need to be confusing, we, as consultants, can assist by producing this for you.

Once you have your health and safety policy in place, it is almost useless unless it is effectively utilised. It is important for managers to act upon this H&S policy, enforcing regulations in the workplace and carrying out training. Both employees and employers need to regularly review the document to ensure safe and productive health and safety practices.

Many organisations attempt to carry out risk assessments and health and safety audits themselves. However, this can be counterproductive as the job may not be completed to a high enough standard.

As an employer, you cannot eliminate all risks in a workplace. But it is a legal requirement and the employer’s responsibility to minimise and control these risks in the workplace.

Outsourcing your organisations H&S services means that professionals visit your workplace and conduct risk assessments on your behalf. This means a guaranteed qualified consultant that will deliver risk assessments to industry regulatory standards.

The risk assessment process can begin with a health and safety audit, your consultant will then create a bespoke, compliant written record of the risk assessment. We then produce a report with an easy-to-follow action plan that sets priority ratings.

Health and safety advisers ensure safety in the workplace and that people follow health and safety laws and guidelines. We use our knowledge and skills to promote a positive health and safety culture in the workplace. We also try to ensure that employers and workers comply with safety legislation and that safety policies and practices are adopted and adhered to but we have no authority, it we are unable to deal with the situation quickly and quietly, we will normally inform employers when there is a breach so the employer can take any required action.

We plan, implement, monitor and review protective and preventative safety measures.

Responsibilities

As a health and safety advisers, we:

  • carry out risk assessments and consider how risks could be reduced
  • outline safe operational procedures which identify and take into account all relevant hazards
  • carry out regular site inspections to check policies and procedures are being properly implemented
  • ensure working practices are safe and comply with legislation
  • prepare health and safety strategies and develop internal policy
  • lead in-house training with managers and employees about health and safety issues and risks
  • keep records of inspection findings and produce reports that suggest improvements
  • record incidents and accidents and produce statistics for managers
  • keep up to date with new legislation and maintain a working knowledge of all legislation and any developments that affect the industry
  • produce management reports etc
  • ensure equipment is installed safely
  • manage and organise the safe disposal of hazardous substances, e.g. asbestos
  • advise on a range of specialist areas, e.g. fire regulations, hazardous substances, noise, safeguarding machinery and occupational diseases.

We’re here for you

We believe that as every organisation is unique, so the safety management systems which will work best for that organisation must also be unique. We develop and implement systems in close conjunction with clients, and we do not use any standard material, but create fully appropriate documentation for the client.

We’re highly qualified, Chris Hannam is a Chartered Member of IOSH and a Fellow Member of IIRSM, he has worked in the live music industry for over thirty five years and in the health and safety sector of the live music industry since 1994. He has a deep understanding of health and safety to offer to our clients.

We are not risk averse. Risk is part of running any business, and there is nothing wrong with risk. Our concern is to ensure that the risk is known and understood, correctly evaluated, and that any associated legal requirements are met.

Every word documented has a valid reason, hence our systems are only as detailed and complex as is actually necessary. We try to avoid the paperwork avalanche as much as possible but unfortunately some paperwork is essential (and not set by us), we have to cross reference so many documents with other documents, ensure documents and information are distributed and acted upon to ensure compliance, it’s sadly necessary but not very exciting.  

Our unique and affordable service is designed to give your business the reassurance it needs. We ensure your policies and risk assessments are in place and suitable for what you do. If you have an accident, we’ll be there for you.

Clients often ask for assistance in developing and documenting suitable safety management systems. This normally follows audit, and so is based on a thorough understanding of the organisation and the current systems. Your policies will be geared exactly to fit, and structured to meet your goals.

Risk assessment is central to managing the hazards of your business effectively. No matter what it is, we can assess it. We regularly carry out noise, vibration, computer workstation, machinery and hazardous substance assessments, reporting and helping to implement the risk assessment findings.

Generally, we provide training for our clients, rather than generic public courses. Often following our involvement in the development of safety management systems, it is natural for us to train in those systems for all staff and managers. We therefore develop a given course for the client, based on their own systems, after which the presentation created is owned by the client.

Monitoring of health and safety management outcomes is vital. Where required, we will carry out regular monitoring – ideal for multi site businesses and events. We visit each site or team, assessing and grading the success of the site or team in the implementation of the organisation’s systems.

We can provide assessments for working with all chemicals or flammable substances. Many of our clients have these in one form or another, so we usually provide these as part of our other work with you. If you have substances you’re worried about, just give us a call. We’re here to help.

Fire risk assessment is very important to anyone with a business or event. Our fire risk assessment system is thorough and detailed, and is fully adapted for your particular needs.

If you have a major accident, call us straight away. We can be with you the same day to help manage your response appropriately, and advise on the next steps. It’s good to have someone to assist when you need it.

By law, organisations must appoint a “competent person” in health and safety, to advise the organisation and their management. We usually suggest that an in-house senior manager is nominated as competent person if you have such a person with the required level of competency for the role. We will support that person in their role, and provide training if desired. However, we are often requested to fulfil this role and we are quite happy to be your competent person.

Now just call or email Chris right away for an informal chat about your health and safety needs on 07831 437062 or email chris@stagesafe.co.uk