Whether you have made the proactive decision to start up a safety program or you have been asked to by a client or a government entity, it can be a very daunting task. Questions will quickly flood your mind and the process will soon become overwhelming. “How do I develop effective policies?” “What information do I include?” “Where do I start?”
If you find yourself asking these questions you may benefit from hiring a health and safety professional to help you develop your program. If adding another salary into your books to pay a full time safety professional isn’t a viable option, you may want to consider hiring a health and safety consultant to help you with your needs.
When you hire a health and safety consultant you can expect three things:
- An evaluation of your current safety program (if any);
- A developed plan that meets your specific company and industry needs; and
- Ongoing support and mentorship with the implementation of your program.
The first step in developing a health and safety program is to evaluate where the current health and safety program sits. A consultant will evaluate the elements of the current program in place in what is called a GAP analysis. A GAP analysis is a technique used to determine what steps need to be taken in order to reach the company’s desired goal. A consultant will compare your program elements to standards and legislative requirements and find any missing gaps in the program.
Once gaps have been identified in your program the next thing a health and safety consultant will do is build a specialized plan that will help the company meet their goals. Developing the plan includes reviewing Federal, Provincial and Municipal legislative requirements as well as industry standards and best practices to ensure that all required elements of your safety program are included in the plan.
After the program has been developed a health and safety consultant will sit down with you and make sure you understand your program and the responsibilities and accountabilities that accompany the program. From that point on you may choose to implement the program internally, hire a full time safety professional or have a consultant assist with the implementation of the program.
At this point, the most cost effective decision would be to have the program implemented internally. A consultant will make themselves available to you for support during this process whether that means visiting the workplace once or twice a month to check up and make sure that you are on the right track or making a phone call to check in. Ongoing support can include managing health and safety documentation, leading safety meetings, helping to hire a full time health and safety professional and mentoring management and employees among many other things.
A consultants job is to work themselves out of a job. If you choose to hire a health and safety consultant to develop your health and safety program they will evaluate your current program if you have one, develop a specific plan specialized to your company and support you in the implementation of your program. Once you are satisfied and able to manage your program smoothly a consultant knows their job is done.
Written By: Denise Castle