Whether you’re the business owner, company president, general manager or one leader within a large organization, you have a lot going on. You not only need to help ensure the profitability of the business, you need to ensure the safety of the employees you depend upon to generate those profits. And you are not alone. Every company in the country must provide a safe working environment, but keeping up with local, state and federal safety regulations can be a full-time job and at some point you will ask yourself: Do I need a safety professional?
In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between a full-time safety employee and a safety consultant. We will also explore why hiring a safety consultant might be the better option and when to make it happen.
Full-Time Safety Employee vs. Safety Consultant
When it comes to your company’s safety program, nobody is going to know it better than those that are directly responsible and dependent on its success. So it would seem logical to hire a full-time safety employee that would share these beliefs; however, sometimes being too close to something as important as employee safety can make it difficult to assess its strengths and weaknesses. This person will be under pressure to improve safety without significantly impacting workflow while at the same time trying to keep the current safety program running. It can be challenging trying to address the current safety concerns knowing that developing solutions and then trying to get them implemented will take time away from your everyday safety responsibilities.
You must also consider the cost of hiring a full-time safety employee. They will need a full-time salary and benefits. You may need to provide a company vehicle or mileage reimbursement. All safety professionals require professional training to keep them up to date with new safety practices and changing regulations. The costs can add up quickly.
A more cost-effective solution may be to hire a safety consultant. Safety consultants are safety professionals who visit companies and assess their current safety program against safety regulations and best practices. Since they are independent experts, they are not influenced by the company’s past safety record or under pressure from other departments to disrupt workflow. Their goal is to identify opportunities for improvement in your safety program and outline a path to implementing those improvements.
Role of a Safety Consultant
A safety consultant’s role is to keep workers safe by assessing and eliminating workplace hazards and helping businesses work toward compliance by simplifying complex state and federal occupational workplace regulations. They work with a company’s current safety team or individual using a variety of proven strategies. Many times the things they identify would take weeks or even months for internal staff to notice and more than likely would come after there is an incident or injury.
5 Benefits of a Safety Consultant
Other benefits of hiring a safety consultant:
- They are generally more familiar with the complexity of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards and have the time to do the research to help better protect your employees’ health and safety at work.
- They can help identify and implement safety measures and procedures that focus on your employees’ overall well-being thereby reducing sick and disability leave rates.
- These safety measures and procedure improvements also have a positive impact on worker morale which leads to increased productivity and profit.
- Better safety practices reduce the number of safety incidents, injuries, and illnesses. Less of these means lower insurance costs and those costs that are not typically covered by insurance such as production delays, equipment repair or replacement expenses.
- Maintaining a safe workplace is not only good for your employees, it is good for your company’s reputation. A major workplace incident will typically result in unwanted publicity not to mention a potential visit from OSHA. Even a high frequency of minor incidents can lead to a high incident rate and once again, a visit from OSHA. An effective safety program will ensure that your company’s name stays off of OSHA’s radar.
So when should you hire a safety consultant? The answer is simple: before there is a problem. Don’t wait for an audit or inspection from an outside partner such as your insurance carrier or a federal agency such as OSHA. Don’t wait until you discover a large hole in your safety program or a significant gap in compliance based on a lack of information. Bring in a fresh pair of eyes to spot the flaws, identify the risk and help design and execute a comprehensive safety program to eliminate those items so you and your employees can be successful.