Competent, qualified workplace health and safety advisers can add value to businesses in many ways. New Zealand businesses are being directed to seek suitably qualified health and safety professionals because of the enormous costs associated with occupational incidents. A wide variety of industries ranging from agriculture, manufacturing, health care and construction make it a requirement for safety professionals to understand the complexities of managing health and safety which demands expertise and experience.While the focus of good health and safety practice is on keeping people safe and not strictly on compliance it cannot be ignored that having competent safety professionals is important to any business as every employer must meet the HSAW Act (Health and Safety at Work Act 2015) and its accompanying Regulations.
Increasing health hazards in the workplace, mounting legislative obligations for employers, and the enormous costs associated with occupational mishaps all add up to one strong message: you can't afford anything less than a health and safety professional. The days when you gave the safety job to anyone who showed an interest are long gone. The complexities of managing health and safety-from identifying potential hazards to controlling these hazards-demand expertise and experience.
Hire an NZISM accredited member.
individual who has met the academic and experience requirements for the
membership level attained in a national health and safety body
NZISM has four levels of membership: Technician, Graduate, Certified and Fellow. Each with the set of knowledge and skills required for a relevant level of work expected within an organisation.
A Technician member has a recognised vocational/trade training and experience. They will often be working solely or amongst a team completing practical work.
A Graduate member will have obtained a qualification and experience equivalent to a Graduate Diploma and be working on the implementation of a designed strategy at the operations level e.g. driving middle management and employees to the attainment of compliance outcomes.
A Certified member is NZISM's foremost membership level. These people have the qualification and years of experience behind them to consult and work at the strategic and planning level. These people will often be working with CE's and business owners to create an efficient and effective health and safety strategy for the organisation.
Whichever level of health and safety work you are requiring assistance with, an accredited NZISM member has agreed to be an individual committed to managing the organisation's health and safety issues and concerns according to a Code of Ethics. These Code of Ethics includes acting responsibly, with honesty and integrity, performing within their area of competency, disclosing any conflict of interest, and raising health and safety concerns with the organisation involved.
You'll have an individual with a portable designation that is recognized nationally and internationally.
CHOOSING A WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY ADVISER
Specialist help is often required to manage detailed or technical issues and to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. When you are looking for a workplace health and safety adviser, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Are they a member of a professional association?
Professional associations require their members to be certified practitioners and meet minimum standards of competence and to comply with a code of ethics. They also have a complaints procedure which gives you an avenue for remedying any problems that might arise with the service you receive. Can the person you are assessing confirm their membership? If you are in any doubt you can check with their professional association. See HASANZ member organisations.
Can they provide evidence of relevant training and knowledge, such as formal qualifications?
A qualified health and safety professional will be able to provide documentation proving their competence, such as a practicing certificate issued by the relevant professional association. You should also check what continuing professional development the person is undertaking.
Do they have practical experience in your industry or type of business activity?
Find out what skills and experience they have for the job. It’s important that they can explain why they are competent to advise you on that matter. Can they give you examples of similar work they have done recently? There are many specialist fields in workplace health and safety so if your business has risks associated with, say, hazardous substances, you will need an expert skilled in that particular area.
Are they happy for you to contact their clients about the work they have done for them?
A good verbal reference from satisfied clients is a powerful recommendation and will increase your confidence in an adviser’s ability to meet your needs. You might consider asking them about their last job and get their permission to talk to that client.