A safety consultant has been prosecuted for providing inadequate and flawed advice on noise, vibration and hazardous substances after it was revealed he was not qualified to give the technical and complex guidance.
Clive Weal was ordered to pay £1400 for breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which places the onus on a self-employed person to conduct their undertaking in such a way as to ensure that they and others are not exposed to risks.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the self-employed consultant incorrectly identified risk from exposure to hand arm vibration as "low" and advised to use "anti vibration gloves" as an appropriate control measure. He also failed to identify that paints containing isocyanates can cause asthma.
'Being a member of a relevant professional body, which sets competence standards for its members and operates CPD schemes is one way of helping'
The poor and incompetent advice resulted in a lack of remedial action being implemented to prevent employees being exposed to levels of noise, hand–arm vibration and chemical substances that may have a damaging impact on their health.
Speaking after the hearing at at Luton Crown Court, HSE specialist inspector Parmjit Gahir said: 'Employers are more likely to use external consultants to provide assistance in complex situations where a higher level of competence is required.
'How consultants achieve competence is up to them. However, they will have to be able to satisfy employers that they have a sufficient level of competence for the job in hand.
'Being a member of a relevant professional body, which sets competence standards for its members and operates continuing professional development schemes is one way of helping; as is presenting evidence of relevant experience such as references from previous clients; or obtaining qualifications.'
IOSH representatives are on the board of OSHCR, a public register of UK-based health and safety advice consultants, set up to assist UK employers and business owners with general advice on workplace health and safety issues.