In my role as a "generalist"

Submitted by Jim Tassell on 27 April 2016 - 01:30 pm

In my role as a "generalist" consultant I must disagree profoundly with Dame Judith's view of this part of my profession. It is far too simplistic to suggest that businesses should deal with risks themselves without analysing the reasons for many of them seeking help. It's not just because some salesman visits, shaking his head sucking through his teeth and muttering "new legislation... mega fines... even prison...". There are two perfectly good reasons, which are lack of available manpower and lack of in-house expertise. Businesses often need some external help to get to a position where they can run safety themselves to a large extent. They also have an ongoing need for someone to turn to for advice when, for example, they read another horror story in an article in a trade paper that is actually advertorial from a service provider.
To review her comments from another perspective, let's imagine a simple case of a business with a process that involves dispensing chemicals from bulk and the movement of packages. It's all in a days work for many generalists and much more effective from a customer perspective to have one source of advice rather than than the alternative of a chemist to look at COSHH, an ergonomist to look at handling the containers and building pallet loads, a fire specialist to look at the DSEAR aspects and probably also a materials handling specialist to look at simple fork lift truck and lorry issues.
I have often been impressed by the common sense approach adopted by Dame Judith but this time she has got it wrong. That's not to say that OSHCR should be protected, far from it, but this veiled attack is misguided.