There should be an official

Submitted by Andrew Rustell on 27 April 2016 - 03:21 pm

There should be an official register for qualified Health and Safety practitioners. However, OSHCR has never served this purpose because many people who work hard in the industry as consultants, particularly those who work for smaller Health and Safety consultancies like the one I run with my business partner, do not have Chartered IOSH membership and therefore cannot join this register. I have worked in the Health and Safety sector for 12 years and have held NEBOSH qualifications for 9 of those, but this isn't enough to get chartered status so I can't join this register and as long as only an elite of practitioners can join so it only represents a fraction of those who work in the health and safety industry, the current register will remain unfit for purpose. I also object to the fact that only four bodies were recognised as valid memberships for joining OSCHR, ignoring the other industry bodies that were involved in the consultation process and the fact the register provides no alternative mechanism for membership, such as possession of recognised health and safety qualifications (e.g. NEBOSH certificates, etc.).
There was a perfectly good register on the HSE website which they abolished shortly before OSCHR was introduced. That register on the HSE website wasn't perfect, but any qualified and competent consultant could join it, so it was a true representation of the profession and not of an elite - HSE should go back to that.
I respect the work Judith Hackett has done with the HSE, she seems to have worked hard to raise the profile of the HSE and I believe she has sincerely wished to improve health and safety in the UK - though I also believe (and it is only my opinion, nothing else) that many of the reforms introduced during her time in office will not improve health and safety standards. The feedback I have received from many small Companies has been that the reforms have severely undermined the importance of health and safety on their agenda, and many of them took from the reforms the message that the Government doesn’t think health and safety is important, which is a very dangerous message have conveyed, however unintentionally. I have even had various small business owners on the phone openly admitting they will be "winging it" as they took it that Government clearly were signalling health and safety wasn't important and why should they pay out for competent health and safety advice when they could get away without it. Needless to say, I never heard from again or would have accepted any of these as a Client, but there have been many such enquiries, particularly just after the HSE's reforms were introduced.
I do think Judith Hackett's comment that those she calls 'generalist' consultants are not required are rather naive and an insult both to the many good consultants who work hard to provide high quality general health and safety services and to their Clients who need, seek and receive such services. I pride myself on providing affordable, high quality health and safety services, and would like to believe that within the Health and Safety Consultancy sector I am not alone.
I do hope Martin Temple, the new HSE Chairman, takes these comments seriously and reforms OSCHR properly so qualified and competent consultants like myself can all join and contribute to the industry properly instead of feeling disowned by the HSE for no good reason.