Spotlight on safety consultancy
From tank park soldier to safety consultant
It was while working at Bovington (home of the Royal Armoured Corps) as a Warrant Officer Class 1, that I had the opportunity to attend my first health and safety training course (luckily for me, paid for by the MoD): the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. I’d heard so much about the course and, not having excelled in school, I felt a little uneasy about attending, especially as it was being funded with money that didn’t belong to me – what would happen and how would I feel if I didn’t pass? In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed it and knew from that point on that I would be considering taking this to the next level.
I then went on to attend (and eventually deliver) many more NEBOSH courses, including those that centred on fire safety and risk management, environmental management, construction health and safety, and eventually the NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.
Why a career in health and safety?
There are many benefits to be gained by working in the health and safety profession, but chief among them ranks the satisfaction you get from truly making a difference. In the last six years, I’ve had the privilege to work with more than 50 companies, offering them health and safety advice, as well as delivering training to several thousand people, many of whom were, and still are, from the Armed Forces community.
Without a doubt, a career in health and safety has so many benefits and can be both career- and life-changing in the most positive of ways and with ample opportunity for career progression.
Why companies need safety consultants
Employers have a legal responsibility to ‘appoint one or more competent persons’ to assist them with their health and safety duties. Whether they decide to use someone from inside or outside of their organisation, it is vital that consultants are competent. In all organisations, whatever their size, there are times when getting outside help is the right thing to do; a competent consultant can bring fresh thinking and dynamic solutions to an organisation, which may not be readily available within their own workforce.
There are many benefits to be gained by working in the profession, but chief among them ranks the satisfaction you get from truly making a difference
Competence is a mixture of experience, skills, knowledge and qualifications in the service that you’re offering, whatever sector you choose to work in. Potential clients will undoubtedly want to check your competency levels and they will find it easier if you are a member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the chartered professional body for health and safety practitioners. They will of course also require proof of any qualifications, such as the NEBOSH National General Certificate or the NEBOSH Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management.
Becoming a consultant
Once suitably qualified, you will need to do some careful research and planning before you decide to venture out as a consultant – there’s a lot at stake after all. The potential market for consultancy work varies from area to area, depending on the type and size of various organisations in any particular region. You also need to think about the distance you’re prepared to travel and as such you’ll need to consider every aspect carefully before striking out on your own. If you’ve got any doubts about ‘going it alone’, or if you want to see how a consultancy works before you make your decision (e.g. to decide whether or not it’s for you), you might want to consider joining a consultancy firm as an associate or an internal safety advisor.
Considering health and safety training?
DHS has its own training venue in Salisbury. It offers a welcoming, modern learning environment, which is light and airy. We have excellent trainers with a vast amount of experience, as well as state-of-the-art AV and Wi-Fi systems.
For more on careers in health and safety, read our full-length feature here