An extract taken from Victorian WorkCover Authority website:
Why Use Consultants?
Sometimes a problem will defy the best efforts to solve it. At other times it might be difficult to define the actual problem. The right skills or knowledge to handle the problem might not be available within the workplace. A reasonable course to follow may be to get some outside assistance.
Health and Safety consultants can be a useful resource for an organisation. They can provide specialist advice and services for both the public and private sectors.
What can a Consultant offer?
This depends on the workplace needs. Organisations are changing; they are becoming more complex and are using new technologies. Occupational health and safety laws are in place, and new codes of practice and standards are being developed all the time. Productivity pressures, increases in costs and competition mean that it can be difficult to keep up with new developments in health and safety, and the requirements set out in legislation.
Consultants who can help organisations cope with these changes can assist in many ways by helping to solve difficult health and safety problems and establishing mechanisms for preventing workplace injuries.
How can the suitability of a Consultant be assessed?
After documenting the areas in the workplace, or the health and safety problems requiring attention, the following factors are among those which should be considered when deciding which consultant is best for the job:
What legal and ethical issues should be considered when engaging a consultant?
The following issues should be addressed when contracting a consultant:
Code of Ethics
Many professional associations have a Code of Ethics and their members are expected to adhere to this code in their work.
It is important to check the level and types of insurance – for example professional indemnity, copyright, personal and public liability – held by the consultant or the organisation the consultant represents.
Ownership of material
Written material produced under contract may be regarded as the property of the organisation engaging the consultant. The initial contract or agreement should specify this.
Goods produced may involve ingredients or processes that are trade secrets and workplaces may wish to protect their activities by specifying the nature and the extent of confidentiality in contracts or agreements.
Conflict of interest
Consultants should be asked to declare any matter that may result in a conflict of interest.
How can workplaces be sure that the consultant does the work required in an effective, appropriate way?
The best results from a consultant’s involvement in health and safety management will be obtained if there is a close relationship between the workplace parties and the consultant. Getting value from the consultant’s contribution will depend on:
From the Victorian WorkCover Authority Website
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