When a qualified and experienced safety and health consultant is selected, the following are much more likely:
- • Money and time will be saved.
- • Projects will have to be done only once, because they will be done correctly the first time.
- • Relationships with regulatory agencies will be beneficial and cooperative.
- • Essential reporting to agencies will be completed in a timely manner.
- • The client, the consultant, and the regulatory staff will be satisfied with the final outcome.
- • Projects will be completed safely, and unexpected events will be minimized.
Consulting services are an important function in providing assistance relevant to safety and health issues. A consultant is always willing to provide safety and health services. But, depending upon the urgency of the situation or the types of safety and health services needed, the cost may be quite high. Nevertheless, these costs are often justifiable because it is sometimes difficult to secure a consultant who has the expertise needed to assist with specific problems. Remember that the low bid from a consultant may not be in the company's best interest if he/she does not have the expertise to provide the solution needed. For a lower price, the company may get a less qualified consultant. Once a consultant is selected, a contractual agreement needs to be developed. The agreement should delineate the services to be provided, the outcomes or products to be attained, and the follow-up obligations required.
Most consultants are skilled safety and health professionals who bring to the table years of experience and unique expertise. The service that they offer is well worth the price. Using a planned approach will assure that the company is getting the consultant that is needed for the job. But, be cautious, as there are some individuals out there who are less scrupulous and will deceive the company and be happy to take its money, waste time, and leave the company with an inferior product or no product. As Linda F. Johnson advises in Choosing a Safety Consultant, “As in all business decisions, do your homework."
Johnson, L.F. “Choosing a Safety Consultant." Occupational Safety and Health, July 1999.
Reese, C.D. and J.V. Eidson. Handbook of OSHA Construction Safety & Health (Second Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC/Lewis Publishers, 1999.