Safety advice came at a price

Following a visit from a Health and Safety consultant, a company found their site shut down and faced arguments with their principal contractor and subcontractors.

As the client, the company identified that it would be cautious and wise to employ someone to check that the safety arrangements on a project were up to scratch. However, they weren’t expecting him to state that pretty much every operation on site wasn’t good enough and work should be stopped.

When the consultant arrived on site he was met by the principal contractor’s security guard. However, he didn’t wait for a member of staff to collect him and escort him around the site. He chose to push past the security guard and march into the area that was for plant and vehicles only.

Site rules must be followed by all. If a safety consultant believes they are above them, it should raise concerns over their competency.

The consultant then ordered operators to get out of their vehicles and show him their competence cards. When one was unable to do so as his card was in his locker, the consultant demanded that he stop operating the vehicle immediately.

He then when on to wrongly question why a loading shovel was being used to create a stock pile of material and why the vehicle was driving on to the stockpile. In his eyes, this was completely unsafe and should be stopped and new methods be put into use.

At this point a member of the site management managed to reach him and question what he was doing. The consultant stated he had the authority of the client and continued to tell everyone that they must follow his instruction.

24 hours later the consultant produced a report that reaffirmed that improvements must be made.

The principal contractor questioned the report and had it analysed by their safety team. They found that almost all of the points made were either wrong or based on opinion rather than legal obligations.

On this basis, the consultant’s report was ignored, and work carried on. However, this process took almost four days and work had all but stopped on the site in the meantime. The cost of this ran into the thousands.

If you employ a health and safety consultant, they must have experience and qualifications in the sector you are asking them to verify.

If you have a principal contactor on site, it is up to them to manage the project not the client. By all means, have someone check that they’re working safely, but make sure that any issues are raised with the site management team rather than by the consultant taking over their role and managing staff and operatives directly.

Here at Spectra we offer fully qualified consultants for all your health and safety needs. If you require any further information, please contact us on 0161 926 8519 or email info@thespectragroup.co.uk

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