Beware the ‘silver bullet'

blog 1
July 17, 2014

Beware the ‘silver bullet'

I had a call tonight from a man whom I have known for some years, he runs a medium sized local business; it was an interesting chat. Interesting for several reasons:

1.He has known I help companies with health and safety for many years and has never mentioned it before – clear evidence that the impending legislation change is making people reconsider what they need to do for health and safety.

2.He explained he uses health and safety information he has obtained from people over the years. He said he’s sent this in to clients and has never had any problems with it, but now he is being told they want more – evidence that clients are wanting more.

3.The conversation went something like this…. He wanted me to sell him the ticket. What? You know the ticket, his mate has just bought one from a company who has told him that with this ticket you just have to tell companies that you’ve got one and that is all they want to know.
Imagine how disappointed he was when I said ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’.

So beware New Zealand, there is a skills shortage and it is only going to get worse. Creeping out from under the rock will be an assortment of characters more than happy to prey on anyone who really doesn’t understand what it is they need. They’ll offer to sell you all sorts of tickets, manual and software that will do your health and safety for you – none of it will work!

Some handy hints:

- Be clear about what you need, if they are trying to sell you something else be careful.

- Ask the person what they know about health and safety, be specific, ask about qualifications and experience.

- Ask them what Standards their work is based on or is it in line with the ACC WSMP Audit tool.

- Persons who hold accreditations are on balance likely to be more genuine e.g. ACC Auditor, EPA Test Certifier, Site Safe Trainer. This at least means someone else has assessed them and has believed that they measure up!

- Ask to talk with other people they have worked for in the past – don’t be fobbed off by names of big companies ask for real people to talk to.

- To some extent longevity within health and safety is some indicator as if they have managed to stay in business for 5 years plus.

Lastly in case you haven’t already realised it there is no such ‘ticket’ – really there are no shortcuts. After 20+ years as a health and safety professional I know there is only one way to get there and it is about:

- Leadership.

- Clear objectives.

- Effective training.

- Good recording.

- Worker input.

Despite this sometimes a bit of outside help is needed – it is just that you don’t know what you don’t know. Just be careful who you pick ask around and try to find out exactly what it is you need.