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Quick questions to help choose a H&S advisor

If your business needs a little extra help with health and safety (H&S), hiring a specialist advisor can make a difference, particularly if the risks you need to manage are detailed and technical.

But how to choose the right person for the job?

The Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZ) has put together a checklist of five questions to ask potential advisors:

  1. Which professional association do you belong to?
  2. What qualifications and/or certification do you have?
    • Ask to see a current practising certificate from the relevant association, or similar proof of competence.
  3. What relevant skills and experience do you have for this job?
    • If your business deals with hazardous substances, for example, you’ll need an advisor skilled in this area.
  4. Can you give me examples of similar work you have done recently?
  5. May I contact your clients to ask about your work for them?
For tips on how to delve deeper into a potential advisor’s answers:

For tips on how to delve deeper into a potential advisor’s answers:

HASANZ is the new national umbrella organisation of workplace health and safety professions. Its member associations include the NZ Institute of Hazardous Substances Management, the NZ Institute of Safety Management, and Occupational Therapy New Zealand. HASANZ’s website has a full list of member associations (external link)  and how they can respectively help businesses.

“It’s really important that businesses have access to reliable, quality health and safety advice, but how do you tell if an advisor is competent or not?” says HASANZ chair Shenagh Gleisner. “It can be a challenge choosing the right person. That’s why HASANZ has developed the five-question checklist as an easy reference.”

HASANZ is also developing a national online register of competent workplace H&S professionals, due to be launched in 2016.

New H&S legislation is in the pipeline. Keep an eye on the WorkSafe website (external link) for updates and other relevant information to help you prepare for the new legislation.”

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