New standards for OHS consultants in the U.K.

Independent register intended to become new benchmark for standards in the profession

Health and safety consultants in the United Kingdom are being invited to sign up to a new independent register that is intended to become a new benchmark for standards in the profession.

The Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) is being set up in response to recommendations in the government-commissioned report on the U.K. health and safety.

It aims to increase employers' confidence in accessing good quality, proportionate advice and also to address concerns that some employers can find it difficult to know how and where to get external health and safety advice.

OSHCR has been established by a number of professional bodies representing general safety and occupational health consultants across the U.K. with support from the Health and Safety Executive.

The register, which is voluntary, is open to individuals who provide commercial advice on general health and safety management issues and who have achieved at least one of the following:

•chartered status with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health or Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland with health and safety qualifications

•fellow status with International Institute of Risk and Safety Management with degree level qualifications

•member or fellow status with British Occupational Hygiene Society Faculty of Occupational Hygiene

•registered member or fellow status with the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors

In addition, all consultants wishing to join the register will be asked to declare that they will:

•demonstrate adequate continuing professional development

•abide by their professional body's code of conduct

•provide sensible and proportionate advice

•have professional indemnity insurance or equivalent to cover the nature of their duties.

The application process will include a check of an individual's membership status with the relevant professional body.

"This register offers a level of assurance to businesses that those consultants on the register have met set standards within their professional body,” said Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Executive. “It will be an independent way of demonstrating professional competence in occupational health and safety consultancy and should also encourage those who have not yet met these standards to do so."

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