Insights into the Health and Safety Industry

The Industry

Health and Safety began as a sincere effort to reduce injury and death in the workplace, however, to some extent, the original purpose has been lost in what might be called “The Industry of Health and Safety”.

The Myth

In one way or another many of us have come to believe that occupational health and safety is complicated and requires trained professionals to manage. Of course this idea is often propagated or at least quietly re-enforced by many health and safety professionals. In reality, health and safety is not complicated, it is actually quite simple.

The Training

The National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO) designation has become widely accepted as standard training for health and safety professionals. The training and designation only involves approximately 18 days of theory and minimal field experience. Health and safety professionals are usually paid well and with the short duration of the NCSO training many people pursue a career in health and safety for what is perceived as “easy money” instead of actually being interested or committed to true health and safety. Others pursue higher levels of occupational health and safety training at universities and colleges and seek registration as a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP).

The Reality

A Health and Safety Management System (Program) is a necessity for businesses to be compliant with federal and provincial statutes and regulations.  Once a system is established, health and safety professionals do not really have much to do except be ambassadors or police of the system until something needs to be revised or there is an incident that requires management. In reality, supervisors can be trained to manage the day to day aspects of an existing health and safety system as well as manage any incidents that may occur. In fact, originally, before health and safety became an industry, the NCSO training was created for supervisors.


Many companies hire a full time health and safety professional and consider it part of the cost of doing business in today’s marketplace.

Some companies send their supervisors for NCSO training to save themselves the cost of hiring full time safety professionals. Aside from cost savings, training supervisors in health and safety is by far the superior way to truly ensure the health and safety of personnel as supervisors are usually present and directly involved with the workforce.

Other companies simply cannot afford a full time safety professional and do not have supervisors that are trained in health and safety. Influenced by the myth that “safety is complicated and requires trained professionals” these companies may resort to hiring safety consultants. Health and Safety can be big business so consultants are plentiful and often exceedingly expensive.

An Effective Economical Solution

For companies that cannot afford a full time safety professional an effective and economical solution might be to have one experienced health and safety professional on call (at a reasonable hourly rate) to function just as if he/she was on staff, yet they only pay for what they need. Their “pay-as-you-go” safety professional would be available for system maintenance or revisions, COR maintenance, incident management, field presence, supervisor coaching, training etc. and would be only a phone call away.

If you are interested in such a service please call me for further information. In 14 years of experience in health and safety, from the work site to the boardroom in various industries, I have learned that health and safety does not need to be complicated or expensive. Perhaps I can help you increase safety, simplify things, and save costs.

Jon Robinson
Direct HSE Services Ltd

Comments are closed.