Other organizations such as safety associations, educational institutions and consulting firms provide valuable safety training and related services. The Occupational Health and Safety Consultants List is maintained by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
When choosing a consultant or trainer, keep these tips in mind:
- What are their qualifications?
- Do the qualifications relate specifically to the work you want done or simply to a closely related area?
- Does an independent group attest to the qualifications?
- You should also note that many qualifications are specific to individual persons, not to companies. It becomes important to know the qualifications of the person who will be working on your specific project.
- How many years have they been active in occupational health and safety consulting? How many years have they been active in the specific area you are interested in?
Who have been the consultant's last five clients in this area? This question has an advantage over the traditional "list of references" question in that it is not subject to the temptation to list only those clients who hold the consultant in high esteem. Note that this information may not always be available, as the client may request that their name be kept confidential.
Are they associated with the manufacture or sale of a product or service that could create the impression of a conflict of interest with your consulting activities?
What special conferences or symposiums have they attended in the field of interest? When were these events?
What professional associations do they belong to? What is their present grade of membership and length of time in that grade for each association?
What test methods do they use? Preferably, the test methods would be ones produced by recognized agencies. These include:
What laboratories do they use for sample analysis? Are they accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)? Do they participate in NIOSH's Proficiency Analytical Testing (PAT) program? For what materials?
What are the character and extent of reports that they prepare? Can they supply a sample?
Can they refer you to engineering or similar firms who can install any controls that may be needed as a result of your investigations? Do they have any business connections with these firms?
What is their fee structure? Do they charge by the hour or day? By the total job? How do they treat expenses such as travel, lodging, shipping, report writing, computer time? Do they mark up third party charges such as laboratory fees or fees of other consultants? Can we regard your cost estimates as binding?
What insurance and bonding do they have?