A typical day in the life of a Business Safe Consultant? Well, without wishing to state the obvious, there isn’t one. Take today for example…
I’m Peter, a Business Health and Safety Consultant with Peninsula, and whilst I live my life with routine and structure I have had to learn to be flexible with my approach to almost everything now, don’t get me wrong, the structure is still there, although now it is just a loose framework on which I hang a working day.
Monday morning is usually a time to plan the week’s activities, print all the documentation required for the appointments in my calendar, and most importantly research the clients I am about to descend upon. I’d imagine there is little more frustrating for a client to be asked on arrival, ‘so, what is it you do here?’ I like to not only understand the client’s business but dig a little deeper, find out a few facts, there’s plenty of information out there it only takes a short while to look for it.
However, this Monday is different, I have an appointment in the morning, and the afternoon, so my preparation was done the previous Friday. I arrive at my destination at 8.30am for a 9.00am appointment, I like to arrive early, find the premises, scout the parking situation, today I am lucky, a large staff car park only half full. I gather my bag and jacket and head in at 8.55am – be 5 minutes early rather than 5 minutes late I always say! I am greeted by a young lady who invites me in only to tell me that my meeting will have to be rearranged, the owner, my appointment contact, has not made it in this morning due to illness. I commiserate and accept the offer of a cup of tea – it was a long journey after all – and sit down for a chat. I talk about a recent court ruling on EU subsidies for dairy farmers – a ruling that I knew would affect this business drastically (research paying off!) My host becomes animated in discussion, I’m fascinated by the conversation, another cup of tea is offered.
I explain the purpose of my visit was to compile the information that would help me put together their management system as well as conduct a compliance review. Whilst the latter would be difficult without the boss, she says, all the information you could possibly want is with me, let’s create the management system.
I leave after nearly two hours of valuable client time with all the information to complete the documentation for the management system and I have arranged a return visit to explain it all. A very satisfying visit.
After a quick ‘comfort break’ (there were three cups of tea by the time I left!) I’m off to my next appointment, a little earlier than expected and well ahead of schedule. I call the client en route to see if an earlier meeting would be more beneficial? ‘Great’, she says, ‘when can you get here?’
I arrive about 40 minutes later, my client welcomes me into her office, there’s no time for tea here, SafeContractor have just rejected their application for membership and I’m faced with a panic-stricken client and a desk full of paperwork. I calm things down and start to organise the paperwork into a logical order and I number the points on the rejection letter from Safe Contractor – one-by-one we go through the issues compiling evidence and storing it in folders ready to send off.
‘It’s a good job you came early’ says my client as she looks at the clock. It’s 5.50pm – over 5 hours of sifting, sorting, writing and filing. ‘I thought health and safety was just a matter of common sense!’ she says as we relax and have our first (!) cup of tea. I get that a lot, and without trying to make the person seem silly I drop in a few facts about how long I have studied in pursuit of an MSc, and I’ll sometimes display some of the ACOPs and legislative documents that I carry around, there’s nothing like piling up thousands of pages technical literature to dispel the myth. It is largely common sense, I reassure her, with a little bit of know-how thrown in!
My client wrote to me later in the week, ‘…your visit was very useful and helpful […] I have created some more site specific risk assessments since last week […] I hope SafeContractor is as impressed as I am!’
And so began a ‘typical’ week in the life of a business consultant…