Grandfather Rights and Formal Qualifications in Health and Safety

Qualifications in Health and Safety

Qualifications in Health and Safety

There has been a long standing dispute in many industries that an experienced person with years of practical work in a particular field is more competent than someone with little to no experience but does however hold a formal qualification in that same field?

Obviously this could be argued in different ways depending on what field or profession we are talking about.  For example a person with 10 years experience in glassblowing is bound to be more practically adept than a student who has just taken a written exam on glassblowing; where as a fresh graduate of accounting may well be as proficient as a 10 year veteran accountant with no such qualification. These are obviously extreme cases but it highlights the point we are trying to make nicely.

Qualifications in Health and Safety

So when a run of the mill type business receives a PQQ (Pre Qualification Questionnaire) and comes to the dreaded question "What Qualifications in Health and Safety do the Managers Hold?"

A lot of companies get stumped here and start to panic if no Qualifications in Health and Safety are held while others just answer as follows: "We have been completing and managing this type of work safely for xx years thus giving us the qualification of grandfather rights."

Is this a suitable answer and will it satisfy the auditor of your PQQ? Again unfortunately there is no easy answer and it depends on many variables such as; the type of service you provide (high, low risk), years experience, past track record, accidents and so-on. The problem is if your application is declined you will not always be informed and you could be losing contracts to your competitors for this very reason without even being aware of it.

So what can be done? Well no matter how many years experience you have it is always better to make yourself or a member of management aware of current health and safety regulations. A good example is driving, if you took your driving test and behaved the way you drive everyday in front of the instructor do you think you would pass?

There may have been bad habits adopted over the years and regulations being breached that you do not even realise because you have been working the same way for so many years.

So the next step may be to employ a health and safety advisor to come and help as legal requirements enforce companies to receive competent health and safety advice. However the other thing to remember is that all health and safety advisors do not suite all jobs for example we took a student through a practical health and safety audit of an engineering workshop for part of a Nebosh course, when the student was asked if the Lathe was safe the reply "what is a Lathe" was given. Now this student passed the whole course with ease but without experience and knowledge about what a Lathe is this person would not be the correct choice for giving health and safety advice to an engineering workshop.

So in conclusion a mix of experience and some formal education or advice is always the best answer and you may just find those PQQ's are easier to answer and may even win you more business.

Qualifications in Health and Safety

Leave a Reply