Are you looking for more information on pursuing a career in the OHS field as a consultant? Occupational health and safety or workplace health and safety (OHS) is a discipline that is concerned with protecting the safety and health of all stakeholders in an organization against multiple risks and hazards that arise from work activities.
An OHS consultant is qualified in Occupational Health and Safety and possesses specialized knowledge and training to provide timely OHS advice, conduct safety audits, implement strategies and improve safety measures in the workplace. These professionals are highly skilled and manage critical health and safety functions in the workplace, apart from evaluating the WHS performance of an organization.
The critical need for OHS consultants in the United States of America
From fire, slips and falls to chemical hazards, workers are exposed to a wide range of health and safety risks at American workplaces. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries & Illnesses, 2.8% of every 100 full-time workers in the US fall victim to a workplace accident/injury. These accidents result in either days away from work or a permanent physical restriction on what the worker is able to do.
According to the 2018 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, poor health and safety practices at workplaces cost companies in the US a cumulative $60 billion in workers’ compensation for serious, non-fatal injuries. Much more frightening is research that shows that on average US companies have 92 fatalities each year in confined workplaces – that’s 2 fatalities each week! One of the main reasons why employees are prone to accidents and fatal injuries is that they’re unaware what constitutes workplace hazards. Often, employers themselves are unsure what hazards are and they’re unable to recognize signs of imminent workplace dangers.
Workplace accidents are more common in industries that process chemicals, gasses, pharmaceuticals and flammable materials. In addition to these industries, logging, transportation, construction, roofing and fishery are other industries where workplace accidents are more common.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the need for stringent workplace health and safety measures to keep employees, management and customers safe. OHS consultants have immense responsibilities these days, right from conducting workplace risk assessments to adopting social distancing measures in the workplace to sanitizing/cleaning the workplace regularly and in accordance with multiple State and Federal health and safety protocols.
The roles and responsibilities of OHS consultants
An OHA consultant’s services are invaluable for all types of organizations, small, medium to large. The consultant helps businesses audit, monitor and manage wide-ranging workplace health and safety risks and ensures the safety and health of workers and management are safeguarded at all times.
- Promote work health and safety in an organization
- Ensure the work environment is safe for all categories of workers
- Develop healthier and safer ways of working
- Inspect workplaces and equipment to ensure compliance with procedures and safety regulations
- Identify workplace hazards and risks
- Work with professionals to promote safe processes and safety of worksites
- Ensure PPE (personal protective equipment) such as gloves, safety glasses, helmets, masks and hearing protection), is used in workplaces as per regulations
- Formulate and implement protocols for safe storage of dangerous materials
- Audit work areas for health and accident hazards such as explosive chemicals, toxic fumes or bacterial contamination
- Ensure awareness and compliance in an organisation with laws related to workplace safety, duty of care, and use of equipment and substances
- Write complex documents, report and record accidents, injuries, hazards and health issues at the workplace
- Assist with any investigation of unsafe working conditions and accidents, study possible causes while recommending remedial action
- Conduct training sessions for all stakeholders including employees, supervisors and managers on all aspects of health and safety and related legislation
- Provide assistance with the rehabilitation of workers and ensure their safe return to work after injuries or accidents
- Coordinate emergency procedures and rescues
- Communicate with management regularly to report on WHS status
- Develop policies, manuals and procedures related to WHS
- Contribute to workplace incident response
- Providing leadership as a consultant
Is OHS consultancy a good career?
If you are excited about bringing about a positive, meaningful change in workplace safety and assisting businesses in creating a healthy, safe and sustainable work environment, practices and procedures, the OHS career is right for you.
In terms of salary, the average annual pay for OHS consultants in the US is $64,255 according to PayScale. As per figures provided by Indeed, the average salary is $67,426. Freelance consultants can today charge anywhere between $52 and $74 per hour for consultation, across the US.
As with other professions, the more the experience an OHS consultant has, the more the pay. Apart from experience, your pay also depends on other factors like geographical location worked, complexity of projects handled and your history of preventing workplace accidents.
While workplace safety and health are top priority for organizations across industries, the ongoing health crisis has propelled OHS back to the center-stage. Companies are paying much higher to OHS consultants during the Covid-19 pandemic, with consultants brining in on average $95,865 each year. With strong future growth, attractive income and the opportunity to create safe and healthy workplaces, a career in OHS is a great choice.
Before you establish yourself as an OHS consultant, it is important to also protect yourself against the potential risks associated with the profession.
Mitigate risks with the right insurance
Public liability insurance is one of the most important types of insurance that consultants across industries need.
This insurance protects your OHS consultancy business against serious risks such as claims related to personal injury of your clients or property damage incurred as a result of your work activities/professional advice.
Whether you have your own office where clients visit you for professional consultation, or you visit offices/industries to offer your services, protecting yourself with public liability insurance is the top priority. Visit BizInsure to know more about tailored Public Liability insurance for OHS consultants.