The internet world is full of companies offering “health & safety consultancy” services, and these services come at a wide range of prices – from very low to seemingly very high.

So how does the average potential client find a suitable consultancy?

The answer is: do some research, because things may not always be what they seem.

It may come as a surprise to learn that health & safety, a profession which by definition deals with keeping people safe in the workplace, is not regulated in any way. Literally anybody can set themselves up as a “health & safety consultant” simply by getting a phone, an off-the-shelf website, and a book on health & safety – and the book is an optional extra!

Such cowboy operators don’t bother with overheads such as indemnity insurance, professional training, or membership of a professional body, because they’re interested in making money and nothing else.

And, sadly, some people fall for it. They see an advert for health & safety advice at a low price and they immediately sign on believing that the health & safety “box” has now been ticked and so they can get on with the important parts of running their business.

All is rosy in the garden – or is it?

The reality check comes in (and comes in hard) should there be an accident, or a snap HSE investigation, and the company’s health & safety management system is exposed as not being worth the paper it’s printed on.

Who risks court proceedings, heavy fines and compensation claims? The company, of course, because it’s their management system and therefore the failure is their legal responsibility.

They could always sue the “consultant” for negligence – if they can find them! – but in the interim they are the ones who’ll face the legal music.

All of a sudden that “bargain” consultancy service doesn’t seem to be such a bargain any more.