5 ways to tell if you are getting ripped off by safety people

This week we are talking about certain safety people or consultants out there who aren't actually going to help you stay safe, but they will take your money and give you a false sense of security. In fact Worksafe NZ are calling them "Cowboy Consultants."
"How do I know if they are a cowboy consultant?" I hear you ask. Here are 5 ways to tell if you are getting ripped off with health and safety.


Over the last few weeks Worksafe NZ have been warning people about cowboy consultants who are going into businesses and saying things like, "you need us to stay out of jail," or that "we are the only way to ensure you don't get fined." NZ Herald Article: "You need us to stay out of Jail"

So here at PeopleSafe we thought we would jump onboard Worksafe's warning and give you what we think are the top 5 tell tale signs that a safety consultant could be a cowboy.

1: They say you will go to jail if you don't use their services

This is completely not true. The Jail penalty in the new law that comes into effect 4th April, is for being reckless and having no regard for safety in the workplace. Using someone's services is not going to stop you from going to jail if you are still reckless. The only way to stop you from going to jail is if you deal with the risks, and make sure you and your team are safe and trained to do the work properly.

2: They try to sell you a safety manual for thousands of dollars

We have had some customers that had bought a safety manual for thousands of dollars because they were told that it was all they needed to be safe. Again not true, in fact you don't even need a manual.

All they do is tell you how to work safely around the risks you have, and quite often they just sit there on the shelf collecting dust and not being followed. So rather than buying a big expensive manual why not use the knowledge that you and your team have to create some easy to follow safety plans, after all, you are the ones that are working with the risks everyday.

3: They tell you their system will make you 100% compliant

This is completely made up out of thin air. At PeopleSafe we think that being 100% compliant is a stupid goal because it's not possible, accidents happen. What you want is a system that will help you manage the risks, know that everyone is trained to work safely, and that the gear is maintained and safe to use. This way if an accident does happen, hopefully it will be fairly minor or at least you will know what to do when something does go wrong.

You will also want a system that helps you learn from accidents and close calls, not a system that files reports away never to be seen again, or one that discourages reporting things in the first place, where is the point in that?

4: They say "leave it to me, I'll take care of everything."

Again, not possible. How can someone who doesn't work at you workplace, doesn't work in your industry, and doesn't really know what the real risks are in your workplace, take care of Health and Safety in your workplace?
The answer: They can't.

With this new law coming in there are a whole lot of responsibilities that everyone in the workplace has, basically everyone needs to be involved. So even if the consultant could take care of everything and magically make you safe, by law they can't. You and your team have to be involved in making sure everyone is safe.

5: They say you can't talk to their clients because Health and Safety is confidential

This is an interesting one because it simply does not make sense. We think talking to other businesses or organisations in your industry about how they stay safe is a great idea, because you can learn from each other and make all of your businesses safer. Where is the issue in that?

When a cowboy consultant says that it's confidential, what they are really saying is that they don't want you to find out that all they have done in that other business is sold them an expensive manual and said that with it, they are 100% compliant and won't go to jail. But in that business nothing has really changed. Are they safe? I don't think so.


So there you have it, look out for the cowboy safety consultants out there and don't get pulled into their over exaggerated claims. Instead, we suggest signing up to PeopleSafe for only $50+GST per month. With our software, you and your team can keep track of your risks, gear and people, and learn from accidents when they happen. That way they are less likely to happen again and you stay safe.

That's it for another Workshop Wednesday, leave your thoughts below and we will see you next week.