Health and safety should be a priority of any business, no matter the sector. After all, not paying attention to health and safety can cause injury in a traditional office setting just as much as a building site.

However, the construction sector can pose a huge risk to health and safety if the correct procedures aren’t followed, the consequences can be disastrous.

Large construction companies have the resources to have their own health and safety departments and consultants, but what do you do if you’re a smaller contractor?

Should you choose to hire in-house or use a consultant?

Your starting point

Take stock of where you are in your business right now. Have you been following a solid health and safety plan but are struggling to find the time and resources to keep up with everything? Or are there immediate issues that need to be addressed? If there are issues that need dealing with straight away, you may need to hire a professional who can help you immediately.

Your budget

Health and safety are very important but there is also cash flow to consider. Independent consultants can be expensive, but they are extremely knowledgeable and may only be needed infrequently on an ad-hoc basis. However, if you need someone on a daily basis, which is very likely in the construction business, then you might want to consider hiring in-house. You may also need to budget for other training for site staff including emergency first aid from and hazardous materials and manual handling.

Hiring a consultant

Consultants bring with them a lot of advantages. Firstly, they are very knowledgeable. Secondly, because they aren’t an employee, they are unbiased and aren’t afraid to say what they think. They aren’t swayed by office politics or fear upsetting you by saying the wrong thing.

Consultants are generally self-employed, which means that they are usually dedicated to keeping their skills up to date with the latest training and qualifications. This is something that you don’t need to fund.

In-house health and safety

Having an employee responsible for health and safety can have its advantages. If you have a high amount of health and safety work that needs doing, then it can be cost-effective to hire someone.

Also, having someone dedicated to your company means that their attention is focused solely on your company, rather than across a number of clients. They’ll know the ins and outs of your business. They can be available at a moment’s notice to address any issues.

A hybrid approach

Of course, it doesn’t have to be one or the other when it comes to health and safety. If you have an urgent need, then a consultant can come in and make changes quickly, to get you on a better footing before you then hire someone in. Or you could use a consultant on an ad hoc basis to oversee any huge changes or oversee annual audits etc.


In the construction industry, health and safety are vital and you need to think carefully about how you will structure yours in order to have the best record possible.