Consultant fined for providing ‘incompetent’ health and safety advice
A self-employed independent health and safety consultant has been fined £1,400 for breach of legislation for giving advice to clients, despite not being properly qualified.
Health and safety ‘expert’ Clive Weal got it wrong on hand arm vibration, workplace noise and the control of substances hazardous to health, jeopardising the wellbeing of clients’ employees, Luton Crown Court was told.
The HSE’s investigation found that the Mr Weal incorrectly identified risk from exposure to hand arm vibration as ‘low’ and advised clients to use ‘anti vibration gloves’ as an appropriate control measure. He also failed to identify that paints containing isocyanates can cause asthma.
HSE said that the poor and incompetent advice resulted in a lack of remedial action being implemented to prevent employees being exposed to levels of noise, hand arm vibration and chemical substances that may have a damaging impact on their health.
Clive Weal of Torksey, Lincolnshire, was found to be ‘incompetent’ at advising his clients in the assessment and control of risks from workplace noise, hand arm vibration and substances hazardous to health. He pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,400.
HSE Specialist Inspector Parmjit Gahir said after the hearing: “Employers are more likely to use external consultants to provide assistance in complex situations where a higher level of competence is required.
“How consultants achieve competence is up to them. However, they will have to be able to satisfy employers that they have a sufficient level of competence for the job in hand.
“Being a member of a relevant professional body, which sets competence standards for its members and operates continuing professional development schemes is one way of helping; as is presenting evidence of relevant experience such as references from previous clients; or obtaining qualifications.”