Updated Jul 21, 2020

Consultant guilty of providing incompetent safety advice

A self-employed consultant has been fined for providing health and safety advice on technical and complex matters, while not being qualified to advise his clients.

Luton Crown Court heard how Clive Weal provided inadequate and flawed advice to small and medium sized enterprises on the management and control of risk in relation to hand arm vibration, work place noise and the control of substances hazardous to health.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Mr. Weal incorrectly identified risks from exposure to hand arm vibration as "low" and as a result, advised the use of anti vibration gloves as a control measure. He also failed to identify that paints containing isocyanates can cause asthma. The poor advice resulted in a lack of remedial action being taken to prevent employees being exposed to levels of noise, hand arm vibration and chemical substances.

He pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,400.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE specialist inspector, Parmjit Gahir said: "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."

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