Outsourcing key functions is a familiar concept in many business scenarios. Outsourcing allows companies to focus on their core competencies, leaving specialized functions to those with specific expertise. We see it on college campuses, which concentrate on education while leaving food preparation to national chains. Car dealerships sell cars but often hire outsourced detailing services to wash and prep customers’ vehicles. Building managers hire janitorial contractors and security firms rather than custodians and security guards…the list goes on and on.
While some outsourcing decisions are easy to make, others, particularly those that involve highly complex areas requiring a significant degree of expertise, may call for more deliberation.
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is such a function. A safety officer is a highly skilled and compensated employee. Considerable education and training are necessary in order to enforce safety policies, conduct audits and inspections, investigate accidents, ensure compliance, and train employees.
Business owners and managers are proficient in their particular fields. Very few have experience navigating the complexities of workplace safety. Even the process of interviewing, selecting and hiring a safety officer may be beyond their comfort zones.
Outsourcing to a company specializing in OHS is a compelling option when allocating business resources. Hiring an employee involves taxes, unemployment insurance, disability, forms, personnel files, and benefits. With an in-house safety officer, the liability for fines and penalties due to noncompliance will always lie wholly with the employer.
A private contractor specializing in OHS can be a welcome solution. An experienced and knowledgeable specialist who is trained to implement programs concerning drug testing, fire safety, signage, and overall workplace safety issues alleviates the burden of managing these vitally important functions. At the same time, the business owner can focus on the company’s core competencies – delivering the products or services that the company’s reputation is built upon, rather than being distracted by the specialized training, licensing and certification requirements of a staff safety officer.
Lastly, an outsourced safety officer saves money, and that’s a win for every business owner.