What are the competencies, skills, and qualifications for an EHS consultant?
Safety Consultant with Sheldon Primus
What are the competencies, skills, and qualifications for an EHS consultant?
April 26, 2021
In this episode, Sheldon goes over some competencies, skills, and qualifications for an EHS consultant. He uses the framework from the Singapore Accord and ANSI to tackle this issue.
Keywords: Sheldon Primus, Sheldon, Primus, Safety Consulting, Consultant, EHS, Safety FM, competencies, Global, USA, OSHA, ANSI, ASSP, ASSE, COSS, COSM, managerial, training, education, critical thinking, marketing, sales, delegation, hazard assessment, insurance, networking, research, accident investigation, business writing, typing, budgeting, project coordination, instructional design, coaching, podcast, COVID-19, vaccine, herd immunity, travel, WHO, degree, certification

[00:00:01] spk_0: Yeah. Mm. This episode is powered by Safety FM. Welcome to the safety consultant podcast. I'm your host, solemn promise is the podcast, right, teach you the business of being a safety consultant And this week I've got something for you that I haven't done before. Uh I've been teaching a lot lately so I was kind of thinking a few things that uh some students had brought my way and started me thinking about and I was like yeah that's actually something I should bring up in my podcast. So this is it, What are the competencies, skills and qualifications that you would need to be a success successful or good E. H. S. Environmental health and safety consultant. Uh So I I really was thinking about that and I was like well I'm gonna have to break this thing up in a couple of different thoughts and that's going back and forth. And there are some a little established things specifically for the safety profession but the safety profession versus some things that would be available for a specific criteria to be a safety consultant. That one is a little bit more subjective. So I decided that in this episode today I'm going to give you my subjective version and answer to what are the competency skills and qualifications for E. H. S. Consultant? So that is where we're going today and this is gonna be a solo one with me. So that's all you have to do is worry about me today. I'm not gonna break into the commercial. Just come out and go for it. You knew Old days man. Just old school us two together. All right, so let's go through um my thought process on this one. So if you're trying to catch the question right question is what are the competency skills and qualifications that is needed to be an environmental health and safety consultant? So the first part of the question is I'm thinking all right, well you definitely need to have specific competencies, meaning that these are the things that you understand that you're capable of doing and that especially when you're in the consultant range now you may have to be a little bit more than average. There's a few things I'll tell you right up, there's a few things that you are just going to be averaging. There's some things that you're going to be set below. That's okay. The things that you excel in, that's the business part, the other stuff that it takes to run the business, operate the business. You may be a little sub parliament and uh and I think that that is a valid thing and that's why you get some help really what that boils down to. So the episode today is going to be this is gonna be me just giving you a few, I don't know uh Food for thought questions. And uh in my experience as well as some of the things I may have heard from other people regarding how to get some competencies, some skills and qualifications for E. H. And S. Consultant. So I'm going to start with the competency side because that's actually the easiest. The competency first should start with the basic like what is the competency you need as a professional for safety and health. So the american National Standards Institute and see and the A. S. S. P. Which used to be the A. S. S. E. Which is an american Society of Safety Engineers as the E. Part. And now they have gone to a SSP american Society of Safety professionals. They actually have a criteria for establishing the scope and functions of the professional safety position. This is the Z590, that too. So the Z 5 90.2 is a joint n. C a S. S. P. Uh document. And truly this is the criteria for being a safety professional. They broke it down into different chapters and uh and it is a foundation. Sure you could go beyond antsy, but for the U. S. We call it the consensus standards for a reason, meaning that you can at least know that if something's an ANSI standard is saying this is the way this thing should be constructed or it should be applied. Um Let's say it's something like this which is a training or or a position. The person who is in this position should have this standardized understanding and that's really what the ANSI documents do. So this Z 5 90 document, uh This one is a project that was also initiated through the A. S. S. P. And they wanted to get some sort of um some sort of consensus really and so that we all would know if you're saying that calling yourself a safety professional and it doesn't have to be certification or not. Just if you're using those terms, then these are the things that you should be aware of. And this is the criteria for being a safety consultant. So there's a bunch of little things that you're gonna look for in this document. You to download the document, take a good look, match it up towards your job description or your resume or something similar to that then now you truly would be able to see where do you stand next to? I don't know someone in your your position halfway around the world to you. Uh That's this is the equalizer document. Uh Though it's the anti meaning american National Standards Institute, many people actually across the world look and see document and just says that it is such a level of quality for those anti documents that we're going to incorporate these by reference for us or we're gonna go ahead and and just just use a baseline of antsy and then we'll build on it in some other way. So this is the first document I was looking at to answer the question on, you know what what's the scope, what's the function of a professional safety person? I'm not up to the consultant yet, I'm just starting at the baseline. Right? So first before I answer this question about the competency skills and qualification of the safety consultant, let's start with the safety person first. And then there's another document that as the very well if I'm thinking this, let's also think International. Even though um A. S. S. E. And R. A. S. S. P. They are international, we have another body and there's another body called the International network of safety and health practitioner organizations in chappelle. So international network of safety and health practitioner organizations, I. M. S. H. P. O. Uh they had a World Congress, the 21st World Congress in 2017. Uh they met and sent Singapore and during that conference they really want to figure out uh what they called. And the document ended up being is the organizational health and safety professional capability framework and it's under known or should say the the name with it, the second name. You know how they have like the marquee name and then they have a working title underneath it, if you will. Uh the working title of that one is a global framework for practice and this is truly globally speaking, if you're calling yourself first a practitioner and then also they break it up into two major categories um for the safety and health. So one is a specialist or one's a practitioner and all the countries that were represented there Once they decided yes, we're going to ratify this thing. Uh they signed off on the accord, so some of the member organizations that showed up in this 2017 uh giant meeting in Singapore with the US Canada UK, uh the Eu Australia new Zealand the Russian Federation, Singapore and Korea. So those are the organization or the countries represented here and truly, they broke down everything and started thinking about definitions of competencies and definition of capability and what does all those things mean. And after they got the international um let's say wording, if you will to start the basis the groundwork, the foundation, then they kind of built off of that. So they're looking and they also included core conduct, you know, like model code of conduct of a guy guidelines for certification and accreditation. All that is really what they're looking for. So uh areas on this global framework that they're looking and honing in for was knowledge, skills, ability, the roles to function, what kind of of accreditation do you need and then the certifications, so all those things they kind of looked at and then they decided, all right, let's take these components, take these different avenues to become a safety personnel or professional. And now let's put this in some sort of master recipe that is going to tell us once this thing is all baked and ready for consumption, it's going to be the actual role, responsibility and the path to safety practitioner and a safety professional. So again, this is the in Chepo 2017 Singapore accord which is giving you the competencies first of the safety and health practitioner. We've got to start with the basic, Great, so you get your self a copy of this one and find out first if you land under OSHA, excuse me, Ash, uh the occupational health and safety practitioner, which is usually, and this is coming from a document who is usually vocational e educated versus the occupational health and safety professional who was usually university educated. And it says usually in both of those situations and that means it's not a specific requirement that you have a degree in order for you to be called uh professional or a practitioner. It's just usually you should find your way to one of those things vocational if you're a practitioner and university if your professional, but it's not required. So I'm putting that here because this kind of leads me into other resources when I'm trying to when I was first trying to figure out, okay, what are the competencies that I need to have? And I figured all right, let me go through these two documents and find out first the competencies that you need to have to be a safety professional. And I said, all right, that's that's a good idea. Those are some of the things that you should be looking for about, you know, identifying hazards and being able to get uh different ways of of controlling the hazards that you find and investigation and communication skills and all those things that you're gonna need definitely if you're in a safety position. So that was good to see. And then the next thing that my mind kind of went to is thinking about all right, well first doesn't matter if it's domestic versus global and quite honestly it would worry, it really matters about your outcome as a company. If you're hiring someone who is a consultant, do you want someone who's a specialist at, you know, your actual agency for your country, meaning your own country's occupational safety and health regulator? Do you want a specialist in that already? Want a specialist that understands the concept, the principles of safety and health and now you want to use that into your organization system? It depends truly is what it boils down to. So I wanna just just throw in. Um I decided to look up and I found a couple of documents. One is from safe Manitoba dot com. And this documents entitled um hiring an occupational health and safety consultant. So my next way of figuring out how to get your competency skills and qualification for each. And that's led me too. If I were to seek to hire myself or seek dyer's. One like me, uh we're kind of documentation or some things out there, what would people be looking for. So first they would say, and this coming from the Safe Manitoba dot com site, uh they're looking for knowledge and experience uh in not only uh knowledge and experience as a safety consultant, but in a whatever specialty that you need or the discipline you're looking for. So they do specialize those, individualize those things. One is industry specific experience. One is discipline experience specific experience, which is good. You need those to you have to make sure that the person had knowledge and occupational safety and health. And they break down those things meaning like your understanding workplace injury and illness data and you're looking at different things that are risk analysis and how to design and implement strategies related to safety and health that's all in there as well. There's a bunch then I noticed as uh really flipping through this document and uh they do mention a couple of things about ergonomics specifically. Um but generally the document is just saying when you're looking for a consultant, you want to make sure that you verify their experience, confirm and follow up that this person is truly qualified for what they're telling you and that they're in short, so those are some of the things that are basic and then they do end up at the end of this document is only a 10 page document that they have for the Manitoba hiring of consultant page that they have for people they even have some interview questions in there, you know. Uh So many interview questions is talking about how do you develop your programs and how do you make sure that it's been effective? And then the consultant would have to answer that. Now the question down the way was um what are key performance indicators that you use or have used in the past to show that your system that you've helped, your client institute is working and then you would have to break that down to. So very interesting questions there that would lead me to to understanding some of the competencies that it's going to take to even uh answer some of these questions that they're thinking here. So I like the way that they brought that up so it made me think of some of the qualifications that you may need. So the competencies and qualifications and skills, they're all kind of go together, you know so it was kind of okay, spit balling if if I could say that one, but that's pretty much like when uh you know, they freestyle rapping in some of those shows that you may see or or even like the Grammy Awards or something similar to that all of a sudden there's a bunch of people just going freestyle with the rap, not nothing written down, just coming off the top of their head. So that's basically what I did here. Just trying to think of a few needed qualifications and also some skills that you're gonna need if you're going to do the consulting thing. So first you may need some specialized training if you're going to be a specialist in something, I would imagine that specialized training is coming from uh where your experience is coming from, So that's where I'm thinking, you're going to get that specialist training, you should always look to get more training even as an established consultant, constantly grow your knowledge base. But it's eventually going to help you grow your your base for getting more clients as well or services. So it does pay for us to keep getting more and more educated and getting specialist training uh education, meaning what kind of education level do you have? Do you need a Master's degree? Do you need uh no degree at all? What's what's appropriate as a consultant? So of course, I always say education is the way to go first and foremost, and then get a designation designation. Such as I have a certified occupation safety specialist designation. Certificate of occupational safety manager designation. But I also have a Masters in Public administration with a concentration and environmental policy. So I I've got the the education side, but it still didn't hurt for me to get the other side with the uh certification. So I would say go both routes whenever it's available to you, go ahead and grab some train and get some certification in there. The next thing I put down here as some of the things that you're gonna need to help boost your skills is get some train, the trainer India, so get a train the trainer class and something that you would eventually make a service out of and that's going to help you to. So you could utilize that in two ways, you get added information knowledge and everything for yourself, but not only that, you're also going to be able to get something that will be a viable way to have extra revenue later on. So it's a win win for you in that one. So here's some skills that you're gonna need managerial skills, administrative skills, clerical skills, You would really do yourself well to take a typing class. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous and I'm not saying you have to go to community college, but uh if there's anything online that you can do free or paid to get your typing skills up, you're looking for a target of Mm anywhere above 50 words a minute is what you're looking for. And these are clean words a minute. Not where you still have to backspace and uh and then fix the word up. I mean, just clean words, you see it and you're typing without looking at your fingers, you're getting up to like the 60 words, 50 words per minute. All right, now you're right where you need to be. So that is a clerical administrative type skill. It will help you immensely immensely. I can't tell you how much times it helps me that I was able to type quickly. Um managerial is going to help you with two things and I'm gonna add project management with this one as well. I had written it separately on my list but I'm going to add this here as well. But project management and actually doing managerial, having managerial skills gonna help you where you're always gonna keep on task is going to be. Not only is the things that you're going to be working on make a logical sense but you're going to do it in a logical order, you're not gonna do it where there's going to be things that you're going to miss out or you're going to omit I know that's why we have error and a mission insurance but you don't want to try that one out. I just want to have the insurance but don't you make a claim because you're going to do a great job. That's what we're looking for. So if you're looking at something that really help you with this one is truly just going to a class. You're going to have to do managerial class or you could hire somebody get an, an office assistant, a virtual assistant or something that could help you with some of these things that might be some benefit to you critical thinking. Absolutely. You're gonna need that as a skill, marketing and sales for your own business because you are going to be your own team. So that's a skill you're gonna need as a consultant dan, truly. I'm just looking at this as a way of understanding the depth as well of being a consultant because I do tell people can, you know, I love it as a consultant safety and health consultant and this could really be any consultant if you're looking at it uh in the wider length lens. Um I don't know if I could be back in the employment sector. I I honestly don't know, I just like it this way and I encourage people to do it, but you still need to have chops that's really what it boils down to. You still need to have skills. So the communication skills, the social media skills, sales, marketing, all that stuff is going to have to be developed by you. You can outsource things like social media task, you know, have people update your linkedin or whatever from time to time for you as if you were there or get an automated service. Something could help you with that. Yes. But knowing to find that, knowing to set it up and everything else that's a skill in itself. So you're gonna have to add that to your computer skills and technology skills is going to have to be their budgeting, you're gonna have to know how to budget for each project as well as lifetime budget, because, you know, if you're making your money yourself, you're going to have to give yourself a salary and and you know what still goes back into the business and all that stuff too. So that's an added bonus for understanding, you know, budgeting skills and money management skills, negotiation is another one of those skills you're gonna end up needing to know because truly, when you start negotiating with people like OSHA negotiating with even clients in some ways, uh there's constant conflict resolution that goes with this too with negotiations. So there's two real keen skills that if you don't have, you're gonna end up having to to develop, learn, watch a or get usually it's going to be in a self paced learning course is how you're gonna end up getting yourself out of that one and getting your knowledge up uh public speaking. I know I heartburn public speaking, I've mentioned it a bunch of times throughout the podcast and you know, we're going into our third year, I'm starting my third year in this and I've mentioned, you know, public speaking quite a bit because it's truly important, you're going to eventually end up public speaking somewhere in your career and that's good. You need to because it's going to be a way for you to show people your personality, which is also going to lead them to want to do business with you because you had a great personality, you let it show and that's truly going to get more and more through public speaking. The more and more people like you, they're going to ask you to speak and you're going to go and you're gonna be speaking sometimes more than you consulting. And then you get to start balancing that out too. And that's a trip. Alright. Some technical skills are gonna need, let's add to you the skill side. And again, we're talking about competence, competencies, skills and other things that are qualifications for being a safety consultant. So technical skills, you're going to have to know your actual uh task as a safety and health advisor. You're going to be called to to understand hazards and to identify them and to know OSHA compliance or your country's compliance. You're gonna have to know how to engineer hazards and if not work rules and if not then PPE understand law and how to read the standards that's going to be really important. And then that understanding that, uh, that skill of knowing the technical stuff that's going to be something that you're gonna have to marry with good communication and talk to each level of the organization in the language and understanding that they have, and when I say language, I just mean more of uh, colloquial terms or, or how they speak, as opposed to language that you would have to learn english or learning spanish or french or whatever. I don't mean that one that you're still going to need some translation on, but I just mean, you know, if someone is very, very formal and they're in a formal setting, then you're going to have to speak more formal to them or else you're going to lose them. If you go to the line and the line is having fun and they're talking in normal slang, I'm not saying to to degrade yourself in any way, but I'm just saying, you know, you could lighten up a little while you're dealing with the line and that's communication skills. So if you learn how to have that communication skill and get technical information, uh, at the same time, that's now going to be very, very well worth it. And that's a true skill that you're going to need as a consultant, researching, I research my butt off constantly, and it is like its own beast sometimes is researching things. So, you're going to have to really understand what, where to get good things, good information and disseminate that information to the degree where you are now an expert. So that one is going to be tough because you have to keep making sure your source documents, your source information is credible. Following up as part of organizing. So, you got to make sure you do that stuff. You're going to have to have good investigation skills and grasp of business writing because you're going to be writing things. Um, another thing I just briefly want to talk about while we're getting towards the end, there's a couple of things that I was thinking about, but one was, I don't know if this is valid yet, but I'm thinking it could be. So in the near future I'm sure being vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus is going to make a difference in lobe global market including uh specific things such as being uh being a safety consultant. Because I can imagine, you know people who are vaccinated. I got my last, my second dose of this past week. So I need a couple of weeks before I'm fully immune. But truly I can imagine in the future where if you could say you are, that might actually open some doors for you. Especially if you have to physically be in a location that could help to that saying you be irresponsible with you know you still got to do whatever the C. D. C. Guidances or World Health Organization guidances on you know how do you approach being outside and vaccinated because I'm still going to wear my mask right. But other than that what if that's a skill or a trait or however the wording is to now have a good viable safety consulting business. I don't know if it's a thing yet it's just going through my mind. Uh if you think it is just go ahead and write that one in the chat box for me because truly if you I don't know I'm just doing my mind is doing the math and I'm kind of thinking that in the future this vaccination is going to make a really big thing for us. And this is one of the things are thinking about. So those are some of the thoughts that I had about what is it gonna take to be a good safety consultant. Uh So your competency skills qualifications, you're definitely going to need to know a lot of things in order for your business to run and take off and do well. I gave you a bunch of things to think about. But don't forget you're also gonna have to maybe throw in there good coaching skills uh eventually instructional design because you're gonna end up having to create courses for clients. So those are some of things you're gonna add to. So your computer and skills for internet, how you guide through the internet and navigate through them. That's good too. So you'll have to learn that. So there you go after you want some bonuses there. Not bad. So if you have any other things you want to add, send me an email at Sheldon at Sheldon Primus dot com. Sheldon at Sheldon Primus dot com. And I'll be able to help you out as best as I can. I'll add to the list if we need to uh you can connect with me on facebook and you're gonna do that by facebook dot com backslash groups with an s backslash safety consultant. No s you can also connect with me on linkedin. You gotta linkedin, looked up child in primaries, you got me there and then check out safety consultant dot tv. Safety consultant dot tv. Uh That's a product I created for you guys to help you out that truly wherever you are. Where do you look at tv, you look at your shows, you binge watch anything uh that device you could get safety, consult on T. V. On and you could help by going through the playlist and help yourself get ready for your business and to launch your business even more. And I even have a playlist in there, that's just for fun. Get some fun stuff in that one. All right. Have a wonderful rest of the week.

[00:32:06] spk_1: Go

[00:32:07] spk_0: get them. This episode has been powered by safety. FM.