BOHS essential guidance for occupational hygiene consultants and buyers – now updated and available free

BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, has recently updated and published its best practice guidance for occupational hygiene consultants as well as its guide for companies wanting to obtain occupational hygiene services. Both guides are available free of charge, and aim to serve as the industry standard for competency in occupational hygiene consultancy services.

Written by the Society’s Faculty of Occupational Hygiene, the guides present essential information for anyone interested in either of the two transactional sides to occupational hygiene – namely, offering occupational hygiene consultancy services to organisations and obtaining such services as a buyer.

Good Practice Guide

The Good Practice Guide for Consultants outlines the legal and ethical responsibilities of occupational hygiene consultants. It also sets out some of the pitfalls which may result in occupational hygiene consultancy services received by the buyer failing to reach the standards expected of a competent occupational hygienist. These pitfalls may include scenarios where:

  • Work has been estimated and specified by someone without the right level of knowledge in the fundamentals and principles of occupational hygiene
  • Site work has been conducted by technician or trainee with a low level of training or inadequate supervision by a competent hygienist
  • Reports are not checked or reviewed thoroughly enough and contain significant technical flaws.

The guidance aims to help occupational hygiene consultants to translate their individual competence into high quality occupational hygiene consultancy services, raising standards in the process.

Buyer’s Guide for Obtaining Occupational Hygiene Services

BOHS’s Buyer’s Guide for Obtaining Occupational Hygiene Services is vital reading for those seeking occupational hygiene specialist services. Businesses are faced with key legal responsibilities in appointing competent persons to assist with compliance of health and safety laws. The guide is designed to address this requirement, helping buyers of occupational hygiene services find the right competent advice for their needs.

The Buyer’s Guide for Obtaining Occupational Hygiene Services explains that whilst appropriate professional qualifications alone do not guarantee a good consultancy service, they make it more likely.

In this regard, crucially, both guides emphasise that BOHS recognises the difference in the likely breadth and depth of knowledge that a Chartered Member or Fellow may have, compared to a Licentiate, and between a Licentiate and a technician or trainee.

Finally, both guides highlight the online BOHS Directory of Occupational Hygiene Services – the definitive list of companies able to provide qualified and experienced occupational hygienists and specialist occupational hygiene support services.

Commenting on the guides, John Dobbie, President of BOHS, said

BOHS is delighted to present these two much-needed guides as industry standards for addressing the competence of the services provided by occupational hygiene consultants on the one hand, and for assisting businesses to select the best competent occupational hygiene consultancy services on the other. In launching these updated guides, the Society aims to improve the overall standards of occupational hygiene deliverables by setting minimum competency requirements for consultancies and offering assistance to companies to identify what good practice looks like. These are critical questions which need urgent focus now – to ensure high standards, legal compliance and a healthy working environment for all.

Mike Calcutt, Head of the Occupational Hygiene Unit at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said, “Good advice from suppliers and consultants can make a very important contribution to reducing workplace ill health.  This guidance from the British Occupational Hygiene Society should help businesses secure the information needed to make good decisions about controlling exposure to substances that can cause significant harm to workers.”