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Selecting an OSHA Consultant

Many practices have hired private individuals or companies to help in their safety compliance efforts. While most of these companies provide a very valuable service, you should be a wise consumer when shopping for advice. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right consultant for your practice:

  • Make sure you understand exactly what the consultant will and will not do for your practice. Some consultants are very knowledgeable in one area of OSHA standards but very unknowing in others and that will affect what they can do for you.

  • What is the consultant’s refund policy if you are not satisfied with their work. Although no consultant can guarantee that OSHA will never inspect, cite or fine your practice, they should have some guarantee of satisfaction with the quality of their work.

  • What assistance does the consultant provide in the event you are inspected or fined by OSHA? Is that included in the original fee or is it extra? Be skeptical of companies that offer to pay any OSHA fines that are imposed on their work. They often have limitations in the fine print of the contract that limit their payments to the amount you paid for their service.

  • Does the consultant have experience with your type of veterinary practice. Ask them to explain some of the common problem areas of practices that they support. Although a consultant with limited experience helping your type of practice could still be an asset, be alert to those who claim to be experts in every field.

  • Is the consultant "from" the human hospital side of medicine? If so, get him or her to explain how the OSHA standards differ for human and veterinary hospitals. If they suggest there is no difference, be wary!

  • How long it will take to complete the work and how long does their support period last after the consultation? Be cautious of those that offer complete OSHA compliance in just a few hours!

  • Will the consultant be using "fill-in-the-blank" forms to complete your required plans or will they be preparing customized materials? Appearances make strong impressions and customized materials give the impression of a comprehensive program instead of an "out-of-the-box" fractional one.

  • Does the consultant put everything in writing? If not, how much do you trust someone who says, “Trust me?”.

  • Finally, check references. Make sure you contact enough references to get an accurate perspective. Just because the consultant gave you a list of names, don’t assume all the customers are satisfied!

 

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