Are you a small company trying to decide whether to hire an in-house safety manager or outsource your OSHA compliance?  Are your goals OSHA compliance and avoidance of OSHA fines and penalties, and protecting your workforce?

Or are you also concerned about environmental compliance and avoidance of TCEQ and EPA fines and penalties?  Whether you’re goals include both OSHA and environmental compliance, hiring an in-house EHS manager is no guarantee of compliance or success.  I’ve learned this the hard way  and created this brief blog post to discuss the issue and challenges.

I’ve been recruiting, hiring and managing environmental, health and safety professionals for many years, both for my own companies, and for clients.  For a beginner, it’s a daunting and difficult task, and the chances of first time success are unfortunately low.  Here’s why:

Here are the main challenges that companies typically face when hiring a Safety or EHS manager:

  • Difficulties involved in vetting candidate qualifications:
    • Once you post an advertisement, your inbox will be bombarded with resumes.  Depending on your required skill sets and qualifications, you’ll soon find out how difficult it is to sort through and determine good candidates vs. bad ones.  The more experience you need, the harder the task becomes.  You’ll begin to notice that resumes are filled with all kinds of training certifications with long names and numbers, professional certifications (ie: CSP, CIHST, CIH, etc…).  Unless you really understand what all of these certifications mean,  it becomes impossible to really vet candidates.
    • Then you’ll likely start to look at formal education.  You’ll likely find very few with solid 4-year undergrad and graduate degrees from reputable universities.  Instead you’ll begin to see a bunch of “university” names that you’ve never heard of before.  If you take the time to search on-line, you’ll quickly learn that many are “on-line” “universities”,  and then how are you supposed to know which one’s are “good” vs. “bad.”
    • You’ll also notice that many candidates will have lots of job-hopping on projects in far-flung places around the country and sometimes the world.  What does this mean?  You might ask yourself, where are all of the candidates with good, long-term stability at local reputable companies?  This  is all true and if you decided to try and recruit an EHS professional, I promise that all of this uncertainty and difficulty will quickly overwhelm you.
  • Difficulty in overseeing/managing EHS manager if senior management doesn’t have expertise in EHS rules, regulations and requirements: If you’re lucky enough to find a good candidate and hire them, how do you plan to manage, oversee and evaluate their work?  Unless you or one of your senior leaders have a good EHS background, this task becomes difficult if not impossible, as I learned the hard way.  Essentially you’ll be reduced to “trusting” and “hoping” that they’re doing what they’re supposed to do in an effort to get your company OSHA and environmentally compliant, and maintain your EHS compliance.  Often times, companies end up getting fined by OSHA or an environmental agency, only to learn that their EHS manager wasn’t keeping up, and unfortunately you had no way of knowing until the regulators showed up at the front door.
  • Most EHS professionals either specialize in health & safety (OSHA) or environmental compliance (EPA and state environmental agency).  Qualified “generalists” who have good experience & education in both disciplines are very rare (and expensive).  Even if you’re able to find a good candidate, they’ll still have limitations and so your company will probably still need to seek outside consultants to deal with various issues (especially environmental compliance/air).
  • Compensation:  A good, qualified and experienced OSHA compliance manager will typically demand over $80,000 per year if not more.  A good “generalist” who has environmental experience (VERY RARE) will want $125,000 or more.  Many less qualified and experienced will want the same, if not more, and if you’re not able to properly vet them, you may end up making the mistake of over-paying them only to learn later that they did nothing to improve your environmental, health and safety compliance position.
  • Accountability:  If you do end up getting an OSHA or environmental fine due to poor performance from your EHS manager, what now?  Do you fire them and start the process all over again by trying to find a new person?  It’s a tough call, especially if you’ve been paying them well and trusting that they were doing their job.

So what’s  a small company to do?

Our outsourced and virtual EHS management service can solves these  problems:

  • You’ll have access to our entire team of environmental, health and safety professionals who can address virtually any EHS issue.  See our Team page here:
  • Our annual cost is a fraction of the cost of a full time employee
  • Accountability:  we will guarantee your OSHA compliance after 6 months.
  • And more,…..

Learn more by calling 512-457-0374 or Click Here To Learn More About ASSURED COMPLIANCE