EHPs – Private vs Public

Hiring an environmental health professional can safeguard your business in more ways than one.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your employees’ welfare, working standards and safety culture across your organisation. Whether you work in hospitality, food manufacturing, retail or leisure, you may find that your time gets eaten up by keeping track of the latest compliance regulations, calculating risk and updating policies. The array of environmental health and safety challenges to business are huge.

It may feel like an uphill struggle, but finding your organisation’s health and safety ‘sweet spot’ will pay long term business dividends. By creating a safe and compliant work environment, you will increase the wellbeing and productivity of your colleagues, whilst simultaneously boosting your employee brand.

Engagement not enforcement

Achieving this ‘sweet spot’ is easier said than done. You need to move from a culture of enforcement to engagement. This means all your staff need to contribute to creating a safe work place, with a Health & Safety ‘Champion’ inspiring engagement from the top to the bottom of your organisation. If that sounds time consuming, it is – particularly if you have given the responsibility for Health and Safety to a HR or a Line Manager, who won’t be able to give it the full attention required.

If you are committed to embedding a safe culture in your workplace, but lack the necessary time, resource and knowledge to make it happen, there is a solution. It’s time to employ an environmental health & safety professional.

Why is an environmental health professional the solution?

Qualified environmental health professionals have a unique range of skills, that encompass both the technical and the commercial. You may have assumed that an Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) was confined to working within the public sector, but increasingly their career progression leads directly into the private sector as the demand for their skills is so high. Private businesses benefit not only from an EHP’s knowledge of compliance and regulation, but also the wide variety of disciplines they have knowledge in. These include:

  • Food safety
  • Environmental protection
  • Noise, radiation and pollution control
  • Water standards
  • Health and safety at work
  • Animal welfare
  • Waste management
  • Housing standards

EHPs also have the ‘soft skills’ needed to communicate the value of health and safety across your business. They tend to be excellent communicators, used to dealing with people and good at driving change through others.

Abi Lammas, Learning Director for CIEH, said: “Being an EHP is so much more than just having the technical skills. While having the knowledge is an absolute necessity, EHPs have to think critically when faced with difficult situations on almost a daily basis and show leadership qualities when making these judgements. They must also be able to work professionally with fellow staff, businesses and members of the public.

EHPs have a breadth of transferable skills and knowledge that can be applied into any type of organisation no matter what sector or industry. This is exactly why an EHP would make an excellent employee for your business.”

What are the benefits to my business?

There is no doubt that having someone oversee your Health and Safety responsibilities, manage your risk and champion a culture of wellbeing and safety is a great business benefit. Of course, that benefit must be measured against the potential cost. Ensuring your workplace is safe is much less expensive than the cost of an accident or incident, resulting in implications far wider than the company bottom line.

How do I know I’m hiring the right HSE professional for my business?

Taking a proactive approach to managing health and safety in your business requires a full understanding of the business context and goals – from the size of your company, the sectors you work in and the level of expertise in safety and compliance that you already possess. You will need to identify whether you need someone fulltime, or to establish a working relationship with a trusted outside consultant.

We work with clients to identify the critical skills and competencies needed to oversee your company’s Health and Safety requirements. We help to establish the areas of technical knowledge and experience required, alongside the ‘soft’ skills which are essential for championing health and safety in your organisation.

Our expertise and knowledge in this area are unparalleled. We have the largest team of Environmental Health Practitioners in the UK, with both private and public sector experience. We understand the skills and characteristics your business needs, meaning we are better placed to find the highest calibre of candidate for your business.

As part of our commitment to connecting the best environmental health talent to private companies, we are happy to discuss the various options open to your organisation and do an informal audit of your current Health and Safety resourcing practices. Alternatively, we will answer any questions that you may have. Please contact us on 0161 967 9671 or email

The information contained in this blog article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official Food Safety, Fire Safety and Health & Safety advice. Shield Safety take no responsibility if the information in the blog article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Shield Safety services please email or call our team on 020 3740 3744.

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