There are manifold reasons for a social security institution to carry out personal consulting activities among its member enterprises. Regular site visits are commonly based on defined frequency rates, which often depend on the specific risk category of the enterprise. Other important causes include the investigation of occupational accidents or a work history of exposures leading to occupational diseases. But there are other reasons: if a social security institution is running a prevention campaign, on-site visits may be a suitable way to communicate it and to motivate employers to organize their own activities for their employees. If an employer requests a consultation, it is important to visit the enterprise as soon as possible. Site visits should be organized so as to ensure maximum impact on prevention.
Personal contact between the social security institution and its member enterprises ensures that highly qualified prevention experts will offer competent, face-to-face advice directly to employers, their managers or their representatives. Consultancy staff must be qualified, trained and experienced in the occupational safety and health aspects of relevant industrial sectors. Why and how enterprise visits are conducted must be clearly defined in order to achieve the desired outcome.
There are a number of prerequisites to introducing or improving a social security institution’s consulting service. The role and scope of the service must be clearly defined. The prevention experts must have a mandate and sound technical, legal and social competences to introduce the necessary preventive measures at the workplace.
The organizational and geographic structure of the service, and the support of committees of experts, must be ensured. Any preventive activity should be based on the principle of proper risk assessment.