Choosing between an internal RSPP, an external RSPP or the hypothesis of directly covering the role of RSPP (RSSP / Employer) is not a simple evaluation for an Employer.
In this article we will provide the 5 fundamental rules to make the right choice, based on objective and analytical parameters and not simply on the empathy and trust that the commercial interlocutor or the website transmits to us.
Before starting the analysis of these parameters (to which we will have to give a score) the first question that an Employer or a Manager must ask himself is the following:
Why is it important to choose the RSPP correctly?
After more than 25 years from the release of Legislative Decree 626 (today Legislative Decree 81/08) one thing is certain: the real responsible for safety in the company are the Employer, the Manager and the Supervisor. The Responsibility profile of the RSPP is related to the tasks specifically indicated by the TUSL and for the Employer there is almost always a profile of co-responsibility, linked to the principle of “culpa in eligendo e vigilando”, a principle widely treated by the judgments of the Supreme Court. Translated: even in the event that the error, omission or inexperience is attributable to the company RSPP, the Employer is often called upon to respond jointly and severally (both civilly and criminally) as it is one of his duties to carefully choose his “occupational safety expert” and check his work during the work.
With regard to “the culpa in eligendo” it is in fact worth underlining the fact that in 1994, when the famous Legislative Decree 626 was issued, it was mandatory to communicate to the ASL the name of your RSPP, as well as attach the documentation certifying its preparation. Today this obligation no longer exists and even if many are in favor of simplifying and reducing bureaucratic paperwork (and among them also the writer) it is undeniable that this, in fact, means that the obligation to verify the technical professional suitability of the RSPP falls solely and exclusively on the Employer. Such a priority aspect that the legislator has indicated the appointment of the RSPP among the non-delegable tasks of the Employer (together with the drafting of the DVR).
After this necessary premise, especially for newcomer Employers (ie who have recently opened a business or recently held this role) let’s see in detail what are the essential requirements of the RSPP or ideal consultant.
A tip before starting: prepare an outline with the questions listed below and during the interview or analysis of the estimates, assign a score from 1 to 10 for each of these. In this way you will avoid making a choice based on non-objective parameters (such as the sympathy of the interlocutor).
1. How much does the RSPP service cost?
The cost of an RSPP is quite variable and there is no national tariff. The parameters generally used to define the annual cost are based on the company’s risk class (low, medium or high risk) and the number of employees.
The reason why there is no tariff is related to the fact that the role of RSPP, leaving aside the minimum tasks required by law, is substantially that of a business consultant. It’s like asking what the annual cost of an IT consultant is. It depends on the work it has to do for the company, how it is structured, how many people are able to support its work, what are the expectations, but above all how many days it takes to provide a service in line with the needs and expectations of the customer.
Exact! The cost of an RSPP depends on how concretely and operationally its service is carried out, how many hours or days are dedicated per year to carry out checks, inspections, communications and if these activities are carried out remotely or in the field.
The cost specified in the offer should therefore depend not so much on the simple assumption of the task of company RSPP, but also on the services that are offered and on the number of hours / man or days / man expected throughout the year.
Understanding what are the minimum tasks of the RSPP is simple, just read the content of art. 33 of the TUSL (Consolidated Law on Safety at Work), but knowing instead what activities should or could be delegated to the RSPP requires some in-depth regulatory analysis and above all a global assessment of how your company is structured on this issue.
Tip: we ask that the following aspects be explained in the offer: the tasks required by law, the hours or days / year included in the service, if there is remote assistance, how many inspections are carried out throughout the year, if there is an information service (eg newsletter) to be constantly updated (especially in relation to new legal obligations), etc.
2. What skills should an RSPP have?
To cover the role of RSPP it is sufficient to have a high school diploma and the obtaining of training modules A, B and C for a total minimum of about 60 hours (the total number of hours depends on the ATECO sector of the company for which the role must be held). Many degree courses allow partial exemptions or reductions in the total number of hours; similarly, the assumption of the role of RSPP / employer allows you to follow a shorter and simplified training course. It is therefore clear that the first step is to verify that the future RSPP has the training requirements to hold this position.
However, this is not enough because we also need skills such as:
- A good RSPP must know specifically the risk factors related to the company, knowledge gained through previous experience in the sector. The qualification or the certificate is not enough, a thorough knowledge of all the risk factors potentially present is needed (from fire risk, to seismic risk, from that relating to Covid-19 to ATEX risk). Otherwise, the Employer should directly assume the role of RSPP and make use of specialized consultants from time to time.
- After 25 years of experience in the sector, I realize how essential it is to know laws, judgments of the Court of Cassation, as well as the modus operandi of Supervisory Inspection Bodies and Judges. It is difficult to understand through a CV the experience in the legal field of a candidate, but certainly the importance and duration of previous assignments such as RSPP or equivalent experiences in the security field, are a good business card.
- Managerial. When you hear about Safety Management System (SGS) many think that it is an obligation only for large companies or multinationals, with ISO certifications and complex organizational processes. In reality, this obligation exists for all companies and consists, in fact, in having an organizational chart, in assigning and verifying tasks, roles and responsibilities, in managing all business processes also taking into account security aspects. To do this you need experience, problem solving skills and managerial skills, to avoid unnecessarily burdening the company with procedures, forms and document paperwork.
Tip: take a look at the CV of the future RSPP, evaluate all previous skills and roles. Discard offers that do not specifically indicate who will fill the role of RSPP. Even if you are a small company, discard the offer of your accountant or lawyer. To do this job you need experts in the field of safety at work; often the RSPP seem to offer the same services, but the real difference is seen only when critical issues emerge (accidents, occupational diseases, visits to the Inspection Bodies).
3. What strategies can the RSPP adopt to reduce business costs?
Many times it is believed that the cost of safety in the company is constituted only by the remuneration or compensation of the RSPP or in the case of larger companies by the total cost of the resources committed in the Office of Prevention and Protection (RSPP, ASPP, Technical Secretariat etc).
In reality, the business cost to security depends on many other factors, including indirect security costs that are often not quantified (except in DUVRI for specific tasks). Let’s take some examples:
- How many hours are dedicated by a construction company for the preparation of POS
- For a company that often hosts external companies or suppliers, how many resources are used to verify their technical and professional suitability (ITP) and to prepare the DUVRI
- For small companies that carry out activities with third parties, how many hours are dedicated to the preparation of forms and self-certifications requested by customers.
At best, the employer finds himself paying the cost of a secretary who is always busy filling out security documents.
But are there ways to save time and consequently money? The answer is almost always affirmative, just optimize work, adopt innovative strategies and take advantage of information technology and digitization. To do this, however, it is necessary to fully understand how business processes that have security implications work and how to transform them to make them simpler, more effective and more protective.
If you want to learn more about this, see Digitize your company with Safetyone Click.
Tip: Test your future RSPP. Ask him how he intends to organize work, how to optimize processes, how to automate time-consuming documents and procedures in your company.
4. How long does an RSPP contract last?
The duration of RSPP’s contract is not established by law. Each company or freelancer independently establishes the duration of the contract, the methods of renewal and contractual obligations. It often happens to see RSPP assignments with a minimum duration of three years or contractual obligations that establish the obligation, for the Customer, to communicate with 6 months’ notice the desire to terminate the contract. In these cases, the question that an employer often asks is: if an RSPP offers an inadequate service, for which I am responsible, how can I keep it for three years? If I cancel the contract 6 months in advance, how can I secure a suitable service until the end of the contract? The answer is simple… Just don’t sign such contractual clauses.
No one doubts that in the first year the activity of the RSPP is more demanding (especially if until then the company was not in order) but in our opinion it is more correct to impose an initial cost relating to the first year (to adapt the company to regulatory requirements) specifying in detail which services will be provided and subsequently a maintenance cost for the renewal of the RSPP activity. There must be no contractual obligations, there is only a fiduciary relationship between the parties; If the company wants to interrupt a relationship because it is not satisfied with the service provided, it should be able to send a PEC with 15 days notice and pay only the activity carried out up to that moment.
If a consulting firm is certain of the service it offers, it does not need contractual obligations.
Tip: Sign contracts where there is only tacit renewal (in order to avoid the hassle of having to sign the appointment of the RSPP every year), but with the possibility of terminating the contract early by means of a minimum notice sent by Certified Electronic Mail (PEC).
5. What support should an RSPP provide?
How many times have you called your consultant for an urgent thing at 6.20 pm and listen to his answering machine telling you that the office reopens the next day at 8.30 or an ASL check just when he is unfortunately on vacation. They seem trivial aspects, especially if there has never been an urgency in your company, but in case of need all this becomes fundamental, especially in the event of an accident at work.
It is evident that many characteristics of the ideal RSPP cannot be written on a contract, but many times the good morning is seen from the morning.
Based on my humble opinion, the ideal RSPP or consultant must be judged on the basis of the following parameters:
- Availability and courtesy
- Intellectual honesty
- Availability of a telephone support service
- Immediate availability on site in case of accident or inspections
- Speed of service delivery
- Transversal support on all security issues
With regard to this last aspect, I would like to emphasize that the RSPP cannot be a jack-of-all-trades (even if experience provides valuable help even on issues not of specific competence), but must be able to make use of the support of specialist collaborators in the various sectors of safety at work.
Although I have been doing this job for 25 years, while updating myself continuously, despite having worked as a teacher and consultant in many areas of safety at work, I cannot call myself a safety expert in all areas. Over the years, safety at work has become so complex that it requires the support of specialists in different thematic areas.
A couple of examples: how does the RSPP integrate the DVR regarding seismic risk if it has no expertise as a structural engineer? Or, how does the RSPP manage to integrate the DVR on fire risk if it barely knows the meaning of REI compartmentalization.
Far be it from me to denigrate RSPP and consultants, but we must also be aware that there are no allologists, but companies that have multiple skills within them to concretely evaluate all the risk factors present in a company.
Tip: Ask the potential candidate how they intend to perform their role, what support services they offer, and test them on some specific topics regarding workplace safety. If he can’t give you a real-time answer, ask him if he wants to ask for help from home (in this case from the office)… Based on his answers, you will be able to understand whether you will be able to use integrated advice in the future or whether you will have to pay another consultant for areas that do not fall within his competence.
As we have seen, choosing an RSPP is very complex and time-consuming. We use this short questionnaire to select possible candidates, assign a score from 1 to 10 for each question and make the total sum. If it exceeds the score of 40, it means that you are making the right choice … otherwise keep looking.
It is clear that the questionnaire can be integrated with other questions (e.g. how far the RSPP is from your company) but the important thing is to objectively evaluate all the factors, examining doubts and perplexities on the basis of the solutions proposed by the potential candidate.
I hope this article will have helped you choose your corporate RSPP or security consultant.
If you are still searching, try to find out what score the RSPP service or Safetyone Ingegneria’s occupational safety consultancy service can achieve.
Contact us via the form, online chat or by phone and one of our technicians will be happy to provide you with all the information you need.