You’ve got your whole career in front of you. But you’re trying to figure out what that might be. One of the most rewarding options available to you is Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), an exciting field that includes all aspects of worker health and well-being. Health and Safety in South Africa offers diverse opportunities for success and a lifetime career path that builds on existing professional skillsets.
Occupational Health and Safety Defined
Occupational Health and Safety is a profession that helps organisations protect workers from injury or illness and also monitors safety conditions in the workplace. It involves analysing and reducing the potential risks for incidents, work-related illnesses and loss of life. This is done through the use of equipment and training. OHS professionals are also hired to review health and safety protocols and to conduct surveys; providing feedback, understanding and solutions (if necessary) that improve an organisation’s overall OHS performance and compliance.
Occupational Health and Safety professionals typically spend their careers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. For those who work in the OHS field, career choices are more varied than most. OHS professionals can specialise in specific areas, such as ergonomics, first aid, or other fields that affect workplace safety and health. In some cases, OHS professionals provide services to an entire industry (a school district, for instance) rather than to an individual organisation.
Here are five reasons why pursuing occupational health and safety can be a worthwhile career choice.
1. An In-Demand Career
For as long as there are workers, there will always be a need for Health and Safety professionals in the workplace. Every year, thousands of people are injured on the job. Governments are highly motivated to reduce this number, developing strict OHS legislation for organisations to comply with. Failure to comply with health and safety laws can lead to heavy fines, business closures and serious legal action. To avoid this, demand is growing for skilled OHS professionals across the country.
2. Shortage of Qualified Workers
Qualified candidates in industries with a labour force shortage have a better chance of getting the job they want due to less competition. At present, South Africa has a shortage of skilled professionals within OHS. According to a 2021 report by the Department of Employment and Labour, occupational health and safety across several sectors show worrying compliance levels. Only 241 out of 542 manufacturing sector employers complied with OHS legislation, while 996 out of 1897 retailers met compliance. As more and more businesses come under compliance pressure, coupled with less competition for the job, chances of you getting hired become much more favourable.
3. Career Opportunities Aplenty
Many industries require qualified Occupational Health and Safety professionals. Career prospects include:
- Health and Safety Advisor
- Health and Safety Officer
- Risk Assessor
- Fire Safety Officer
- Safety Compliance Manager
- Occupational Hygienist
- Health and Safety Specialist
- Site Supervisor
- HSE Advisor
- Health and Safety Coordinator
- Construction Site Manager
- Warehouse Supervisor
Safety professionals can find jobs in multiple sectors, including mining, manufacturing, government, construction , healthcare, retail and more. As each of these individual industries grows, the need for health and safety specialists will also grow in tandem.
4. Competitive Salaries
Depending on your career level, role and years of experience, you can earn an attractive pay packet. According to payscale.com, the average annual salary for a Safety Officer in South Africa is R194 018. Health and Safety Managers average a yearly salary of R351 552 while Occupational Health and Safety Inspector can earn around R659 412.
5. No University Degree Needed
Several entry to mid-level health and safety positions don’t require a university qualification, often requesting certificates instead of bachelor’s degrees. SafetyCloud offers 100+ safety-related training courses and skills programmes including SAMTRAC and NEBOSH, delivered via webinar, online, or at any NOSA college around South Africa.
As leaders in Occupational Health and Safety and Training for over 70 years, our globally recognised skills qualifications, and work-based learning interventions have helped thousands of individuals get certified, and helped businesses protect their people, stay compliant, and achieve their procurement and skills development targets.
If you have a strong passion for improving the safety of people’s working environments, then this is the career for you. To learn more about SafetyCloud’s Occupational Health and Safety Training courses, click here.
At SafetyCloud, we strive to maintain a supportive on-campus atmosphere that encourages skills development, personal growth and positive learning experiences. Our classrooms are a perfect size, allowing for effective instruction with innovative programmes to be the focal point of our institution.