How to become an Occupational Health and Safety Officer
13 Oct, 2021

Are you looking to start a meaningful career with employment opportunities in every industry? Would you like to make a real difference in the lives of others while at work? If so, a career as an Occupational, Health and Safety (OHS) Officer could just be your professional calling.

With the rise of COVID-19 and new regulations by Government to help reduce the spread of infection at work, a career as an Occupational, Health and  Safety officer is more in-demand than ever before.

As a Health and Safety Officer, you will play an important role in ensuring the safety of your workplace, and those who inhabit the space. Your work might entail inspecting machinery, ensuring access to buildings are safe, managing risk and investigating accidents. It might also involve checking to make sure your organisation is taking all the right measures to protect staff and the working environment. Those individuals thinking of entering into this important profession will need to have the academic knowledge and practical skills to be successful within the role. Within the health and safety industry, there’s one qualification that ticks all these boxes and more: SAMTRAC.

What is SAMTRAC?

SAMTRAC is one of the most respected and recognised OHS qualifications in the world, largely considered the gold standard in risk management training certification. SafetyCloud’s SAMTRAC short courses are internationally recognised and are accredited by merSETA. Entry-level students should register for our Introduction to SAMTRAC and then study towards the SAMTRAC and  SAMTRAC International certificates, which continue to be a sought-after Health and Safety qualifications by South African employers.

Introduction to SAMTRAC

This course provides a solid understanding of the fundamentals Occupational Health and Safety legislation and compliance. It teaches students how to apply techniques for hazard identification inspections and risk assessment, and is a prerequisite for obtaining the SAMTRAC certificate. The course 5 CPD Points 5 and endorsed by SAIOSH.


SafetyCloud’s flagship health and safety qualification introduces learners to technical health and safety knowledge at the highest level. It provides an in-depth look at all OHS-related concepts, procedures and techniques. You’ll also receive thorough training in risk management and health and safety regulations, which will allow you to make strategic decisions and drive positive change in health and safety workplace policies. This is a16-credit skills programme fully accredited by merSETA and endorsed by SAIOSH, with 5 CPD Points and an NQF Level 5.

SAMTRAC International

This is an e-learning course that offers the flexibility of remote learning from any location. SAMTRAC International covers the integration of occupational HSE management, and students are taken through the practical process of implementing and maintaining an occupational HSE management system, using the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. The course is endorsed by IOSH and SAIOSH and offers 5 CPD points. Upon completion of the course, the learner will possess both foundational and fundamental knowledge critical to occupational HSE management.

Responsibilities of a Safety Officer

As a Health and Safety Officer, you may work as part of an in-house team, as an independent consultant or for a larger consulting organisation. On a day-to-day basis, some of your responsibilities might include, but are not limited to:

  • Keeping up to date with health and safety regulations.
  • Developing, implementing, and improving health and safety plans, programmes and procedures in the workplace.
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant health and safety legislation.
  • Identifying OHS-related training needs in the workplace.
  • Conducting safety inspections and risk assessments.
  • Investigating workplace accidents.
  • Checking the safety and proper storage of equipment
  • Training and carrying out drills and exercises on how to manage emergency safety situations.

Steps to Becoming a Safety Officer (and progressing into senior roles)

  1. Choose the industry you want to work in, whether it is healthcare, business, construction, mining or something entirely different.
  2. Gain practical experience in your chosen industry by volunteering or interning, even if the role does not directly involve health and safety. The workplace teaches transferrable skills like interpersonal communication, problem-solving and critical thinking that will give you a leg up as a Health and Safety Officer in the future.
  3. Develop your OHS knowledge and skills with a globally recognised certification like SAMTRAC. If your ultimate career intention is to become a registered Health and Safety Officer within the South African construction industry, kindly note all future Health and Safety Officers are required to hold an accredited 3-year degree or diploma as well. This is a requirement of the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP). One of the key benefits of SafetyCloud SAMTRAC short courses is that they support the mostly theoretical learning of a higher education qualification, bringing practical course components to build much-needed skills learners need to succeed after graduation. The greater your educational background, the better.

If you are keen on a career in the health and safety industry, SafetyCloud’s SAMTRAC certification is the best place to start. Upon completion, you may study a further specialised SAMTRAC short course relating to Incident Investigation, First Aid and Firefighting. Start your journey to becoming an Occupational, Health and Safety Officer with SafetyCloud today. Your career path is in good hands.


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