Starting your career as a safety officer
4 Dec, 2020
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If you’ve been considering a career in health and safety, there’s no better time to start than right now. With so many businesses under pressure to ensure a safe, Covid-19 compliant workplace, health and safety officers are in demand now more than ever. But what exactly does a career in health and safety entail, and how do you get started? Let’s take a look.

What does a health and safety officer do?

As a health and safety officer, your number one priority is to look after the safety of employees in the workplace. By ensuring that all employees remain safe and healthy and that their work environment is risk-free, you’ll help to decrease injuries, accidents and illnesses, saving your company money, improving productivity, and boosting employee morale at the same time.

On a day-to-day basis, some of your tasks might include:

  • Keeping up to date with health and safety regulations
  • Drafting safety management policies
  • Conducting health and safety training sessions for employees
  • Checking on the condition of tools and equipment
  • Responding to and investigating potential workplace incidents
  • Conducting regular safety inspections
  • Ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation
  • Giving advice on health and safety, technical, and legal issues
  • Ensuring the working environment is free of potential hazards

What are the benefits of becoming a health and safety officer?

Already a hugely rewarding career choice in and of itself, working in health and safety offers a number of significant benefits:

  • Salary: According to a recent study by Indeed, health and safety officers can look forward to earning over R30 000 per month, depending on their qualifications and experience.
  • Flexibility: With the right health and safety qualifications, you’ll be a valuable health and safety asset both locally and internationally, giving you a multitude of career options.
  • Opportunity: Given the demand for qualified health and safety professionals, and the legal responsibilities of companies in South Africa, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a range of diverse industries, across a wide variety of disciplines.

Add to this the fact that you will be making a real, tangible difference in people’s lives, and you’ll see just how hugely beneficial a career in health and safety can be.

Where do health and safety officers work?

All businesses in South Africa need to stay compliant with health and safety legislature, and for this reason, the opportunities for health and safety officers are endless. You could be working in big companies within the mining, construction, or engineering industries, or you could be working in smaller retail or manufacturing businesses – the choice is yours. Health and safety officers can work in any industry and any size business, giving you optimal flexibility and opportunities for growth.

What qualifications do health and safety officers need?

As a health and safety officer, you’ll need to be organised, patient, and focused, with excellent communication skills and a keen eye for detail. You’ll also need to have a relevant health and safety qualification to prove that you have the right skills for the job – and it’s here that NOSA can help.

With a variety of accredited health and safety courses available for safe, socially distanced e-learning, NOSA can help you start your journey as a health and safety officer with training webinars such as:

  1. Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) Webinar. Learn how to prepare and conduct risk assessments in the workplace, and how to take care of any hazards or risks identified.
  2. Incident Investigation Level 3 Webinar. Learn the correct procedures and approaches to incident investigation, how to identify the causes of an incident, deal with any outcomes, and how to evaluate any necessary remedial action.
  3. SHE Representative Webinar. Understand the functions and responsibilities of an HSE representative, the basic principles of incident prevention, how to carry out basic inspections, and gain a high-level view of the OHS Act.

By combining these webinars with your natural aptitude and enthusiasm for health and safety in the workplace, you’ll give yourself the best chance of a successful future in health and safety, and a rewarding career ahead.

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