CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 20, 2014
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How to Become a Health and Safety Adviser

There is no doubt safety in the workplace contributes to increased employee productivity. Several organisations are hiring health and safety advisers to prevent injuries, accidents and health hazards in this workplace. If you want a job that enables you to work in any industry, from manufacturing and agriculture to banking and education, you can become a health and safety adviser.

What do Health and Safety Advisers do?

The day-to-day duties of health and safety officers encompass the activities they perform to make the workplace safe and more conducive for employees. They work on areas such as occupational health, fire safety, hazardous chemicals, noise and machinery use. Therefore, as a health and safety adviser, you could have the following duties;

  • Conducting workplace inspections to detect potential injury causes and addressing them
  • Developing and implementing workplace safety procedures and policies
  • Maintaining records of all health and safety-related occurrences in the organisation
  • Assisting external health and safety inspectors during regulatory assessments
  • Ensuring the organisation complies with the relevant health and safety regulations
  • Inspecting facilities to ensure they meet the set standards
  • Training employees on safety procedures and the Health and Safety Executive’s guidelines

Work Environment

Typically, health and safety advisers work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. In case of an emergency during the night, these advisers are called in to provide assistance. In some industries, such as manufacturing, health and safety advisers work in shifts, some during the day and others through the night. When conducting inspections, these professionals often wear protective gear, such as hard hats and gloves.

Salary

Although salaries usually vary with industry and job experience, health and safety advisers can expect to earn;

Job Level

Average Annual Salary

Beginning Advisers

£22,000 - £35,000

Experienced Advisers

Up to £50,000

Source: National Careers Service

Education and Training

Aspiring health and safety advisers can enter the profession by pursuing part-time courses or full-time university degrees. Therefore, you can complete any of the courses offered by the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health or the British Safety Council. Some courses are listed below;

  • NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
  • Level 3 (NVQ) Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
  • BSC Level 3 Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health
  • NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety
  • BCS Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health

Or,

  • Pursue a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety

Required Skills and Competencies

As a health and safety adviser, you will need;

  • Strong communication skills to produce clear reports and confer with employees effectively
  • Good analytical skills and attention to detail to conduct conclusive inspections
  • Good organising skills
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Intricate understanding of occupational health and safety laws

Career Development

While on the job, it is desirable to pursue relevant development courses and attend training workshops to boost your skillset. Besides, you can secure any of the following specialist qualifications;

  • BSC Diploma in Environmental Management
  • NEBOSH Fire Safety and Risk Management Certificate
  • NEBOSH Specialist Diploma in Environmental Management

Earning a master’s degree in occupational health or joining professional bodies, such as the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management or the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health enables you to access a variety of career progression resources.

Employment Prospects

Although there are employment opportunities in several industries, you should focus on making applications to;

  • Construction companies
  • Oil and gas companies
  • Chemical processing companies
  • Health care facilities, such as hospital and nursing homes
  • Regulatory agencies

As you gain more experience and advance your qualifications, you can become a health and safety executive or move into consultation where you can open an independent consultancy firm.

Because organisations need to keep their workplaces safe and enhance adherence to occupational safety laws, the need for health and safety advisers is increasing. This means, with the right education and job skills, finding a job won’t be a difficult task.

See also: How to Answer the Top 10 Health and Safety Officer Interview Questions

Finally, it is important to point out that in some organisations, health and safety advisers are known as health and safety coordinators, occupational health technicians or health and safety managers. Don’t shy from applying for jobs with these titles.

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