Top 3 Careers in Occupational Health and Safety
Workplace health and safety is an important element in a wide variety of industries. From corporate offices to mines, Occupational Health and Safety professionals are necessary to ensure the safety of organisations and employees.
We’ve identified three main career areas in this field and pointed out a few jobs within each of them:
There is strong competition for careers in Occupational Health and Safety management. These roles are demanding and require years of experience and training. But if you have what it takes, this can be a financially rewarding option.
A Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Manager manages a team and ensures the safety compliance of employees by checking that all SHE standards are maintained. Responsibilities include developing and communicating risk management policies and implementing risk management programmes.
The more managerial duties include examining training needs, compiling performance appraisals, drawing up annual budgets, attending meetings and contributing feedback. A SHE Manager is also required to investigate hazards, accidents and incidents, and to report on them.
Other management positions in the field of Occupational Health and Safety include Occupational Health Clinic Manager and Rubber Plant Manager, among others.
Specialist roles in Occupational Health and Safety are also very competitive and may require further education.
Health and Safety Specialist
Health and Safety Specialists need to keep abreast of industry changes in legislation and best practice in order to advise management and provide guidance. These specialists also strategically assess health and safety programmes and policies so that they are aligned with the organisation. Other tasks include integrated risk assessments, third party collaboration and monitoring, and more.
While it depends on the organisation, some job requirements may include HIRA (hazard identification and risk assessment) experience, a minimum of five years’ experience in management and implementation of OHS programmes, and a BTech Safety Management degree or related qualification.
Other specialist roles in Occupational Health and Safety include Wellness Specialist as well as Health and Hygiene Specialist.
A career as an officer in Occupational Health and Safety can be less competitive than management or specialist careers. Officer positions still do, however, require a level of training, education and experience.
Occupational Health and Safety Officer
OHS officers establish and monitor standards, processes and systems related to health and safety. They ensure a safe working environment by checking that regulations are implemented, reviewed and adhered to. This job includes training employees, reviewing risk assessments, overseeing sites, documenting accidents and conducting inspections.
Being an OHS officer often requires long working hours and many administrative tasks. Knowledge of SHE legislation is important, along with two to three years of experience in the health and safety field.
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Officer
EHS officers often work under pressure to meet deadlines. They work within a team and communicate with various kinds of people in different roles.Their role includes ensuring health and safety compliance, conducting site audits and communicating with managers. Developing new health and safety projects and managing a budget are a few of their tasks.
Computer literacy and two to three years in a health and safety environment are often required. Depending on the organisation, the job may also require a Grade 12 qualification and one or more of the following: National Safety Diploma or related qualification, First Aid and Fire Fighting Level 1, SAMTRAC, HIRA or other similar qualifications.
Similar officer positions in the field of Occupational Health and Safety include Environmental Protection Officer, Compliance Officer and Chief Safety Officer. Read: How to Start Your Career as a Safety Officer
A career in Occupational Health and Safety may involve travel and fieldwork in the public or private sector. With many organisations, industries and roles to choose from, there might just be a place for you. If you’ve found this article interesting, consider reading more about Occupational Health and Safety Jobs.