In Summary - Health & Safety Officer
Health & Safety Officers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Health & Safety Officer
Health & Safety officers are responsible for raising the profile of health and safety within organisations, and making sure that a safe and healthy working environment exists for all employees.
They may work closely with managers, staff at all levels, trade unions, safety groups and environmental health specialists, to ensure that workplace practices are safe and comply with legislation. Health & Safety officers may visit sites regularly to become familiar with the work being done and to assess the current safety standards. They may then carry out routine inspections, providing managers with regular reports on safety performance; safety advisers and managers can then work together to set priorities for making improvements.
Officers check that employees are following safety procedures, and enforce safety and health requirements. They identify health hazards such as poorly designed equipment, inadequate lighting, high levels of fumes, dust or noise, or toxic material that is not stored away safely. They also conduct accident investigations, for example, taking photographs and measurements, and interviewing witnesses. They keep records and statistics of the occurrence and cause of accidents, and write up reports, providing managers and staff with advice on how to avoid accidents in the future.
It is important that safety advisers keep up-to-date with new health and safety legislation and understand the implications this may have on company policy. They attend short training courses on all aspects of health and safety. Many safety advisers are responsible for running safety-training courses for managers and employees.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Test workplaces for environmental hazards, such as exposure to radiation, chemical or biological hazards, or excessive noise.
- Verify availability or monitor use of safety equipment, such as hearing protection or respirators.
- Supply, operate, or maintain personal protective equipment.
- Evaluate situations or make determinations when a worker has refused to work on the grounds that danger or potential harm exists.
- Maintain all required environmental records and documentation.
- Prepare or calibrate equipment used to collect or analyze samples.
- Plan emergency response drills.
- Recommend corrective measures to be applied based on results of environmental contaminant analyses.
- Prepare or review specifications or orders for the purchase of safety equipment, ensuring that proper features are present and that items conform to health and safety standards.
- Conduct worker studies to determine whether specific instances of disease or illness are job-related.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interests - Health & Safety Officer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Health & Safety officers must be committed to protecting and improving safety in the workplace. You will need to combine technical/scientific knowledge with energy, attention to detail and a creative approach to problem solving.
You'll need organisational skills to plan your work (for example, routine site inspections) and timetables for making safety improvements. Strong decision making skills will help you to establish the priorities for these improvements.
You will also need strong communication skills to work with a wide variety of people, including managers, staff at all levels, trade union representatives and local authority environmental health specialists. Safety advisers should have good report writing skills and the ability to explain safety procedures and legislation clearly and concisely.
Good negotiation and persuasive abilities will help you to influence managers and staff to change working practices or invest in new equipment. Health & Safety officers must be able to cope well under pressure, reacting quickly to crises. You may find yourself in stressful situations when people are distressed or angry, so you'll need a calm, professional manner to defuse potential confrontations. Also, you must be able to apply the law firmly.
Entry Requirements - Health & Safety Officer
Pay & Salary - Health & Safety Officer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 35k - 55k
Health and Safety Manager 55,000 - 70,000
Health and Safety Senior Officer 45,000 - 55,000
Health and Safety Officer 35,000 - 45,000
Last Updated: January, 2019
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.