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How to Start a Career in Health and Safety

In every industry, employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. To meet this requirement, most employers need experts in health and safety, whether as part of their staff or through third-party health and safety consultancy. This means there will always be opportunities for a career as a health and safety professional.

If you are looking for a new career path, this could be a great way for you to learn a new skill and experience a diverse range of industries where no two days are the same. Read on to learn how to get started with a career as a health and safety professional.

 

What is a Health and Safety Officer?

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 dictates that employers must provide for the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees. A health and safety officer is a specialist with responsibility for the promotion and maintenance of health and safety policies and measures for a company.

Health and safety officers may work:

  • Full-time.
  • Part-time.
  • As contractors.

Private companies and government agencies often employ health and safety professionals to ensure compliance with the necessary standards and regulations in different work environments. The main priority of a health and safety officer is to maintain the mental and physical wellbeing of employees and visitors. This is done by promoting safe, favourable working conditions.

 

What Are the Main Duties of a Health and Safety Officer?

Your duties as a health and safety professional will vary depending on the employer and industry. For example, a freelance professional is likely to visit a wide range of different work environments and conduct risk assessments, then develop health and safety strategies.

Some professionals work on a case-by-case basis. They may be involved for the duration of a construction project, for example, monitoring health and safety in the hazardous work environment. If you are employed full-time, you may work in an office and on-site to ensure ongoing compliance with legal requirements whilst implementing health and safety procedures where needed.

The main duties of a health and safety officer include:

  • Conducting risk assessments.
  • Inspecting work areas.
  • Setting up operational safety procedures.
  • Ensuring legal compliance.
  • Training managers and employees in health and safety.
  • Developing health and safety strategies and plans.
  • Reporting workplace incidents.
  • Monitoring hazardous disposals.
  • Tracking the installation and maintenance of equipment.
  • Providing expert advice on health and safety topics.


How Do You Become a Health and Safety Professional?

Typically, becoming a health and safety officer begins with gaining a qualification. The best option depends on the sector you are working in. Certain high-risk industries require specific, advanced training, but there are also various courses that provide a great introduction to kick-start your career.

The most common starting point is to enrol on entry-level courses with NEBOSH or IOSH. You could go with NEBOSH Safety Simplified or IOSH Working Safely, or something more comprehensive like the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. These will give you recognised certifications and skills in thing like:

  • Identifying risks and hazards.
  • Introducing measures to improve safety performance.

If you complete the NEBOSH National General Certificate, you could apply for Technical Member status with IOSH for a great addition to your CV, starting your health and safety career off from a strong foundation. You will then go on to gain experience and work your way up, as demonstrable job competency is a legal requirement as stated in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Tips for finding roles include:

  • Working as a health and safety officer alongside your current job.
  • Keeping up-to-date with the latest regulations.
  • Researching health, safety and environmental concerns.


Is Health and Safety a Good Career?

Health and safety can be a very good career, but it will require you to focus on continual development. Your membership level with certain organisations will be a key indicator of your career progress for employers, and advancing through levels requires you to gain more advanced qualifications and experience on the job.

Some of the higher-level certifications are equivalent to graduate degrees and require a long-term commitment, but you will gain an advanced skill set. Reaching this level will make you a sought-after professional and you could command a high salary and enjoy a rich, varied working life.

If you enjoy working with people and being on-site as well as working out of an office, the day-to-day of health and safety could work for you. And if you thrive on applying your expertise and experiencing a range of different challenges and opportunities in your working life, you could be well-suited to health and safety.

 

How Much Could I Earn as a Health and Safety Officer?

The current average salary for a health and safety officer in the UK is £31,339 per year. However, in different roles, you could earn a salary in the region of £38,000 to £41,000 or more, applying the same skills and qualifications in various roles and working environments.

 

Available Jobs in Health & Safety

Health and safety professionals can be:

  • Health and Safety Inspectors.
  • Health and Safety Inspectors.
  • Health and Safety Officers.
  • Health and Safety Consultants.
  • Health and Safety Advisors
  • Health and Safety Coordinators.
  • Heath and Safety Training Providers.
  • Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Managers.
  • Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Officers.
  • Health Professionals.
  • Safety Engineers.
  • Scientists and Researchers.

The skills required for health and safety can be applied in a range of different ways to promote the wellbeing of people in the workplace. So this is a diverse career path that you can find your way along as you go, taking on new experiences and training opportunities to become the professional you want to be.

 

Final Thoughts

If you have experience working in any industry, that can be invaluable in guiding the direction you take as a health and safety professional. There are qualifications designed for specific industries and scenarios, so you could develop a new skill to enhance your position in your current role, or to launch an entirely new career path.

Explore the options available to you and gain a deeper understanding of what it means to work in health and safety. Health and safety consultancy is as important as it has ever been in the world of work, and there are always opportunities for people with the right qualifications and experience.

Taking the first step towards a career in health and safety could be the best decision you ever make.

 

Why choose PIP Services for your health and safety consultancy?

We’re dedicated to providing the highest level of advice on all Health and Safety related matters and will assist companies in meeting their obligations. We offer a wide range of Health & Safety Services for a variety of clients. We represent many companies and deal with all of their Health & Safety matters.

We’re also an accredited CITB, NEBOSH, IOSH, IWFM & CITB training provider, as well as a ProQual-approved NVQ centre.

We also offer a business partnership programme offering a NVQ Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety & NEBOSH General Certificate to help you become a health and safety professional.

We are rated 4.9/5 on Trustpilot, and you can read our reviews here. If you would like to speak to us about your training needs, please get in touch using the button below.

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