Careers in the occupational health and safety industry are about promoting health and safety in the workplace. The people working in this field ensure that employers and employees are aware of safety legislation, policies, and practices put in place, and that they adhere to them. They work in a variety of environments and can either be employed on a full-time or part-time basis. There are many career options in the occupational health and safety industry to choose from. Here are four options to look at:

 

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists are responsible for the safety and health in a work environment. They design and implement programmes that help to eliminate and prevent accidents that may cause injury and disease. They also conduct inspections and analyse work environments. They do this through identifying hazards, analysing samples of potentially toxic material, evaluating the workplace, and investigating accidents to determine the causes and how they can be prevented in the future. They may also train staff members on topics such as emergency preparedness.

These individuals work in a variety of environments, such as office buildings, mines and factories. Because of the nature of their work, they may be in danger of being exposed to harsh and dangerous conditions, and they therefore make use of safety gear such as helmets, gloves, and respirators to prevent injuries or illness.
 

Minimum requirements for working in this field:

  • Relevant work experience
  • A relevant qualification in safety, occupational health, or a related scientific or technical field
  • Knowledge of OHS and labour legislation

Note: The type of training/qualification you need will depend on the types of positions you want to apply for.

 

Environmental Protection Officer

Environmental Protection Officers have the responsibility of improving people’s quality of life. They do this by making sure that the areas in which people work, play, and live are healthy environments. Some of the work they do involves visiting a variety of locations and environments, ranging from restaurants and kitchens to factories. Their role covers environmental protection, public health, and food safety, to mention a few. Some of the visits they conduct may be in filthy and dangerous areas and may require them to protect themselves by wearing protective clothing like hats and masks.

 
Minimum requirements for working in this field:

  • Relevant work experience
  • A relevant environmental health qualification or a qualification in public health, biology, chemistry, or natural science
  • Knowledge of OHS and public policy

Note: The type of training/qualification you need will depend on the types of positions you want to apply for.

 

Wellness Specialist

Wellness Specialists are often employed by companies to enhance the wellbeing of the workforce. They are also employed by schools or educational institutions, sports clubs and gyms, and government departments. They can also be independent contractors. The role of a Wellness Specialist is mainly focused on education. They perform screenings for client wellness and assign wellness programmes based on their clients’ health needs. Wellness specialists help clients with health-related matters such as weight-loss and exercise programmes, and create educational material for them to use. They also work with data that they collect, and provide necessary resources to help clients reach their goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
 

Minimum requirements for working in this field:

  • Relevant work experience
  • A relevant qualification in health education or a related field like community health 
  • Good communication skills, as well as knowledge in specific fields such as fitness, health, or corporate wellness

Note: The type of training/qualification you need will depend on the types of positions you want to apply for.

 

Mine Examiner

Mine Examiners work in the mining industry and are generally responsible for the health and safety of those working in this environment. Their duties include conducting on-site inspections, and investigating conditions in the mines. This allows them to gather information so that they are able to identify hazardous conditions. Additionally, they are tasked with the maintenance of mining equipment and have to ensure that this equipment is used correctly.

An important part of their job is the prevention of accidents. They achieve this through issuing warnings when there are any violations of safety rules and regulations. They also work to figure out how accidents that have occurred can be prevented in the future, and they provide support and assistance to mine management in this regard.
 

Minimum requirements for working in this field:

  • Relevant work experience
  • A relevant qualification in engineering or a related field, as well as training and/or qualifications in OHS
  • Knowledge of mining practice, shaft practice, ventilation, gases, dust control, underground machinery, mine plans and the Mine Health and Safety Act

Note: There are strict requirements for working as a Mine Examiner, which may, in addition to the above, include:

  • Minimum age requirements
  • Hands-on mining experience

The occupational health and safety industry plays a crucial role in the lives of people. It is directly linked to the safety and health of the environments that we are exposed to on a daily basis. The careers in this field are many and can be very rewarding, even though they may sometimes present potential danger to the health of those employed in the field.

 

While there are many routes to follow in occupational health and safety, the main focus of all these careers is the safety and protection of the people in the work environment.

 

Click here to find out more about studying towards a career in OHS.