Occupational Health and Safety Jobs
The field of occupational health and safety presents a large variety of job opportunities for those who are interested in promoting workplace health and safety. Broadly speaking, occupational health and safety workers are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment. In the public sector, health and safety workers primarily enforce health and safety legislation, and in the private sector, they primarily focus on risk management, employee productivity, and reduction of liability.
Where can an occupational health and safety worker work?
Occupational health and safety workers can work in many different types of organisations. They can work in offices, in factories, or in mines. Their working conditions may be stressful, strenuous and dangerous, as they are often required to do fieldwork. A health and safety inspector, for example, might be required to perform safety inspections in relation to factory equipment on a factory floor, exposing him or her to the same dangers as those faced by the factory workers. Many occupational health and safety workers are also required to travel, especially when they work in the public sector, or when they work for companies that are situated in more than one location.
What is the job description of an occupational health and safety worker?
An occupational health and safety worker’s job description varies from one job role (and area of specialisation) to another. However, some of the tasks that he or she may be required to perform include the following:
- Developing and implementing health and safety policies.
- Outlining safe operational procedures.
- Promoting employee health and productivity.
- Assessing and managing risk in the context of occupational health and safety.
- Performing site inspections and safety audits.
- Investigating workplace accidents and safety-related complaints.
- Producing health and safety reports.
- Conducting in-house occupational health and safety training.
- Staying up to date with new developments in health and safety legislation.
What are the career prospects like for an occupational health and safety worker?
Jobs for occupational health and safety workers exist in all areas and in all types of organisations. Due to ongoing concern over employee health and safety, the number of jobs is expected to grow slightly in the future. Management, research, and specialist positions are available in the field of occupational health and safety, but strong competition exists for these positions.
Some of the job titles for people employed in this field include:
- Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Specialist
- Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Inspector
- Health and Safety Practitioner
- Occupational Health Practitioner/Nurse
- Industrial Hygienist
- Environmental Protection Officer
- Environmental Health and Safety Advisor
- Compliance Officer
- Wellness Specialist
- Chief Safety Officer
- Mine Examiner
- SHE Officer
How can I prepare for a career as an occupational health and safety worker?
To work in occupational health and safety, you will need:
- A relevant qualification and/or relevant training
- Knowledge of relevant legislation and industry practices
- Practical experience
- Good references
You will also need certain personal characteristics:
- Communication skills
- Negotiation skills
- Analytical thinking skills
- Problem solving skills
- Willingness to take responsibility
- Good attention to detail
Depending on the type of OHS job you want to work in:
• You may need to register with a professional body or obtain relevant certification.
Before you decide what to study:
• It is recommended that you do some research on the OHS career options that interest you, and that you find out whether there are any specific requirements that you need to meet if you want to be employed in those directions.
Click here to read: How to Start Your Career as a Safety Officer
At Oxbridge Academy, you can study the following courses:
These courses will improve your knowledge and skills in occupational health and safety, and will help you to decide whether a career in this line of work is the right choice for you. They will also help to prepare you for working in certain OHS roles – such as Safety Representative, among others.