Health and safety adviser: job description
Health and safety advisers are employed by a wide range of public and large private sector organisations including local authorities, hospitals, construction/engineering companies, colleges and universities, manufacturers, chemical processing plants and food processing/packaging plants. Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- investigating/recording incidents, accidents, complaints and cases of ill health
- undertaking risk assessments and site inspections
- ensuring that equipment is installed correctly/safely
- identifying potential hazards
- determining ways of reducing risks
- writing internal health and safety policies/strategies
- compiling statistics
- drawing-up safe operational practices and making necessary changes
- writing reports, bulletins and newsletters
- making presentations to groups of employees/managers
- providing health and safety meetings and training courses for employees
- liaising with relevant authorities
- keeping up to date and ensuring compliance with current health and safety legislation
Vacancies are advertised in newspapers, online and in specialist publications such as The MJ, Safety and Health Practitioner and Health and Safety at Work, plus their online equivalents. Recruitment agencies also often advertise positions.
Degrees in health and safety or risk management are often required by employers for entry into the profession. Alternatively, degrees in engineering, construction, business and management, or law may be beneficial, although this should be followed by a qualification in occupational health and safety, such as a masters, NVQ, BSC, NCRQ or NEBOSH national diploma. Relevant scientific or technical work experience (either paid or voluntary) can be beneficial.
Employers seek candidates who are calm, patient and assertive, with excellent negotiation, communication and interpersonal skills. They should also have strong analytical, problem-solving and organisational skills. Additionally, health and safety advisers should be physically fit, IT literate and capable of acquiring and applying detailed legal, technical and regulatory information.