Health and safety adviser: job description Health and safety advisers/officers develop, maintain and protect health and safety standards within public and private organisations in accordance with current health and safety legislation. It is becoming increasingly more common for health and safety advisers to have completed a relevant degree.
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. In industries such as construction, the role is often combined with that of environmental management: find out about jobs in health, safety and the environment in the construction industry. 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.
To become a full-time health and safety adviser you will usually need a qualification approved by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Entry requirements for these qualifications vary between course providers, but you will usually need a minimum 2.2 degree or equivalent. Degrees in health and safety, risk management, engineering, construction, business, management and law may be beneficial.
There are introductory courses available that can aid your entry into a health and safety career and which don’t necessarily require a degree, for example an NVQ. Relevant scientific or technical work experience (either paid or voluntary) can also be advantageous.
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.