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Becoming a Health and Safety Officer


For many people, health and safety is a topic that they learn about through health and safety training but never really take any further than the basics. Even amongst people who are trained a little further than just the very basics, such as those who acquire the NEBOSH General Certificate - which covers in an introductory but still detailed manner so many of the most common hazards to health - the appetite is not really there en masse for people to go to that next level.

If you do find the importance of health and safety interesting and fulfilling, you should really consider becoming a health and safety officer. It's a very enjoyable career path and is something that you can get into if you show the right application, talent and determination to acquire the necessary qualifications.

The Benefits

1) You'll get a very fair salary. Highly qualified health and safety officers are well-paid due to the amount of time and dedication required to gain the necessary qualifications. This time and dedication also means that relatively few people actually become suitably qualified to become a health and safety officer, and this demand and supply is the main factor in such high salaries being commanded.

2) Helping others with regards to increasing health and safety within a business allows you to make a difference. This makes the job of a health and safety officer highly fulfilling, as the changes that you forced on a business might just save a life later on down the line.

3) The need for health and safety in workplace will always be there, and with new legislation being introduced and amended all of the time there is definitely no sign of this ever not being the case, as nobody wants to go back to the dark days of health and safety history such as the Industrial Revolution where injuries, illnesses and death in the workplace were common and just accepted as an occupational hazard.

The Challenges

1) This isn't a walk in the park by any means - you need to be ready to put in the hard work and commit to gaining those required qualifications.

2) It can take a long time to obtain the qualifications to become a health and safety officer. Add to this that many companies paying high salaries will want someone with a lot of experience in the role and it can take many years to reach the position of a highly-paid officer.

3) The poor conditions you need to audit can be extremely dangerous and you need to be alert about where you are walking into.

4) The stress of the work can be quite daunting when you are dealing with cases that involve horrific injuries and deaths; you need a tough spirit to do this for a living.

How To Get Involved

Typically, you need to have a NEBOSH National Diploma behind you just to get involved as a high-ranking health and safety officer. Make sure that you plan everything out, as it's a hugely rewarding - if challenging - career path and can be a great way to help you stay in a consistent and enjoyable career for years to come.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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