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What’s Involved In Becoming A Health And Safety Officer In Australia

by Elsa Stringer

The health and safety of employees is a growing concern among employers in Australia and around the world as unfortunate accidents or safety hazards have the potential to destroy careers and culminate in life-threatening situations.

In fact, last year, there were 144 work-related fatalities among machine operators, drivers, and other professionals, driving many local businesses to implement safety guidelines by hiring health and safety officers.

A health officer is responsible for ensuring that the safety protocols are followed in the workplace. They construct guidelines to prevent or at least lower the chances of any injury or harm to the employees.

It is a highly-sought-after occupation depicted by the growth of occupational and environmental health job market over a period of 5 years ranging from 2014-2019.

This explains why people who want to build their profession in the health industry are opting for accredited work health and safety courses provided by qualified trainers. These online training courses equip you with the necessary technical and soft skills needed to build a career in health safety.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Health And Safety Officer?

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Health and safety officers mainly prevent work-related injuries or accidents. They are responsible for helping employees follow the safety protocols and guidelines from related organizations as well as local governments.

Other responsibilities include:

· Creating and implementing the organization’s health management and safety plans
· Preparing strategies and implementing them for the proper disposal of industrial waste.
· Detecting hazards and assessing the risks associated with them
· Developing monitoring programs to control the hazards in the workplace
· Inspecting the organization’s processes and if they align with the legislative compliance
· Investigating any injuries or work-related accidents
· Prompt reporting on safety performance

Building A Career As A Health And Safety Officer In Australia

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Working as a health and safety officer has its own set of challenges and rewards.
But if you are ready to explore this field to the fullest, here’s a quick guide to what you’ll need to do:

Acquire A Professional Degree

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Pursuing a career in health and safety requires a bachelor’s degree in workplace health and safety or any other related field. The bachelor’s program is an excellent way of learning about the legal and professional responsibilities of a health and safety worker in an organization.

The curriculum of these bachelor programs offers awareness of health and safety standards, occupational hazards, waste management, legal laws, and other merits required to perform the job in the best way.

If you cannot enroll in an occupational health and safety bachelor program, you can also go for other fields such as medical, chemistry, and even engineering. These fields allow you to shift your career’s direction and pursue occupational health and safety for further education.

Enroll In Work Health And Safety Training Courses

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Gaining a workplace health and safety certificate through training courses is absolutely crucial to your new career. These courses help you get the understanding you need to land a job in the industry of your choice.

You can find several safety training courses online that are accredited by government institutions. Such courses not only authenticate your training but also help you stay up to speed on the latest developments and knowledge on workplace health and safety protocols and plans.

Also, they help build a solid foundation based on health principles, ethics, legal requirements, and hazards in the workplace.

To find the right courses, you need to decide the type of industry you want to work in and then connect with mentors in that specific industry to learn about their requirements from a safety officer. Specific industries require further formal qualifications for the role of safety officer; therefore, you need to research the industry you want to work for.

Moreover, if you are already working as a safety officer, a diploma course will help you climb the career ladder and secure more senior positions.

Gain Experience In The Industry Of Your Choice

  • It is essential to understand that a health and safety course is not enough to land a job – it is just the start.
  • To work as a safety officer, you will need some experience in the respective field.
  • Now the extent and level of the experience depend on the position you are applying for. Senior roles require a vast experience gained over a long time, while also considering other elements such as the type of industry you previously worked for and the responsibilities of your role in the organization.
  • For example, if you want to work as a health and safety officer in the construction industry, you will need experience in that specific field.

Moreover, it is vital to have the ability to assess the challenges you might face later in the prospective industry. It portrays your interest and zest for the field in front of employers. It shows them the level of dedication you have for your profession.
Therefore, any health and safety-related work experience will be a good starting point to apply for roles in the industry of your choice.

Hone Your Soft Skills And Attributes

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Training courses and an impressive resume is not enough to determine your career as a success. You also require the necessary traits and soft skills to work as an all-rounder health and safety officer.

You should also have the ability to use technology as you will be working with sophisticated testing equipment at certain levels of your career.

A keen eye for details is just as crucial so that you do not overlook safety hazards while keeping a check on the implementation of all policies.

Also, health and safety professionals must possess the most coveted skill of communication. They must be able to relay safety instructions and their concerns to the employees in an appropriate manner and also keep their superiors informed of any potential risks.

Areas Of Specialization In The Industry

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The field of occupational health and safety provides many opportunities to build your career in a specialized field – some new specializations include ergonomics, occupational hygienists, and hazardous materials safety officers.

In ergonomics, you will be responsible for identifying hazards presented by the workplace furniture or the organization’s environment. This field helps you to detect issues that were previously left unnoticed. These hazards contribute to a work-related accident, discomfort, or loss of employees’ productivity.

Occupational hygienists look for any possible health risks in the workplace. They might be in the form of transmissible diseases transferring from one employee to another that can prove to be fatal if not treated promptly. They are also responsible for identifying the culprit behind these diseases so that they can be eliminated.

The hazardous materials safety officers are responsible for noticing how dangerous goods are handled in an organization. Careless handling can result in fatal injuries; therefore, they have to review if the materials are being handled according to the provided guidelines or not.

Conclusion

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Once you have set your mind to building a career in the field of health and safety, you need to create a realistic plan and break down your long-term goals into achievable aims. The strategies mentioned above will pave the way for a successful career journey as a health and safety officer.

Going for a professional degree from a reputable institute, earning certifications, and gaining the necessary experience will equip you with all the skills and attributes you need to make a mark in this field.

If you are looking for online training and diploma courses to kick start your career as a workplace’s health and safety officer in Australia, you can head over to MCI Institute to gain the prowess and problem-solving skills you need.

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