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How to become a Health & Safety Adviser

health & safety adviser careers

What does a Health & Safety Adviser do?

Health and safety advisers, practitioners or managers, sometimes known as health, safety and environmental officers or occupational health and safety officers, are responsible for maintaining and improving health and safety in the workplace. They make sure that legislation is adhered to and assist in planning, implementing, monitoring and reviewing the health and safety strategies of an organisation.

The role also includes formulating operational procedures that recognise hazards. They seek to minimise conflict between safety and production considerations and assess risk and propose workable solutions.

Depending upon the size and type of organisation, they may advise on fire regulations, safeguarding machinery, noise, hazardous substances, occupational health and environmental health. Duties are likely to include: formulating and implementing codes of practice and regulations; carrying out regular inspections and risk assessments; maintaining accident records; advising on appropriate protective clothing/equipment and on the cost of implementing changes; and arranging internal and external training for employees on safety issues.

When accidents occur health and safety advisers lead the investigations, identify the causes, advise on any improvements in safety standards that need to be made, and write reports. They also liaise with other agencies and professionals, such as officers of enforcing authorities like the Health and Safety Executive.

What's the working environment like working as a Health & Safety Adviser?

Health and safety advisers usually work 37 hours a week but may be on standby duty in case of emergencies or accidents. Shift working and unsociable hours may be required.

Visits to a number of sites may be required. Outdoor working (sometimes in extreme weather conditions) is essential in processing complexes, on offshore installations, building and construction sites and where the work involves transportation. They may also be required to work at heights or in cramped positions.

Some health and safety advisers may undertake these duties as part of a wider role in personnel, facilities management or similar.

What does it take to become a Health & Safety Adviser?

To be a health and safety adviser you should:

  • have good communication and presentation skills
  • have a thorough understanding of relevant legislation
  • have good negotiating skills, tact and diplomacy
  • be persuasive and assertive, to overcome any reluctance to implement appropriate practice
  • have a good level of physical fitness and stamina
  • have a logical and enquiring mind and a methodical approach to work
  • be able to cope under pressure
  • have good written communication skills for report-writing
  • be computer literate.

Health & Safety Adviser Career Opportunities

Health and safety advisers work mainly in an industrial, manufacturing or processing company. Other employees include the hotel and catering industry as well as public services like hospitals and government departments.

There is scope to move to management positions although promotion may be achieved by moving to a large company or specialising in a certain aspect of the work. There are some opportunities to work overseas. Self-employment and consultancy may be an option.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Health & Safety Adviser that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH)
The Grange
Highfield Drive
LE18 1NN
Tel: 0116 257 3100

British Safety Council
National Safety Centre
70 Chancellors Road
W6 9RS
Tel: 020 8741 1231

National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH)
Dominus Way
Meridian Business Park
LE19 1QW
Tel: 0116 263 4700

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