When an employee gets hurt, he or she can suffer both physically and financially. Plus, the company can experience lower productivity and morale.
Health and safety officers try to avoid such scenarios. Their job is to keep workplace accidents and injuries from happening.
They do this by identifying possible hazards, providing safety training, and making sure staff at all levels comply with relevant laws.
Thinking about pursuing this career? Wondering how you can quickly become a health and safety officer?
Here are six simple steps that can help you get where you want to go.
1. BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICERS DO
It’s important to understand what the role entails.
Health and safety officers seek to manage risks and safeguard people’s well-being.
Typical tasks include:
☑️ Inspecting work sites
☑️ Enforcing health and safety regulations
☑️ Developing safety procedures
☑️ Delivering training
☑️ Following up on accidents and complaints
Workplace safety expert Andrew Pugachev says this role has a real impact.
“The health and safety officer makes sure the company ‘walks the walk’ and ‘talks the talk.’ There are penalties for companies that don’t comply with government regulations.
Everyone within the organization is accountable to think and act safely: management, supervisors, lead-hands, and the workers.
Each one is subject to the proper training, education, and compliance. Health and safety officers play a key role in this process.”
2. TAKE NOTE OF THE SOFT SKILLS YOU NEED TO BECOME A HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER
Even before you enrol in an occupational health and safety (OHS) program, it’s a good idea to assess your own traits and characteristics. Are you a good fit for this role?
To thrive as a health and safety officer, you need strong observation, problem-solving, communication, and consensus-building skills.
Herzing instructor Navin Homenauth has over a decade of experience in OHS. He says it takes a specific mix of skills to get hired as a health and safety officer.
“Clear and consistent communication about roles, responsibilities, process, and procedures is key to any health and safety program.
Employers are also looking for resiliency and strategic thinking. They want to hire people who can help them be more proactive and stay ahead of the curve.
They’re looking to continuously improve safety awareness and training to minimize illness/injuries among workers.”
3. RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICERS IN YOUR AREA
If you want to become a health and safety officer, you need to know where to look for job opportunities.
Potential employers include:
☑️ Construction companies
☑️ Safety auditing organizations
☑️ Factories and plants
☑️ Colleges and universities
☑️ Government agencies
The Ontario government estimates that up to 3,000 jobs for OHS professionals should become available province-wide between 2019 and 2025.
Around 40% of OHS specialists in Ontario work in Toronto. So there should be plenty of career opportunities for health and safety officers within the GTA.
4. EARN A DIPLOMA IN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become a health and safety officer. Many employers are open to hiring candidates with college diplomas.
You can complete an accelerated OHS diploma in just 12 months.
A good program will teach you how to:
☑️ Interpret health and safety legislation
☑️ Perform a workplace safety audit
☑️ Identify potential hazards
☑️ Develop a safety plan and emergency response procedures
☑️ Prepare and deliver staff training programs
☑️ Understand the factors that affect worker well-being, such as ergonomics and environmental issues☑️ Manage Workers’ Compensation claims
5. GAIN PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE THROUGH AN INTERNSHIP
If you’re looking to become a health and safety officer, having some practical experience on your resume is key.
Completing an OHS diploma program that includes a work placement is an excellent way to demonstrate your skills in a real-world setting even before you graduate.
It also gives you a chance to connect with local employers and build up your confidence.
Many students even get hired right out of their internships.
In any case, completing an internship definitely makes it easier to get your career started.
6. GET CERTIFIED IN HEALTH AND SAFETY
Many companies look for health and safety officers who have been certified by the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP).
The BCRSP’s entry-level certification is called the Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST). If you complete an OHS program that’s approved by the BCRSP, you can apply for CRST certification right after you graduate.
Navin says becoming certified can help you stand out to employers and land your first job.
“BCRSP certifications are the gold-standard requirements for any safety professional.
Having these certifications tells employers you’ve met a high standard of training and have the knowledge and experience to add real value to the OHS team.”
READY TO BECOME A HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER?
Getting some quality post-secondary training is a key step.
Take a look at the Occupational Health and Safety diploma offered by Herzing College Toronto.
Training runs for just 12 months. A three-month internship at a local company is included.
The program is approved by the BCRSP, so our students can apply for CRST certification immediately after graduation.
Click below to get complete details on the OHS program and chat live with an Admissions Advisor who can answer any questions you have. We’re here to help!