What does a health and safety adviser do?
Health and safety advisers, officers or practitioners aim to prevent accidents, injuries and health problems in the workplace. You would create health and safety policies, and make sure that employers and workers put them into practice and follow safety laws.
Depending on your employer, your work could cover areas such as fire safety, occupational health, noise, safe use of machinery and control of hazardous substances. Your key tasks could include:
- developing effective policies and procedures
- making regular inspections and risk assessments
- keeping accident records
- advising on protective clothing and equipment
- training employees on safety issues
- investigating accidents and recommending improvements in safety standards
- writing reports
- working with health and safety executive inspectors and trade unions
- keeping up-to-date with changes in the law
What do I need to do to become a health and safety adviser?
Most health and safety advisers get into this role by either completing a qualification and then looking for work or studying whilst working. It is becoming more common for advisers to enter this profession with a degree-level qualification.
To become a health and safety adviser, you can either study for health and safety qualifications whilst you are working, or take a training course before looking for a trainee position. The type of training you take will depend on the industry you work in.
If you are new to health and safety, or if it is only one part of your job or trade union duties, you can start by taking an introductory course that covers the basics. These are likely to include health and safety in the workplace, regulations, risk assessment and basic accident investigation. Courses are usually available on a part-time basis or by online and distance learning. Courses include:
- Level 3 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace
- Level 3 (NVQ) Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
- National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
You could work as a health and safety adviser in most industries, particularly construction, oil and gas, engineering, manufacturing, chemical processing, service industries and public services, such as hospitals and local authorities.