Health and Safety Advisor
It’s great to be useful, and being the go-to person for health and safety advice could be your first rung on the ladder as a respected health and safety professional in your organization. Every workplace should have access to at least one person who really knows what they’re talking about when it comes to health and safety.
If you can become that person, you will be an asset to any organization.
Why are health and safety advisors necessary?
You might be thinking of becoming a health and safety advisor, and there are plenty of opportunities out there if you do. If your organization is fairly small, health and safety advisory duties can be incorporated into your existing role, especially for those working in personnel, HR, or management capacities.
It could be that you just want a health and safety consultant to help you get started and be that competent person whilst you incorporate some of those general health and safety tasks into your role.
But maybe you are thinking about making health and safety your full-time profession, medium to large employers such as local authorities, professional services organizations, and companies whose work involves a lot of physical work and high-risk activities will look for a specialized and experienced health and safety advisor.
Health and safety advisors make a valuable contribution because they have the knowledge, skills, and qualifications to make sure that companies stay on track with their health and safety procedures. They are up-to-date with laws and regulations, and have learned through time and experience how health and safety works in theory and in practice. A good health and safety advisor has the soft skills to work with people at all levels of an organization, to offer constructive feedback, guidance, and advice on health and safety compliance.
The process of becoming a health and safety expert takes time, but it is time well spent when you consider how useful it is to have the skills and knowledge to keep a company, and its people, safe.
What do health and safety advisors do?
A health and safety advisor’s role is to make sure your organization is managing your health and safety procedures in compliance with the law, and adhering to best practice in all areas. They have expert knowledge about current legislation, and the ins-and-outs of health and safety systems, and they know how to work with people to make sure the risk of danger is minimised, and to implement safe and healthy processes.
Here are some of the things a health and safety advisor is typically responsible for:
- Developing a strategy for, and conducting, site inspections and risk assessments
- Keeping up-to-date with legislation and policies, and making sure they are followed
- Developing health and safety policies and procedures
- Identifying hazards, and risk reduction measures
- Ensuring equipment is installed and used correctly
- Instigating necessary changes in working practice
- Compiling data, maintaining records and writing reports
- Conducting in-house training and health and safety meetings for employees and managers
- Advising on specific health and safety issues, such as fire regulations, hazardous substances, and occupational diseases
- Investigating any health and safety complaints and incidents
- Liaising with external health and safety authorities and unions
- Giving guidance to employers, managers, and supervisors on how to comply with health and safety law.
You know that these are all logical and necessary tasks, but do you have a go-to person that your company can rely on to make sure they happen? Are you that person? It’s a rewarding job, having the skills to keep people safe in their work.
How to become a health and safety advisor
If you like the idea of helping people make their workplace safe and healthy, you can become a health and safety advisor! You can learn a lot about health and safety through time and experience on the job. Read up on everything you can related to health and safety (the posts on the Pro Safety Management site are a good place to start), say yes to training opportunities you come across, get qualifications, get a coach and work on your soft and transferable skills. You will get so much satisfaction out of becoming an expert in health and safety.
Here are some of the qualities that make a great health and safety advisor:
- Work experience in industry or a specialist field
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Good organizational skills
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- Time-management skills
- Qualifications – Full-time health and safety advisors may have a degree in a relevant field, such as life science, engineering, or management. Some health and safety advisors have more vocational qualifications in occupational safety and on-the-job training.
Whether it is part of your wider job remit, or your primary role as an in-house or external health and safety expert, you need to show that you are competent and trustworthy. Your experience and training will give you the confidence to reassure any employer.
If you are an employer hiring an external advisor, or looking to employ someone to a dedicated health and safety advisory role, make sure you get someone who fits the bill in qualifications, skills, and experience. If you plan to incorporate health and safety advisory capacity into an existing role, make sure that you choose someone who will embrace the task positively and professionally, and give them the support and resources that they need to fulfil this responsibility.
A good health and safety advisor is the key to a safe working environment. This is who people rely on to oversee health and safety processes. A professional and qualified advisor can be trusted to spot anything that might have been missed, and guide people into best practice. Employers should choose someone who is competent and trustworthy to help establish a positive and safe working culture in the organisation. If you really care about health and safety, this person could be you!
Are you interested in learning more about health and safety? Leave a comment below if you have any questions!