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Health and Safety Advisor

Health and safety advisers, also known as officers or practitioners, use their knowledge and skills to promote a positive health and safety culture in the workplace.

They are responsible for ensuring that employers and workers comply with safety legislation and that safety policies and practices are adopted and adhered to.

Working in a range of organisations, from multinationals to small consultancies, health and safety advisers plan, implement, monitor and review protective and preventative safety measures.

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This career information has been adapted from Prospects and National Careers Service.

What The Job Involves

What are the key responsibilities for this position?

Key Responsibilities

carry out risk assessments and consider how risks could be reduced;
outline safe operational procedures which identify and take into account all relevant hazards;
carry out regular site inspections to check policies and procedures are being properly implemented;
ensure working practices are safe and comply with legislation;
prepare health and safety strategies and develop internal policy;
lead in-house training with managers and employees about health and safety issues and risks;
keep records of inspection findings and produce reports that suggest improvements;
record incidents and accidents and produce statistics for managers;
keep up to date with new legislation and maintain a working knowledge of all Health and Safety Executive (HSE) legislation and any developments that affect the employer's industry;
attend Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) seminars and read professional journals;
produce management reports, newsletters and bulletins;
ensure equipment is installed safely;
manage and organise the safe disposal of hazardous substances, e.g. asbestos;
advise on a range of specialist areas, e.g. fire regulations, hazardous substances, noise, safeguarding machinery and occupational diseases.

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Entry Requirements

Health and safety has traditionally been a second career for those with degree qualifications in other disciplines.
Most degree-level qualifications are, therefore, provided at postgraduate level and are aimed at those looking to become health and safety professionals,
You are likely to need a minimum of a 2:2 degree, or equivalent, as well as a basic knowledge of health and safety.
Other relevant degree-level qualifications include:
NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety;
British Safety Council Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health;
City & Guilds Level 5 (NVQ) Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Practice;

What key skills and personal attributes help with this role?

Skills & Attributes

excellent written and spoken communication skills in order to explain health and safety processes to a range of people and to give presentations to groups;
negotiating skills to convince managers of the need to implement and maintain safety standards that may compromise speed or efficiency in the organisation;
patience and diplomacy because the profession requires a collaborative approach;
the ability to understand and analyse complex information and present it simply and accurately;
an investigative mind;
IT Skills;
attention to detail;
a flexible approach to work;
an interest in the law and the ability to understand regulations;
physical fitness, if your work will involve time on large-scale plants or on outdoor sites;
a driving licence - essential for jobs involving travel between sites.

How much can you expect to earn and what are the career progression options?

The following figures are intended as a guideline only.

Salary & Progression

Starting salary: £24,000 - £32,000 a year.
Senior Health and Safety advisors: £40,000 to £55,000 a year
Highly experienced advisers, such as head of health and safety: £70,000 to £80,000.
Case Study

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