Health and Safety at Work 101
Where would we be without health and safety guidelines? Unsafe and unhealthy, that’s where! All areas of manufacturing and production need health and safety regulations, whether you’re making Angel Delight or building tanks. In facts, most organizations need health and safety regulations.
It’s all about keeping safe in the workplace. In some manufacturing environments, you may even have to wear head protection.
Health and safety policies and practices need to be implemented, monitored and enforced. That’s where health and safety consultants, officers and inspectors come into play!
What would a heath & safety career consist of?
The HSE is a governmental agency that employs health and safety professionals, known as ‘operational inspectors’.
These guys are the dynamic detectives of the health and safety world. They inspect factories and assess and evaluate how their health and safety procedures are managed. They will often inform manufacturing companies before they turn up and conduct their inspection. However, sometimes they will rock up without any prior notice.
The HSE is an official regulatory authority, which has the power to take decisive enforcement actions if a company is flouting health and safety laws. They may even have the power to stop a factory’s production.
However, they will normally just provide a consultancy service to companies, providing advice and guidance on how they can improve their health and safety measures.
In order to avoid getting into trouble with the HSE, many larger manufacturing and production companies employ their own health and safety advisors or utilise the services of independent health and safety consultants. These guys will promote health and safety within the organisation, implement safety procedures, procure protective clothing and monitor how effective the current precautionary measures are.
These people will also record incidents, carry out their own inspections and train employees in how to work more safely. They will also stay on the ball with regards to changes in health and safety law and adapt their company’s practices in accordance with any developments.
You don’t necessarily need a degree to work in this area; however, you can now do a top-up degree in occupational health and safety! If you’re mad keen on this line of work, this is definitely something that will give you an edge over other candidates.
What does a H&S Officer do?
A H&S Officer is mainly responsible to prevent accidents, injuries and work-related illnesses in the workplace. They are responsible for creating and implementing health and safety policies and procedures in accordance with the latest legislation and to ensure that these policies are implemented within the workplace. H&S Officers are also commonly tasked with assisting injured staff through the compensation and rehabilitation process if they are injured during the course of their work.
The tasks include, but are not limited to:
- identifying hazards
- assessing, controlling, and where possible eliminating risks in the workplace
- analysing, developing, and implementing work health and safety plans
- reviewing, designing and effecting return-to-work programs
- training employees and contracts in the correct use of equipment (where required)
- recording, reporting and investigating workplace accidents and injuries
- recording and reporting on safety performance
- inspecting, auditing and making recommendations on workplace conditions and hazards
- forming policies and processes to ensure the workplace is compliant with the appropriate legislation
- stay updated with the current legislation, news and technology concerning the H&S industry
- collaborating and liaising with employees, contractors, and other external parties at various levels