Yes, you CAN become a health and safety officer

Yes, you CAN become a health and safety officer
Yes, you CAN become a health and safety officer

Do you have good communication skills and an eye for detail? Do you consider yourself to be patient, level-headed and focused, with excellent organisational capabilities? And have you always wanted to help people, and work in role that’s both rewarding and gives you a sense of personal satisfaction? Then a career in health and safety could be just the right fit for you.

No degree? No problem!

If you’re already thinking, “But I don’t have a university degree”, then we have good news for you. In order to qualify and work as a health and safety officer, a vital role in every workplace, you won’t need a university degree. Instead, you’ll need to complete a training course and receive certification from a recognised provider – no bachelor’s degree needed. Additionally, in order to gain membership with a professional health and safety body, such as from the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (SAIOSH), you won’t need a university degree either – instead, you’ll need an accredited certificate at NQF level 5 or equivalent, a qualification you’ll again be able to work towards through a recognised training provider.

Recently, the South African government gazetted the 2020 national list of occupations in high demand – occupations requiring certain training and skill sets, but no university degrees. Given the current pandemic and ongoing health concerns, it’s no surprise that Health and Safety Manager was near the top of this critical list. So if you’ve been letting your lack of a university education hold you back, it’s time for you to truly realise your potential, and explore health and safety as a viable career option.

What is a health and safety officer?

As the title suggests, a health and safety officer is responsible for the health and safety of employees in the workplace, and ensuring that the working environment remains risk-free at all times. On a day-to-day basis, your responsibilities could include tasks as diverse as conducting health and safety training sessions, investigating workplace incidents, carrying out inspections, giving health and safety advice, and ensuring the workplace is free of any potential hazards.

By carrying out these duties, you’ll help to decrease the likelihood of workplace injuries, accidents and illnesses, which will help to save your company money, improve productivity, and increase employee morale at the same time.

Not only will you have the satisfaction of making a positive and rewarding contribution in a valuable role, you’ll also reap significant benefits as well:

  • Salary: According to a recent study by Indeed, qualified and experienced health and safety officers can expect to earn more than R30 000 per month.
  • Flexibility: With health and safety officers in high demand both locally and internationally, you’ll have a number of career options and locations open to you.
  • Opportunity: With all businesses in South Africa needing to comply with health and safety regulations, you’ll have the opportunity to work in industries as diverse as mining, construction and engineering, as well as retail and manufacturing too.

Now more than ever, health and safety is a high priority in businesses both small and large – which means excellent employment opportunities for you. Add to this just how valuable and important a role health and safety is on a personal level, as well as a professional one, and you’ll see just how rewarding a career in health and safety can ultimately be.

Where can I train for my health and safety qualifications? 

Along with important interpersonal skills, such as observation, critical thinking, problem-solving, and strong written and verbal communication abilities, you’ll also need an accredited qualification from an industry recognised training partner – like NOSA.

With more than 70 years of experience in providing occupational health, safety and environmental training solutions, NOSA is one of the undisputed leaders in health and safety qualifications. Offering more than 100 safety-related courses for both classroom and online learning, NOSA has trained more than 20 000 organisations over the years, helping to provide individuals with the necessary skills to enter the industry, while assisting companies in improving their skills development targets and achieving their B-BBEE goals.

Partner with NOSA, and you’ll have access to a wide variety of courses to help kickstart your health and safety career, from classes in mining, construction, incident investigation and the OHS Act, to safety training, dangerous goods training, and advanced courses to help further your career too.

If you’re interested in pursuing health and safety as an occupation, NOSA has a range of courses specially designed to help you along the way, most notably SAMTRAC – one of the industry’s most recognised and respected health and safety qualifications:

  1. Introduction to SAMTRAC: With this qualification, you’ll gain a good understanding of the fundamentals of HSE legislation and compliance, and you’ll learn how to conduct hazard identification inspections and risk assessments. Complete the Introduction to SAMTRAC course successfully, and you’ll then be eligible to move onto the more advanced SAMTRAC certification.
  2. SAMTRAC: With SAMTRAC, NOSA’s flagship health and safety qualification, you’ll be introduced to technical knowledge at the highest level, and you’ll be given an in-depth look at all HSE-related concepts, procedures and techniques. You’ll also receive thorough training in risk management and HSE regulations, which will allow you to make strategic decisions and drive positive change in health and safety policies.

Start your health and safety career with these sought-after courses, and continue to expand your knowledge with more NOSA training programmes as you progress. There’s no university degree needed – only enthusiasm, drive and ambition, and a willingness to learn and reach your full potential. Good luck!