Date: 2023-02-03 | Read Time: 6 Mins
The health and safety officer has a crucial role in the organization. Most organizations have an EHS manager on salary, but safety-related positions also bring additional value to your company.
If you’re new to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) field and thinking about the role of a safety officer. Here’s an overview of what you can actually do and how you can develop the skills needed to be effective in your role.
A professional health and safety officer is accountable for the health and safety of the workers at the workplace. They are responsible for assessing risks, identifying hazards, implementing safety control measures, and guiding senior managers and employees about how to prevent accidents.
Their duties also include responding to emergencies and ensuring that a company's safety protocols are appropriate and meet standard regulations.
Some organizations use different terms to describe this role such as practitioner, enforcement officer, safety coordinator, and loss control coordinator.
The role of a safety officer may vary from company to company because of its organizational size, structure, and unique safety needs. But one thing they all have in common is ensuring workers' safety in the workplace. In general, he serves five primary roles in an organization.
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Below are the primary 5 responsibilities of a safety officer:
One of the major roles of a safety officer is to provide training to workers on OSHA standards, best practices, and company protocols. This training can include different safety topics like noise level, basic first aid training, proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), etc.
After the training, they provide feedback on the performance and answer any questions trainees may have. Their role also involves onboarding new employees for training and working collaboratively with HR teams.
Planning for emergencies is also one of the major roles of safety officers in an organization. Their role involves identifying the possible emergencies that might happen at the workplace, including medical emergencies, natural disasters, and fires.
After identifying these potential emergencies, they create a plan of action for responding to emergencies. This plan includes procedures for evacuation, communication protocols, medical response, and other important details. Making sure that organization’s employees understand the proper use of equipment is also part of their responsibilities.
Safety officers make a safe environment by organizing employees' workloads. It’s vital for better productivity of workers, so no harm can come to them in the workplace.
They cooperate with other departments in the organization, such as human resources and operations, to ensure that safety responsibilities are integrated into overall operations. They are also responsible for ensuring that employees can complete the tasks without causing any damage to the workplace or others.
Safety officers supervise other workers to ensure that they perform their duties well. They make sure that each worker understands their role in the workplace and current safety protocols.
Safety officer meets with workers to discuss safety concerns, provide updates on safety policies, and address any questions or concerns they may have. Regardless of their specific role within the organization, they follow up on the other tasks too within the site.
It’s challenging to discuss environment, health, and safety without the words ‘inspection’ and ‘audits’. These two components are essential for building an EHS strategy, and safety officers are responsible for this.
A regular workplace safety inspection is carried out to identify potential hazards and to inspect equipment to make sure it’s safe for employees. Besides, audits are carried out to make the procedures and permits as per the company’s legal standard. This is done to keep safety programs on track and to limit potential fines.
A safety officer has to keep up to date with the new regulations and guidelines of higher regulatory bodies. So, any safety course related to safety management and engineering can be helpful.
Most organizations look for entry-level employees with bachelors in environmental, occupational health, and science or an engineering or science-related field. To advance their role, the following safety courses are acquired.
Strong communication skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving skills can increase opportunities for being hired as a safety officer.
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A safety officer is a crucial need of every organization for the safety of its workers. As per their role, they maintain a safe and healthy environment by preventing workplace injuries and accidents. Besides, they also have to conduct risk assessments, provide training, and supervise workplace activities.