Occupational health and safety officers coordinate health and safety systems in an organisation. They identify hazards, assess risks to health and safety, put appropriate safety controls in place and provide advice about accident prevention and occupational health to management and employees.
To become an occupational health and safety officer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in work health and safety. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in occupational health and safety or health science. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer these degrees. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.
Occupational health and safety officers may perform the following tasks:
Traditionally, occupational health and safety officers have been employed in the manufacturing, construction, health and minerals industries. Positions are now becoming available in management consultancies and large commercial institutions, such as banks, hospitals, insurance companies, government organisations and service-based organisations. In large workplaces, personnel departments may employ a number of occupational health and safety officers. In small organisations, the personnel officer often combines the duties of occupational health and safety officer with other duties.
A hazardous materials/dangerous goods safety officer supervises and reviews the transport, handling, storage and use of hazardous materials and dangerous goods.
An occupational health and safety trainer develops, designs and conducts health and safety training. As part of this training they assess individual and organisational procedures. They may conduct both face-to-face and online training.
An occupational/industrial hygienist identifies and investigates problems of occupational/industrial hygiene (chemical and biological hazards) in the workplace and alerts managers and professionals to possible health risks. They use scientific equipment to measure and control hazardous substances.