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So you want to work in Occupational Safety?

Occupational health and safety specialists analyse different types of work environments and procedures, inspecting workplaces to ensure adherence to regulations on health, safety, and the environment. They also design policies and programs to prevent injury or disease to workers from physical, chemical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors.
You can find occupational health and safety specialists working in a variety of settings, including factories, mines and offices. Their jobs often involve travel and fieldwork. Most specialists work full time and can be employed in the public or private sector.

Occupational health and safety specialists are required to develop skills that will help them in the identification, prevention and control of health and safety hazards related to work and the work environment. If you pursue a career in this industry, you might design programs to prevent, control or eliminate health problems. You might advise companies on using equipment or furniture that has better ergonomic design. You will probably also conduct occupational safety inspections and evaluate how well employers and employees adhere to the appropriate regulations. As professionals in this field often test the safety of various work environments, they may sometimes put themselves in dangerous situations and must regularly take precautions to prevent injury.

Types of jobs in the Occupational Safety industry include:

  • Safety engineer
  • Occupational safety specialist
  • Injury management/rehabilitation
  • Risk assessment
  • Workers compensation

Personal Skills

Five key skills that will help you score a job in the Occupational Safety industry:

  • Active listening and giving full attention to what other people are saying
  • Critical thinking – using logic and reasoning
  • The ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions
  • The ability to evaluate different approaches to problems
  • Complex problem solving skills

Interview and Job Hunting tips

  • You should never have a blasé attitude to safety. The recruiter will need to know that you will be vigilant in looking out for the safety of not only yourself but also others around you.
  • Think about examples of things that have happened in your work history where you can demonstrate your commitment to safety
  • Be prepared to talk about any safety training you have done, any safety committees you have been a part of, and what you learnt from these experiences.
  • Show an interest in workplace safety by asking a few safety related questions. You could ask if there are any workplace hazards you should know about or if you will receive extra training.
  • The interview is a good opportunity for you to make sure the company is safety oriented as well, and that the role will be a good fit for your values when it comes to promoting the health and safety of employees.