So you wanna be an occupational health and safety specialist
Whatever job you have in whatever industry, there is always the possibility of an accident happening to someone. Safety hazards at the workplace ranges from severe and immediate physical dangers to milder hazards. Are you interested in helping a business prevent injuries and hazards in all work environments, and improve the general well-being of its employees? If your answer is yes, a career in occupational health and safety could be for you.
The job of an occupational health and safety specialist
As an occupational health and safety (OHS) specialist, your job is to inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations. You must also be able to design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from potentially hazardous work conditions.
Depending on the type of industry, you may need to identify hazards in the workplace, and collect samples of potentially toxic materials for analysis. In the event of accidents, an OHS specialist needs to carry out investigations on accidents and incidents to identify their causes and to determine how they might be prevented in the future.
Some OHS specialists develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.
Is this job for you?
You may want to consider a career in an occupational health and safety if you are passionate about helping a business prevent injuries and hazards in all work environments, and improve the general well-being of its employees.
The interest code for this career is IC (Investigative and Conventional).
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
To be successful in the role of an occupational health and safety specialist, you need to be:
- able to use advanced technology as OSH specialists often work with complex testing equipment
- good at communicating safety instructions and concerns to employees and managers; and good at preparing written reports and delivering safety training to other workers
- detail-oriented – you need to understand and follow safety standards and complex government regulations
- able to stand for long periods, travel regularly, and work in uncomfortable environments such as tunnels or mines
- good at problem-solving in order to design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous conditions
- honest and ethical in carrying out your job
As an OSH specialist, you value a supportive management that stands behind its employees. Good working conditions are of paramount importance to you. You are results-oriented; it’s important to you that employees are allowed to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Occupational health and safety specialists work in a variety of settings, such as offices or factories. Their jobs often involve considerable fieldwork and travel. They may be exposed to strenuous, dangerous, or stressful conditions. They use gloves, helmets, respirators, and other personal protective and safety equipment to minimize the risk of illness and injury.
Places of Employment
Occupational health and safety specialists are employed in these areas: chemicals and allied industries; construction companies; engineering firms; fire and rescue services; food, drink and tobacco industries; hospitals and clinics; industrial, processing and manufacturing plants; local authorities and national government organisations; oil and gas companies; and others.
Job Entry Requirement
Courses in occupational health and safety in Malaysia are offered at diploma, bachelor degree and master levels.
The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Ministry of Human Resources has outlined a list of competent persons which include:
- Authorised Gas Tester / Entry Supervisor
- Hygiene Technician 1
- Hygiene Technician 2
- Indoor Air Quality Assessor
- Lift Competent Person
- Major Hazard Competent Person
- Noise Competent Person
- Responsible Person
- Occupational Health Doctor
- Safety and Health Officer
- Safety Site Supervisor
- Steam/Internal Combustion Engine Engineer
For a description of the responsibilities of the competent persons above, and information on the qualifications, legislation and application of each position, please click here.
Education and Training Qualifications
Please click here to read more on education and training qualifications
Watch this video to find out what occupational health and safety specialists do.
A day in the life of a health, safety and environmental manager of an oil and gas company – watch the video.
Are you curious what a workplace safety video for employees is about? This video highlights how often workplace accidents occur and what the most common causes of workplace accidents are.
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