Working in health and safety can be a rewarding job, especially if you’re someone who works well in high-pressure environments and likes to take on responsibilities. There are plenty of benefits in starting a career in health and safety, and the entry requirements vary greatly.

Health and safety workers deserve to be championed for their ongoing work in businesses to help prevent any accidents from occurring. Without them, the workplace would be a lot more dangerous.

A career in health and safety is a good move

Health and Safety officers are responsible for preventing accidents and injuries in the workplace by checking the correct health and safety signs are in use, and ensuring that staff are provided with a safe and secure environment to work in. It’s a broad role because you can specialise in a particular area, such as fire safety or the safe use of particular equipment, or you could be providing advice and guidance on all issues relating to health and safety. No matter what the expertise is, the job role requires you to have employees’ welfare and well-being at heart.

The qualifications you need to be a health and safety worker

There are several qualifications that can help you progress into a career in health and safety, and it isn’t all about going to University to gain a degree, but in many cases, you will either need a degree, MSc or postgraduate diploma recognised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

There are also approved degree-level qualifications available through NEBOSH, British Safety Council, City & Guilds and National Compliance and Risk Qualifications (NCRQ). Relevant work experience or a qualification in health and safety recognised by IOSH can go a long way too. There are also qualifications you can complete on the side if you are already in employment.

The job role will generally entail developing safety policies and procedures, advising and training staff on health and safety practices, making regular inspections and assessments and working with relevant inspectors and trade unions.

Career prospects

Starting salaries for health and safety advisers are usually in the region of £24,000 to £32,000. The role of senior health and safety adviser can attract a salary of around £40,000 to £55,000. For the top dog role of highly experienced advisers, such as head of health and safety, can earn £70,000 to £80,000. Salaries can of course vary significantly depending on the sector, the size of the company and your level of experienced and qualifications.

Although working hours are typically 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, you may be required to work irregular hours in the case of an accident or if working shifts.

There are plenty of jobs available in the health and safety sector, including Health and Safety Officer, Safety and Environmental Officer and Health and Safety Administrator. With experience, you could move into a management role or you could specialise in a particular area of health and safety and become a consultant. Further study could see you move into research or lecturing.