The Essential Skills and Responsibilities of a Health and Safety Manager

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Every workplace should have a Health and Safety Manager who is responsible for assisting the employer and organisation to look after the health, safety, and wellbeing of all the employees or workforce. It is also critically important to ensure that this important manager has the correct qualification, skills, experience, and competence to fill their position and role effectively and efficiently. The Health and Safety (H&S) Manager represents top management’s commitment and management of the health, safety, and wellbeing of the employees.

health and safety manager

What is a Health and Safety Manager?

An H&S Manager is a senior manager who has a very important role and function within the company, organisation, or department. They are just as important as the operations manager, procurement manager, or facilities manager, and should ideally all work together for the betterment of the organisation and its employees.

The H&S Manager is a well-qualified and experienced person who has the ability to look after the organisation’s health and safety responsibilities, the actual H&S of the employees, contractor, and visitors as well as the H&S legal compliance requirements.  They must be professional, stern but also approachable and do everything in their power to look after the H&S interests and well-being of the employees and companies or organisations.  

The H&S Manager acts on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with regards to H&S and therefore must ensure that their actions and decisions are or would be in line with the CEO’s decisions in respect of H&S. The H&S manager, therefore, needs to be a well-respected, experienced and competent professional.         

health and safety manager responsibilities

Responsibilities and purpose of a Health and Safety Manager?

One of the primary responsibilities of the H&S Manager is to represent and to fully look after the organisation, CEO, Managing Director, or Employer obligation of caring for the health, safety, and wellbeing of all employees. There are other roles and responsibilities such as:

  • Developing a suitable H&S policy and objectives;
  • Conducting thorough H&S risk assessments across the entire organisation;
  • Implementing effective control measures to reduce hazards and risks;
  • Communicating and involving the workforce in H&S;
  • Achieving H&S legal compliance;  
  • Calculating and motivating for the correct H&S annual budget;
  • Looking after the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees.

The H&S Manager should report to top management and be able to approach management openly and with suggestions or concerns regarding acute or chronic term issues to discuss health and safety ideas, solutions, or recommendations. The H&S Manager has a very important role to perform in any organisation!

occupational health and safety courses

What are the required skills and qualifications of a H&S manager?

Depending on the risk profile of the organisation, will determine the skills and qualification requirements of the H&S Manager. It is therefore suggested that new H&S Managers enter industries that are not high risk and that experienced H&S Managers move to an environment that is a higher business and H&S risk and more challenging. H&S managers with more or additional qualifications and experience are more able to appropriately manage the higher challenges and risks and successfully ensure a healthy, safe, and prepared working environment.   

Active H&S experience in administration, operations, management, and crisis all contributes to a good H&S Manager, who has built up confidence in the H&S environment as well as general business environment and is able to stand up for the wellbeing of all the employee’s, which is ultimately an organisations most valuable asset.     

An H&S Manager must ideally have a Sectional Education Training Authority (SETA) recognized skills program, qualification, or degree, as this will ensure the recognition and authority to enforce appropriate decisions and requirements. An example would be the Absolute Health Service Health and Safety Specialist or Health and Safety Officer course, which covers:

  • Health and safety in general;
  • The OHS act;
  • Risk assessment;
  • First aid;
  • Firefighting;
  • Evacuation planning and more,

A recognised course, certificate, qualification, or degree is a must though for this important role and function.  

AHS health and safety training

Absolute Health Services offers the ideal course to equip a Health and Safety Manager 

Absolute Health Services has developed their Health and Safety Specialist or Health and Safety Officer course over the last 20 years, ensuring that our delegates receive the best health and safety or occupational safety knowledge and skills over a short 10-day course period. We are qualified and experienced H&S practitioners in the H&S training environment and have been able to develop and tweak our accredited skills program to suit our client’s and delegate’s environment and requirements. We can guarantee any business an informative, challenging, thorough, and enjoyable recognised short course experience when sending delegates to attend our H&S Specialist or Officer course.   

Free Health and Safety Workplace Guide

Our comprehensive Health and Safety Guide is designed to simplify the process of implementing effective workplace safety practices. It provides clear and practical guidance to help employers, including HR and HSE managers, achieve compliance with regulations and create a safe working environment for their employees.