Safety Officer Course Requirements : Having a safety officer is a potential lifesaver and it is a requirement for every company to provide a workplace that is healthy and safe and a Safety Officer has the ability to ensure and implement this legal requirement.
Do we need a health and safety officer?
You may be asking yourself, does our company really need to assign and even train a safety officer? The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 85 of 1993 states that the employers responsibility is the following:
THE OHS ACT SECTION 8:
General duties of employers to their employees
(1) Every employer shall provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its employees.
(2) Without derogating from the generality of an employer’s duties under subsection (1), the matters to which those duties refer include in particular:
(e) providing such information, instructions, training and supervision as may be necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;
(h) enforcing such measures as may be necessary in the interest of health and safety;
(i) ensuring that work is performed and that plant or machinery is used under the general supervision of a person trained to understand the hazards associated with it and who have the authority to ensure that precautionary measures taken by the employer are implemented; and
Section 8 (1) is very clear about the responsibility of employers to provide a safe working environment that is without risk to the health and safety of its employees. This section also encourages employers to evaluate working areas and carry out risk assessments and regular Health and Safety inspections.
Paragraph (e) mentions “supervision”. The appointed Health and Safety or Safety Officer or supervisor carries out the role of supervision, as well as representing the employer and management at Health and Safety Committee meetings and in an overall Health and Safety capacity.
THE OHS ACT SECTION 17:
Health and Safety Representatives
(1) Every employer who has more than 20 employees in his employment at any workplace, shall, within four months after the commencement of this Act or after commencing business, or from such time as the number of employees exceeds 20, as the case may be, designate in writing for a specified period health and safety representatives for such workplace, or for different sections thereof.
The Act makes provision for constructive Health and Safety communication between the employer and their representative the Safety Officer and the Health and Safety Representatives who represent the employees.
Section 17 states:
- Where there are more than 20 employees, Health and Safety Representatives must be appointed in writing;
- Company employees must nominate the Health and Safety Representatives;
- They must be full-time employees;
- They must carry out their Health and Safety functions during normal working hours.
The primary responsibility of OHS lies solely on your shoulders and as CEO you are to ensure your company is OHS compliant. The Safety Officer will assist you under your direct control to implement OHS act compliance in the company.
Intangible characteristics and traits that make a good health and safety officer:
Genuine concern for people and health and safety
Your safety officer must be willing to self-sacrifice rather than being self-centred and self-serving. The responsibility attached to this role is massive and can be the difference between life and death of employees, so the Safety Officer can be a chancer.
Evident leadership skills
Your safety officer must be able to lead by example, so they should live, breathe and think health and safety.
Willing to learn
A safety officers learning does not stop once they are certified. Your safety officer should be proactive in learning more about health and safety and continuously remain active and current with new Health and Safety content and trends.
You need to be sure that the person appointed will act and react as quickly as possible when necessary. They should show humility in that they get the task done, without expecting reward or recognition.
Good communication skills
When you appoint a Safety Officer and Health and Safety Representative, it is important to keep in mind that they also represents the employees with regards to health and safety, so their communication skills must be good. Representatives are an important link between management and the rest of the organisations employees.
Why send your safety officer on training?
2.2 million fatal workplace accidents happen every year across the world, and 2,643 of those happen in South Africa. Sending your designated safety officer on a training course may be an additional cost, however those statistics alone should highlight the importance of good training. The long-term cost a company will pay for accidents and injuries far outweigh the cost of a training course. Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of resources or a lack of awareness, many business leaders do not think to invest in safety officer training, causing not only their staff to potentially suffer, but the business too.
What safety officer course requirements should you look out for?
- Accredited with the necessary training authorities like the HWSETA
- Proven track record
- Cost efficient and cost attractive
- National training courses provided – Inland, KZN and Cape Town
- Extensive practical operational experience in the Health and Safety field
- Specialised training (such as First Aid, Fire fighting and Evacuation Planning training)
- Practical content and scenario training methods for practical implementation
When you invest in training that complies with the correct safety officer course requirements, you invest in a workplace that:
is OHS compliant business
When providing training for your employee, you are not only empowering him or her to fulfil their position but by doing so you ensure that your representative will keep your business compliant, healthy and safe, which will prevent non-compliance penalties.
boosts employee productivity
It has been proven time again that employees who are able to follow safety procedures, are more productive. So, by professionally training your safety officer, you will not only ensure your company is OHS compliant but you will also reduce the likelihood of your employees having to take sick leave or be in the hospital due to workplace accidents. When an employer shows interest in employee safety, the result is often loyal, engaged and productive staff.
Training your safety officer does come at a cost, but do you know how much one workplace injury or fatality could cost your business? Things like legal fees, compensation payments, hospital bills, medical expenses and indirect costs such as loss of productivity, worker replacement, reputational damage and increased insurance premiums all far outweigh training costs.
Think about the potential savings should you chose to invest in training your staff to be OHS compliant. You stand to gain far more from being compliant in the long run, rather than waiting for workplace hazards that could cost your business hundreds of thousands of Rands in the future.
Absolute Health Services (AHS) offer accredited Health and Safety (H&S) training and understands the full safety officer course requirements, ensuring that our clients receive current, professional and quality training. All our training instructors are paramedics registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, and have extensive practical operational experience and have specialised in First Aid, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Fire fighting and H&S training. Our training courses contain the latest theoretical course content and extensive practical content and scenario training, thereby ensuring both theoretical and practical exposure. Our intention is to establish a national Health and Safety training network and footprint, enabling our clients to access our training network anywhere in the country. We know that without the support of our clients our business would not exist, so we are committed to offering a professional, client-focused, high quality and cost-effective service.