Health & Safety Specialists / Officers are responsible for planning, implementing and overseeing an organization’s health and safety, to ensure that all employees, visitors and contractors are safe and that the organization is compliant and adheres to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 85 of 1993.
A business and the management team need “OHS peace of mind”, which means knowing that the Health and Safety Specialist is taking care of the organizations OHS requirements. Studies have shown that most incidents and accidents can be avoided, as they are caused by employee errors, faulty equipment, bad habits and practice etc. The Health and Safety Officer will assist in reducing incidents and accidents and in so doing create a healthy, safe and prepared working environment for everyone!
The roles and responsibilities of a Health and Safety Specialist includes:
- Ensure that the employer and all employees comply with the OHS Act;
- Review, plan and implement OHS policies, procedures and strategy;
- Assist with compiling the annual OHS budget;
- Conduct annual risk assessments to ensure that hazards have been addressed appropriately;
- Conduct incident and accident investigations together with Health and Safety Representatives;
- Advise and inform employees on various OHS initiatives;
- Prepare regular in-service Health and Safety training and communication topics;
- Ensure that the OHS team is trained in first aid, firefighting, evacuation planning, Health and Safety, etc;
- Works with HR to assist in conducting Health and Safety induction for all new employees;
- Ensures that no employee conducts work unless the necessary Health and Safety preventative measures have been implemented;
- Oversee workplace repair, installation and any other work that could lead to employee injury;
- Enforces the necessary measures to ensure Health and Safety initiatives are met.
The course is an accredited skills program with the Health and Welfare SETA and delegates will be required to complete a workplace workbook and submit this as part of their portfolio of evidence (POE). This will enable Absolute Health Services to then submit to the HWSETA to verify each delegate’s POE and upon approval then up-loads each delegates results to the National Learner Registration Database. This Health and Safety Specialist course also meets the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (SAIOSH) requirements to register for Technical Membership. The program includes the following core topics:
- First Aid – The H&S Specialist must assist with emergencies where necessary, but also have a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of first aiders and how they can operate effectively as a team, should an accident occur;
- Firefighting – The H&S Officer needs to understand the theory behind fires, how firefighting equipment is used and serviced and how to implement fire prevention measures and strategy in the workplace;
- Evacuation Procedures – The H&S Specialist needs to understand the importance of efficiently evacuating the entire workplace premises in emergency conditions, how the evacuation changes for different types emergencies, the roles and responsibilities of the OHS teams and the laws pertaining to evacuation procedures and requirements;
- Occupational Health & Safety Act – The H&S Officer needs a holistic general understanding of the OHS Act and which sections and regulations are critical to ensure that the company is OHS Act compliant;
- Incident Investigation – The H&S Specialist needs to conduct thorough incident investigations, to identify unsafe working conditions or acts, determine the real cause, make recommendations and implement corrective and preventative actions;
- Risk Assessment – The H&S Officer must conduct annual risk assessments to identify objects, procedures or processes which pose a risk to the H&S of the employees and organization. Measures must then be implemented to eliminate, mitigate and control these risks
- H&S Management Systems – The H&S Specialist will be taught how to effectively implement a H&S management system, which includes H&S policies, structures, administration, culture, communication, objectives, etc.