Qualifications to be a safety officer

Qualifications and requirement to be a safety officer
February 1, 2022 by
Qualifications to be a safety officer

What qualifications do I need to be a Safety Officer?

Many South African industries require safety officers, which has garnered interest in Safety Officer courses. Safety Officers are a critical part of an organisation because they ensure the safety of everyone.

What do safety officers do?

Safety officers have many responsibilities to ensure everyone in the workplace is safe and healthy. A safety officer is tasked with creating and implementing health and safety procedures in the workplace, ensuring the organisation is safety compliant and regularly carrying out safety inspections and risk assessments.   

Other responsibilities include:

a.    Ensure employees have the correct safety training 

b.    Create a safety management plan

c.    Investigating, reporting, and responding to safety-related incidents

d.    Staying updated with health and safety legislation

e.    Identify hazards, minimise and assess safety risks

f.    Ensure employees have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

What skills does a good safety officer possess?

a.    Critical thinking 

b.    Problem-solving

c.    Verbal communication skills

d.    Attention to detail

What are the health and safety officer qualifications?

Now that you know what a safety officer does and what skills you need to become one, let’s break down the qualifications required. 

Since many organisations are required by South African legislation to have health and safety officers, the requirements vary by industry and organisation. The first step is to figure out which sector you would like to be in then proceed.

You will need a relevant qualification within your industry and specialised health and safety training to get the right skills. You then need to gain membership with the right industry body. 

If you want to be a general safety officer, the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (SAIOSH) registers occupational health and safety practitioners in various industries. SAIOSH offers three designations depending on one’s experience and qualifications; technical member, graduate member and chartered member. They are also SAQA accredited, which means your qualification will be internationally recognised. 

Each industry has an industry body that requires membership before you can practice as a safety officer; South African Centre for Project Construction Managers & Plumbers (SACPCMP), Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and South African Society of Occupational Medicine (SASOM).

One of the main requirements for being a safety officer is experience. Experience is fundamental. You can work your way up through your company to gain practical experience in your industry. It will be to your advantage if you work in a position where you can develop and use some of the skills mentioned earlier. You can also start with a junior position like a health and safety representative, compliance officer etc., to gain the relevant experience.  

FTS Safety Group offers a Safety Officer placement program for registered safety officers with a minimum of five years’ experience. This program places safety officers with companies in need throughout the country. For more information, contact us at [email protected]