What they do
Occupational health and safety advisers ensure that organisations comply with health and safety laws and regulations to protect staff within the workplace.
They are responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating health and safety management plans, policies and systems, as well as conducting inspections to identify and remedy potential risks or dangers in the workplace. They must make sure all employees have received relevant and up-to-date occupational health and safety training.
Occupational health and safety advisers may also be involved in investigating accidents and injuries, assisting with the rehabilitation of affected workers, and identifying causes to prevent future incidents. They also coordinate the return of injured workers back into the workplace.
Occupational health and safety advisers may work within a single organisation, or they might visit and inspect a number of workplaces. They conduct inspections to identify and minimise potential accidents and health hazards, such as chemical use and advising of correct storage procedures for dangerous materials. They also provide training for employees in the use personal protective equipment and the application of safe working procedures.
Tools and technologies
Occupational health and safety advisers use computers to research and develop occupational health and safety plans, programs and reports. When they inspect workplaces they wear personal protective equipment suited to the work environment, such as dust masks, safety glasses, gloves, footwear and helmets.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become an occupational health and safety adviser, you usually need to complete a qualification in occupational health and safety.
The Certificate III and IV in Work Health and Safety and the Diploma of Work Health and Safety are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.
You can also undertake a traineeship in occupational health and safety officer. The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.
You can study a degree in health, safety and environment, occupational safety and health or a related field. Some universities in Western Australia offer degrees in these fields. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.