Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) professionals work to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of people in the workplace using a mix of core technical competencies and interpersonal skills such as facilitation, engagement, leadership and influencing. The management of psychosocial risk is also an aspect of the OHS role.
It is a multi-disciplinary profession which requires a mixture of formal training and practical experience. OHS professionals work closely with other specialists including Safety Engineers, Occupational Hygienists, Ergonomists, and Occupational Health professionals.
Job prospects for OHS professionals are above average, and wages are very good. New Zealand has a poor workplace health and safety performance record and both Government and industry are actively trying to reduce serious work-related incidents.
Career options include:
It is a lot more interesting than hi-vis vests and a checklist. It's about helping to look after a company's most valuable asset - its people.
OHS professionals work to promote health and safety in the workplace and public places to ensure that working conditions are safe and healthy and comply with legal requirements. This is done using core technical competencies and interpersonal skills including facilitation, engagement, leadership and influencing skills.
This type of work includes providing identifying, assessing, managing and monitoring hazards and risks, completing risk assessments, investigating incidents, return to work and rehabilitation, training managers and employees, developing health and safety management systems, policies and procedures, auditing, and contractor management.
Other technical skills include hazardous substances management, machinery and equipment safety, fire safety and ventilation and knowledge of organisational behaviour, occupational health and hygiene, occupational psychology (human factors) and ergonomics.
There are a number of education providers offering OHS courses to start you on your health and journey.
NZISM has produced (published Dec. 2020) a useful brochure looking at those providers whose courses serve as a pathway to NZISM accreditation. The brochure considers courses NZQA Level 6 and above and compares course content, duration and fees.
You might also want to look at our list of recognised qualifications.
The NZISM Accreditation Programme provides a pathway for New Zealand health and safety professionals to become registered on the HASANZ Register.
The HASANZ Register is the place businesses go to find verified OHS professionals across the various OHS disciplines. Being listed on the HASANZ Register is like having a Warrant of Fitness to practice as an OHS professional. Businesses can be confident that people on the HASANZ Register have met the standard of competence required by their professional association.
If you are considering a career in OHS consultancy, you need to have your sights set on the HASANZ Register - and NZISM offers a structured path to get there.
Thank you for joining the Women in Safety Excellence (WISE) network.
We hold various online and face-to-face events throughout the year and if one occurs near you, we would love to meet you in person.
LinkedIn - Please make sure you join our LinkedIn group to stay connected and on top of our planned webinars and events. We encourage you to post anything in the WISE group page that you think other network members would find useful or inspiring. Please don't be shy. The more we reach out, the more we connect with each other, and the more we can help each other on our journeys.
We might send you the occasional email but our web page on the NZISM website is always the best place to go for an overview of what's coming up in the WISE calendar.
Margaret van Schaik