what is a safety officer?

As a safety officer, you maintain safety at the workplace by implementing various safety measures. You define protocols and work procedures to ensure a job site is a safe place to work. You ensure the company upholds the policies since you understand the workplace's health and safety requirements. That involves conducting audits and routine workplace inspections to check for potential hazards. The inspections help you monitor if the employees are following safety procedures. You are also responsible for training employees on all company safety requirements. Training workers helps prevent accidents that could be avoided by learning how to properly use equipment or hazardous situations.

Safety officers don’t just provide pre-emptive solutions to minimise safety risks. You also address safety issues after an accident or incident at the workplace. For instance, you investigate incidents at the workplace, whether minor or major issues, to determine the cause and find recommendations to prevent future accidents.

Regardless of the industry you work in, including manufacturing and mining, you ensure the company complies with Safe Work Australia regulations. That involves having the necessary documentation to show compliance and avoid non-compliance penalties. The role requires extensive knowledge of safety procedures and logical thinking to investigate safety hazards at the workplace.

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average safety officer salary

The average remuneration package for safety officers in Australia is $95,000 per year. Your remuneration fluctuates based on various factors. For instance, in a junior-level role, you start with a salary of $85,000 annually, which translates to about $35 an hour. However, with experience, your earnings increase gradually, and you are likely to earn over $105,000 per year or an hourly rate of $50.

how to increase your salary as a safety officer

As a safety officer, your earnings fluctuate based on various factors, such as skills, area of work and the number of hours. Safety officer jobs are available in full-time and part-time positions. If you work full-time, you earn a higher hourly wage than part-time workers. Working overtime and outside standard business hours also increases your earnings significantly.

The industry you work in determines your remuneration. The primary industries for safety workers are construction, mining, healthcare and public administration. The complexity of the duties in the mining and construction industries increases your earning potential.

Some regions also have higher salary prospects. For instance, Western Australia has a higher demand for safety officers, so you're more likely to enjoy a competitive salary. Working in metro areas also improves your remuneration prospects.

Want to know what you will earn as a safety officer? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

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types of safety offices

As a safety officer, you have multiple areas of specialisation to explore. For instance, you can become a workplace health and safety auditor responsible for inspecting the work areas of specific industries. You check if companies adhere to established health and safety standards.

Some safety officers become industrial or occupational hygienists responsible for dealing with issues associated with chemical and biological hazards. You train employees on risks associated with hazardous substances. As a hazardous materials safety officer, you oversee the handling of hazardous materials. You review the storage and disposal of dangerous goods at the workplace.

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working as a safety officer

If you are interested in working as a safety officer, read on to discover the duties, work environments and work schedules of the role.

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education and skills

If you want to become a safety officer, you require an occupational health and safety qualification and the necessary professional certification. Pursue a Certificate IV in work health and safety or a diploma in work health and safety accredited by the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board. You can also start your career as a safety officer with a degree in occupational health and safety.

You should also consider getting a Construction Industry Induction Card or first aid certification by completing a short course in a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Improve your career prospects by applying for certification with the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS). Once you receive certification, you should renew it annually and receive ongoing professional development.

Aside from educational qualifications and certifications, improve your experience through internships and entry-level roles. Working alongside safety officers improves your knowledge and skills.

safety officer skills and competencies

Some of the soft skills that a safety officer needs include:

  • communication skills: as a safety officer, you perform multiple tasks and communicate with different departments. You require good communication skills to explain work safety procedures or train employees on health and safety standards. Your communication skills help you communicate tactfully and help stakeholders understand their obligations and follow the guidelines.
  • problem-solving skills: as a safety officer, your job involves investigating incidents at the workplace. Your problem-solving skills help you think logically and critically to determine the cause of the accidents, as well as provide recommendations on how to avert future accidents.
  • risk management skills: as a safety officer, your primary responsibility is to identify potential hazards at the workplace. You use your risk management skills to assess the workplace for dangers and formulate workplace health and safety policies.
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FAQs about working as a safety officer

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a safety officer.

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