Legal appointment for safety officer – Once health and safety officers have successfully completed a course, they will be issued with a certificate as proof that they have undergone and succeeded in training. However, a certificate alone does not guarantee that one will be appointed when they seek employment, regardless of what the law states.
Companies only want to employee the best and they usually have abundant options. For that reason, aspiring health and safety officers are advised to research and be knowledgeable about where to study before undertaking a course in this field. They should ensure that they check first if the institute they would like to enrol with is accredited by the accreditation board, HWSETA, so that they are not issued with a certificate that is null.
Training institutions should also be checked for their success rates, the calibre of the lecturers they employ and their experience as an institute. The latter could be cross-checked by finding about the years the institute has been operational and the kind of companies that have been sending their employees or have drawn employees that undertook lectures at that particular institution. Lastly, it is important to check the way lectures are conducted as health and safety is a field that requires both theoretical knowledge as well as practical experience.
Despite good marks, education alone will never be enough to convince an employer to select a particular applicant. Jobs in health and safety demand a lot of character and personal skills. A safety officer should have good personal and communication skills. He should be good at analysing and should be in a position to give advice at all times. Employers will be on the look-out for these skills and characteristics when interviewing potential representatives. The ability to communicate and co-operate can make a positive difference to help avoid incidences in case of life-threatening situations.
Not an option for employers
Although employers can select from a vast choice of talented and trained health and safety practitioners, contrary to employees, they will not be able to take shortcuts. As I pointed in my previous blog, they are legally obliged to appoint at least one trained health and safety official within their facility. And in our competitive economy, one shouldn ´t be surprised when companies are pushed by (potential) clients to increase the number of, or appoint more trained employees.
Companies listed at the stock exchange have to comply with a wide variety of rules and regulations that exceed those set by the national legislators. King III is a good example. This report, which has now become an international standard, demands that companies include a wide variety of socio, environmental and sustainable rules in order to be recognised and accepted by society.
Non-compliance with King III will make it difficult to acquire additional funding or could result in penalties being issued. Health and safety is an important aspect of King III and one shouldn’t be surprised when companies are pushed to appoint more health and safety officials than they are legally required if they want to do business with certain companies.
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