The Safety Professional
GUIDE TO THE SAFETY PROFESSION
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Three (3) Types of People
So Will you be a spectator and see how other people have a great life?
Will you be a passenger, have access to information but never take action?
Or will you be a driver and decide what you will do with your life?
What if you can make a difference in life, make money and grow as an individual?
What if in ten years you can make a proper career?
What do you want?
Like most people, you may not know what exactly you want in life as a career or as a job.
If it’s a job that you are after- all your life you will be looking for jobs. What you need to do is build a career that is never ending that can provide you a living and salary for the rest of your life (if you are good!)
You should be asking the following questions
• Where are you now?
• What is your job?
• Where have you learnt?
• What is the duration of this job?
• What makes you proud of this job?
• How does your job help you to take care of your family?
• What are your values?
• How do you want others to see you?
• What would make you proud?
• How do you feel about your job?
• What do you think will be your next job?
• What is YOUR dream?
• Think of someone who is successful.
• How and why are they successful?
What if I were to share that there is a career that pays well, you don’t stop learning and growing. It can take you around the world. It is professional. It is respectful. You can be proud of it. It can give you longevity in career. You get paid a very good salary.
Don’t you want to get on this before there are too many others? And people are not sharing this with you.
Very few people in the industry are exposed to this career in Safety Health and Environment. We have not heard of it in the schools. Everyone is told to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, businessman, IT Developer, Software Engineer etc. but never a safety professional.
Yet there is a constant need for this role and this profession in almost every sector and industry. Yes- Oil & Gas, Construction, Marine, Pharmaceutical, Maintenance, Building Management, Retail Malls, Landscaping and everywhere. A profession that were unheard of just one generation ago. And no person wants to share a good thing. A job that has many rewards on the personal and financial fronts. A career that is challenging and rewarding field. Legislation passed over the years have increased the scope of safety practice. From just the construction and marine but also into environmental protection, product safety, hazardous materials management and designing safety. And with more awareness and safety drives by governments, there is a greater demand.
The number of people preparing themselves for careers in the safety profession through safety degree programs is increasing. Although in most companies, safety professionals need to expand their roles and responsibilities (which the good ones will do) – from just Occupational Safety, to Health, Environment and Security and at times Quality. Safety has become more complex, and so professionals must have better qualifications and learn more things.
What is the Safety Profession?
It’s estimated that in these accidents alone cost the US over $574.8 billion in 2004. Its said that there are over 2million slips and trips that occurred in UK in 2000.
The primary focus for the safety professions prevention of harm to people, property and the environment. Safety professionals apply principles drawn from such disciplines as engineering, education, psychology, physiology, enforcement, hygiene, health, physics, and management. They use appropriate methods and techniques of loss prevention and loss control.
All of the following are knowledge areas of safety science:
• Chemistry and biology - knowledge about hazardous substances.
• Physics – Knowledge on electricity, heat, radiation and other forms of energy
• Ergonomics – Knowledge on performance limits of humans and tasks, machines, work stations and facilities which improve performance and safety.
• Environmental - knowledge on pollution sources and their control, waste disposal, impact studies, environmental alteration (heat, light, irrigation, erosion, etc.), and ecology.
• Psychology – Knowledge on human behaviours
• Physiology, biomechanics and medicine – Knowledge on mechanisms of injury and illness and how to prevent them.
• Engineering, business management, economics, and even sociology and geology – Knowledge in general about how the business needs to be profitable.
Hazard control activities go on every day throughout the world. Safety is part of many things in the world. From aircrafts that we take for our vacations, to the control towers, to the cars that we drive or the electric power stations or the design and operations of petrochemical plants or even the nuclear power stations. The efforts to reduce and minimise exposure to workplace incidents is there and these efforts are ongoing all the time.
The application of safety principles occurs all around us. In Singapore now, all workplaces are to have measures put in place to ensure safety and wellbeing of people – this includes schools, hospitals, transport companies ie any place that employs someone or where a person can be exposed to harm. This costs money and requires professionals for advice and implementation.
Safety professionals must know the most cost-effective ways to reduce the risk and how to advise employees, owners, and managers. Safety professionals are the specialists in the fight to control hazards. To be called professionals in the first place they must have knowledge and skills. They need to have gained that knowledge from education as well as correct experience. Top safety professionals demonstrate their competence through professional certification examinations.
Regardless of country and industry, safety professionals help companies (and countries) to achieve safety in the workplace. This is done by Risk Management. In simple terms identifying and analysing hazards which potentially create injury and illness problems. And from there developing and implementing hazard controls. These measures need to be communicated, monitored and measured for effectiveness.
What Safety Professionals Do
Wherever there is an industry where people can get hurt, you will find safety professionals. You will find Safety at Work. Safety Professionals are people who use a wide variety of management, engineering and scientific skills to prevent human suffering and related losses. Their specific c roles and activities can vary and may be different from one person to another. Their ability to do the job may also vary from the education and the experience that they have obtained. There are safety professionals with Masters and PhDs. Some working, some teaching, some doing research and some consulting. You will find these professionals in US, Canada, UK and Europe. Most safety professionals, will generally have bachelors or master’s degrees.
However, most safety professionals do at least several of the following:
• Risk Management and Hazard Recognition:
• Fire Protection
• Regulatory Compliance
• Health Hazard Control
• Hazardous Materials Management
• Environmental Protection
• Accident and Incident Investigations
• Advising Management
• Record Keeping
• Emergency Response
• Managing Safety Programs
There are conditions that exist that exposure people to harm, be it on the way to work, at work or on the way home. And if there is a chance that people may be hurt, you will generally find safety professionals
The most Successful safety professionals are those that learn, grow and are effective communicators with strong “people skills.”
Where Safety Professionals Work
Construction sites, Oil & Gas (downstream and upstream), corporate offices, manufacturing plants, power stations, airports, transport companies, government sectors, landscaping industry, hospitals, schools, mining operations, diving and many more industries.
In recent years, safety professionals are working more and more in diverse and non-traditional worksites. The Successful Safety Professionals are not limited to working only in their country of origin. They can be found traveling the world doing consulting, working or training.
Many safety professionals aspire to become a Corporate Safety Manager/Director/Vice President with responsibilities for leading and managing the safety function at the organization’s corporate or division headquarters. With this comes great responsibilities. To get to these positions, these Successful Safety Professionals must learn, grow and expand their minds, knowledge and skills.
What Do Safety Professionals Get Paid
Salaries in Singapore
- Safety Coordinators are asking for salaries from SGD$2200 per month to SGD$3300 per month
- Safety Officers are asking for salaries from SGD$4500 per month to SGD$5500 per month
- Safety Trainers are asking for SGD$30 per hour to SGD$50 per hour
Salaries in US
- Safety Inspectors are getting around US $30,000
- Safety Professionals are getting up to $150,000
A Survey done in US in 2013 showed that more Safety Professionals were getting from $100,000 to $125,000 per annum.
- A new safety person earns up to $2400 a month in Malaysia
- Average Salaries of up to GBP$40,000 per year
In other words, people in the safety profession often earn salaries comparable to people in law, medicine, engineering and accounting.
Also, experienced safety professionals usually have little trouble moving from one organization to another.
Are skills and knowledge transferable?
Yes. While being a safety professional you may have gotten a basic degree in engineering or business.
Going into safety is only helps build your understanding of what you learnt in school. The ability and need to do research, be analytical, write reports, learn new things, be able to communicate well- all these skills are highly transferrable.
In fact there are big companies out there that require their staff to undertake safety roles before they can be promoted to the next rung.
Being a safety professional would also mean that in due time you may be advising the top management. This give key information into the mindsets of management. Also no other profession gives you such a short time to climb the ladder of success.
Can I travel? Am I restricted to working in one country?
The great thing about working in the safety line is that you can get to travel. You can apply for jobs all over the world. As long as you pick up the right experience, knowledge and in some cases the certifications to work in a country.
There are Safety Professionals that travel the world to do training and to visit sites for consulting purposes. You need to be knowledgeable and professional to get to do this.
There will also be cases where the consultants provide expertise and supply personnel to provide the implementation. This should not be confused with expertise. Consulting and supply are two different issues.
The first clue that being a safety professional is a respectable career is that you have to constantly upskill yourself.
Certifications/courses for example
NEBOSH - UK
IOSH Managing Safety - UK
Workplace Safety Health Coordinator- Singapore
Workplace Safety Health Officer - Singapore
Workplace Safety Health Auditor - Singapore
Greenbook - Malaysia
Yellowbook - Malaysia
Certified Safety Professional – USA
BOSIET – OPITO (for people going offshore)
How can I get certifications?
There are Full Time Courses, Part Time Courses, Distance Learning Courses and Online Courses. You decide what is the best route for you. A good training provider will have Distance Learning and Online Courses as well as face to face delivery.
Should I Become a Safety Professional?
When choosing a future profession what should I look for? Probably all of the following considerations are important: Is the career
Provides a sense of accomplishment,
Provides potential to advance
Compensation is good- compensation skills and accomplishments,
Provides stable employment,
Provides variety in the daily routine,
Provides potential to travel for work,
Provides specialisation into different areas,
Provides entry to different Industries (not restricted)
The safety profession scores very high on being an ideal Career. You may wonder if you have what it takes to be a successful safety professional. Here are some important things to consider.
Do you want a career that is international?
Do you want a career that will take you up to management levels through your work, skills and knowledge?
Are you motivated by a need to help others?
Are you willing to learn?
Are you willing to communicate with people?
Do you think its important to save peoples lives?
Do you want a rewarding career?
As a safety professional you have to talk to and work with almost everyone in the company. Courses and certifications can be hard but lessons are to be learnt. You can pass most examinations if you find a good training provider and have or develop good study habits and are willing to work hard.
As you climb the rungs to be a Safety Manager you will need planning and organization skills.
How to Become a Safety Professional
RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH.
1. Go to the local authorities and ask them
2. Research online to find good safety professionals. Drop them a email and call them (remember be NICE- they don’t owe you anything, you are asking them for a favour)
3. Talk to real safety professionals
4. Visit safety professionals at their workplaces
5. Read about safety issues in the country
6. Read safety magazines
7. Read international safety magazines
Note that Safety Professionals can and will specialise. They specialise from
- Occupational Safety Health
- Process Safety
- Human Factors
How to get ahead
Find Role Models. In every industry and in every profession, there are people who will get very far ahead. Follow them. Follow what they went through.
However, there are many who join the safety industry and within 3-6 months think that they know everything about safety and about anything related to safety. These people will NEVER go anywhere. They will contract around for the rest of their lives. They will be laughing and mocking people who are really trying to learn and grow.