The primary aim of safety managers or officers is to create a work environment that is safe for employees to work in. They are required to develop and maintain accident prevention programmes and are responsible for ensuring that occupational accidents do not occur in the work place. To achieve this, they need to keep careful records of accidents that do occur, investigate the causes of these accidents and implement measures to prevent such accidents from recurring.
Safety managers will perform a number of tasks, including ad hoc safety inspections, maintaining accident occurrence records (as required by law), testifying in hearings and in court, and training other safety officers.
They are predominantly employed in manufacturing or production plants, as it is within such environments that heavy-duty machinery - the major cause of industrial accidents - is used. The work environment is usually noisy. Most safety officers work from an office. Due to the diversity of industries in which they are employed, they may be required to work outdoors, for instance in the construction industry.
Safety engineers work to develop more efficient and safe manufacturing processes and safety measures - see Industrial Engineer for more details.
Occupational health and safety officers coordinate health and safety systems in an organisation, identify hazards and assess risks to health and safety, put appropriate safety controls in place, and provide advice on accident prevention and occupational health to management and employees.
Occupational / Industrial hygienists identify and investigate problems of occupational / industrial hygiene (chemical and biological hazards) in the workplace. They use scientific equipment to measure and control hazardous substances.
Each institution has its own entry requirements.
The National Occupational Safety Association (NOSA)
P O Box 11698
Tel: (012) 683-0200 Fax: (012) 683-0229