Health and Safety Job courses and role

Health & Safety Assistant/Trainee or Apprentice

When hired as a Occupational Health and Safety trainee, a large part of the first 6 months involves being assigned a mentor. A mentor could be a health and safety manager or health and safety officer who has more than 5 years’ experience working in occupational health and safety. Their knowledge and support will prove invaluable.

In the first few months, you will learn from your mentor how health and safety procedures are being carried out.  You will learn quickly how things are being done within the organization and how risk and hazards are identified. A large part of the first 6 months of working as a Health and Safety trainee/apprentice is keeping records, doing tasks delegated by your mentor and learning on the job.

Newly hired health and safety trainees or apprentices are usually assessed against core criteria after 6 months. Research conducted by CMI Career Qualifications shows the following as the most important:

  • Personal Performance
  • Communication Skills
  • Working with others
  • Accountability and responsibility
  • Fundamentals of Health and Safety knowledge

Personal Performance: How you performed in the trainee health and safety role largely depends on your own self-motivation and discipline. Being self-aware of your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for development is a key aspect of learning any new profession and working as a health and safety professional, is no different. Your health and safety mentor will respond well to any trainee who shows high levels of self-motivation, enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

Communication skills: A large part of working in health and safety roles is about good communication skills whether through verbal or non-verbal methods. It is essential to show empathy to injured workers, active listening, be assertive and influence, and inspire others to act safely.  Good communication skills helps’ achieve the health and safety goals in any organisation.

Working with others: Your mentor will observe how you interact and work with others. To work in health and safety you must get ‘buy-in’ from staff and senior management, that you are a person who ‘says what they do’.  A good positive, can-do attitude, being able to get cooperation and have positive meaning work relations is essential.

Accountability and responsibility:  Admitting where and when mistakes were made is an essential part of the role. Being honest and sincere helps gain respect from fellow workers. All health and safety systems are based on learning from mistakes and continual improvement. So as you learn new health and safety tasks, it is just as important to admit to your health and safety manager when mistakes have been made. Taking responsibility will help you earn respect from your mentor and fellow workers.

Safety meetings: Your mentor will ask you to attend safety meetings, initially as an observer and later as an active participant.  You will be expected to take safety meeting minutes and write up reports on hazards identified.

Accident investigations: One of the most significant aspects of gaining new responsibility is being asked to participate in accident investigations.  Initially as an observer and later your mentor will ask you to go further and write up reports on incidents, near misses or actual injuries experienced in the workplace. A big part of the job is analysing data, for example, near misses and injuries and coming up with solutions to unsafe work practices.

Performance Appraisal: As your experience and confidence grows as a Health and safety apprentice/ trainee, your health and safety manager may give you more responsibility. After 6 months, your mentor/ health and safety manager will sit down and appraise your personal performance. A decision will be made as to whether they will promote you from a trainee to a health and safety assistant.

Learning about the relevant health and safety legislation, codes of practice, types of risk assessments and what to do, where and when, requires patience and study. A formal qualification will compliment your apprenticeship and lead you on a great career. It will also indicate to your mentor, that you are serious about a career in occupational health and safety.

Health and Safety Trainee/ Apprentice Qualifications and Courses

Most health and safety trainees admit that they don’t acquire enough health and safety knowledge in the first year to move from trainee to health and safety assistant. To progress, they feel they need to do further study outside of normal working hours. Doing a part time entry level Occupational Health and Safety Certificate course, will provide the knowledge needed to become a fully qualified health and safety assistant.

The level 3 Technical Certificate in Occupational health and Safety  (comparable to level 5 in Ireland) is designed for trainees and apprentices.  At technical level, you are learning about the technical fundamentals of working in health and safety and acquiring knowledge about health and safety legislation and risk and incident management.  Consider becoming Tech Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Certified today.

For  more information on this course CLICK HERE