The field of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) deals with keeping workers, work environments, the public, and the environment safe. It follows that the qualities required to succeed will vary but here are just a few of the important ones:
OHS specialists are tasked with making work environments safer and healthier which entails identifying and controlling hazards, so you could argue problem-solving is the most important part of the job. For various unique work environments, OHS specialists need to creatively design and implement solutions to (potential) workplace hazards in ways that meet safety standards and regulations, and improve productivity. The problems they may face vary from reluctant employers to uninterested employees or immovable equipment.
Communicating clearly is a very important part of the job. Both written and oral communication skills are required as the job entails deciphering safety standards and regulations in ways that employers and workers can easily understand. OHS specialists should be eloquent and confident public speakers. They should be able to formulate detailed and precise reports on health and safety data, hazards, and incidents. They may also be asked to develop and implement training programs related to safety equipment and emergency procedures and should be able to communicate instructions to a variety of audiences.
Also known as being detail-oriented, analytical skills are important for OHS specialists who must be thoroughly familiar with complex safety standards and regulations (and the slight but frequent ways they change). OHS specialists must also be able to collect and examine health and safety data. This may include conducting detailed physical, chemical, radiological, and biological inspections.
Because OHS specialists can expect to evaluate a wide variety of work environments, the technology they can expect to come across will also vary widely. Given appropriate guidance, OHS specialists should be willing and able to learn new technology with ease in order to examine equipment and procedures. They may also need to use advanced technology in order to test physical, chemical, radiological, and biological samples.
Fitness skills are as important as any of the skills above for an OHS specialist to succeed. Standing for long periods of time, climbing ladders, ducking equipment, walking long distances, coping with extreme weather, and wearing burdensome safety equipment are all common parts of the job.
Universal Health and Safety counts on highly-qualified and experienced OHS specialists who are available to consult or teach. Whether you’re an employer in need of a health and safety inspection or a professional looking for courses to improve your OHS qualifications, contact us to learn more.
And if you’re wondering what a career in Occupational Health and Safety might look like, check out our blog.