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Appointing a Health and Safety Manager? Make sure he has these following skills

by , 17 February 2014
As you know, you must appoint a Health and Safety Officer if you have more than 20 employees. Essentially, your employees nominate this person. But what about appointing qualified people, like a Health and Safety Manager? Use this sample job description to ensure your Health and Safety Manager has the right skills.

It's crucial that you appoint qualified people. This goes a long way when it comes to health and safety. It's actually a legal requirement. And you'll be in breach of safety laws if you overlook this.

If you're appointing a Health and Safety Manager, the Health & Safety Advisor recommends you use this sample job description as a guideline.

Job description for Health and Safety Manager

Job title this position reports to: Senior manager (executive/director level)

Direct reports: Health and safety supervisor/Health and safety officers

Brief description of job purpose: To review, evaluate and analyse work environments and design programmes and procedures to control, eliminate and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors.

To conduct audits and ensure inspections are done; enforcing adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals.

Read on for the qualifications, experience and competencies to look for...

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Qualifications, experience, competencies:


  • Grade 12
  • National Diploma in Safety Management or equivalent SAMTRAC, SHEMTRAC, Hazard Identification & Risk Assessments, Legal Compliance Assessments, Construction Regulations and other NOSA or similar training would be advantageous


  • At least ten years industry related experience of which five years must be in a management role


  • Thorough knowledge of relevant local safety, security and environmental legislation (OHS ACT, COID Act, Environmental Conservation Act)
  • Thorough knowledge of ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001
  • Working knowledge of safety systems
  • Ability to manage the implementation and administration of safety systems

Leadership competencies:

  • Driving accountability
  • Drive and energy
  • Initiating action
  • Building and maintaining stakeholder relationships
  • Cross-cultural awareness
  • Impact and influence
  • Organisational understanding
  • Business understanding
  • Facilitating and managing performance
  • Attracting, developing and retaining talent
  • Strategic focus
  • Articulating and cascading the vision and values
  • Decisive insight
  • Team leadership
  • Communication skills

Key responsibilities of this role:

  • Develop and implement safety management plan.
  • Formulate OHS standards for projects and comply with customer requirements.
  • Ensure that OHS policies, procedures, standards and methodologies are current and report non-compliance to operations manager.
  • Ensure that Health and Safety management systems, processes, policies, procedures and resources are in place and adhered to
  • Take full cognisance of applicable legislation and best practice principles in providing leadership on Health and Safety activities.
  • Provide leadership to and direct Risk Management Associations with International Operations.

Main activities of this role:

  • Order suspension of activities that pose threats to workers' health and safety.
  • Recommend measures to help protect workers from potentially hazardous work methods, processes or materials.
  • Investigate incidents to identify causes and to determine how such accidents might be prevented in the future.
  • Develop and maintain hygiene programmes such as noise surveys, continuous atmosphere monitoring, ventilation surveys and asbestos management plans.
  • Audit and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices to ensure compliance with safety standards and government regulations.
  • Collaborate with engineers and physicians to institute control and remedial measures for hazardous and potentially hazardous conditions or equipment.
  • Provide new employee health and safety orientations and develop materials for these presentations.
  • Survey and report on health and safety practices and systems.
  • Recruit, select, manage and develop health and safety direct-reporting staff.
  • Execute responsibilities according to lawful and ethical standards as set out in the policy and procedure manual.
  • Implement and train on evacuation procedures, fire drills etc
  • Budgeting.

Bottom line: Last week we reported that a foreman at the Tongaat mall collapse site testified that he didn't have the proper qualifications. Make sure this isn't the case in your workplace. Use this job description as a guide when appointing a Health and Safety Manager.

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