How to Become an Occupational Health
and Safety Inspector
Are you interested in the exciting world of construction – but would rather keep your hands out of the dirt? Why not pursue a career as an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Inspector? Here, you’ll be responsible for upholding the most important rules and regulations about safe construction work – the maintenance of a safe and clean site.
OHS inspectors have a range of tasks and responsibilities. Of these is to, naturally, inspect various work sites and see that they adhere to governmental and industrial work standards. Inspectors also educate construction companies about safe work practices and show them how to implement sound OHS systems. Machinery and equipment is also inspected by an OHS professional. As an OHS inspector, you will also have to enforce safety legislature through the issuing of reports and notices –adding fines where necessary.
Education and Training
You don’t need a university degree to get into OHS inspection. However, a degree will definitely give you an advantage over other applicants in the job hunt. You can do a general BSc degree or opt for Bachelor’s Degree of Health Science.
If you want to give university a skip, you can choose to do a Diploma or Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. A Certificate IV in OHS, for example, can be done at any TAFE accredited college, and only takes a single semester (six months) to complete. Here, you’ll learn all of the basics of good OHS inspection, and have plenty of exposure to the practical and theoretical components of the subject. It’s fairly easy to find a job in OHS inspection once you qualify. You have the choice of working for a private company or for your local municipality.
What is working as an OHS Inspector Like?
This job offers the best of both worlds: the comfort and order of the office, as well as the thrill of the construction site. However, you must be prepared to get down and dirty for your on-site jobs – you may be required, for instance, to work at tall heights or in very confined spaces. Thankfully, all OHS inspectors are provided with protective gear before they step onto the actual site. It is very common for inspectors to wear protective goggles, hard hats and high-visibility vests.
You are also required to have some basic knowledge of construction equipment, especially heavy machinery. This is because you will need to to inspect construction tools on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to be aware of heat and light monitoring tools, as well as noise and airflow.
Can Anyone be an OHS Inspector?
A good OHS inspector is energetic, enthusiastic, and confident enough to walk on to any construction site. You need to be a good communicator and have excellent interpersonal skills, as most of your time will be spent talking to construction managers and workers. Assertiveness is also a vital trait. This is because you’ll encounter many uncooperative workers and managers who are unwilling to stick to OHS standards. You’ll also need to be honest and impartial at all times. Do not let fear or favour negatively influence your OHS responsibilities. It also helps to have an eye for detail.