Always on the lookout

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 January, 2009, 12:00am

Safety officers have to make sure the workplace is secure and workers are alert

Requirements: A safety officer needs to be alert. He should be able to spot dangerous practices or potential hazards at a workplace quickly. The job requires writing a lot of reports. A good command of spoken Chinese and English is also essential.

Qualifications: Many local universities offer a bachelor of science degree in Environmental, Occupational Safety and Health for those interested in joining the industry. People with higher diplomas can join a course offered by the Construction Industry Council Training Academy which will train them as safety officers.

Average salary: The starting salary ranges from HK$10,000-HK$15,000. Some candidates go on to set up their own business, while others prefer to work for a company. Salary can vary a lot as one moves upwards.

Work prospects: The main duty of a safety officer is to help a company implement a safety management system. The work includes inspecting the safety of workplaces, carrying out accident investigations and promoting safety concepts among workers.

Junior safety officers spend a lot of time at construction sites. They keep an eye out for unsafe practices or potential hazards. They have to write a report about the site's safety conditions and discuss with other officers and management ways to improve workers' safety.

In case of an accident, they have to carry out an investigation. They look into how and why the accident took place, how to prevent it from happening again and who should be held responsible.

Ensuring safety in the workplace is not the responsibility of the safety officer alone. All the workers in the company have a role to play. The safety officer promotes safety in the workplace. They give talks to workers to educate them about safe practices.

Long-term prospects: Experienced safety officers spend less time investigating accidents at construction sites.

They supervise junior officers and come up with safety policies.

With their experience, they play an important role in helping a company implement its safety management system.

After being in the field for a while, some safety officers join the education sector to teach safety courses.

There are also officers who set up their own safety consultant companies.

Where to apply: The Labour Department, construction and safety consultant companies and big corporations, such as banks and property companies.A day in the life of a safety officer

Work usually starts at eight or nine in the morning.

All the workers gather around for a briefing by the safety officer before starting work. The safety officer then inspects the site. He writes a report about the safety conditions and meets senior officials to discuss ways to improve the situation.

If there is an accident, he needs to carry out an investigation. He collects evidence from workers at the scene of the accident and submits a report.

Work usually ends at five or six in the evening when the construction site is closed.