Why study Occupational Health and Safety?
What is occupational health and safety?
Perhaps you aren’t too familiar with occupational health and safety (OHS) and maybe someone has mentioned to you that it may be a good idea to study an OHS course. Therefore, you may be wondering what it is and how studying OHS would be beneficial to you.
Occupational health and safety is the practice of keeping a working environment safe from hazards which threaten employees physical well-being and also ensuring that the work place is free from any mental or social harm. The most important objective of OHS is to make employees and employers aware of possible threats in their working environment, to ensure that the threats are minimalised, and that both employers and employees adhere to health and safety regulations.
Why is it important?
Employees are one of the most important assets to a business; their labour allows a business to be operational and as such it is important to allow employees to carry out their duties without any threat to their ability to perform their daily tasks.
OHS regulations not only protect employees but also employers. Employers need to regularly ensure that they comply with health and safety standards and in doing so, reduce their liability should something go wrong; e.g. an employee is injured. It is important to remember that both the employer and the employee play a part in keeping the working environment as safe as possible.
What does it involve?
On average an occupational health and safety representative is appointed to identify risks and implement health and safety regulations as it is specified by labour laws. In industrial type settings it is especially important that laws and regulations are strictly adhered to as employees work with different types-, and sometimes very dangerous machinery as well as harmful chemicals.
In normal office settings the OHS representative or coordinator will ensure that employees are aware of fire exits, emergency procedures and they will have first aid training. Other general responsibilities will include warning signage/boards, inspections and communicating health and safety procedures and potential risks to colleagues and management.
Why study occupational health and safety?
There are two reasons why you would study an OHS course: firstly, you may want to pursue this a full-time career. There are many industries that need a full-time OHS advisor especially in manufacturing, mining, shipping etc.; these industries need someone whose sole duty it is to ensure that health and safety procedures are followed and standards are met.
The second reason to enrol for an OHS course, and probably the most common reason, is that you’ve been designated to be the OHS representative or coordinator in your department or you would like to take on that responsibility.
As an OHS representative or coordinator both management and colleagues will rely on you to implement health and safety measures and it is therefore important to have formal training.
College SA offers both Occupational Health and Safety Representative in the Workplace and Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator in the Workplace courses.