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What Do You Need To Consider When Employing H&S Officers?



There are many technical and personality aspects that you need to consider when recruiting key health and safety employees. What experience and qualifications should you be looking for? What type of person deals best with the pressures of the industry and will fit with your company?

Health and safety representatives need to be extremely dedicated to the cause and show a determination to reduce risks within your company. However, there’s much more to the role and it requires someone who has a keen desire to develop themselves as well. What are the key attributes you should be looking for in an applicant?


It’s essential that anyone applying for a health and safety role has a minimum standard of qualification. Most employers would be looking for a NEBOSH certificate or equivalent. To ensure employees have a good understanding of the policies and procedures required of the role, the National General Certificate or NEBOSH International Certificate, for those working outside of the UK, would be a good starting point.

Depending on the specific duties of the role and the particular industry you operate within, it might also be necessary to have additional qualifications, such as a construction or fire certification. Training shouldn’t just stop when a role is accepted. The demands of the industry mean that all employees should keep up to date with developments. You should be looking for an applicant who wants to pursue further training courses and develop their career.


The level of experience you require will depend on the seniority of the role you’re recruiting for. As a minimum, you should be looking for someone who has previously worked in the industry, at least as a health and safety representative within a small organization.

They need to show that they’ve effectively managed risks within the workplace and worked to improve safety levels. They must understand the relevant policies and procedures and show evidence that they’ve implemented them.

Specific Attributes

Working with health and safety isn’t just about the levels of qualifications and experience a person has. It also requires a specific type of personality and skill set to be effective in a role.

Often decisions need to be made quickly to reduce risk, so a health and safety officer has to be able to make these confidently. This also requires them to remain calm under pressure and work to strict timelines without taking their eye off the detail. Implementing the procedures means that they have to find solutions to problems and adapt to them when required.

A health and safety employee needs to have the flexibility to meet the demands of the role. They should have proven experience of planning their own time and working well with limited supervision.

You shouldn’t take your business’ commitment to health and safety lightly. You need to have robust measures in place to recruit the right person, whether you require them to have a NEBOSH international qualification or an alternative.