9 Essential qualities of an HSE Officer

If you’re considering a career as an HSE Officer of Coordinator– congratulations, it’s a great choice! As companies become ever-more safety and environmentally conscious, there are a growing number of opportunities.

In the old days, when I was looking for jobs near me, I’d scan the local newspaper, but now it’s much easier, as job boards advertise opportunities all over the world. Before you make your final decision, it’s important to consider the skills you’ll need. Of course, some qualifications, or ‘hard skills’ are vital to get you started, but you’ll also need ‘soft-skills’ to be successful.

Let’s look at “The 9 Essential qualities of an HSE Officer”

1. Empathy
To be a great HSE officer, you need to start from a belief that people are important, that their well-being is important. It’s not just about enforcing rules – you’ll need to be a good listener to understand situations from another person’s point of view, so you can make informed decisions.

2. Credibility
To make your voice heard and ensure that HSE remains at the top of the decision-maker’s list of priorities, you’ll need to gain credibility and respect from those around you, up to and including the CEO. Credibility and respect are earned over time – partly from your technical expertise but mainly from your actions. ​

3. Lead by example
People will expect you to walk your talk in terms of safety. If you tell others not to cut corners, you cannot cut corners yourself. There’s an old saying that respect is earned over time, but can be lost in an instant. So understand the need for your words and actions to be consistent.

4. Planning
Being an HSE officer isn’t only about dealing with incidents. If you want to maintain a focus on safety and the environment, you’ll need to prioritize the areas that need action, make plans to address them, communicate those plans to obtain buy-in from leaders, and put them into action.

5. Proactivity
Your job is to prevent accidents which could cause injuries or even loss of life. Just because something hasn’t happened already, doesn’t mean there’s no possibility it will occur in future. So spotting potential hazards, identifying areas of risk and taking the necessary action are key components of the role.

Read Also: Health and safety in schools – Qualities of an unsafe school

6. Responsiveness
Form-filling and report writing are facts of life when you’re an HSE Officer. Accurate record-keeping is essential, for a whole range of reasons. However, this fact shouldn’t get in the way of you responding quickly and effectively whenever a situation requires urgent attention.

7. Determination
When situations arise that you need to deal with, of course you take action. But often, that’s not enough. For example, if you implement a safety rule, you’ll need to monitor to ensure it’s being followed. If it’s not, you may need to re-explain, or re-train. You have to be determined that, as what you want to happen is of benefit to everyone, your changes need to stick.

8. Stays Updated​
Once you’re qualified and working, it’s vital to stay up-to-date with the most recent HSE best practice. Invest time and effort in gaining further qualifications, join interest groups and check out industry websites and blogs for the latest news.

Read Also: Emergency Management Plan

9. Great Communicator
You’re constantly working to ensure that the people around you, as well as property and the environment, are kept safe. To be an effective HSE Officer, it’s not enough to know when you’re right. You have to be able to convince others that you are right, so they accept what you’re telling them.

By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

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