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How to Become a Work Health and Safety Officer Trainer
Accidents and illnesses caused by work don’t just ruin careers. They can devastate lives and families. As such, it’s not hard to see why work health and safety is a massive concern Australia-wide.
Many Australians are either injured, fall ill, or even die because of workplace accidents, faulty equipment, or high risk conditions in their workplace almost every day. There were more than 531,000 work injuries and diseases in 2014 alone!
This is why so many organisations hire safety representatives. Instead of risking massive fines and being shut down if their staff get into accidents, employers now rely on WHS Officers and Risk Assessors to ensure their workplace is safe.
As a result, demand for WHS Officers and Representatives in Australia is thriving.
The Australian Government expects strong growth for occupational health and safety jobs until 2019. Up to 25,000 job vacancies are expected to open up, and many Australians are now starting their career by formalising their safety experience through training courses.
Many of these training courses are nationally accredited and only qualified trainers can teach them. This has made safety trainers and assessors extremely critical. Without them, demand for WHS officers and representatives is unlikely to be met.
So how do you become a Safety Trainer to help meet this growing demand?
Step 1: Study Work Health and Safety Courses and Gain Experience
Do you currently hold a safety qualification? These are absolutely crucial to get into a career in safety..
Safety officer training courses help you find a job and gain essential work experience. Two of the most recognised workplace health and safety qualifications in Australia today are the:
Both are nationally accredited and take up to 12 months to complete. Once you complete a safety representative training course, you will have skills that allow you to gain experience in a wide range of industries, from mining sites to city offices to construction projects.
You might be thinking, “So which course should I pick?”
If you are just starting your career, employers may look for the Cert IV WHS in your resume. Completing this health and safety representative course shows that you are fully trained in the core duties including how to:
1. Participate in work health and safety management systems
2. Identify risks and hazards in the workplace
3. Assist in responding to accidents
4. Assess and control risks
5. Check compliance to work health and safety legislation
If you are already a safety representative, the Diploma WHS may help you advance your career and get into more senior roles. You will gain skills such as how to:
1. Manage the WHS consultation process
2. Investigate WHS risks and hazards
3. Contribute to develop, implement, and maintain management systems
4. Write complex safety reports and documents
5. Facilitate the development and use of risk management tools
You can also choose from a range of a high risk work licenses if you want to train for specific equipment or jobs. These include:
1. Elevated Work Platforms
2. Forklift Operation
3. Rigging and/or Dogging
5. Confined Spaces
Note that High Risk Work Assessors have other specific requirements depending on your state or territory. Please check your local safety government body for complete details on how to apply.
Important! You can only train for qualifications that you already hold. To maximise your career opportunities, it may help to hold both the Cert IV and Diploma WHS. This makes you eligible for more training roles since you can teach both courses.
Step 2: Get Qualified in Training and Assessment and Use Your Experience
Finishing an occupational health and safety course lets you find a safety-related job, but that isn’t all you need to become a Health and Safety Officer Trainer.
WHS courses are strictly regulated by Government bodies and you can only train and assess for these safety courses after you become a qualified trainer.
To become one, you first need to gain the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40110). Once you hold this national certificate and have current safety work experience, you can begin training new safety officers in the qualifications you’ve completed, including the Cert IV and Diploma of WHS.
The good news is you can study the Cert IV TAE online, through Face to Face workshops, or a mix of these two methods. This course can be completed in less than 1 year. You can even fast track your study and skip units through Recognition of Prior Learning, provide you have training-related experience and can show evidence.
Once you have qualifications in both workplace health and safety, and training and assessment – you can start to think about where to work as a safety trainer.
Step 3: Where to Find a Job in Safety Training
Are you WHS and Cert IV TAE qualified? Great! You can now pursue careers as a Safety Officer Trainer.
Work health and safety training roles are most often found in TAFEs and other Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These include:
• RTOs like Inspire Education that offer training Australia-wide
• High schools that offer Certificate I, II and III training to their own students
• Universities that run their own RTO or partner with a TAFE to offer more educational opportunities in their area.
• Businesses like construction and mining firms that offer courses and traineeships to their own staff
• Non-profit organisations l who train their own volunteers
You can also apply to become a corporate businesses or business tranier that have their own training team. As a workplace trainer, you will create and deliver training programs to improve the safety knowledge of your colleagues.
Recap: Becoming a Safety Officer Trainer
Demand for safety related careers is growing because many organisations hire their own health and safety officers and representatives. This has made Safety Trainers and Assessors critical to fill the need for safety officers.
To become a qualified safety trainer, you must:
- Complete a safety training course and get work experience
- Gain the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and be able to teach nationally accredited courses
- Apply for training roles in TAFEs, RTOs, and businesses that have safety committees or representatives
Once you meet these requirements, you can now expand into a training career and begin helping new students begin their own careers in workplace safety.
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