How to Become a Work Health and Safety Officer Trainer

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, families, and relationships. As such, it’s not hard to see why work health and safety is a massive concern in Australia and all over the world.

Every day, many Australians workers either get injured, fall ill, or even die because of accidents in the workplace. This can be due to human error, faulty equipment, or high-risk working conditions, among others.

According to SafeWork Australia’s Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report, “183 workers were fatally injured at work” in 2019. Even if the number has decreased 53% in the last 12 years prior to the publication of the report, it’s still one too many.

In cases involving accidents and health hazards at work and injured workers, companies and organisations may be handed massive fines for their lack of safety procedures. They may also be ordered to shut down.

Ensuring workplace health and safety against government regulations is now the minimum standard. As a result, employers now look more intently for a WHS Officer, for Risks and Hazards Assessors, and for Safety Representatives.

The Australian Government expects strong growth for Occupational Health and Safety jobs over the next five years, as reported in JobOutlook. Up to 40,900 job vacancies are expected to open up until 2025.

Because of this massive opportunity, many Australians are now starting their WHS careers by formalising their safety experience through training courses.

Many of these training courses are nationally accredited, and only qualified trainers can teach them, making Safety Trainers and Assessors extremely critical to the growth of the workforce.

Without them, it’s likely that WHS professionals won’t be able to meet the growing demand from the industries and other sectors.

How Do You Become a WHS Trainer/Safety Trainer?

Step 1: Study Work Health and Safety Courses, and Gain Experience

Work health and safety courses, delivered through face-to-face or online training, aim to equip students with skills and knowledge for a WHS career.

Do you currently hold a VET qualification in safety? This is the minimum standard in order to start your career as a safety officer.

Training courses for health and safety officers help you find a job, to gain relevant work experience and be able to build your skills. Here are the two most recognised work health and safety qualifications today:

1. Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (BSB41419)

2. Diploma of Work Health and Safety (BSB51319)

Both are nationally accredited, recognised across the country, and may take up to 12 months to complete.

Once you complete a safety representative training course, whether the Cert IV or the Diploma, you will have learned skills that will qualify you to work as a Work Health and Safety Officer in a wide range of industries, from mining sites to construction projects to city offices.

Right now, you might be thinking, “So, which course should I pick?”

If you are just starting your career, potential employers may look for the Cert IV WHS in your resume. Completing this health and safety course shows that you are fully trained in the core duties of health and safety officers, including how to:

  1. Assist with workplace compliance with work health and safety laws
  2. Contribute to the implementation and maintenance of WHS consultation and participation processes
  3. Contribute to workplace health and safety risk management
  4. Contribute to implementing WHS management systems
  5. Contribute to incident response in the workplace

If you already work as a WHS Officer or a Safety Officer or Representative (or similar roles), have recent relevant work experience, and already hold the Cert IV WHS, then the Diploma WHS is for you. It will help you advance your career further and prepare you for more senior roles.

Upon completion of the course, you will have gained advanced skills, including how to:

  1. Lead WHS risk management
  2. Lead initial response to and investigation of work health and safety incidents
  3. Contribute to developing, implementing, and maintaining an organisation’s WHS management system
  4. Lead the development and use of risk management tools
  5. Manage work health and safety consultation and participation processes

If you want to train others for specific jobs or for specialised skills in handling certain equipment, you may apply for a High Risk Work license after successfully completing your WHS course.

Theses licenses include:

  1. Scaffolding
  2. Dogging and rigging work
  3. Operating types of cranes and hoists, forklifts, and reach stacker
  4. Using a boom-type elevating work platform
  5. Operating a boiler, steam turbine, or reciprocating steam engine

Please note that the application to become a High Risk Work accredited assessor has other requirements, depending on your state or territory. Please check your local safety government body for complete details.

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 Work Health and Safety. This will make you eligible for more training roles since you can teach both courses.

Step 2: Get Qualified in Training and Assessment and Use Your Experience

WHS Officers need the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to be qualified to train other professionals in work health and safety.

Finishing a work health and safety course qualifies you for a safety-related job, but it isn’t all you need to become a Health and Safety Officer Trainer.

Occupational health and safety courses are strictly regulated by Government bodies. According to the standards, you may only train and assess for these safety courses only after you’ve qualified as a trainer and assessor.

You’ll first need to gain the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116). Once you hold this nationally recognised qualification, and gained recent relevant experience as a safety officer, you can begin training new safety officers for 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 self-paced or through Virtual or Face-to-Face workshops. The course can be completed in less than a year—you can even fast track your education through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) if you can present evidence of training-related experiences.

Once you have qualifications in both workplace health and safety and training and assessment, you can now start looking for employment opportunities as a Safety Trainer.

Step 3: Find a Job in Safety Training

Safety officers identify hazards in the workplace and assess risks to ensure a safer work environment.

Private companies from skilled labour industries may advertise for health and safety officer trainers, but these work health and safety training roles are more often found in TAFEs and other Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

Here’s a list of organisations that may be looking for trainers for their health and safety officers:

  • RTOs like Inspire Education that offer training Australia-wide
  • High schools that offer Certificate I, II, and III training to their students
  • Universities that run their own RTO, or those that partner with a TAFE to offer a wider range of education opportunities
  • Businesses, like construction and mining firms, that offer courses and traineeships to their staff
  • Non-profit organisations who conduct health and safety training for their volunteers

You can also opt to set up a corporate business and become a business trainer specialising in training work health and safety officers. As such, you will create and deliver training programs to improve the skills and knowledge of your colleagues.

Recap: Becoming a Safety Officer Trainer

Demand for jobs involved in health and safety is growing because many organisations have started hiring their own safety officers and representatives.

This gave Health and Safety Trainers and Assessors a crucial role, as they can help address this need for safety officers.

To become a qualified, you must:

  1. Complete a safety training course and gain relevant work experience
  2. Complete the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment course and become qualified to teach nationally accredited courses
  3. Apply for training roles in TAFEs, RTOs, and businesses that have safety teams and committees

Once you meet these requirements, you may now expand into a safety-focused training career and begin helping new students learn skills and build their own careers in workplace safety.

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