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Health and safety is very important in the NHS. Health and safety officers aim to minimise risks to patients, staff and visitors.
Training and qualifications required
Health and safety officers have a qualification in health and safety. To join the NHS as a health and safety officer you often need a relevant degree or postgraduate level qualification. Degree courses are three years full time and you'll usually need appropriate level 3 qualifications for entry. To get onto a postgraduate course you usually need an honours degree, a NEBOSH qualification or professional experience. When you join the NHS as a health and safety officer you will have training to introduce you to the department and its systems and procedures. Your employer will expect you to keep your skills and knowledge up to date by attending short courses on particular topics such as accident investigation or risk management. You may be encouraged to take further qualifications.
Expected working hours and salary range
Health and safety officers working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. You would typically start on AfC band 5. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions at bands 6 and above. Health and safety officers in the NHS work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. The job may involve some evening and weekend working. Health and safety officers may be on call if there is an incident. Terms and conditions will usually be different for fire safety officers working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
Health and safety officers need to be interested in health and safety, willing to follow procedures, able to train staff at all levels, able to prioritise, willing to work under pressure and remain calm in stressful situations. They also need report writing, time management, good planning and organisational skills.
With experience, a health and safety officer can become a manager, with a team of staff and responsible for the health and safety in a hospital, area or trust. There are opportunities outside the NHS.