Health and safety officer

Health and safety is very important in the NHSHealth and safety officers aim to minimise risks to patients, staff and visitors.

This page has information on the role of a health and safety officer in the NHS, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life 

They are responsible for the health and safety of everyone who works in, or uses, the NHS in hospitals, health centres and headquarters buildings.

Working as a health and safety officer, you will look at all aspects of health and safety including

Health and safety officers

Where will I work?

You will be based in an office which may be in a hospital or in a headquarters building. You will spend a lot of time around hospital wards, departments and clinics. You may also visit other NHS sites such as health centres.

Who will I work with?

You'll often work in a team with a health and safety manager and one or more health and safety advisers (or technicians). Your team is supported by assistants, clerks and other admin staff.

You will work closely with fire safety officers and security staff as well as estates managers. You may have contact with healthcare and other staff at all levels. You will usually have little or no contact with patients.

Entry requirements 

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 degree level qualification. This could be, for example,

Degree courses are three years full time. To get onto a relevant degree course you usually need

or alternative qualifications, including

To get onto a postgraduate course you usually need an honours degree, a NEBOSH qualification or professional experience.

However, each institution sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully.

Skills needed

Health and safety officers need to be

Training and development 

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 and may have the opportunity to do an apprenticeship.

Health and safety officers can become members of the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH). They can apply for chartered status with IOSH. Chartered safety and health practitioners have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual CPD (continuing professional development). IOSH runs courses, conferences and seminars where staff can update their skills and network with others.

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