Occupational Health and Safety Officer

What do they do?

Health and safety officers monitor workplace health and safety risks and hazards, and advise workers and managers on how to minimise or eliminate these risks and hazards. Some may also carry out nursing duties. They work very closely with government legislation to ensure that a workplace is safe for all staff.
They may be involved in:
  • ensuring businesses comply with health and safety legislation for workplaces
  • working with staff to manage, monitor and improve health and safety standards in workplaces
  • undertaking workplace safety inspections, such as monitoring noise levels in a factory
  • helping to design health and safety monitoring systems and policies
  • developing emergency procedures (for earthquake and fires) and co-ordinating emergency teams
  • giving counselling and advice, or referring people to other health professionals

What will I get out of this job?

There are plenty of opportunities out there for health and safety officers in all sorts of settings. You could work for the government, a district health board or a private company. The chances of you finding work are increasing due to a growing emphasis on health and safety in the workplace. 

How do I get this job?

To become a health and safety officer it is recommended you have a health and safety certificate or diploma at tertiary level. Massey University and the University of Otago are currently the only universities offering post-graduate health and safety diplomas. However, a number of polytechnics and industry training organisations in New Zealand also offer health and safety certificates and diplomas.
Useful experience includes:
  • a background in occupational health nursing
  • work for ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation)
  • work as a Department of Labour occupational safety and health inspector
  • work in a trade that requires health and safety awareness


Subjects to consider:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Any science subject
  • Social sciences

Remember: always check the entry criteria for any course of study.  Some subjects you definitely need, other subjects may be helpful.


Don’t let finance hold you back from your future. Find out how you can fund your studies.


Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook

   (c) 2011 HealthCareers / DHBSS
   Designed and developed by

I'm a student
I'm overseas
I'm returning to work
I'm working in health

I'm an RMO
I'm a first year House Officer
Careers videos
Site Map

In association with