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Health & safety jobs in the small private company sector

Many occupational health and safety jobs include the word “consultant.” It’s a nebulous term, but basically covers all those health and safety vacancies in the private sector, where the worker visits a variety of companies from a central consultancy office, rather than being employed in-house as the HSO of a single firm.

People think occupational health and safety jobs of this type only involve small company premises. While it’s true many clients are small businesses, a growing number of larger firms are outsourcing their HSO work.

However, generally these big companies already have a fairly rigid H & S infrastructure. It is the small firms who are harder to deal with. The majority still do not comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, even though it is the UK’s principal Health and Safety directive. Generally they want to comply, but feel that to do so would eat away at their profits, cause dissatisfaction among staff and create massive quantities of paperwork. It is your job to gently steer them towards a different way of thinking.

Another problem is resentment from bosses who feel they know all there is to know about health and safety, and have called in a consultant under duress. They need to be shown that while it’s essential they follow the act, they won’t be packed off to jail for a minor oversight.

The Health and safety jobs we have at OS Recruitment require excellent people skills. You may be training staff in HSAW74 basics one day, and dealing with insurance underwriters the next.

Health & safety jobs in the most dangerous industry of all

Mention health and safety officer jobs in a dangerous environment, and most people think of iron foundries or offshore oil platforms. But there’s one area that outdoes them both – the farming sector.

Almost 95% of farms are small businesses employing 50 employees or less, and rarely advertise health and safety vacancies directly. However, health and safety inspectors are widely employed by specialist agencies, who expect them to oversee farms and agricultural areas. Health & safety jobs in farming are available through government bodies such as the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Health and Safety Executive, as well as private consultancy firms and overseas charities.

Agricultural health & safety jobs are not for the faint-hearted. It’s not just that it can be a mucky job, with a lot of working outdoors, in all weathers. The industry has one of the highest death and serious injury rates in the UK, with twice as many fatalities in the self-employed sector as those employed by farming organisations. Industrialisation of agriculture has led to large farming conglomerates in places like Wiltshire, but on the whole farming is a small-scale industry in Britain.

This has led to the two leading bodies for health and safety in the UK, the IOSH and HSE, announcing the Innovation In Safety – Small Business Award. The competition has been launched to find new ways of keeping small business operators and their staff safe and healthy at work.

We at OS Recruitment have a wide range of interesting health & safety jobs to choose from, many involving field work.

Occupational health and safety jobs – the smaller picture

Many health and safety officer jobs are advertised by firms offering a bespoke service to small businesses. Since they generally cater for a range of budgets – with personnel matched to those budgets – this can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door.

Health & safety jobs in companies that specialise in outsourcing their personnel where they are needed are plentiful. In today’s economic climate, even big firms are thinking twice about employing in-house health and safety managers. Work of this kind means you get to visit a wide range of industry sectors, performing a range of different tasks. You get the chance to find out what you’d like to specialise in while meeting people from all walks of life. Basically, it’s the private sector equivalent of a local government HSE officer.

Employees offered health & safety jobs in consultancy companies should expect to give assistance and advice on all aspects of health & safety – including welfare at work. This often means being a person of “several hats” – a law advisor one day, a stress counsellor the next. A lot of your time is spent helping CEOs unravel the tortuous health, safety and environmental laws which have arisen since the 1990s.

Companies of all sizes are outsourcing their occupational health and safety jobs now, and your clients may range from single traders to multi-national organisations. Construction sites; farms; quantity surveyors; gyms, hotels and restaurants are just some of the clients you’ll visit. We at OS Recruitment have health and safety vacancies that ensure a varied, interesting career.

Health and safety vacancies in small businesses

Small businesses do not generally have the resources to advertise their own in-house health and safety vacancies. However, they need to comply with HSE legislation in the same way large companies with in-house HSOs do. Therefore, the small business owner often does have a health and safety consultant on board – the difference is, they’re outsourced.

A large number of health and safety consultancy firms have sprung up in recent years, specialising in offering support to small businesses that cannot afford, or are not big enough to employ an in-house health and safety manager. While many operate on a freelance contractual basis, just as many are conventional employers, advertising health & safety jobs with companies like us at OS Recruitment. Some cover all industry sectors, while others work within a niche group. For example, some health and safety officer jobs specifically deal with agricultural premises – a fantastic opportunity for those with some experience in the farming field.

Health & Safety jobs in the small business sector can take many forms. Many small business owners are ignorant of the laws regarding, for example, asbestos management, so some consultancies specialising in training and education, either in-house or by visiting the premises. This needn’t mean having to have a teaching qualification. The business is usually to inform, rather than hand out certificates. If you have good all-round knowledge of the subject, and a friendly outgoing persona, it can be a great career move.

Whatever your level of expertise, we have a wide range of health and safety vacancies to choose from.

Occupational health and safety jobs – where caring counts

If you think health & safety jobs involve endless paperwork and filling in of forms, you’d be partly right. Whichever way you look at it, to maintain health and safety discipline in the workplace requires a lot of record keeping. However, much of the hard work can be done with the aid of specialised software. Also, if you have a background in healthcare or medicine, there are numerous occupational health and safety jobs offering a cross-disciplinary approach.

If you have a background in health or social care, you may like to think about occupational health and safety jobs targeting that side of the discipline. Larger companies often have internal health and safety teams, usually part of HR (human resources), with various members each performing a different role. Occupational health and safety jobs concern the health, welfare and safety of employees, with the aim of making the work environment hazard-free. This extends to nearby premises, local communities, members of the public and visitors from other firms.

Occupational health & safety jobs cover many disciplines, such as occupational health and medicine; industrial hygiene; health physics and chemistry. It can be very rewarding – for example you may need to take water samples for lab analysis, or oversee health checks on employees.

In the UK, work-related illness accounts for around 30 million lost workdays a year. It’s in the company’s interest to keep people happy and healthy at work. If this kind of work appeals to you, look at what occupational health and safety vacancies are available. We at OS Recruitment have a wide variety of health and safety jobs to choose from.

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