What Does a Safety Inspector Do? (With Tips and Skills)
Updated 21 July 2023
Safety inspectors assist employers in providing safe working conditions for their employees. They usually focus on inspecting machinery, working methods, management practices and environmental issues in a business. Learning about the job responsibilities of safety inspectors can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we explore the responsibilities of a safety inspector, discuss how to become a safety inspector, highlight their skills, outline their work environment and provide tips for growing your career as a safety inspector.
What does a safety inspector do?
A safety inspector is a qualified individual who verifies that various organisations adhere to applicable health and safety rules. They evaluate workplaces to ensure that the organisation follows all applicable laws and provide recommendations to enhance workplace safety. Their objective is to aid in the prevention of occupational health hazards or injuries.
Additionally, health and safety inspectors may visit businesses in the aftermath of an event or complaint to investigate the circumstances of the occurrence and to detect potential breaches of health and safety legislation. A safety inspector's specific responsibilities may include:
conducting an examination of work surroundings, structures and machinery
documenting working conditions through photographs and written reports
ascertaining that employers offer enough protective equipment to their personnel
communicating with management and operators to identify and resolve any conflicts between profit, operational and safety issues
creating programmes promoting health and safety
determining if a prosecution for a breach of health and safety laws is necessary
collecting evidence to enhance prosecution
presenting cases in court or serving as a witness
training new employees or assisting employers with health and safety instruction
How to become a safety inspector
The following steps can assist you in pursuing a job as a safety inspector:
1. Earn a degree
While an entry-level position in this industry is achievable without a degree, many companies prefer people with a diploma or bachelor's degree. Employers may prefer candidates with a master's degree for advancement within a field, such as industrial hygienist or safety engineer. The majority of safety inspectors receive a bachelor's degree in an area relevant to safety inspection, such as biology, occupational health, chemistry or engineering.
2. Gain experience as a safety inspector
You can gain experience in the sector in which you wish to work as a safety inspector to acquire the necessary training to pass the certification exam. An apprenticeship enables you to see other safety inspectors at work and study their methods of inspection. Additionally, you may learn about inspection methodologies, applicable legislation, report writing and effective communication with customers or employers. You may enrol in an apprenticeship online or by contacting local schools to enquire about safety inspection apprenticeship programmes.
3. Obtain professional certification
Obtaining professional certification gives you more opportunities for career advancement and keeps you up-to-date on any new techniques, practices or laws relating to your field, especially if you want to regularly renew the certification. An added benefit of professional certification is that you may earn a higher salary. To prepare for the certification exam, check some educational institutes to see if they have any safety certification courses or use online resources like practice exams and study guides.
4. Apply to jobs
After finishing your schooling, acquiring certification and gaining experience working with certified inspectors, you're ready to begin applying for positions in your chosen speciality. You may discover that you like a certain type of safety inspection, such as industrial hygiene or construction safety. Determine which positions you're qualified for based on your education and experience, then submit each employer a personalised resume and cover letter.
Skills for a safety inspector
As a safety inspector, the following abilities may prove beneficial:
Attention to detail
Safety inspectors frequently do extensive inspections, which include completing a detailed study of a worksite and drafting reports detailing their findings. The inspector assesses staff well-being, ensuring that all equipment is in good shape and determining state compliance. As a result, it's critical that they pay special attention to detail to conduct these inspections properly. As a safety inspector, you may improve your attention to detail by familiarising yourself with state rules and regulations so that you know exactly what to look for during inspections.
It's critical to engage with firm employees during inspections since you're concentrating on improving their workplace experience. Teamwork instils confidence and trust in employees as it shows that you're looking out for their best interests. Active listening is critical to ensuring employees' comfort and safety as you may gather feedback about the concerns of the members regarding their workplace.
It's vital for inspectors to possess superior writing and verbal communication skills to inform businesses and the government of any concerns discovered during inspections and to raise awareness of safety requirements. Inspectors can produce extensive reports on their inspection results when they have effective written communication. Verbal communication is particularly critical for inspectors, since they frequently inform and explain safety standards to personnel.
For instance, an inspector may make a presentation to a company to demonstrate various methods to keep their facility safe. As a result, it's necessary for inspectors to communicate safety rules plainly.
Knowledge of workplace tools
Since safety inspectors check workplace equipment to ensure that it's fit for use by personnel, they have a thorough awareness of the numerous instruments available on various job sites. They also understand how the tools operate, how long the equipment lasts and how much equipment businesses provide to their employees. For example, if a safety inspector conducts an examination of a hospital, they may want to know what type of personal protective equipment the medical staff receives and how long they may use it before it expires.
Problem-solving abilities enable you to pinpoint the cause of a problem and devise a workable solution. Problem-solving abilities refer to the capacity to analyse a problem and suggest modifications. This is critical to a safety inspector's work when they visit workplaces to examine potential dangerous or hazardous circumstances. They make recommendations to businesses and organisations to enhance procedures and processes based on their findings.
What's the work environment for a safety specialist?
It may be necessary for a safety inspector to travel to a range of offices and work locations to perform inspections, training sessions and accident investigations. They can safeguard themselves while working by using personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and helmets. Specialists in safety can work in the following industries:
Government: Government organisations may hire safety professionals to protect the safety of personnel and others in government facilities.
Construction: A construction company's safety consultant may travel to outdoor work sites. They can check construction equipment and procedures to ensure they're safe for personnel and conform to applicable safety regulations.
Manufacturing: Safety professionals can inspect manufacturing facilities to verify that they adhere to business and government safety regulations.
Health care: You may work for a health care organisation as a safety specialist, inspecting facilities for compliance with safety standards.
Average safety inspector salary
The national average salary of a safety inspector is $2,877 per month. Safety inspectors earn an average pay that varies by seniority level and industry. A candidate's experience, education level and certifications may also influence potential wages.
Tips to growing your career after becoming a safety specialist
After gaining expertise as a safety professional, you may further your career by taking on management responsibilities. The following is a list of career options for safety inspectors seeking advancement:
Safety manager: A safety manager supervises a team of safety professionals who are responsible for the administration of a company's safety procedures and regulations.
Safety officer: Safety officers can establish safety measures and conduct workplace inspections to ensure their efficacy. Safety officers usually get employment in the construction and industrial industries.
Construction superintendent: A construction superintendent oversees the activities of a construction site and ensures that they follow safety standards on the job.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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