Health & Safety

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Health & Safety?

Health & Safety is the set of legal requirements that all workplaces and public environments must follow with the intent of preventing accidents or injury to workers, contractors, customers, and general members of the public.

All businesses have a legal duty of care and are required to assess risks in their establishments under Health and Safety Acts. Other than staying on the right side of the law it is also good business practice to adhere to health and safety laws and protect everyone in your employment or who are guests in your establishment from harm.

What courses are available?

  • Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:
  • Health & Safety in the Workplace – The study of risks and hazards in the workplace and how to prevent them.
  • Certificate in Safety & Health – An introduction to a comprehensive range of topics relating to safety and health in the workplace.
  • Food Safety/HACCP for Management – The study of HACCP or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points within food safety and industry.
  • HACCP Principles Level 2 – HACCP are the principles that should be applied to all food safety management systems to identify and eliminate food safety hazards.
  • Health and Safety Level 1 – This course is for those wanting to gain a clear understanding of health and safety within the workplace and have an understanding of the roles employer and employees play in workplace health and safety.
  • Health & Safety for Hospitality – The study of the necessary skills and knowledge needed to provide a safe working environment within the hospitality industry.
  • Health & Safety for Management – A course decided for all managers in any industry to help have a good understanding of health and safety legislation and the responsibility of management in this regard.
  • Managing Your Safety at Work – The study of health & safety requirements for the employer and employees in a workplace.

Studying Health & Safety in college

Health & Safety courses are available in many different options to suit all budgets, schedules, and needs. You can do full-time courses that are more in-depth or short courses to update knowledge and keep on top of new legislation and changes.

There are full-time, part-time, online, classroom, or blended learning options available; these can take place over 12 months or some are day courses that can be completed in 6 hours.

Health & Safety courses are usually evaluated through multiple choice exams at the end of the course and will typically result in a certification or qualification of some sort that your employer may require for compliance.

Career options

After completing a course in Health & Safety you will have a multitude of new options available to you as every workplace needs a health and safety provision so there will always be jobs available for the right qualifications and experience.

Health & Safety professionals are particularly sought after in industries such as construction, building, and manufacturing where workers have a higher risk of injury due to the practical nature of the work and the machinery that they work with daily.

Related jobs include:

  • Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Specialist
  • Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Inspector
  • Health and Safety Practitioner
  • Occupational Health Practitioner/Nurse
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Environmental Protection Officer
  • Environmental Health and Safety Advisor
  • Compliance Officer
  • Wellness Specialist
  • Chief Safety Officer
  • Mine Examiner
  • SHE Officer

Further study

After completing a course in Health & Safety you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field or research. Health & Safety courses offer great transferable skills that can be used in many different roles and industries and may offer you a chance to progress your career into roles such as management, consultancy, or higher education.


How can I prepare for a career in Health & Safety?

Personal characteristics such as communication and negotiation skills, analytical thinking and problem-solving, and a willingness to take responsibility are vital for a career in Health & Safety.

Good attention to detail is also very important and the ability to be tactful will be extremely helpful when having to report back on any issues that arise within a workplace so that everyone will be more willing to work towards the common goal of Health & Safety.

For most careers within Health & Safety, you will need to register with a professional body or obtain relevant certification. Knowledge of relevant legislation and industry practices will be very helpful and practical experience and good references will go a long way in making your resume stand out from others.

Common Health & Safety Myths and the reality

Myth – Health & Safety Inspectors just want to issue fines and catch people out. Reality – Less than 10% of inspections on average by Health & Safety Officials result in the need for action or formal enforcement. The vast majority of inspections conclude with the verbal or written advice given to improve awareness and reduce accidents.

Myth – Health & Safety will cost my business money. Reality – Employers do have a legal duty to control hazards in the workplace but for most sectors such as retail, office, service and commercial the hazards are few and management is simple. In most cases, managing workplace health & safety is simple and based on common sense.

Myth – Health & Safety is just red tape out to hinder businesses. Reality – Keeping workers safe and healthy will be good for your business and save you money by reducing time off for occupational injuries and illness.

Where can I study Health & Safety?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· Accident rates are lower where employees genuinely feel they have a say in health and safety matters (14%), compared with workplaces where employees do not get involved (26%).

· A recent study found that safety signs which inform you of danger can reduce accident rates in the workplace by up to 80%.

· Every year, approximately 4 million employees are disabled at work.

· For every 1km/h reduction in the speed limit, there is a 2% reduction in the number of average crashes.


Mariza Halliday

Life Sciences


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