Is WHS right for you?
As a WHS professional, you’ll primarily be working with staff members to facilitate and manage a safe, healthy workplace. So it goes without saying that you need to be a people person! To succeed in this line of work, you’ll be an effective, patient and open communicator with strong active listening skills.
Ideally, you thrive on talking to and working with others to identify and solve problems and improve workplace practices. You’ll also have some measure of leadership ability so you can effectively train employees in WHS procedures.
As well as people and communication skills, you’ll need to be a critical thinker who can quickly identify potential hazards and problems and work effectively to prevent them. You’ll be closely monitoring the workplace, performing regular audits and recording and following up on any incidents, so attention to detail and a high level of organisational skills are a must as well.
If you’re considering a career in WHS, check out these facts and figures from the government’s Job Outlook program!
- The WHS industry currently employs over 26,000 workers in Australia, and that number is expected to grow strongly over the next few years, surpassing 30,000 by 2022.
- 16,000 WHS job openings are likely over the next few years.
- Around 80% of WHS professionals work in full-time roles.
- According to Payscale, the average salary for a WHS coordinator ranges from the low $50,000s through to more than $100,000 in higher-level positions.
Types of courses
There is a range of WHS courses offered Australia-wide, from short courses for those new to the industry through to comprehensive Certificate-level courses that provide a solid foundation for WHS careers.
WHS short courses are available for work health and safety beginners, and/or people currently in supervisory or management positions who wish to expand their knowledge with a brief overview of current WHS standards and practices.
Courses at the Certificate III level are ideal for those wishing to add WHS responsibilities to their current duties in the workplace. These courses provide an overview of WHS fundamentals to enable students to provide support and advice on health and safety practices to those in their workplace.
Certificate IV courses in WHS are designed for those who wish to work in WHS-specific roles, providing health and safety-related leadership and guidance to their workplace teams. With a Certificate IV course, you’ll gain a wide variety of well-developed skills and a broad knowledge base that allows you to specialise in WHS.
Many industries throughout Australia need WHS professionals, so a career in WHS could see you working in a variety of environments, such as construction, goods and services production, or really any workplace requiring the management of health and safety requirements. Potential job titles include:
- Safety Manager
- Safety Advisor
- Safety Officer
- Office Manager
- Work Health & Safety Assistant
- Team Leader
- Human Resources Officer
- Human Resources Administrator
- Cleaning Supervisor
- Cleaning Contract Manager