The role of the Health and Safety Manager is vital. These managers are responsible for ensuring Health and Safety compliance site and business-wide. The role requires excellent communication skills, a deep understanding of industrial processes, the ability to work closely with everyone in the business, and convince them of the importance of Health and Safety.
Being a good health and safety manager also requires you to be adaptable and to combine technical, mechanical, and interpersonal skills to be truly effective.
An Overview of Health and Safety Manager Duties
Being a Health and Safety Manager is an ideal role for those who are naturally altruistic, and it can be both challenging and rewarding. The main goal of these managers is to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the most effective way.
The tasks that make up the day to day in this role can vary from data entry, to one-on-one meetings with the CEO. The one thing all these tasks have in common is a constant drive towards a workplace that is free from accidents and injuries.
The HSE responsibilities of this role are so broad that to understand how this individual prevents accidents and injuries, we first need to understand the main responsibility: management.
Health and Safety Management
Health and Safety Management covers several main points:
- Meetings with key management members
- Reporting on statistics and incidents
- Aligning the organization to improve safety performance
- Strategizing to reduce risk
The role of an HSE Manager regularly requires multiple meetings to coordinate efforts between high-level executives, operations managers, and supervisors. These sessions often include the manager reporting to the group on safety performance statistics, results of incident investigations, and negotiating changes to policies and procedures to improve safety performance.
During these discussions, the aim of the HSE Manager is to focus on reducing risk by advising, creating strategies, and providing correct leadership. This requires excellent communication and negotiation skills.
In Singapore, HSE Managers are required to prepare and submit a report on work-related accidents, workplace accidents, dangerous occurrences, and occupational diseases to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The reporting must take place within 10 days of an accident or diagnosis. Failure to do so incurs a SGD200 fine for the first offense and can go up to SGD2,500 for subsequent offenses, so it is vital managers react quickly and effectively to these incidents.
Reporting templates and procedures also vary depending on the type of incident. For the full reporting guidelines, visit MOM’s website.
Managing Employee Safety
The employee safety aspect of a Health and Safety Manager role includes:
- Jobsite audits
- Participating in industrial processes and planning
- Field inspections
- Interfacing with employees
Trips to the job site are interspersed between meetings for audits and inspections.
Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health Council has created a non-exhaustive checklist to guide HSE Managers and their respective companies in conducting audits.
WSH Committee or Team
1. Team comprises members from different disciplines
2.The scope of the Team covers health, safety and wellbeing of all workers achieved through a proactive and integrated proces
3. The Team reports to senior management i.e. single reporting channel for WSH matters
4. Clear roles & responsibilities are assigned to the Team
5. The Team follows a schedule of meetings
6. The Team has set performance management indicators and targets
1. Hazards have been identified for each of the areas below:
2. Risk has been evaluated (via a severity vs. likelihood matrix; classified as low/ medium/ high)
3. Risk controls have been implemented
4. Risk control measures have been communicated to all affected staff
5. Risk monitoring activities e.g. regular medical examinations, inspections, hygiene monitoring
Section 6.1.1; Section 6.2, Annex C
Section 6.1.2, Annex C
Section 6.1.2, Annex C
Section 6.1.3; Section 6.1.4, Annex C
|Total WSH Gap Analysis||
a. Safety records (incidents and near misses, unsafe acts, unsafe conditions)
b. Occupational diseases
c. Health status e.g. hypertension, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol levels, obesity and lifestyle practices e.g. smoking
d. Sickness absence
e. Employee satisfaction/ engagement levels
f. Turnover rate/ numbers
g. Focus group discussions
h. Findings from walkthrough survey
7. Data Analysis to identify priority areas for intervention
a. Trend analysis of items 6 (a) to (g)
b. Benchmarking (targets/ milestones to achieve
8. Identify areas for improvement
9. Communicate findings to all employees
Section 6.2; Section 6.3
|Program Implementation and Review||
1. Prioritize areas for improvement and decision on recommendations
2. Implement priority recommendations
a. Program Planning and execution via in-house, outsourced or mixed approach
b. Set and track performance management indicators (reference from baseline data, trend analysis & benchmarking) such as:
- Corporate indicators
- Work-related health status, general health status and lifestyle risk factors
- Safety (leading and lagging indicators)
3. Review regularly (e.g. once every 3 years) for continuous improvement
Section 6.2; Section 7
Section 7; Section 10
Section 8; Section 9
Many health and safety professionals specialize in a specific area such as technical procedures, ergonomics, occupational hygiene, or training. In general, however, knowledge and interest in relevant industrial or construction processes is vital. Field inspections will focus on technical practices to ensure that the procedures developed in the office are in place on the job. When there are shortcomings, solving the issue is often a coordinated effort involving a conversation with employees and coaching.
Ensuring compliance is another vital part of the Health and Safety Manager’s role. This requires:
- Staying up-to-date on compliance requirements
- Educating the workforce on rules and regulations
- Updating company policies
Compliance, whether with government regulations or company rules, should be a constant goal of any health and safety professional. While the most significant responsibility of an HSE Manager is to keep employees safe and healthy, another essential component of that is meeting all relevant safety requirements. At times, this may require employee education on updates to standards, or re-writing a company policy to meet the needs of existing regulations.
There are numerous tasks involved in achieving safety excellence, including:
- Audits, inspections, and training
- Purchase of new manufacturing equipment
- Hiring of new management
- Workforce communication
All of these responsibilities require excellent project management and time-management skills.
How the Health and Safety Manager’s Roles are Unique in Singapore
Singapore is a unique, global market, and as such, the role of HSE manager may also prove to be unmatched. While the fundamentals and drive to maintain safety standards remain the same, there are natural differences due to the specific legislature and culture.
For example, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower requires certain qualifications to be registered as an HSE Manager. Only Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and Employment or S Pass Holders can apply for the position. Furthermore, Work Pass Holders should already be working as any of the following:
- Fire and Safety Officer
- Health, Safety and Environmental Officer
- Safety Officer
- Workplace Health Officer
You can refer to the ministry’s full list of application requirements here.
Applicants who have accomplished supplementary certificates are also more likely to land a job as an HSE Manager. The Ministry of Education-backed BCA Academy offers various courses that can further expand an HSE Officer’s existing knowledge of workplace safety such as Advanced Certificate in Workplace Safety and Health and Applying Data Analytics Approach to Workplace Safety and Health. Getting these certifications will beef up your professional credentials and prove your expertise in the field.
Singapore is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and HSE managers can expect to work with a diverse group of individuals from around the world. These changes can be exciting, whilst also providing many opportunities to excel in the field of health and safety.
For advice on health and safety solutions, such as our free safety audit and safety systems, get in touch with Kee Safety Singapore on +65 6385 4166. Alternatively, fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you.