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When we talk about safety, health and environment we look at the integration of safety and health on one hand merging with the natural and man-made [built] environment on the other. It is obvious that we cannot have safety and health without the environment playing a huge role and vice versa.

Saying that many people only think safety and health is about PPE [Personal Protective Equipment]. They forget the other aspects of the hierarchy of control as illustrated below.


It is interesting to note that the elimination, substitution, engineering and administrative controls are totally ignored or forgotten.  This shows that the majority of people especially at top management level need to be made aware of their own responsibilities.  When we control hazards, we have to be clear about using the best evidence based solution in that specific area.  We need to research and think critically about the best solution to the identified hazard and the risk it portrays.

This is where a good holistic SHE Officer is key to the development of any company or organisation. One of their major roles is to communicate and close the gap between top management and the workers. SHE Officers need to meet with top management regularly and report the safety, health and environment situation objectively and truthfully.  They have be working with the workers to ensure compliance with the companies rules and regulations, but also the national laws and regulations.


It has been shown that where employees feel cared for and protected that moral and motivation increases and thus productivity also increases, while at the same time absenteeism, accidents at the workplace decreases at the same time.  Therefore, there is a happy workforce and compensation and litigation costs substantially reduce.

To comply with the Safety, health and Environment regulations requires not only effective and efficient communication, but also the documentation of the continuous improvement necessary in and safety management system.  This communication is multidimensional as in top down, bottom up and horizontal.  It is only through this that we comply and reduce the hazards and risks.  SHE Officers need good communication skills and the ability to not only convey messages but actively listen to the people they are speaking to.

Communication is just one of the many skills a SHE Officer/Manager needs.  More later on other skills needed.


More specifically, the HSSE Officer will be responsible for the following substantive tasks:

  • Prepare and/or update health, safety, social and environmental management plans, review them on a regular basis and keep them up to date at all times.
  • Advise and instruct project staff, contractors, consultants and other stakeholders on various safety, health, social and environmental related matters related to project implementation.
  • Support the Project Manager in raising awareness on health and safety issuesamong project staff, consultants, contractors and other stakeholders and within UNOPS in general, working closely with the UNOPS QA/QC Section.
  • Conduct risk assessment and enforce preventative measures on HSSE.
  • Initiate, organize and conduct HSSE training for UNOPS project team, contractors, consultants and other stakeholders.
  • Inspect work sites and the work of personnel on a regular basis to identify issues or non-conformity, and enforce necessary actions where unsafe acts or processes that seem dangerous or unhealthy are detected.
  • Oversee installations, maintenance and disposal of substances, plant and equipment etc. to ensure they are done in conformity with applicable laws and industry best practice.
  • Record and investigate incidents (including near misses) to determine the cause and to propose improvements to processes in the future.
  • Prepare reports on incidents (including near misses) and compile statistical information to present to upper management on HSSE matters.
  • Ensure a safe workplace environment is maintained at all times without risk to health and safety of everyone including workers, UNOPS staff, other stakeholders and general public.
  • Ensure that all Health & Safety policies, procedures, rules and regulations are adhered to and are regularly reviewed, updated and communicated.
  • Ensure the contractor meets its statutory obligations in all areas pertaining to health, safety and welfare at work, including statutory training and reporting.
  • Ensure that safety inspections, risk assessments, working procedures are managed, and contractors and employees are aware of their responsibilities in relation to health and safety issues.
  • Co-ordinate the development of HSSE policies, systems, procedures and guidelines.
  • Ensure full and accurate health and safety training records are documented.
  • Establish a full programme of documented HSSE inspections, audits and checks.
  • Establish and conduct a structured programme of health & safety training (including a well-developed induction program) for project staff, contractors, consultants and other stakeholders.
  • Establish an HSSE Committee, manage and devise the agenda for, chair and formulate & distribute minutes for the Health & Safety Committee meetings.
  • Keep up to date with all aspects of relevant health, safety & welfare at work legislation and communicate relevant changes to the stakeholders.
  • Provide regular reports to the Project Manager on relevant health and safety activities.
  • Participate in regular site meetings to report on relevant health & safety matters and to provide necessary advice.
  • Any other tasks assigned by the Project Manager.
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