Roles and Responsibilities of the Safety Professional


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Successful safety and loss prevention programs hinge on safety professionals having defined roles and responsibilities that can make a real impact.

Successful Safety Programs Make Successful Organizations

Organizations seeking a return on investment from their safety and loss prevention programs are more likely to succeed if they understand and support the fundamental roles and responsibilities of safety professionals — empowering safety professionals to drive initiatives that produce results, rather than focus primarily on compliance duties.

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Establish High-Value Roles for Safety Teams

When safety professionals are entrusted with high-value work, organizations get better results. To ensure that all parties understand the nature of such work, ASSP has developed a standard that outlines core competencies, certifications, credentials, qualifications and learning support resources for safety professionals. Adopt ANSI/ASSP Z590Z.2-2003 (R2012), Criteria for Establishing the Scope and Functions of the Safety Professional, to guide your framework.

Set a professional standard

You can find more details on the recommended education, experience and credentials for safety professionals in the OHS Professional Capability Framework: A Global Framework for Practice from International Network of Safety and Health Professional Organizations (INSHPO).

Roles That Make a Difference

Compliance-focused approaches to safety and loss prevention are not effective at managing workplace risks. Therefore, checking boxes or solely reacting to emergencies is not high-value work for safety professionals.

Instead, in-house safety professionals or external safety consultants should help:

  • Design and implement frameworks for risk management and monitoring
  • Manage change regarding organization-wide initiatives
  • Research and strategize emerging and complex risks
  • Collaborate across the business on varying initiatives, even those seemingly unrelated to safety

Qualifications That Matter

While safety professional roles are not one-size-fits-all and depend on organization size, department size and whether a safety professional is in-house or a consultant, there are some common qualifications — like a safety professional’s critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, as well as formal education and industry certifications.

ASSP is a signatory of the Singapore Accord. The accord encourages organizations to adopt The OHS Professional Capability Framework, which answers several key questions: Which skills should each type of OSH employee bring to the table? What are those different types? How should hiring managers and supervisors evaluate OSH qualifications to ensure the right person is in the right position?

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