How to Become a Health and Safety Manager in South Africa: Qualifications, Jobs and Salary

Leg and yellow helmet of injured lying worker at work.

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta


Seta Code: 2019-643201

NQF Levels: NQF 4    

SAQA Code:

64409 - National Certificate 

94182   - Occupational Certificate

Health and Safety Managers are responsible for creating and maintaining optimal standards for health and safety in an organization.
They have to develop accident prevention programmes and ensure that the risk of workplace hazards is minimal.

Nowadays, most companies employ Health and Safety Managers.
This way, they comply with occupational health and safety regulations. More so, they increase the security of their employees and company goods.

A Health and Safety Manager requires a solid set of skills and qualifications that result from mandatory Health and Safety Manager Courses and apprenticeships.
Proper learning and training provide future artisans with essential knowledge of organizing a safe and productive workplace.

Health and Safety Manager jobs in South Africa pay a reliable salary.
This specialization comes with essential benefits and good prospects for qualified labourers.
Furthermore, they can apply for Health and Safety managing positions in various sectors, such as construction companies, mines, and food manufacturers.

Health and Safety Managers must have excellent logistics and communication skills.
Their abilities to train workers into following all safety codes and procedures are crucial to any organization.

To work as a Health and Safety Manager, one must have a Matric Grade 9 certificate confirming the completion of the studies period. Some employers may require higher certifications.

Registered operators in this field have to gain their skills and knowledge from short courses and training before they are eligible to earn an entry-level salary.

The job of a Health and Safety Manager in South Africa is part of the MerSETA (Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) environment.

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To be able to apply for this position, you must:

  • Be at least 16years old.
  • Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology NQF Level 02.
  • Mathematical literacy at NQF Level 1.
  • Communication at NQF Level 1.
  • Computer literacy at NQF level 1.
  • Possess excellent knowledge of safety codes, health regulations, and logistics.
  • Have a national certificate that shows you have completed Health and Safety Manager courses.

Besides these mandatory qualifications, a Health and Safety Manager must also prove the following traits:

  • Be physically fit to work in various organizational environments.
  • Be mentally strong to train and coordinate large groups of people.
  • Be able to work for long periods.
  • Enjoy doing accurate and precise work.
  • Possess a thorough knowledge of health risks and regulations.
  • Be able to complete health and safety reports.
  • Have a strong sense of practicality.

According to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), having a Health and Safety managing job also implies these requirements:

  • An in-depth understanding of health and safety compliance rules in the workplace.
  • Have above-average mathematical and computer abilities.
  • Have excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Be precise and reliable.
  • The ability to work well with others.
  • A great set of communication skills.
  • Be proficient in speech and writing.
  • Be analytically-orientated.
  • Be dogmatic, but with a high degree of empathy.

What is a Health and Safety Manager’s Job?

Expert Health and Safety Managers have a broad range of mathematical, computing, and communication abilities, which they gain from study and hands-on experience.

Health and Safety Managers use their knowledge and skills to estimate the dangers in a workplace and create safety protocols accordingly.
More so, they should keep careful records of accidents that do occur.
Also, they should investigate the causes of these accidents and implement measures to prevent such accidents from recurring.

Health and Safety management comes with a few occupational hazards and dangers.
Such professionals may have to lift heavy items.
Also, they are responsible for creating a framework of health and safety regulations for a large group of people. Therefore, there is a high level of stress and accountability that comes with the job.

A Health and Safety Manager’s main duties include:

  • Creating a safe work environment for people and company goods.
  • Analyzing the risks and other various aspects in an organization.
  • Training, scheduling, firing, and leading their health and safety team. 
  • Conducting health and safety programmes for all employees.
  • Inspecting departments and checking if the health and safety regulations are respected.
  • Maintaining accident occurrence records.
  • Testifying in hearings and in court in the case of a workplace accident that results in a lawsuit.
  • Training other safety officers.

After finishing Health and Safety Manager Courses and four years as an apprentice, one can begin a career as a drafter in sectors like:

  • Warehouses
  • Retail stores
  • Construction sites
  • Large construction sites
  • Private firms
  • Mines
  • Saw-mills
  • Food manufacturers
  • Airlines
  • Motor industries
  • Freelancing

How Much Does a Health and Safety Manager Earn in a Year?

A proper set of Health and Safety managing skills and the obligatory Health and Safety Manager studies can help a professional earn an above-average salary in South Africa.

At the moment, the average hourly pay for Health and Safety Managers is R94.50.
Depending on your level of abilities and experience, you can earn between R31 and R348 per hour. In addition, you may also receive a bonus ranging between R4, 000 and R58, 000 for an entire year.

As a student or apprentice, you may earn only the minimum rate at first.
However, in time, you can earn an average of R359, 000 per year.
The most that you can make within 12 months of working as a Health and Safety Manager in South Africa is R626k, which is well above the average wage.

How to Work as a Health and Safety Manager in South Africa

South Africa has a broad market for Health and Safety Manager jobs.
There is substantial demand for such professionals in several industries and sectors, with more than 150 listings currently available.
Candidates that meet the mandatory qualifications and expert skills have several directories available to apply for this specialization.

Health and Safety Manager Courses give you an in-depth understanding of what this vocation requires.
They help you acquire skills and experience that are impossible to obtain through other learning methods.
By having a certificate that proves you had training in the field, you have an immediate advantage over other candidates for the same job. 

Working as a Health and Safety Manager in South Africa gives you the freedom to pick a field of work from numerous industries and job sites.
Additionally, with enough experience and knowledge, you can start your Health and Safety managing business and practise the trade privately.

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