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  • A Safety Engineer checking the safety of an engineering system using a tablet

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  • Safety Engineer

Safety Engineer

Introduction

As a Safety Engineer, you will be responsible for making sure that engineering systems and projects operate smoothly and safely.

Also known as

  • Functional Safety Engineer

Work Activities

As a Safety Engineer, you will be responsible for making sure that engineering systems and projects operate smoothly and safely.

You might be brought in to work on a particular new engineering project or system. You'll use your engineering knowledge to help design the new systems, taking into account the relevant health and safety issues.

You could also work on engineering processes and systems that are already up and running. You'll need to spot potential and already existing safety problems, and suggest ways of solving any issues. You will make sure such safety problems can be prevented in future.

Your duties could also include:

  • reviewing safety and environmental requirements
  • carrying out safety tests on machinery
  • using IT based safety analysis tools
  • evaluating the safety risk throughout a whole project lifecycle
  • carrying out hazard assessments (detailed IT based investigations into potential safety problems and faults)
  • writing safety plans and reports
  • leading and supporting safety working groups or teams
  • leading safety committee meetings
  • training people in carrying out the correct health and safety procedures

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Safety Engineer, you need:

  • experience of engineering and manufacturing systems
  • an awareness of the safety standards and legislation which exists within the industry you choose to work in
  • network design skills
  • system safety testing skills
  • hazard management skills (how do you deal with a safety problem?)
  • to be willing to keep up to date with advances in technology in this fast-changing area

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £28,000 - £29,500
  • With experience: £33,000 - £36,500
  • Senior Safety Engineers earn £40,500 - £44,500

Hours of work

You will most likely work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Occasional late finishes and weekend work may be required.

Where could I work?

Employers include manufacturing firms in the following industries:

  • space
  • nuclear energy
  • renewable energy
  • defence
  • rail
  • construction
  • aerospace
  • automobile

Opportunities occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

This career could involve working for an agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/health-and-safety/

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/engineering/

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Many employers require you to have a degree before you become a Safety Engineer. Degrees in relevant subjects are available at many universities. In order to get onto one of these courses, you will usually need at least two A levels.

After completing your A levels, you might be able to get onto a Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

So now is a great time to start planning your route through to university. Take a look at the Subjects section to see a list of relevant A level and GCSE subjects, which can help you get onto the right university course.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Work Experience

Many people enter this career after gaining relevant skills, and perhaps qualifications, in a related area such as:

  • the rail industry
  • nuclear energy
  • the marine industry
  • construction
  • the aerospace industry
  • the automobile industry
  • the food and drink industry

Progression

Depending on their qualification, Safety Engineer can progress by taking on more responsibility for the management of engineering projects and teams of Safety Engineers.

Some Safety Engineers choose to become self-employed or take contract work on a freelance basis.

Qualifications

To enter a relevant degree course, the usual requirements are:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs in your A level subjects at grade C/4 or above
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above
  • English, maths and a science subject are usually required at GCSE at grade C/4 or above

To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Skills/experience

Many people enter this career after gaining relevant skills, and perhaps qualifications, in a related area such as:

  • the rail industry
  • nuclear energy
  • the marine industry
  • construction
  • the aerospace industry
  • the automobile industry
  • the food and drink industry

Industry experience is very highly valued by employers

Funding

Funding for postgraduate courses is available through universities from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Further Information

Semta

Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT

Tel: 0845 6439001

Email: customerservices@semta.org.uk

Website: www.semta.org.uk

Tomorrow's Engineers

Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering

Email: contactus@tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Website: www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Scottish Engineering

Scottish enquiries

Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL

Tel: 0141 2213181

Email: consult@scottishengineering.org.uk

Website: www.scottishengineering.org.uk

Engineering Council

Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX

Tel: 020 3206 0500

Website: www.engc.org.uk

Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH

Tel: 028 9182 2377

Email: info@etcni.org.uk

Website: www.etcni.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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