Before you begin priming yourself for an interview for the position of an HSE officer, sit down and think about what your specific job duties will be. What exactly does an HSE (health, safety and environment) officer do? Once you know this, you will be able to determine at least some of the likely questions that will be posed to you during an interview.
To put it briefly, an HSE officer is responsible for providing safe working conditions to employees within an organization. He conducts risk assessments and mitigations before the beginning of a project and takes preventive measures to make sure that accidents, injuries and diseases do not bog employees down. Now that you know what role you are in for, let us discuss the interview.
At an interview for an HSE officer’s position, you will be tested on safety policy development and implementation, investigation techniques and compliance abilities. Most of the questions will revolve around these three areas so if you have these covered, no one can stop you from excelling at the interview.
Some questions (and possible answers that you can provide) are given below:
What do you know about us?
DXT is a construction company that builds commercial structures. DXT has a team of 150+ workers and separate departments for architecture, employee management, budgeting, HSE and designing. You have a well defined HSE policy which is in compliance to the workplace safety guidelines issued by OSHA.
What are the main duties of an HSE officer?
An HSE officer is responsible for scheduling and conducting regular audits, inspecting safety measures, ensuring the HSE policies have been clearly communicated to employees and are being implemented. An HSE officer is also responsible for conducting risk analysis to avoid accidents and conduct post accident research to identify the cause of accident and take measures to avoid its repetition.
Tell me about your experience?
I started my career as a junior safety officer 5 years back. I was responsible for implementing the safety policies and explaining the proper use of PPE to employees. I was promoted to HSE officer two years back and my added responsibilities include designing HSE policies, checking for health safety or environmental hazards and taking corrective actions to fix any security leaks proactively, before any accident occurs.
What qualifies you for this job?
I am a highly responsible person with excellent analytical and communication skills. I also possess a diploma in HSE management and am good at communicating the risks involved in various fields of work and how to deal with them which renders me well qualified for the role of an HSE officer.
As an HSE officer, what is your prime safety concern on any given day?
There are many concerns that are on my mind each day. But since I value human life, I am usually very anxious about any accidents that may occur and end up harming a worker.
What unsafe conditions do you think are usually taken for granted in an organization?
In my five years of work in safety, I have come across many situations that have transpired by human negligence. Loose stair treads and wires that have not been earthed are two of the common things that people take for granted and can prove to be fatal.
What are some of the areas that you would want to focus on in your HSE officer role?
I believe that fire safety, chemical safety, biohazard safety, radiation prevention and First Aid and CPR training are the areas that need to be the prime focus in this role.
Tell us of a situation when mere observation helped you foil an accident or injury.
One of the things which I mentioned earlier as easily taken for granted are stair threads. Quite recently, I was doing the rounds of the elevators and staircases in the building I was assigned to and noticed that one of the stair treads had come apart. It was a routine inspection but my observation abilities made it possible for me to pinpoint this and have it repaired before the lunchtime bell gonged and the workers descended to the cafeteria.
Which areas of your profession do you think you are best at?
I believe myself to be an all rounder since if and when I feel I am week in a certain area, I immediately make effort to improve in that area. I am an expert in risk analysis, incident evaluation, safety auditing and HSE policy implementation.
What OHS and other HSE qualifications do you possess?
I possess NEBOSH certification, BCLS certification, Helicopter underwater escape certification and fire fighting certification. I also hold a technical diploma in HSE, form the Professional safety institute affiliated with the OSHA.
What is a safe work permit?
A safe work permit is basically a document and a permit that specifies the hazards involved in the work to be done and precautions needed to avoid the same.
Name some precautions related to working at heights?
Proper PPE must be used, risks of falling must be carefully catered for and ladders must be tightly fastened before a worker climbs on.
Name some common construction site PPE?
Helmets, fall arrest equipment, high visibility garments and eye protection are some of the PPE used on construction sites.