As a safety officer, the essence of your work is ensuring other people’s and property’s safety so it stands to reason that at an interview for this position, you will be tested along these lines primarily. If you are comfortable in your safety officer role, it will show in an interview; your knowledge of the work and how you execute it will be a great asset when you sit across the table from an interviewer.
An interview for a safety officer’s position will focus mostly on your abilities of implementing security policies and handling adverse situations. You should be confident in both these areas if you want to excel in the interview. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression so be prepared to give the interviewer what he wants!
While you will most probably be asked situation-based questions during an interview for a safety officer position, you must prepare yourself for other types of questions as well. These may include your knowledge of using safety equipment or understanding of safety procedures and protocols.
Given below is a set of interview questions and answers that you could be asked when appearing for an interview:
Define the terms risk and safety?
Safety is defined as a condition that is free from hazards while risk is the realization of a potential loss or injury.
Differentiate between risk assessment and incident investigation?
Risk assessment is conducted before an incident has occurred with the aim of avoiding any incident in the first place while incident investigation is done after an accident has occurred to determine its causes and avoid its repetition in the future.
How would you define safety and its relevance to real time situations?
Safety is a condition which provides you freedom from risk. While most people say safety and think “people”, it is not just about people. It is also about buildings and assets. Real time situations that may warrant safety include physical hazards such as fire, natural calamities, intended harm and emergencies.
What is a safety audit? On what three bases does it operate?
A safety audit is a workplace screening process that indicates any unsafe working conditions and recommends corrective measures. Is operates on measurements, analysis and testing.
What are the five essential E’s of a safety program?
The five essentials of a safety program include: engineering, education, enforcement, enthusiasm and example.
Explain a situation where your proactive thinking avoided a certain accident?
During an oil drilling project the drillers were using PPE but the audit revealed they were not using proper eye gear. I designed and recommended sealed eye gear for them and insisted on its use which paid off because the drillers came across a pungent gas during drilling which could have damaged their eyes causing serious threats on site and long term health issues had they not worn that equipment.
What is a near-miss? Share a near-miss experience and what you learnt from it?
Near miss is a situation where an accident could happen but did not. These indicate leaks in security arrangements. Last year, during a renovation project someone placed heavy tiles on the first floor just where the floor was not strong enough to carry their weight. The floor gave in and a couple of tiles fell down, no one was hurt but I learnt to always place safety tags on weak parts of structures being renovated.
What parameters determine ‘work at height’?
Any task that is required to be performed at a height of 2m or more above ground level is considered as a ‘work at height’ situation.
What is the biggest hazard in construction and what can be done to remove it?
Biggest hazard that applies to construction sites is that of collapse. This is avoided through proper and secure scaffolding at sensitive structural points.
What is your biggest weakness?
I would say paying extra attention to details might be my weakness. I am highly cautious and do not sit back until I have thoroughly understood and figured out strategies to carry out things which sometimes over burdens me but in a way helps me perform better as a security officer.
What are your main strengths as a security officer?
I am a good manager, highly organized and possess very good communication skills.
In the event of a fire inside a building, what thought will be foremost in your mind?
Evacuation. I would want every living being inside the building to safely step out and run as far away from the building as possible.
Have you ever been involved in a situation which has tested your mettle as a safety officer on a personal level?
There was this situation in which the university that I was working for fell under a vandalism attack. All security personnel looked for the perpetrator for three months but I was the one who managed to pinpoint a student responsible for the vile acts. It was unfortunate that the student was the son of my best friend. I had no option but to hand him in even though I knew I could very well let him go with a warning and none would be the wiser! My ethics said otherwise.
Training or experience? What is more important in a safety officer’s role?
One without the other is not potent enough for many situations so I would consider both very important. Training is a prerequisite and experience is comes with time. They cannot be compared or used interchangeably.