Safety managers at work: what is their role?

To ensure the safety and well-being of employees, many businesses entrust this responsibility to key figures with specific skills and knowledge: workplace safety managers. In this article, we will explore their role and what responsibilities they hold within a company.


What is workplace safety and what do we mean by it?

Safety at work, in essence, is a set of measures designed to protect the health and well-being of workers during the performance of their activities. It refers to all actions and policies implemented by companies and employers to prevent work-related injuries, occupational diseases and accidents. The main objective is to ensure a safe and healthy environment, minimising risks and dangerous situations that may cause physical or psychological harm to employees.


Safety at work involves several aspects including:


  • Risk assessment. This consists of identifying and assessing potential hazards in the work environment, both physical (e.g. machinery, chemicals, environmental conditions) and psychosocial (such as work stress, work loads and work organisation).
  • Prevention. After identifying risks, preventive measures are put in place to avoid hazardous situations or to reduce their incidence. This may include the implementation of safety procedures, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the dissemination of safe behaviour.
  • Training and awareness-raising. Employees are trained and informed about safe practices to be adopted during their work. This includes knowledge of safety equipment, operating procedures and potential hazards specific to their work.
  • Legislation and regulations. Workplace safety is often regulated by government laws and regulations, which set minimum standards. Companies have an obligation to adhere to these regulations and ensure compliance to protect their employees.
  • Monitoring and reporting accidents. It is essential to keep track of work-related injuries and accidents in order to analyse the underlying causes and take corrective measures so that such events do not recur.
  • Safety culture. The creation of a safety culture within the organisation is essential. This means that all staff members, from managers to employees, must be actively involved in promoting safety and risk awareness.


What are the occupational safety figures?

Workplace safety figures are varied and are professionals who perform specific roles within organisations to ensure a safe and regulatory compliant environment. Below, we have gathered and listed the key figures involved.


Responsible for safety at work (RSPP in Italy)

The Prevention and Protection Service Manager is a mandatory figure in Italian companies. The RSPP is responsible for coordinating and promoting all activities to prevent accidents and occupational diseases in the company. He collaborates with the employer and the Competent Doctor to identify and assess the risks present, as well as to draw up the Risk Assessment Document (DVR) and plan prevention and protection measures.


First Aid Officer

A person trained to provide first aid in the event of an accident or medical emergency in the workplace. First Aid Officers must be adequately trained and have the necessary first aid equipment available.


Fire-fighting officer

This figure is responsible for managing emergency situations related to fires in the workplace. Fire-fighters must be trained in the use of fire extinguishers and how to safely evacuate personnel in the event of a fire.


Prevention technician in the environment and workplace (T.P.L.)

This figure carries out technical activities to support the RSPP, such as checking safety equipment, analysing risk situations, drawing up emergency plans and other safety-related activities.


Competent Doctor

The Competent Doctor is a medical professional specialised in occupational and prevention medicine. He assesses the state of health of workers and gives opinions on their fitness for work, taking into account the occupational risks to which they are exposed.


Workers’ Safety Representative (RLS)

The Workers’ Safety Representative is elected by the workers and is the main contact person for safety at work within the organisation. He has the task of representing the employees and actively participating in accident prevention activities.


External consultants

Some companies may rely on external consultants specialised in occupational safety to carry out audits, specific training or to address particular safety issues.

Regardless of who is appointed to cooperate in order to ensure maximum safety in the workplace, it is necessary for all employees to periodically attend a training and refresher course that issues a specific certificate that is compulsory for all employees. 


The occupational safety certificate 

The occupational safety certificate is a document certifying that an employee has successfully participated in a specific training course on occupational health and safety regulations. The purpose of this document is to certify, under the responsibility of the issuing body, that the subject’s training was carried out in compliance with the applicable legal provisions.

None of the certificates issued are of unlimited duration, each certificate needs to be renewed and this means having to undergo regular refresher courses. If updating is not carried out on time, the certificates lose their validity and the worker is no longer in a position to carry out his or her work. 

Here is a list of the main occupational safety certificates currently available in Italy: 

  • Training for fire-fighting emergency team members (every 3-5 years) 
  • Training for First Aid Team members (every 3 years) 
  • Safety Training for Workers (every 5 years)
  • Training for Workers’ Safety Representatives (every year)  
  • Training for RSPP Employers (every 5 years).


The competences of the Safety Manager

The workplace safety manager (RSPP in Italy) plays a crucial role within an organisation, as he or she is primarily responsible for coordinating and promoting activities to prevent accidents and occupational diseases. The importance of the Safety Manager derives from several factors.

The Safety Manager is a mandatory figure by law in many countries, including Italy. The presence of a suitably trained and qualified professional is essential to ensure that the company complies with regulations and laws on safety at work. The lack of an Safety Manager or his inadequacy can result in penalties and fines for the company.

He/ she is responsible for conducting risk assessments in the workplace, identifying potential hazards and dangerous situations. Based on the results of the risk assessments, the Safety Manager draws up the Risk Assessment Document (DVR) and plans the prevention and protection measures to be implemented in the company. These measures may involve specific training, the purchase of safety equipment or the creation of emergency procedures.

This professional plays a key role in training employees in safe workplace practices. He or she organises training courses, awareness sessions and provides useful information to help workers understand the risks and behave safely.

Collaborates in planning and organising emergency procedures in case of accidents or critical situations in the workplace. This includes the definition of evacuation routes, the availability of rescue means and the training of staff to deal with crisis situations.


How can companies help identify the right person for this role?

At Kilpatrick, we can play an important role in helping companies identify the right person for the role of Safety Manager. 

Among our various activities, we work with the company to understand the specific needs and requirements of the Safety Manager role. This includes assessing the size and nature of the organisation and areas of activity.

Based on the business needs analysis, we create a detailed profiling of the ideal candidate for the Safety Manager role. This profiling includes both technical competences related to occupational safety and the desired personal and managerial characteristics.

We can take care, alongside you, of personnel selection to identify qualified and suitable candidates for the required role. This includes publishing job advertisements, actively searching for candidates and analysing CVs to identify potential professionals in line with the defined profiling. We assess the technical and behavioural competencies of candidates against the requirements of the Safety Manager role. These assessments help identify the most suitable candidates and make informed selection decisions.

We help you carry out structured interviews with the selected candidates in order to deepen their competencies and motivations for joining your business. This helps you obtain in-depth and objective information for more informed hiring. We assist the company in the evaluation and final selection phase, offering advice and support in choosing the best candidate.

In short, we provide advice and support to help companies identify and select the ideal candidate to fill, in this case, the role of occupational safety manager. 

Using our expertise, you will be able to find a highly qualified and suitable candidate to promote workplace safety within your company. 


Contact us to find out how we can support you to better manage the human resources of your business.