Health & Safety Manager

Workplace health and safety is all about sensibly managing risks to protect workers and the business. As a Health and Safety Manager it is your responsibility to ensure the business has a good health & safety management system comprising of a series of practical policies, plans and procedures designed to reduce risk and protect people.

You will need to have a technical mindset with an engineering, distilling or chemical background with an understanding of the importance of KPI’s in driving performance. You will assume responsibility for ensuring that the distilling process is compliant from a Health & Safety perspective by demonstrating solid leadership skills and the ability to manage team performance.

Role Description

Main duties and responsibilities

Your main role as a health and safety manager is to prevent accidents, injuries, and work-related illness. To achieve this, you will design and implement safety procedures and policies that minimise the risk of accidents or injuries in the workplace.

Typical duties include creating and implementing organisational safety guidelines, promoting a culture of safety in the workplace, and performing regular inspections to check compliance. You will manage the relationships with external partners, suppliers, contractors, government agencies and key internal collaborators. And will continually look to deliver improvements in performance by deploying a range of continuous improvement tools and techniques to solve problems. Other key duties and responsibilities include:

  • Deliver strategic and operational objectives relating to health and safety and all aspects of the organisations Integrated Management System.
  • Leadership of health & safety policies, procedures, process safety and technical mentoring to operational teams.
  • Plan and develop performance, standards, frameworks, and capabilities to meet scorecard KPI targets.
  • Manage key Health and Safety activities including Risk Assessments, Management of Change, Permit to Work, Control of Contractors, Safety Inspections, Safety Committee, Safety Reporting mechanisms, Safety Communication etc.
  • Oversee safety and risk assessment controls to assure compliance with applicable regulatory and legal requirements.
  • Promote a positive culture of continuous improvement and business excellence in all aspects of health and safety. Providing safety support and advice to key functions and departments.
  • Conduct compliance audits in accordance with both ISO and the organisations policies.
  • Conduct root-cause analysis and investigations are conducted for any accidents and incidents. Preparing and filing reports for accidents and other safety breaches. Maintain legal compliance, risk and opportunities register.
  • Ensure any improvements implemented are standardised and sustained within operational teams.
  • Carry out impact assessments to identify, assess and minimise the organisation's governance risks and financial costs. Taking the lead on risk and contingency management.
  • Conduct awareness and procedures training on health and safety and process improvement.
  • Proactively identifying and implementing opportunities for Health and Safety improvement.
  • Oversee the management of PPE supplies, benefits training and equipment testing.
  • Collaborate as required with relevant bodies such as local authorities, public bodies, and proficient bodies.
  • Staying up to date with health and safety regulations and developments that may impact the organisation.
  • Manage emergency procedures such as fire alarm drills. Be on call to respond to emergencies at the plant.

Skills and experience

To become a Health & Safety Manager you will need to have had significant operational Governance and Compliance leadership experience, in an FMCG manufacturing environment. Ideally, you will also have experience with Major Accident Hazard Management. 

You will be a highly motivated manager with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to influence, persuade and communicate with people at all levels within the organisation and external stakeholders / authorities as required.  A naturally authoritative manager you will have the ability to build a high-performance multi-discipline team by effectively setting performance standards and mentoring and developing others. In addition, you will:

  • Have a proven track record in health and safety or QHSE management, or a similar role within business assurance.
  • Be degree educated in a Business or Risk Management discipline.
  • Have a NEBOSH Diploma ideally or NEBOSH general certificate (working towards Diploma)
  • Having professional qualifications in health and Safety and Quality Assurance is essential.
  • Be a member of at least two professional bodies such as IEMA, IOSH and CQI.
  • Be an IEMA practitioner or holder of a certificate in environmental management.
  • Experienced at implementing and managing integrated management systems based on the ISO framework.
  • Knowledge and working experience with continuous improvement methodologies.
  • Ability to design e-learning modules and deliver face-to-face training or coaching for internal stakeholders.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and problem-solving skills. Highly process and compliance focussed.
  • Proficient with IT and Microsoft Office.

Qualifications Required

You will be degree qualified in Governance topic, for example, Health & Safety, Environment, Business Risk etc and will probably have a NEBOSH Diploma or equivalent level Practitioner qualification in Occupational Safety & Health.  It would also be useful if you have a Corporate Membership of Institute Occupational Safety & Health and/or Business Continuity Institute.

If you want to be sure this is the right career for you, you can complete an introductory course to begin with, such as IOSH Managing Safely or the NEBOSH Health and Safety at Work Qualification.

Did you know?

Since 2005, the number of incidents has dropped by 82% and the industry performs consistently better than the ‘food and drinks manufacturing’ rate. Together with its members, the SWA strives to improve its performance.

The Association coordinates the development of high-quality and industry-specific guidance for distillers. It has also recently refreshed its library of H&S interactive training awareness modules. There are 7 modules, each of which focuses on a specific H&S topic and outlines their importance within the Scotch Whisky workplace.


There are several accredited qualifications in Health & Safety available, many with no minimum academic entry requirements, including:

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the Chartered body for occupational safety and health professionals, has a list of accredited qualifications delivered by universities and awarding bodies.Search for postgraduate courses in health and safety management.

Related Case Studies

The Scotch Whisky Association

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