What is an HSE Coordinator? Your Complete Guide to Becoming a Successful Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator

Ensuring environmental health and safety in an organisation is a crucial step towards compliance, risk mitigation, and operational efficiency. Business leaders need to focus on identifying and resolving health, safety and environment issues in the workplace in order to improve employee happiness and productivity, as well.

This is why investing in experts and environment health and safety in the workplace is a prudent strategic decision. But what does it mean to be a safety coordinator, what is the expected HSE coordinator salary, and what’s the difference between a safety consultant vs coordinator?

We’re going to cover all of those questions and more in our guide on becoming a successful HSE coordinator. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Health, Safety, and Environment Coordination?

First up, it’s important to note that being in environmental health and safety can ecnompass a number of health and safety titles. On our blog, we have already covered the position of an HSE manager and an HSE advisor, and today we are taking a detailed look at the HSE coordinator position as well as the primary HSE coordinator duties and responsibilities. 

To start, what does this field entail exactly? HSE coordination, unlike HSE management or advisory, focuses on creating and enforcing a culture of health and safety in the organisation. The nuanced differences between these three positions might seem very subtle to you at first, but in reality, an HSE coordinator job description is different from the other titles.

Environmental health and safety coordination is hierarchically lower than HSE management, for example. The latter takes on a more strategic role for the organisation while the former ensures all requirements are met and are in compliance with the local safety laws and regulations. 

That said, a HSE coordinator can also take on strategic tasks and will work closely with the HSE manager to steer the company in the right direction. Here’s what the health and safety coordinator role entails.

What Does a Health and Safety Coordinator Do?

An HSE coordinator, also known as the EHS coordinator, is a health and safety professional who performs administrative tasks and ensures that managerial directives and policies are enforced in the organisation. As part of your EHS coordinator duties, you will be:

  • Investigating and analysing on-site and in-house workplaces for potential health and safety issues
  • Reviewing, updating, and adapting health and safety policies to ensure EHS compliance
  • Reporting potential health and safety risks and malpractices to management and other relevant parties
  • Keeping a close eye on all health and safety procedures in your organisation 

Keep in mind that if you are an aspiring HSE coordinator, you will need to obtain real-world work experience alongside your HSE coordinator certification training and some formal education. We’ll touch on all of that in a minute, but now let's take a look at some crucial EHS skills and talent requirements to kick-start a successful career.

As a natural health and safety coordinator, you need to possess:

  • A keen eye for detail and an analytical mindset
  • Good soft skills for interpersonal and presentational purposes
  • A systematic approach to reviewing health and safety documentation
  • Good communication and coordination skills
  • Teamwork skills and the ability to work alone or as a part of a collective
  • The adequate safety courses and certifications stipulated by your regional authorities
  • A good initial understanding of the rules and regulations pertaining to safety
  • The ability to think strategically and drive the innovation process forward

This final point is an important trait any aspiring professional in this field should have, simply because being a strategic thinker will open new possibilities for career advancement down the road. If you choose to remain an HSE coordinator over the long term, it’s still important to remember that strategizing is a part of the HSE coordinator responsibilities as they need to work closely with upper management.

With all of that in mind, let’s now take a look at the HSE coordinator certification requirements and the type of education background preferred by the top employers.

HSE Coordinator Certification and Education Requirements

If you are a newcomer to this field and the different health and safety titles, you might be glad to hear that there are no stringent education or certification requirements for becoming an HSE coordinator. While this doesn’t mean that becoming a professional in this field is easy, it does mean that you have an opportunity to get into the profession by demonstrating your innate skills and qualities first and foremost.

When it comes to formal education, employers will typically want to see a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in fields such as:

  • Occupational health and safety
  • Environmental studies
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • General business management

You can also enter this field holding any number of relevant degrees that give you the ability to learn quickly, strategize and communicate effectively, and enforce health and safety policies. What’s more, certification is also not a concern, as it’s voluntary.

That said, it’s always good to obtain some general certification to stand out from the other job-seekers and improve your value proposition in the eyes of potential employers. This becomes especially important in highly-specialised industries,such as construction.

To separate yourself from the rest and become a prime candidate, you’ll want to get safety certifications for construction. Here are some of the certifications you can look into for a HSE coordinator, but also supervisors and managers if you plan to advance your career:

  • OSHA 30-Hour Construction Card (OSHA 30)
  • Certified Safety Manager (CSM)
  • Safety Trained Supervisor (STS)
  • Certified Safety Manager Construction (CSMC)
  • Safety Director Certification (SDC)
  • Licensed Safety Professional (LSP)
  • Certified Safety and Health Manager (CSHM)
  • Safety Director Certification (SDC)
  • Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
  • Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)
  • Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP)
  • Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technician (OHST)

To become a certified HSE coordinator, however, you can start with the OSHA 30 certification as the minimum requirement. This training module will have you attend a 30-hour course on workplace safety and will prepare you for more HSE coordinator duties and responsibilities down the road.

Lastly, always keep in mind that many employers will base the EHS coordinator salary range depending on your education, training, and certifications. Entry-level positions that require no prior experience or training will, of course, pull in a lower salary, while certified and work-ready candidates will be able to up their starting salary. 

Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator Salary

Now that you have all the information about the HSE coordinator field and education requirements, we can take a closer look at the average salaries around the world. 

EHS Coordinator Salary in the US

In the United States, the average health and safety coordinator salary is $56,332 a year. The EHS coordinator salary range is between $28,500 and $83,500. 

As you can see, this is a big salary range, going up and down as much as $25,000. This goes to show that the pay range will vary depending on your location, work experience, education and certifications, as well as the individual employers.

This also suggests that there are opportunities for pay increases and career advancement within the HSE coordinator role.

EHS Coordinator Salary in the UK

In the UK, on the other hand, the average health and safety coordinator salary is £35,000 per year. The pay range is less than in the US, though, fluctuating between £30,500 and £41,750 on an annual basis.

While the EHS coordinator salary range in the UK doesn’t suggest that there are many opportunities for pay rises within the role, there are still opportunities for advancement towards managerial positions.

EHS Coordinator Salary in Canada

In Canada, the average health and safety coordinator salary is $61,309 per year. The lower 10% of professionals in this field earn around $46,000 a year while the upper 10% can earn up to and in some cases above $85,000 a year.

This is another substantial EHS coordinator salary range, showing plenty of room for salary advancement within the field for entry-level and novice workers.

EHS Coordinator Salary in the AU

In Australia, the average health and safety coordinator salary is $75,220 per year. The EHS coordinator salary range is between $53,000 and $116,000, signifying an opportune job market and a high potential for salary growth. 

What Does an HSE Coordinator Job Description Look Like?

Environmental health and safety coordinator job descriptions can vary greatly depending on the industry, as well as the employer and their unique needs. That said, there are many commonalities you will find between job descriptions in this field, as well.

For the ESH skills and requirements, you will often find that most employers are looking for:

  • An associate’s degree, preferably in occupational health and safety
  • Two years of work experience in the health and safety field
  • You might be able to substitute formal education with four more years of work experience with some employers
  • Some form of health and safety certification (see above)
  • First-aid and CPR experience
  • Experience in industrial security
  • Knowledge on health, safety, and environment policies and compliance requirements in your industry
  • Excellent soft and communication skills
  • Leadership capabilities
  • Detail-oriented and self-driven

For entry-level positions, however, the job descriptions might be a lot less demanding. Employers will often offer apprenticeship programs and sponsor certification training for new hires, allowing you to kick-start your career with little to no experience. 

Optimising Your Health and Safety Coordinator Resume

Whether you are applying for an entry-level position or if you are in the top 10% of high-earning HSE coordinators and you’re looking for new challenges, it’s important to optimise your resume. Sprucing up an HSE coordinator resume means adapting the resume for the employer and some of the unique requirements they may list in their job description.

Consider altering your resume slightly for every employer, in order to point out the most relevant personal and professional qualities. 

  • To stand out to every employer, make sure to:
  • Analyse the company and its needs
  • List all work experience relevant to the employer and their sector
  • List your education and training
  • Emphasise any health and safety certifications you may have
  • Emphasise your soft skills as well as your analytical skills
  • If possible, list quantifiable achievements and results that you can elaborate on during the interview

You will need to have a cover letter to go along with your application as well. This is your opportunity to talk a bit about yourself and your key motivators, but also to showcase some preliminary ideas how you can help their company thrive. 

Health and Safety Coordinator Job Interview Questions and Answers

The final stage will be the interview, and it’s important to know the common HSE coordinator interview questions and how to prepare for them. Here are some questions and how to answer them right.

Name a time when your advice to management led to an improvement in your company or otherwise helped your employer. 

  • An HSE coordinator will work closely with and report to management, so this is the opportunity to talk about how you coordinate and work with the higher-ups.

How do you stay up to date with current health and safety policies, regulations, and industrial processes?

  • Employers want a candidate who is constantly learning and growing, someone who takes a proactive approach to researching regulations and compliance. Describe your process and how you keep up with the changes in your industry.

Describe the methods you use to inspect facilities, machinery, and safety equipment?

  • Your training and certification will cover all these points. List them to the employer to show you’re professionally trained, but if you have any methods that you have found to be more effective, be sure to talk about them. Employers love HSE candidates who are innovative or think outside the box.

Kick-start a Successful HSE Coordinator Career with BuildStream

A professional EHS coordinator or HSE coordinator can expect plenty of career growth opportunities in the years to come, as more and more businesses around the world are in need of this highly-specialised position. BuildStream can help you prep your resume to apply for the most prospective job openings in environmental health and safety, and we can match you with the best employers in your field.

Sign up for free today and get started on your journey to become an environmental health & safety coordinator in an expanding and opportune job market.

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