Health and Safety: A Career Across Borders

Hello and welcome to the first of four NEBOSH columns for World of Health & Safety Asia. It is a privilege to be invited to contribute to a publication that shares the same values and vision as our organization; saving lives.

As we write this column amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, never more so has the focus for business been on the health, safety and wellbeing of employees – and the health and safety professionals
who look after them. Despite the high levels of responsibility, this career path can be very rewarding and is growing in popularity; industries change but risk will always remain and employers will always need skilled people who can manage it.

Life as a health and safety professional is incredibly varied. You can be involved in a huge range of tasks, work with all kinds of people, earn a good wage, work in nearly any industry and country and have progression opportunities all the way up to Board level. Most rewarding of all is the impact you can have on people’s lives, keeping them safe from injury and illness. What’s more you don’t need a university degree to get started – organizations really value hands-on experience and practical, relevant qualifications like those offered by NEBOSH.

For many people, achieving a NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety – NEBOSH’s most popular qualification – provides an introduction to the health and safety profession, how diverse it is and the practical skills they will need in the workplace. And, because it’s so widely recognised by employers, the certificate gives successful learners the credibility they need to stand out from the crowd and set them on the path of a successful career.

Umer Changaiz’s story
Originally from Pakistan, Umer Changaiz’s safety career has taken him to many countries. Currently QHSE Supervisor in Saudi Arabia for SNC-Lavalin, a global engineering company, Umer
has previously worked in safety positions in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

Umer’s safety career started when he was working for a geotechnical company in Pakistan and volunteered for additional responsibilities. He was given some basic training and additional
responsibilities such as site monitoring and PPE enforcement.

Umer says “This is when I became motivated to become a full-time health and safety professional – I really enjoyed working to protect other people from harm and ill-health. I wanted to learn more and decided to study internationally recognised qualifications such as the NEBOSH General Certificate.”

Since then Umer has gained the NEBOSH International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management and the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety which have helped him to continue developing as a professional.

Like Umer, the NEBOSH General Certificate is just the beginning for many aspiring health and safety professionals. It gives them the know-how, skills and confidence to create a solid foundation for continued professional growth and many people go on to gain higher level qualifications (such as NEBOSH Diploma) and more senior positions.

This was the case for Vanraj Dave, EHS Specialist South East Asia & India for Solenis LLC, who grew up in the Gujarat region of India. He says “A friend told me about NEBOSH and said it was a recognised gateway to the profession. After this advice I took the NEBOSH International General Certificate before going on to the International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.

“My NEBOSH studies broadened my approach in ways I could never have imagined. It gave me the skills and confidence to influence top management and leaders by seeing and presenting the bigger
picture whilst having the professional credentials to support my case.”

Importance of recognition
In NEBOSH’s experience, many people from the Asia region self-fund some or all of their studies. If you’re investing in education, it’s really important to thoroughly research qualifications before signing up. Ensure the course or qualification:

  • Is right for your current level of knowledge, experience and language skills.
  • Is recognised by industry – research the employers and industries you’d like to work in and look at the qualifications and skills they ask for in job vacancies.
  • Is delivered by skilled and experienced tutors. Even if you are studying online, a skilled tutor will develop effective learning materials.

Here at NEBOSH we have used our expertise to develop a range of qualifications for people at all stages of their career, that are delivered by a network of high-quality Learning Partners. They are also highly regarded by many international organisations, including Sendan in Saudi Arabia, as Muhammed Raheel Khan, Head of HSE, explains: “I hold the NEBOSH International General
Certificate (IGC) myself and know how much it had helped improve my own knowledge and competence. We decided to set ourselves the goal of making the IGC the minimum standard for all
Sendan safety staff and rolled out a programme of training to make this a reality. Moreover we made holding the IGC (or equivalent) mandatory when hiring new members of our safety team.”

“We believe that the IGC programme, along with other initiatives, played a major role in raising the overall organisational safety competency and has resulted in enhancement of safety culture. Our recordable injury rate has fallen significantly, and this has resulted in considerable direct and indirect savings such as lower insurance premiums, minimum work stoppages and improved employee morale.”

Begin your safety career
For people interested in a health and safety career, NEBOSH has published Do Something Great: Your Health and Safety Career a special, free guide that features advice from 24 of the world’s top health and safety thought leaders. These include international experts Dr Abdulrahman Jawahery, President of Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co (GPIC), Shermin Shali, HSEQ Manager in the United Arab Emirates, and Amitabh Bhattacharya, Lead HSE Specialist for Baker Hughes in India.

To download your free copy of the Do Something Great guide, go to

Get Full Copy of E-Magazine

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

  • __cfduid
  • CookieConsent
  • local_storage_support_test
  • TawkWindowName

Decline all Services
Accept all Services