Health and Safety Inspector Kaimātai Hauora-Haumaru

Health and safety inspectors assess workplaces and work activities to determine if employers are keeping workers and other people safe and healthy at work. They also educate people about health and safety, investigate accidents and lead prosecutions.

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Qualified health and safety inspectors need to hold a WorkSafe New Zealand Identity Card and a Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Enforcement Officer Warrant.

Health and safety inspectors may do some or all of the following:

  • assess if workplaces have safe and healthy work practices, and sound health and safety management systems
  • assess work activities and practices 
  • ensure suitable protective equipment, such as hearing protection, is provided and used correctly
  • ensure suitable controls are in place to manage workplace risks
  • investigate serious harm incidents and accidents, and situations where someone could get hurt or injured
  • investigate occupational disease
  • write reports about the results of assessments and investigations
  • serve notices to get improvements done or shut down workplace processes
  • take legal action or give evidence in court when necessary.

Physical Requirements

Health and safety inspectors need to have a good level of fitness as they may need to bend, climb and work in confined spaces.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for health and safety inspectors includes:

  • risk management
  • interpreting laws and regulations
  • compliance, investigation or enforcement work
  • occupational health experience, such as occupational nursing
  • technical or scientific work
  • working with legal systems and processes
  • health and safety management.

Personal Qualities

Health and safety inspectors need to be:

  • good at problem solving and analysis, with excellent judgement
  • good at making decisions
  • good at oral and written communication
  • able to keep information confidential
  • enquiring and alert, with an eye for detail and an ability to learn new things 
  • firm, fair and impartial
  • able to relate to and work with people from a range of cultures and backgrounds
  • able to stay calm and work well under pressure and without supervision
  • able to cope with accident scenes and to deal with stress and conflict.


Health and safety inspectors need to have:

  • knowledge of health and safety acts and regulations, and how to interpret them
  • an understanding of safe work practices and how risks are managed
  • knowledge of health and safety management systems
  • knowledge of hazardous substances used in workplaces and their adverse effects
  • the ability to conduct investigations and prepare cases for prosecution
  • the ability to educate and influence others.


Health and safety inspectors:

  • usually work regular business hours. However, they sometimes work evenings and weekends and may be rostered on call after hours
  • travel when required, especially during the first two years of their career to attend training courses
  • work indoors and outdoors, visiting locations such as shops, factories, construction sites, mines and forests
  • may work in conditions that are noisy, dirty, confined or hazardous, and with challenging people.

Health and Safety Inspectors can earn around $61K-$66K per year.

Pay for health and safety inspectors varies depending on their skills and experience.

  • Trainee and newly warranted health and safety inspectors usually earn between $61,000 and $66,000 per year.
  • Fully trained health and safety inspectors, with at least five years' experience, usually earn between $76,000 and $93,000 per year.

Source: WorkSafe New Zealand, 2017.

Once qualified, health and safety inspectors may work in one of three teams:

  • assessments
  • investigations
  • response.

Health and safety inspectors can also progress to become technical specialists or managers within WorkSafe New Zealand.

Years Of Training

1-2 years of training required

To become a qualified health and safety inspector, you need to have:

  • a full, clean driver's licence
  • the ability to drive a manual car
  • passed a police check.

If you are accepted, you then:

  • work as a trainee health and safety inspector and complete at least 12 months of on-the-job study and practical training to achieve a WorkSafe New Zealand Identity Card
  • work as an assistant health and safety inspector
  • complete six to 12 months further on-the-job training and study to gain a Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Enforcement Officer Warrant
  • apply for promotion to become a fully qualified health and safety inspector.
Health and Safety Inspector