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Become An EHS Specialist

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Working As An EHS Specialist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • $72,463

    Average Salary

What Does An EHS Specialist Do

Occupational health and safety specialists analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. They also design programs to prevent disease or injury to workers and damage to the environment.

Duties

Occupational health and safety specialists typically do the following:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace
  • Collect samples of potentially toxic materials for analysis
  • Inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations
  • Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions
  • Investigate accidents and incidents to identify their causes and to determine how they might be prevented
  • Conduct training on a variety of topics, such as emergency preparedness

Occupational health and safety specialists examine the workplace for environmental or physical factors that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. They may examine factors such as lighting, equipment, materials, and ventilation. Specialists seek to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. They also seek to save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments and by preventing government fines.

Some specialists develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.

In addition to protecting workers, specialists work to prevent harm to property, the environment, and the public by inspecting workplaces for chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards. Specialists who work for governments conduct safety inspections and can impose fines.

Occupational health and safety specialists work with engineers and physicians to control or fix hazardous conditions or equipment. They also work closely with occupational health and safety technicians to collect and analyze data in the workplace. 

The tasks of occupational health and safety specialists vary by industry, workplace, and types of hazards affecting employees. The following are examples of types of occupational health and safety specialists:

Ergonomists consider the design of industrial, office, and other equipment to maximize workers’ comfort, safety, and productivity.

Industrial or occupational hygienists identify workplace health hazards, such as lead, asbestos, noise, pesticides, and communicable diseases.

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How To Become An EHS Specialist

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field.

Education

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. For some positions, a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, health physics, or a related subject is required.

Typical courses include radiation science, hazardous material management and control, risk communications, and respiratory protection. These courses may vary with the specialty in which a student wants to work. For example, courses in health physics focus on topics that differ from those in industrial hygiene.

High school students interested in becoming occupational health and safety specialists should take courses in English, math, chemistry, biology, and physics.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to use advanced technology. They often work with complex testing equipment.

Communication skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to communicate safety instructions and concerns to employees and managers. They need to be able to work with technicians to collect and test samples of possible hazards, such as dust or vapors, in the workplace.

Detail oriented. Occupational health and safety specialists need to understand and follow safety standards and complex government regulations.

Physical stamina. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to stand for long periods and be able to travel regularly. Some specialists work in environments that can be uncomfortable, such as tunnels or mines.

Problem-solving skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to solve problems in order to design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is voluntary, many employers encourage it. Certification is available through several organizations, depending on the field in which the specialists work. Specialists must have graduated from an accredited educational program and have work experience to be eligible to take most certification exams. To keep their certification, specialists usually are required to complete periodic continuing education.

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EHS Specialist Career Paths

EHS Specialist

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EHS Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

68.3%

Female

28.5%

Unknown

3.3%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

Chinese

9.5%

Japanese

4.8%

French

4.8%

Mandarin

4.8%

Hindi

4.8%

Urdu

4.8%
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EHS Specialist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

27.4%

Eastern Kentucky University

9.6%

Murray State University

5.9%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

5.2%

University of Phoenix

4.4%

Keene State College

3.7%

University of Central Missouri

3.7%

Texas A&M University

3.7%

University of Cincinnati

3.7%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.7%

Illinois State University

3.0%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.0%

University of Puerto Rico - Medical Sciences Campus

3.0%

Indiana State University

3.0%

University of Findlay

3.0%

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

3.0%

West Virginia University

3.0%

University of Tennessee - Chattanooga

3.0%

Southeastern Louisiana University

3.0%

Northeastern State University

2.2%
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Majors

Occupational Safety And Health

16.2%

Business

13.9%

Environmental Science

13.1%

Public Health

11.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

7.0%

Biology

6.7%

Management

4.4%

Industrial Technology

3.1%

Chemistry

3.1%

Environmental Engineering

3.1%

Nursing

2.8%

Industrial Engineering

2.3%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.3%

Psychology

1.8%

Engineering

1.8%

Finance

1.5%

General Studies

1.3%

Criminal Justice

1.3%

Civil Engineering

1.3%

Chemical Engineering

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.6%

Masters

27.2%

Other

13.0%

Associate

8.2%

Certificate

4.7%

Diploma

0.4%
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Real EHS Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
EHS Specialist Agilent Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 01, 2009 $88,068
EHS Specialist Hess Corporation Houston, TX Oct 01, 2013 $80,500
EHS Specialist Hess Corporation Seminole, TX Feb 25, 2013 $80,500
EHS & S Specialist The Dow Chemical Company Midland, MI Aug 25, 2014 $70,533 -
$104,916
EHS Specialist International Safety Systems, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 06, 2016 $66,000
EHS Specialist II Life Technologies Corporation Rockford, IL Dec 05, 2016 $65,000 -
$106,000
EHS Specialist International Safety Systems, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 01, 2013 $65,000
EHS Specialist (Environmental, Health and Safety) Actavis Elizabeth LLC Elizabeth, NJ Dec 14, 2012 $63,178
EHS Specialist Aryzta LLC Newark, CA Sep 03, 2013 $61,500
EHS Specialist International Safety Systems, Inc. Harriman, NY Sep 22, 2014 $59,051

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Top Skills for An EHS Specialist

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  1. Safety
  2. Compliance
  3. Safety Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conduct facility and emergency equipment inspections, control safety infractions, and facilitated safety committee meetings.
  • Ensured compliance with all applicable national, local and international regulations and corporate requirements.
  • Authored safety procedures and self-risk assessments to support shop operations and identify tasks specific risks.
  • Developed OSHA written plans and requisite training and documentation programs in a warehouse / manufacturing operation.
  • Mentored and trained Employee Involvement Teams in performing leading and trailing safety indicator assessments, machinery inspections and facility audits.

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Top EHS Specialist Employers

Jobs From Top EHS Specialist Employers

EHS Specialist Videos

A Day in the Life :: Environmental Health

A Day in the Life of EHS // October 2014

CMSE Recruitment Safety Jobs, EHS Jobs

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