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Become An Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader

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Working As An Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • $70,210

    Average Salary

What Does An Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader 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 Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader

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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Average Length of Employment
EHS Specialist 3.3 years
Safety Consultant 2.6 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 4.4%
Top Employers After
Leader 2.8%
Consultant 2.8%

Do you work as an Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader?

Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader Demographics

Gender

Male

69.9%

Female

29.4%

Unknown

0.6%
Ethnicity

White

61.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

4.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Portuguese

10.0%

Hungarian

10.0%

French

10.0%

Polish

10.0%

Arabic

10.0%
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Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader Education

Schools

University of Findlay

10.9%

Eastern Kentucky University

10.9%

Murray State University

9.1%

West Virginia University

7.3%

University of Florida

5.5%

Columbia Southern University

5.5%

University of Central Missouri

5.5%

University of Toledo

5.5%

Wilmington University

3.6%

National University

3.6%

Rio Hondo College

3.6%

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

3.6%

University of Phoenix

3.6%

Weber State University

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.6%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.6%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

University of North Dakota

3.6%

University of New Haven

1.8%

University of Southern Maine

1.8%
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Majors

Business

14.3%

Management

13.3%

Environmental Science

12.4%

Occupational Safety And Health

11.4%

Public Health

11.4%

Engineering Technology

3.8%

Supply Chain Management

3.8%

Chemistry

3.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.9%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Environmental Engineering

2.9%

Mechanical Engineering

1.9%

Geology

1.9%

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, And Research

1.9%

Health Care Administration

1.9%

Human Resources Management

1.9%

Computer Applications

1.9%

Chemical Engineering

1.9%

Aviation

1.9%

Nursing

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.0%

Masters

39.6%

Other

10.4%

Certificate

3.7%

Associate

3.0%

Doctorate

2.2%
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Top Skills for An Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader

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  1. Compliance
  2. Safety
  3. Osha
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Spearheaded development and implementation of global EHS assessment process to evaluate effectiveness of EHS management systems and regulatory compliance.
  • Executed individual/team coaching in key areas, facility wide training, safe work recognition, and accountability for violating safety guidelines.
  • Comply with all OSHA and other related regulatory requirements for documentation and reporting.
  • Implemented plant-wide forklift and front-end loader certification training; implemented new emergency evacuation procedure; conducted weekly safety training.
  • Develop and Implement Safety and Environmental system, policies and procedures to meet corporate and governmental regulations and requirements.

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Top Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader Employers

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