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Become An Environmental Safety Specialist

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Working As An Environmental Safety 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
  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Environmental Safety 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 Environmental Safety 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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Environmental Safety Specialist Career Paths

Environmental Safety Specialist
Environmental Health Safety Manager Safety Director Vice President
Human Resources Vice President
12 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Property Manager
Compliance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Plant Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager EHS Manager
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Operations Director
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Director Nursing Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Store Manager Operations Manager
Operations Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Loss Prevention Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Compliance Manager
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Coordinator Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Coordinator Team Leader Executive Team Leader
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Safety Coordinator Supervisor Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Supervisor Unit Manager
Section Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Owner/Operator Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Superintendent Quality Control Manager
Controls Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Officer Safety Specialist Safety Consultant
Loss Control Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Officer Health And Safety Coordinator Environmental Health Specialist
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Officer Quality Control Manager Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Engineer Safety Consultant Compliance Manager
Corporate Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Engineer Environmental Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Safety Engineer 3.3 years
Safety Officer 3.3 years
EHS Specialist 3.2 years
Safety Specialist 3.1 years
Safety Advisor 2.7 years
Safety Analyst 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Environmental Safety Specialist
Internship 7.2%
Top Careers After Environmental Safety Specialist
Supervisor 3.1%
Manager 3.1%

Do you work as an Environmental Safety Specialist?

Highest Environmental Safety Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Environmental and Safety Specialist Innovo Construction LLC Washington, DC Jan 09, 2016 $66,784
Environmental and Safety Specialist Cardinal Engineering, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Oct 18, 2012 $54,500
Environmental/Safety Specialist Nan Ya Plastics Corp., America Lake City, SC Aug 20, 2015 $34,950
Environmental Safety Specialist Texas A&M University College Station, TX Oct 12, 2012 $34,632
Environmental Safety Specialist Texas A&M University College Station, TX Mar 01, 2011 $34,008

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Top Skills for An Environmental Safety Specialist

  1. Ensure Compliance
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Osha
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Inspected workplace environments, equipment, and practices in order to ensure compliance of safety, health, and environmental programs.
  • Monitored program on a regular basis and initiated corrective actions to ensure all regulations and safety procedures are adhered to.
  • Developed Global Harmonized System training, and updated Hazard Communication program to comply with updated OSHA standards.
  • Conducted both formal and informal inspections and investigations of specific incidents or ongoing operations related to hazardous materials and hazardous spills.
  • Designed and implemented HSE programs including Respiratory Protection, Crisis Management and Emergency Response, and Remote Camp Sanitation Standards.

Environmental Safety Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

67.0%

Female

24.5%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

80.0%

Dakota

13.3%

Russian

6.7%

Environmental Safety Specialist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

30.8%

Eastern Kentucky University

8.8%

University of Central Missouri

6.9%

Murray State University

5.0%

Marshall University

3.8%

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

3.8%

University of Phoenix

3.8%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

3.8%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.1%

University of Houston

3.1%

Nicholls State University

3.1%

Northeastern State University

2.5%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

2.5%

National University

2.5%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

2.5%

Old Dominion University

2.5%

Keene State College

2.5%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

2.5%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

2.5%
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Majors

Occupational Safety And Health

15.6%

Public Health

13.4%

Business

12.4%

Environmental Science

9.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

7.2%

Management

5.7%

Chemistry

4.1%

Criminal Justice

3.8%

Health Care Administration

3.8%

Chemical Engineering

3.8%

Biology

3.6%

Nursing

3.1%

Industrial Technology

1.9%

Geology

1.9%

Human Resources Management

1.9%

Homeland Security

1.9%

Elementary Education

1.7%

Education

1.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.4%

Fire Science And Protection

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.3%

Masters

27.9%

Other

15.7%

Associate

8.6%

Certificate

4.1%

Doctorate

1.8%

Diploma

0.7%
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