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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
  • $81,050

    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 jobs

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Environmental Safety Specialist Career Paths

Environmental Safety Specialist
Safety Supervisor Operations Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental, Health, And Safety EHS Leader Environmental Health Safety Manager Compliance Manager
Environmental Compliance Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Health And Safety Manager
Environmental Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Analyst Safety Consultant Environmental Engineer
Environmental Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Safety Analyst Safety Specialist General Superintendent
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager Risk Manager Safety Manager
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Environmental Manager Environmental Health Safety Manager Security Manager
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Safety Director Environmental Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Safety Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Safety Manager
Project Safety Manager
9 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager Project Safety Manager Quality Control Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Environmental Manager Safety Manager
Safety And Training Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Safety Supervisor Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Manager Operations Manager
Terminal Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Director Chief Executive Officer Driver
Transportation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Director Terminal Manager District Manager
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
EHS Manager 4.2 years
Safety Trainer 3.7 years
Safety Officer 3.4 years
EHS Specialist 3.4 years
Safety Engineer 3.3 years
Safety Coordinator 3.3 years
EHS Coordinator 3.1 years
Safety Specialist 3.0 years
Safety Advisor 2.6 years
Safety Consultant 2.6 years
Safety Analyst 2.5 years
Safety Technician 2.4 years
Safety Assistant 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 8.8%
Top Employers After
Consultant 2.9%

Environmental Safety Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

67.9%

Female

30.7%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

77.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

1.9%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.4%

Dakota

6.7%

Portuguese

4.4%

French

4.4%

Russian

4.4%

Hungarian

2.2%

Vietnamese

2.2%

Carrier

2.2%

Armenian

2.2%

Polish

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Thai

2.2%
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Environmental Safety Specialist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

21.1%

Eastern Kentucky University

8.8%

Murray State University

6.2%

Keene State College

6.2%

University of Phoenix

5.7%

San Jose State University

4.6%

University of Findlay

4.6%

University of Central Missouri

4.1%

West Virginia University

4.1%

Tulane University

3.6%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

3.6%

University of Alabama

3.1%

University of South Florida

3.1%

University of Maryland - University College

3.1%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

3.1%

University of California - San Diego

3.1%

Indiana State University

3.1%

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

2.6%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

2.6%
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Majors

Public Health

15.6%

Environmental Science

15.0%

Occupational Safety And Health

11.3%

Business

10.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

9.7%

Management

6.5%

Nursing

3.7%

Chemistry

3.3%

Biology

3.2%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Chemical Engineering

2.9%

Health Sciences And Services

2.2%

Project Management

1.9%

Health Care Administration

1.9%

Fire Science And Protection

1.8%

Industrial Technology

1.6%

Environmental Engineering

1.6%

Geology

1.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.4%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.5%

Masters

29.4%

Other

12.1%

Associate

5.4%

Certificate

4.3%

Doctorate

1.6%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real 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

EnsureComplianceOshaSafetyProceduresEmergencyResponseFacilityEHSRegulatoryAgenciesSafetyProgramsEnvironmentalHealthHazardousWasteSafetyTrainingEPAHygieneCorrectiveActionsSafetyAuditsInjuryHazardousMaterialsISOTierIncidentInvestigationsWasteManagement

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Top Environmental Safety Specialist Skills

  1. Ensure Compliance
  2. Osha
  3. Safety Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed regular audits of the program to ensure compliance and implement corrective actions as needed.
  • Assessed facilities for appropriate application of OSHA Standards during work activities and other safety requirements on the job sites.
  • Developed and reviewed safety procedures and documents related to process and equipment i.e.
  • Provided technical assistance during emergency responses, remedial activities, and during handling of extremely hazardous substances.
  • Assisted with manufacturing facility safety program management

Top Environmental Safety Specialist Employers

Environmental Safety Specialist Videos

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Environmental Health - More than a job

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