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Become A Health & Safety Officer

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Working As A Health & Safety Officer

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • $88,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Health & Safety Officer 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 A Health & Safety Officer

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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Health & Safety Officer Career Paths

Health & Safety Officer
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Owner/Operator
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Owner Project Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Safety Supervisor
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Operations Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Plant Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Operations Manager Operations Director
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Coordinator Environmental Health Specialist Environmental Specialist
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Coordinator Safety Supervisor Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Superintendent Owner Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Superintendent Quality Control Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Director Of Quality Management
13 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Supervisor Unit Manager
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Superintendent Operations Superintendent Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Industrial Hygienist Safety Officer Security Supervisor
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Coordinator Supervisor Unit Manager
Section Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Industrial Hygienist Safety Officer Quality Control Manager
Controls Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Quality Manager Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manager Food And Beverage Manager Housekeeping Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Manager Account Manager Corporate Account Manager
Corporate Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Industrial Hygienist Safety Engineer
Loss Control Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Safety Manager 3.8 years
Safety Trainer 3.6 years
Safety Officer 3.3 years
Safety Engineer 3.3 years
Safety Coordinator 3.2 years
Safety Supervisor 3.2 years
Safety Specialist 3.1 years
Safety Inspector 3.0 years
Safety Advisor 2.7 years
Safety Consultant 2.6 years
Top Careers Before Health & Safety Officer
Internship 2.3%
Supervisor 2.1%
Top Careers After Health & Safety Officer
Owner 3.1%

Do you work as a Health & Safety Officer?

Highest Health & Safety Officer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Construction Site Safety and Health Officer P&S Construction, Inc. Feb 15, 2012 $60,000
Health and Safety Officer Juggernaut Services LLC Reno, NV Jan 01, 2015 $49,400 -
$56,530
Assistant Evironmental Health and Safety Officer South Dakota State University Brookings, SD Sep 02, 2012 $47,250
Site Health & Safety Officer Compass Environmental, Inc. Tampa, FL Aug 08, 2010 $43,470

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Top Skills for A Health & Safety Officer

  1. Osha
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Job Site
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide direct and effective leadership within own area of responsibility through the effective use of OSHA standards, practices and systems.
  • Contracted to monitor compliance with safety procedures for various company activities in order to prevent accidents and incidents.
  • Conducted job sites safety and environmental audits which included the completion of documentation of compliance and corrective actions taken.
  • Developed a Safety Program and conduct incidents reports investigations and to deal with safety auditor's monthly incident audit investigations.
  • Facilitated monthly unit safety meetings, maintained liaison between host installations by conducting inspections on subordinate sections at least quarterly.

Health & Safety Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

71.3%

Female

19.8%

Unknown

9.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

11.8%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.2%

French

6.1%

Carrier

6.1%

German

4.1%

Russian

4.1%

Korean

4.1%

Kurdish

2.0%

Portuguese

2.0%

Dakota

2.0%

Mandarin

2.0%

Cheyenne

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Tamil

2.0%

Thai

2.0%
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Health & Safety Officer Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

26.0%

University of Phoenix

10.3%

Eastern Kentucky University

5.8%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

5.8%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

5.4%

West Virginia University

4.5%

University of Central Missouri

4.0%

University of South Florida

3.6%

Keene State College

3.6%

The Academy

3.1%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.1%

University of California - San Diego

3.1%

Saint Louis University-

2.7%

University of Cincinnati

2.7%

Auburn University

2.7%

University of Maryland - University College

2.7%

Texas A&M University

2.7%

University of Washington

2.7%

National University

2.2%
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Majors

Business

13.7%

Occupational Safety And Health

12.7%

Public Health

11.1%

Environmental Science

9.8%

Management

6.6%

Nursing

5.6%

Biology

4.2%

Geology

3.7%

Construction Management

3.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.6%

Fire Science And Protection

3.2%

Chemistry

3.1%

Criminal Justice

3.1%

Health Care Administration

2.6%

Human Resources Management

2.6%

Education

2.4%

Medical Technician

2.4%

Psychology

2.2%

Civil Engineering

1.9%

Chemical Engineering

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.2%

Other

21.9%

Masters

20.6%

Associate

9.5%

Certificate

6.6%

Doctorate

2.2%

Diploma

2.0%

License

0.1%
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