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.
Occupational health and safety specialists typically do the following:
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.
Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field.
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.
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.
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.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Drug Safety Specialists||Integrated Resources, Inc.||Horsham, PA||Sep 30, 2013||$208,700|
|Hsse Safety Specialist||Cobalt International Energy, Inc.||Houston, TX||Nov 01, 2014||$190,000|
|Clinical Pharmacy Coordinator-Medication Safety Specialist||Sonora Community Hospital Inc.||Sonora, CA||Nov 15, 2016||$163,433|
|Drug Safety Specialists||Integrated Resources, Inc.||Foster City, CA||Nov 16, 2015||$135,655|
|Drug Safety Specialists||Integrated Resources, Inc.||Brisbane, CA||Jan 16, 2015||$131,481|
|Drug Safety Specialists||Integrated Resources, Inc.||Brisbane, CA||Sep 30, 2013||$131,481|
|Drug Safety Specialist||Populus Group LLC||Foster City, CA||Apr 25, 2016||$127,307|
|Drug Safety Specialist||The Veritas Healthcare Solutions LLC||Foster City, CA||Aug 21, 2014||$114,785|
|Drug Safety Specialist||The Veritas Healthcare Solutions LLC||Foster City, CA||Apr 01, 2015||$114,785|
|Technical Safety Specialist||Technip USA, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 17, 2014||$110,000|
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