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Become A Senior Safety Engineer

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Working As A Senior Safety Engineer

  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • $102,263

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Safety Engineer Do

Health and safety engineers develop procedures and design systems to prevent people from getting sick or injured and to keep property from being damaged. They combine knowledge of systems engineering and of health or safety to make sure that chemicals, machinery, software, furniture, and other consumer products will not cause harm to people or damage to buildings.


Health and safety engineers typically do the following:

  • Review plans and specifications for new machinery and equipment to make sure they meet safety requirements
  • Identify and correct potential hazards by inspecting facilities, machinery, and safety equipment
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of various industrial control mechanisms
  • Ensure that buildings or products comply with health and safety regulations, especially after an inspection that required changes
  • Install safety devices on machinery or direct the installation of these devices
  • Review employee safety programs and recommend improvements
  • Maintain and apply knowledge of current policies, regulations, and industrial processes

Health and safety engineers also investigate industrial accidents, injuries, or occupational diseases to determine their causes and to determine whether the incidents could have been or can be prevented in the future. They interview employers and employees to learn about work environments and incidents that lead to accidents or injuries. They also evaluate the corrections that were made to remedy violations found during health inspections.

Health and safety engineers are also active in two related fields: industrial hygiene and occupational hygiene. In industrial hygiene, they focus on the effects of chemical, physical, and biological agents. They recognize, evaluate, and control these agents to keep people from becoming sick or injured. For example, they might anticipate that a particular manufacturing process will give off a potentially harmful chemical and recommend either a change to the process or a way to contain and control the chemical.

In occupational hygiene, health and safety engineers investigate the environment in which people work, and then use science and engineering to recommend changes to keep workers from being exposed to sickness or injuries. They help employers and employees understand risks, and improve working conditions and practices. For example, they might observe that the noise level in a factory is likely to cause harm to workers’ hearing and recommend ways to reduce the noise level through changes to the building or reducing exposure time, or by having workers wear proper hearing protection.

Health and safety engineering is a broad field covering many activities. The following are examples of types of health and safety engineers:

Aerospace safety engineers work on missiles, radars, and satellites to make sure that they function safely as designed.

Fire prevention and protection engineers design fire prevention systems for all kinds of buildings. They often work for architects during the design phase of new buildings or renovations. They must be licensed and must keep up with changes in fire codes and regulations.

Product safety engineers investigate the causes of accidents or injuries that might have resulted from the use or misuse of a product. They create solutions that reduce or eliminate safety issues associated with products. They also help design new products to prevent injuries, illnesses, or property damage.

Systems safety engineers work in many fields, including aerospace, and are moving into new fields, such as software safety, medical safety, and environmental safety. These engineers take a systemic approach to identify hazards so that accidents and injuries can be avoided.

For information on health and safety engineers who work in mines, see the profile on mining and geological engineers.

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How To Become A Senior Safety Engineer

Health and safety engineers must have a bachelor’s degree, typically in an engineering discipline such as electrical, chemical, mechanical, industrial, or systems engineering. Another acceptable field of study is occupational or industrial hygiene. Employers value practical experience, so cooperative-education engineering programs at universities are valuable as well.


High school students interested in becoming health and safety engineers will benefit from taking high school courses in math and science, such as algebra, trigonometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Entry-level jobs as a health and safety engineer require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs typically are 4-year programs and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in applied engineering. Students interested in becoming a health and safety engineer should seek out coursework in occupational safety and health, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, or environmental safety. In addition, programs in mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering, programs in systems engineering and fire protection engineering constitute good preparation for this occupation. ABET accredits programs in engineering.

Students interested in entering the relatively new field of software safety engineering may pursue a degree in computer science.

Many colleges and universities offer cooperative-education programs, which allow students to gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year accelerated programs through which students graduate with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A master’s degree allows engineers to enter the occupation at a higher level, where they can develop and implement safety systems.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Health and safety engineers produce designs showing potential problems and remedies for them. They must be creative to deal with situations unique to a project.

Critical-thinking skills. Health and safety engineers must be able to identify hazards to humans and property in the workplace or in the home before they cause material damage or become a health threat.

Observational skills. Health and safety engineers must observe and learn how operations function so that they can identify risks to people and property. This requires the ability to think in terms of overall processes within an organization. Health and safety engineers can then recommend systemic changes to minimize risks.

Problem-solving skills. In designing solutions for entire organizational operations, health and safety engineers must take into account processes from more than one system at the same time. In addition, they must try to anticipate a range of human reactions to the changes they recommend.

Reading skills. Health and safety engineers must be able to interpret federal and state regulations and their intent so that they can propose proper designs for specific work environments.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a health and safety engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Only a few states require health and safety engineers to be licensed. Licensure is generally advised for those opting for a career in systems safety engineering. States requiring licensure usually require continuing education for engineers in order to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states, if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Health and safety engineers typically have professional certification. Certifications include the following:

  • The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, the Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST), and a new certification called the Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
  • The American Board of Industrial Hygiene awards a certification known as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
  • The American Society of Safety Engineers offers a Certificate in Safety Management (CSM)
  • The International Council on Systems Engineering offers a program leading to a designation as a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)

Certification is generally needed to advance into management positions.


New health and safety engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. To move to more difficult projects with greater independence, a graduate degree is generally required, such as a master’s degree in engineering or a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

An advanced degree allows an engineer to develop and implement safety programs. Certification as a safety professional or as an industrial hygienist is generally required for entry into management positions. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Senior Safety Engineer jobs


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Senior Safety Engineer Career Paths

Senior Safety Engineer
HSE Manager Health And Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Security Manager Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Director Risk Manager Human Resources Manager
Corporate Director, Human Resources
12 Yearsyrs
Security Manager Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Corporate Human Resources Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Security Manager Project Manager Program Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager Project Safety Manager Quality Control Manager
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Environmental Manager Safety Manager
Human Resources Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Manager, Environmental And Safety EHS Manager Plant Manager
Manufacturing Director
14 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Health And Safety Manager Environmental Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager Program Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Site Safety Manager
Project Safety Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health And Safety Director Vice President Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Director Environmental Manager Operations Manager
Regional Operation Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager Human Resources Coordinator
Senior Human Resources Generalist
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Senior Human Resources Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Marketing Manager Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
HSE Manager Regional Manager Operations Manager
Terminal Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Safety Director 4.2 years
Safety Manager 3.8 years
Safety Officer 3.4 years
Safety Engineer 3.3 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Safety Supervisor 3.1 years
HSE Manager 3.1 years
Safety Specialist 3.0 years
Safety Consultant 2.6 years
Safety Advisor 2.6 years
Safety Analyst 2.5 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 2.2%
Top Employers After
Manager 4.1%
Consultant 2.9%

Senior Safety Engineer Demographics










Hispanic or Latino






Black or African American

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Languages Spoken








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Senior Safety Engineer Education


Columbia Southern University


Indiana University of Pennsylvania


Tulane University


Ohio State University


University of Central Missouri


Texas A&M University


West Virginia University


University of Utah


University of Florida


University of Maryland - University College


University of New Haven


University of Southern California


Eastern Kentucky University


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor


Indiana University Bloomington


University of Tennessee - Knoxville


Pennsylvania State University


University of Phoenix


Idaho State University


Murray State University

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Public Health






Occupational Safety And Health


Environmental Science


Mechanical Engineering


Engineering And Industrial Management


Industrial Engineering


Chemical Engineering




Electrical Engineering




Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians




Criminal Justice




Health Care Administration


Fire Science And Protection


Industrial Technology


Civil Engineering

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Real Senior Safety Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Technical Safety Engineer Shell Oil Company New Orleans, LA Jun 27, 2016 $183,200
Senior Technical Safety Engineer Shell Exploration and Production Company Houston, TX Sep 10, 2013 $155,500
Senior Technical Safety Engineer Shell Exploration and Production Company Houston, TX Oct 01, 2012 $151,000
Senior Lead Safety and Loss Prevention Engineer SBM Atlantia, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2013 $117,125 -
Senior Engineer-Crash Safety, CAE Faraday&Future Inc. Gardena, CA Jul 20, 2016 $115,000
SR. Technical Safety Engineer AMEC Oil and Gas, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 15, 2012 $115,000
Senior Functional Safety Engineer A123 Systems LLC Livonia, MI Mar 10, 2016 $112,250 -
Senior Functional Safety Engineer A123 Systems LLC Livonia, MI Oct 03, 2016 $112,250 -
Senior Rail Safety Engineer TUV Rheinland Mobility, Inc. Pittsford, NY Jun 11, 2016 $110,883
Senior Safety Performance Engineer General Motors Company Warren, MI Sep 30, 2016 $110,277
SR. Technical Safety Engineer AMEC Paragon, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 29, 2011 $109,935
Senior Rail Safety Engineer TUV Rheinland Mobility, Inc. Pittsford, NY Feb 09, 2016 $109,658
Senior Lead Safety and Loss Prevention Engineer SBM Offshore USA, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 19, 2015 $109,512 -
Senior Safety Performance Engineer General Motors Company Warren, MI Jan 11, 2016 $105,106
Senior Rail Safety Engineer TUV Rheinland Mobility, Inc. Pittsford, NY Nov 06, 2013 $105,000
Senior Functional Safety Controls Engineer Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. Redford, MI May 16, 2016 $104,133
Senior Safety Engineer Mando America Corporation Novi, MI Dec 18, 2015 $100,485
Senior Safety Engineer Invensys Rail Corporation Rancho Cucamonga, CA Mar 20, 2012 $98,128
Senior Engineer-Process Safety Kennecott Utah Copper LLC Magna, UT Jul 11, 2016 $97,656 -
Senior Engineer Process & Plant Safety Bayer Business & Technology Services, LLC Baytown, TX Jan 14, 2015 $93,049
Senior Engineer Process & Plant Safety Bayer Business & Technology Services, LLC Baytown, TX Nov 14, 2014 $93,049
Senior Safety Engineer Mando America Corporation Novi, MI Dec 22, 2014 $90,000
Senior Safety Validation Engineer Bombardier Transportation (Holdings) USA, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Dec 01, 2011 $90,000
Senior Associate-Safety Engineer Total Safety Consulting Bayonne, NJ Apr 07, 2011 $87,341
Engineer Senior Functional Safety IAV Automotive Engineering Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Nov 26, 2015 $85,037
Engineer Senior Functional Safety IAV Automotive Engineering, Inc. Northville, MI Apr 13, 2015 $85,000

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Top Skills for A Senior Safety Engineer


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Top Senior Safety Engineer Skills

  1. Osha
  2. Safety Program
  3. Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Acted as the OSHA Administrator for all DOT Highway contractors for Virginia OSHA Compliance within my region.
  • Assist with safety program creation, implementation and training.
  • Reviewed facility engineering design drawings and specifications to ensure conformance with company and government safety, health and fire protection requirements.
  • Standardized the Emergency Response Team Charter and the Safety Committee Charter for 3M Center.
  • Evaluated equipment shutdown, demolition, chemical sampling, and decontamination procedures for compliance with EHS regulations and safe practices.

Top Senior Safety Engineer Employers

Senior Safety Engineer Videos

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A day in the life of a Biomedical Engineer - Chapter 1