Life As an Occupational Health or Safety Specialist
Occupational Health or Safety Specialist Job Description Review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. May conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals. May be employed in the public or private sector. Includes environmental protection officers.
What Do Occupational Health and Safety Specialists Do On a Daily Basis?
- Prepare hazardous, radioactive, or mixed waste samples for transportation or storage by treating, compacting, packaging, and labeling them.
- Order suspension of activities that pose threats to workers' health or safety.
- Recommend measures to help protect workers from potentially hazardous work methods, processes, or materials.
- Maintain inventories of hazardous materials or hazardous wastes, using waste tracking systems to ensure that materials are handled properly.
- Inspect or evaluate workplace environments, equipment, or practices to ensure compliance with safety standards and government regulations.
- Perform laboratory analyses or physical inspections of samples to detect disease or to assess purity or cleanliness.
Skills Needed to be an Occupational Health or Safety Specialist
When polled, Occupational Health and Safety Specialists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Types of Occupational Health or Safety Specialist Jobs
- Safety and Health Manager
- Principle Industrial Hygienist
- Dining Service Inspector
- Safety Investigator/Cause Analyst
- Safety Consultant
Job Opportunities for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 83,700 jobs in the United States for Occupational Health or Safety Specialist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 6,800 new jobs for Occupational Health or Safety Specialist by 2026. There will be an estimated 5,000 positions for Occupational Health or Safety Specialist per year.
The states with the most job growth for Occupational Health or Safety Specialist are Utah, North Dakota, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Rhode Island, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Average Occupational Health and Safety Specialists Salary
The salary for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists ranges between about $42,450 and $108,520 a year.
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists who work in Rhode Island, District of Columbia, or California, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$90,540|
Tools & Technologies Used by Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Occupational Health and Safety Specialists:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Outlook
- Web browser software
- Microsoft Access
- Word processing software
- Microsoft Windows
- Microsoft Project
- Microsoft SharePoint
- Database software
- Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
- EcoLogic ADAM Indoor Air Quality and Analytical Data Management
Becoming an Occupational Health or Safety Specialist
What education or degrees do I need to become an Occupational Health or Safety Specialist?
How Long Does it Take to Become an Occupational Health or Safety Specialist?
Where Occupational Health and Safety Specialists Are Employed
Below are examples of industries where Occupational Health and Safety Specialists work:
Those thinking about becoming an Occupational Health or Safety Specialist might also be interested in the following careers:
Those who work as an Occupational Health or Safety Specialist sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:
Image Credit: Gina Collecchia via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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