Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

Pros


  • This type of work helps people to stay safe on the job by reducing the possibility of accidents that may cause injury. It also helps organizations to save money.
  • The work in this occupation requires a lot of time in the field, and so there is a lot of variety involved on a day-to-day basis.
  • This is a good career for someone who enjoys working with their hands as they will need to take measurements for a variety of studies.

Cons

  • The field work required for this job can require long hours and travel that can take one away from home for long periods of time.
  • You will spend a lot time on your feet in this type of job.
  • Specialists may have to perform duties in potentially dangerous environments to learn how to protect workers.

Overview

Occupational health and safety specialists look for chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards in a variety of environments. They also work to make more equipment safer by devising ways that can make them easier to use. Many occupational health and safety specialists also spend their time doing training programs as well as advising management boards on best practices in the workplace so that proper standards can be developed.

Whatever the method, they must spend time analyzing a variety of workplaces and machinery to make sure that people are working in a safe environment. Some occupational health and safety specialists derive their methods from historical sources. Others do research into how other organizations are innovating their practices in occupational health. To do this they will use equipment that can test for hazardous situations. They may take samples to study more carefully in a laboratory environment. .

Some specialists are also known as loss prevention specialists. They work for insurance companies to inspect facilities that are insured by these companies and suggest and improvements. If an injury or illness occurs, occupational health and safety specialists help investigate. They will compare data to similar accidents and studying causes in order to recommending steps to take for prevention in the future.

Education

This type of work usually requires a bachelor’s degree in order to obtain a job. Concentrations are usually in occupational health or safety. In addition, most occupational health and safety specialists need to make sure they are properly trained in the applicable laws and regulations for the area they plan on working in. This is usually done through both classroom training as well as on the job experiences. While occupational health and safety specialists do not necessarily need to be certified, some specializations or employers may require it.

Job Prospects

The prospects for occupational health and safety specialists are good as job growth is expected the future. This can be attributed to increasing demand plus the fact that older generations of occupational health and safety specialists are retiring. Organizations realize now more than ever that preventive measures to keep workers safe can reduce injuries as well as save money on employees missing time or equipment maintenance when machines are not properly calibrated.

Advancement Opportunities

There are opportunities for occupational health and safety specialists to advance, and it is helpful to have an advanced degree such as a master’s. Many of those in this field who want to advance will gain experience by working full time and continuing their education part time. It is also helpful for occupational health and safety specialists who want to move up the career ladder to have a wide variety of experiences with different safety methodologies in order to have a broad sense of the industry they are involved in.