Occupational Health and Safety Technician

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Cons

  • You will spend a lot time on your feet working with measurement equipment.
  • Technicians may have to perform their duties in potentially dangerous environments in order to learn how to protect workers.
  • 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.

Overview

Occupational health and safety technicians help prevent harm to workers, property and the environment. Their work also helps to protect the general public. For example, they might help design safe work spaces, inspect machines or test air quality. In addition to making workers safer, technicians work with specialists to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. This allows organizations such as corporations and schools to save money.

Occupational health and safety technicians take measurements and collect data. They must properly collect and handle samples of dust, gases, vapors and other potentially toxic materials to ensure personal safety and accurate test results. Because of the toxicity of these samples, this type of work could potentially be dangerous. Occupational health and safety technicians must regularly test air, water, machines and other elements of the work environment to make sure that they remain within standards. They collect data that occupational health and safety specialists then analyze. Usually working under the supervision of specialists, they also help to implement and evaluate safety programs.

About one fourth of occupational health and safety technicians work for governments conducting safety inspections and imposing fines when safety regulations are in violation. Other workplaces they may be found in can include corporations, non-profit safety organizations and large research institutes or universities.

Education

Many occupational health and safety technicians enter the field by getting training that results in an associate’s or a certificate. However, there are several other ways to obtain employment in this type of work. Sometimes workers who have previous experience working with equipment or facilities end up in this occupation with a minimal amount of additional training. Others who may have a bachelor’s degree in public health or other safety specialization may also find themselves working as occupational health and safety technicians.

Job Prospects

The prospects for occupational health and safety technicians are very good as job growth is expected to be grow at a good pace in the future. 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. Job growth is also fueled by older generations of occupational health and safety technicians retiring.

Advancement Opportunities

There are some advancement opportunities available. Those who exhibit leadership skills and a high attention to detail can expect advancement up the ladder via management positions. Occupational health and safety technicians who have the best range of training and work experience can expect the best opportunities, and some obtain further education to move into more specialized work that pays more. For example, some may return to school to gain a bachelor’s degree and become an occupational health and safety specialist.