Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

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Also known as:
Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), Chemical Hygiene Officer, Environmental Health and Safety Officer, Environmental, Health, and Safety Officer (EHS Officer), Industrial Hygienist, Industrial Hygienist Consultant, Safety Consultant, Safety Management Consultant, Safety Officer, Safety Specialist

Video transcript

Safety on the job is no accident; occupational health and safety specialists and technicians keep workplaces as accident-free as possible, by looking for safer, healthier, and more efficient work practices. Occupational health and safety specialists inspect workplaces to ensure they meet safety and environmental regulations. They examine factors such as lighting, ventilation, and whether materials are stored or disposed of correctly. Occupational health and safety technicians work with specialists to conduct tests and measure hazards. They may perform checks to make sure workers are using required protective gear, such as masks and hardhats. After a workplace accident or injury occurs, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians investigate potential causes and plan how to prevent future events. They may develop training programs to correct risky conditions, and coordinate rehabilitation for injured employees. Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians generally work full time, and travel from their offices or factories to conduct fieldwork. They use gloves, respirators, and other gear to minimize exposure to hazards. In emergencies, they work weekends and irregular hours. Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety or a related field, while technicians typically enter the field through on-the-job training, or a related associate's degree or certificate.

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.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Maintain or update emergency response plans or procedures.

Order suspension of activities that pose threats to workers' health or safety.

Prepare hazardous, radioactive, or mixed waste samples for transportation or storage by treating, compacting, packaging, and labeling them.

Develop or maintain medical monitoring programs for employees.

Conduct audits at hazardous waste sites or industrial sites or participate in hazardous waste site investigations.

Perform laboratory analyses or physical inspections of samples to detect disease or to assess purity or cleanliness.

Collaborate with engineers or physicians to institute control or remedial measures for hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions or equipment.

Collect samples of hazardous materials or arrange for sample collection.

Investigate health-related complaints and inspect facilities to ensure that they comply with public health legislation and regulations.

Inspect specified areas to ensure the presence of fire prevention equipment, safety equipment, or first-aid supplies.

Coordinate "right-to-know" programs regarding hazardous chemicals or other substances.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
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.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Systems Evaluation Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.