Working as Safety Professional: The Complete Guide


Employment in environmental health and safety can be extremely fulfilling because it establishes the rules and conditions that preserve employee wellbeing in the workplace.  

Furthermore, jobs in the safety industry will often pay well, based on the kind of career a candidate is looking for.

Safety positions for new recruits, as well as safety and health jobs for more skilled or higher qualified candidates, are a hallmark in many sectors, and vacancies are the in perfect agreement with the market.

If you’re looking for a future in workplace health and safety, you’re in the right place.  This article, I have explored all the aspects of the safety employment market and I have gathered for you detailed information for health and safety practitioners.

Whether you are a young student seeking to learn about your potential career or an experienced professional looking to expand your toolbox, let us discover together how we could get you your dream job as a safety professional.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

What Exactly Is a Health and Safety Professional?

A safety officer, also known as a workplace health and safety professional, evaluates job conditions to create suggestions on preventative safety initiatives. They also offer suggestions for how to fix protection problems after an event

Your responsibilities as a safety worker include educating workers on safety procedures, reporting incidents, constantly inspecting, and reviewing work areas, and providing occupational policy recommendations.

You may work in a highly specific sector, such as engineering or building. Your duty, as a safety professional, is to assist staff and supervisors in avoiding health hazards and injuries.

To familiarize yourself with the Health and Safety sector and its challenges, I would recommend you 3 great reads:

3 Types Jobs in the Safety Industry

1 – Technician for Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational health and safety technicians’ mission is to guarantee that employees are behaving properly in the workplace and are not unintentionally creating hazardous conditions that may result in their own accidents or conditions that hurt others.

The number of persons employed as Occupational Health and Safety Technicians is estimated to be around 10900 and have usually an undergraduate degree.

These technicians for occupational health and safety ensure that all protective equipment used on construction sites is accessible to the workers who need it and that it is used properly. They are also responsible for ensuring that safety practices and procedures are implemented.

These roles are often called entry-level safety positions, but on average, a technician for occupational health and safety earns an annual salary up to $55,000.

Let’s have a look below at the graph I crafted, about Occupational Health or Safety Specialist Technicians salary according to their  level of Experience.

annual salary of technician for occupational health and safety based on years of experience

The following are the median yearly salary for occupational health and safety technicians in the major industries where they worked:

Median annual salary of technician for occupational health and safety in different industries

According to the data collected, the construction and manufacturing industries offer the best wages as an Occupational Health and Safety Technician.

2 – Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Rather than ensuring the occupational rules and protection requirements are enforced, the Occupational Health Specialists are the experts who study, plan, and enforce safety standards.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists are frequently health and safety practitioners who started as technicians and advanced to the next stage after acquiring field expertise.

Occupational safety and health specialists are often well-paid among health and safety workers, with median annual salaries above $70,000. They may have a bachelor’s degree as well as some business expertise.

They can often supervise the work of technicians, directly auditing or testing to maintain the highest degree of protection on the job. There are 51,850 specialists working on this profession in U.S.

The median yearly salary for occupational health and safety specialists in the top industries they worked for are listed below.

annual salary of occupational health and safety specialists in different industries

Manufacturing industry, again, ranks amongst the highest paying industry for Occupational Health and Safety specialists.

3 – Engineers in Health and Safety

Work health and safety positions often necessitate the development of services or processes that necessitate the use of engineering skills.

Engineers in health and safety review whole workplaces or work processes to develop policies and protocols that safeguard staff during the work cycle. This may involve developing advanced tools, redesigning the office structure, or developing innovative procedures that raise safety levels.

 Any higher education institutions provide engineering courses or specializations as part of their workplace health and safety certificates, or the option to receive joint degrees in safety and engineering to train for this occupation.

According to bureau of statistics, there are 24,100 people working in this profession in the U.S.

The estimated median salary for health and safety engineers is $88,510. Earnings in some fields, especially those linked to research, will reach the mid-range of $100,000 a year.

Except for mining safety engineers and inspectors, the following sectors pay well for health and safety engineers:

annual salary of engineers in health and safety in different industries

Which Position Should You Choose?

Employment in workplace health and safety can be used in a variety of fields, including building, retail, architecture, engineering, extraction, and research. Job responsibilities can require individuals to travel from safe inside conditions to more difficult outdoor settings, as well as underwater or offshore environments.

It is imperative that you ask yourself what environment suits you best and whether you prefer a specific industry, as the responsibility is quite high, but vertical and horizontal moves (across industries) remain possible.

Professionals in the health and safety industry would remain in high demand into the near future, as the field grows in unison with the economy.

You can serve as a team member, in management, or as a consultant, both of which require you to use your knowledge and skills to produce the best potential outcomes in employee safety.

I would recommend you checking out the Personal Protective Equipment available at Safety Gear Pro to have an idea of what you and your team might require for all your safety needs.

If you were wondering what were the specifics of the Health and Safety Professional population, I have gathered for you few statistics.

Demographics of Health and Safety Professional

There are differences in demographics for the professionals that work in the health and safety sector. Below are some of the demographics:

Occupational Health and Safety sector statistics 1/2
Occupational Health and Safety sector statistics 2/2

The top industries that employee the health and safety professionals are shown in the graph below.

Top industries hiring safety managers

How to Become an Effective Health and Safety Professional

An effective safety officer possesses business experience, excellent leadership abilities, and meticulous attention to detail. You should be acquainted with the business and any safety issues that might arise.

To guarantee that the workplace is in compliance, you will need to work hard to stay up to date with the new government and business regulations and strive to establish a positive rapport with the staff and employers on the job.

A strong safety officer partners alongside the majority of the team to develop appropriate plans that do not conflict with work.

How to Get a Job as a Health and Safety Professional

College and university education and advanced preparation are needed to become a health and safety professional. Although certain occupations demand a master’s degree in occupational health or a similar profession, the majority of safety officer positions only require a bachelor’s degree.

You can learn the fundamentals of workplace health and safety, like OSHA regulations. You can also practice problem-solving techniques that you may use on the job.

Is Being a Health and Safety Professional a Desirable Profession?

The workplace health and safety sector is expanding and is expected to continue to expand.

The profession of workplace health and safety professional is projected to rise by 8 percent annually between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and safety officers should be no different.

Let’s review now a typical Job Description for you to precisely picture what are the overall expectations of a company hiring a Health and Safety Professional.

Work Description for a Health and Safety Professional

You will get a clear sense about what companies are searching for while applying for this role by reviewing a work description sample for this role.

But keep in mind that every company is unique, and each would need different credentials when hiring for a health and safety officer job.

Overview of Job

Employers are looking for a safety officer who is detail-oriented, rigorous, and coordinated to enter our growing team. In this role, you will be responsible for ensuring that all projects follow city, state, and federal health and safety standards and procedures.

You will be responsible for ensuring the welfare of all workers, ensuring that all programs are up to date, and providing guidance and guidelines for safety enhancements.

Roles and Responsibilities

1 – Follow both workplace health and safety (OHS) regulations.

2 – Examine work areas and employment practices

3 – Reports of incidents should be recorded, and statistical data should be held.

4 – Develop and introduce OSHA training programs.

5 – Keep safety laws in mind during installations.

6 – Supervise the treatment of chemicals in accordance with environmental regulations.

7 – Ensure the laws, rules, and codes are well understood and followed.

8 – Intervene to put an end to all hazardous actions or procedures that do not adhere to OHS guidelines.

9 – Put in place preventative steps to guarantee that hazardous procedures do not reoccur.

10 – Ensure that all employees adhere to all personal protection precautions, such as wearing the right eyewear and headwear for protection.

11 – Procedures and protocols can be updated in response to new laws or city ordinances.

Credentials and Criteria

1 – A bachelor’s degree in business management, public administration, architecture, construction, workplace safety and health, or a closely related area is needed.

2 – Two years of prior expertise with rigorous occupational protection and enforcement systems is needed.

3 – Solid understanding of state and municipal laws and ordinances governing fire protection and prevention, damage management, toxic substances, building construction, electrical, noise emissions, and the atmosphere.

4 – A verified driver’s license

5 – Multitasking, prioritization, and time management skills are needed.

6 – Physical capacity to move, turn, squat, and walk during the workday

7 – Outstanding verbal and nonverbal communication abilities

8 – Computer proficiency, such as Microsoft Office Suite, for example Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel.

9 – Keep up with the most recent developments in city and state regulations and guidelines.

Is a Future Career in Safety a Viable Option?

If you enjoy good coordination, perception, problem-solving, and supporting others, workplace safety might be the profession for you.

Is workplace protection, therefore, a viable career path? Here’s what you need to hear regarding the new job market for environmental, health, and safety practitioners.

Prospects for the Future 

Occupational safety and health professionals are expected to rise at a pace of 8 percent annually between 2018 and 2028, higher than the average for all professions.

Applicants joining the profession would typically be more successful if they have a scientific education, related expertise in more than one aspect of health and safety, and a safety degree. In any case, you’ll be well compensated for your efforts. In 2018, the median salary for safety workers was $97,000.

Is it Easy to Get a Well Paying Job in the Industry?

Overall, the profession is well-paying and in strong demand. A position as a health and safety professional is one of the fastest developing in the United States.

However, workplace safety practitioners are in a strong place to join the industry as a whole, as a NIOSH study showed that companies want to recruit nearly twenty five thousand environmental health and safety specialists within the next five years, which is more than twice the amount of students expected to graduate from health and safety programs over the same period.

Nonetheless, both managers and prospective employees are becoming more knowledgeable of the occupation. Employers are becoming more aware of the importance of workplace safety workers on their bottom lines. In summary, management is realizing that EHS experts bring value to their services.

What You Should Know before Beginning Your Professional Life

To summarize, if you are considering a career in environmental health and safety, the door is wide open for qualified applicants to make an impression. The trick is to know when to start having an impact.

Bear in mind that once you will establish specialization, as many specialists do by obtaining protection certifications and advanced experience, you can have a better earning opportunity. However, since health and safety experts are increasingly skilled in a wide range of expertise, you should be able to excel in multiple roles with ease.

Your resume may also highlight vital qualities that will help you succeed in the health and safety industry, such as logical and leadership abilities. Leadership abilities are needed if you choose to head a safety department eventually.

The Value of Safety Positions

Occupational health and safety depends on the main avoidance of accidents in the workplace while working with workers. Accidents, injuries and lung illnesses, tumors, hearing problems, cardiovascular and communicable diseases, stress-related conditions, and other health problems are caused by occupational risk factors and determinants of employees’ health.

Occupational health and safety positions are concerned with occupational safety, health, and wellbeing. Standards, regulations, and policies aimed at strengthening living environments for employees and coworkers, family members, clients, and other partners are used in health and safety.

Improving workplace health and safety practices results in an improved brand profile, increased business, and stronger employee retention. Chemicals and practical risks, harmful agents, psychological effects, ergonomic problems, and injuries are also addressed in occupational health and safety.

The Significance of Occupational Health and Safety Policy in the Workplace

The multiple disciplines area of occupational health and safety is associated with fostering a secure and stable work atmosphere through occupational safety and health services. Occupational safety is mostly concerned with:

1 – Promotion and management of employee wellbeing and working capability.

2 – Enhancement of the professional climate.

3 – Creation of workplace cultures and organizations that promote health and safety.

4 – Promotion of a favorable social environment and efficient activity.

5 – Overall increase in organizational efficiency.

Occupational health and safety regulations require the elimination, withdrawal, or substitution of dangers on the work site. OHS services also assist with mitigating the impacts of those threats. Occupational health and safety helps the corporation significantly since healthier workers are more profitable.

Employers and company managers are obligated to have a healthy working place for all workers. Living standards at work in the current economy must include essential determinants such as working hours, salary, maternity policy, and arrangements for public health and security.

The boss or subordinates serving as agents are lawfully liable for the workers’ welfare and wellbeing on the job. The shared purpose remains identifying unsafe substances, conditions, and procedures in the workplace and assisting managers and employees in mitigating or avoiding the threats.

In the aim to guarantee that workers perform safely, workplace health and safety targets managers and employees. Cooperation specialists on occupational health and welfare support fair working practices. Experts of occupational safety are worried with all industrial risks, with a focus on preventing workplace deaths and serious injury.

Industrial hygienists may recognize and monitor dangers correlated with acute or persistent exposure to environmental, physical, and biological agents. Occupational health doctors and workplace health nurses differentiate themselves by offering clinical treatment services targeted at illness control and health safety.

Health assessment and monitoring programs; detection, avoidance, and treatment of work-related accident and illness; pre-placement and annual return-to-work examinations; professional medical evaluations; impairment assessments; disability and case management; substance testing; behavioral and cognitive therapy to avoid impact on job results are among the resources available. Easy enhancements like this will boost competitiveness, performance, and employee motivation.

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