What Does an Occupational Health and Safety Technician Do?

Occupational health and safety technicians and specialists do a variety of design, inspection, and testing jobs to ensure workplace safety. They work in industry, large corporations, mines, and many government enforcement agencies. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Healthcare Management & Public Safety Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties and Responsibilities

All occupational health and safety inspectors, safety and health professionals, or occupational health and safety technicians gather information, fill out forms, and write reports. What they observe, inspect, and test depends on their setting. In almost all cases, the occupational safety and health technician or his or her supervisor makes recommendations for safety improvements.

  • Mine examiners may go down in the mine to test the air and equipment.
  • Industrial hygienists may gather samples and observe working conditions and habits on a noisy, hot factory floor.
  • Environmental protection officers make sure that proper procedures are followed in construction or waste disposal.
  • In office settings, occupational health and safety technicians may observe, ask questions, and make measurements to improve ergonomics.
  • Where there has been an accident or injury, they may investigate the causes and plan prevention efforts.

Important Facts About Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

On-the-Job Training Varies depending on work experience, education, and particular employment industry
Key Skills Computer competency, clear written and oral communication, attention to detail, problem solving ability, physical endurance
Work Environment Mixture of fieldwork and travel will be required
Similar Occupations Construction and building inspectors, fire inspectors and investigators, occupational health and safety specialists, environmental science and protection technicians

Education

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that occupational health and safety technicians can either enter the field through extensive on-the-job training, or after completing a relevant certificate or associate's program. Postsecondary coursework typically covers physics, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, and assessment techniques.

An occupational health and safety technician may be certified by one or more organizations. Certification and advancement may require an associate's degree in safety and health or a Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences, engineering, physics, or an ABET-accredited program in industrial hygiene or safety.

Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, about 19% of occupational health and safety technicians have careers in government agencies enforcing regulations. The rest work for industry, insurance companies, independent laboratories, and the like. The BLS also tells us that the average salary of an occupational safety and health technician is $51,270 per year, as of May 2014. In 2014, the bottom-earning 10% of all occupational health and safety techs earned $29,840 or less, while the top-earning 10% earned $77,010 or more. As projected by the BLS, the employment of occupational health and safety technicians is projected to grow 11% from 2012 to 2022, which is on par with the national average of 11% for all occupations.

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