Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Description

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. Includes environmental protection officers.

Tasks

  • Order suspension of activities that pose threats to workers' health or safety.
  • Investigate accidents to identify causes or to determine how such accidents might be prevented in the future.
  • Recommend measures to help protect workers from potentially hazardous work methods, processes, or materials.
  • Inspect or evaluate workplace environments, equipment, or practices to ensure compliance with safety standards and government regulations.
  • Develop or maintain hygiene programs, such as noise surveys, continuous atmosphere monitoring, ventilation surveys, or asbestos management plans.
  • Collect samples of dust, gases, vapors, or other potentially toxic materials for analysis.
  • Investigate the adequacy of ventilation, exhaust equipment, lighting, or other conditions that could affect employee health, comfort, or performance.
  • Conduct safety training or education programs and demonstrate the use of safety equipment.
  • Investigate health-related complaints and inspect facilities to ensure that they comply with public health legislation and regulations.
  • Collaborate with engineers or physicians to institute control or remedial measures for hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions or equipment.
  • Provide new-employee health and safety orientations and develop materials for these presentations.
  • Develop or maintain medical monitoring programs for employees.
  • Coordinate "right-to-know" programs regarding hazardous chemicals or other substances.
  • Maintain or update emergency response plans or procedures.
  • Inspect specified areas to ensure the presence of fire prevention equipment, safety equipment, or first-aid supplies.
  • Collect samples of hazardous materials or arrange for sample collection.
  • Maintain inventories of hazardous materials or hazardous wastes, using waste tracking systems to ensure that materials are handled properly.
  • 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.
  • Prepare hazardous, radioactive, or mixed waste samples for transportation or storage by treating, compacting, packaging, and labeling them.

Knowledge

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.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
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.
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.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Clerical
Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Skills

Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Learning
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Work Activities

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
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.

Work Context

Electronic Mail
How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Face-to-Face Discussions
How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Telephone
How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Responsible for Others' Health and Safety
How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets
How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled
How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Contact With Others
How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate
How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Work With Work Group or Team
How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled
How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?

Interests

Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Lay Titles

Analysis or Research Safety Inspector
Chief of Safety and Protection
Corporate Safety Director
Dining Service Inspector
Environmental Health and Safety Manager
Environmental Health Inspector
Environmental Health Safety Manager
Environmental Health Sanitarian
Environmental Health Technologist
Environmental Protection Inspector
Environmental Protection Officer
Ergonomist
Field Health Officer
Food and Drug Inspector
Food Inspector
Furniture and Bedding Inspector
Hazardous Waste Management Specialist
Health and Safety Manager
Health and Safety Technician
Health Care Facilities Inspector
Health Inspector
Health Physics Technician
Health Safety Manager
Health Sanitarian
Industrial Hygiene Technician
Industrial Hygienist
Industrial Safety and Health Specialist
Industrial Safety and Health Technician
Industrial Waste Inspector
Loss Control Consultant
Loss Control Representative
Medical Safety Director
Mortician Investigator
Occupational Safety and Health Inspector
Public Health Inspector
Public Health Service Officer
Quarantine Inspector
Rabies Inspector
Radiation Protection Specialist
Radiological Health Specialist
Restaurant Inspector
Risk Analyst
Risk Control Consultant
Risk Prevention Engineer
Safety Advisor
Safety Consultant
Safety Engineer
Safety Inspector
Safety Instructor
Safety Manager
Safety Person
Safety Specialist
Safety Trainer
Sanitarian
Sanitarian Inspector
Sanitary Inspector
Sanitation Inspector
Sanitation Officer
Tick Inspector
Venereal Disease Investigator
Water Inspector
Work Environment Safety Inspector

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$32.11 hourly, $66,790 annual.
Employment (2008):
59,610 employees