Occupational health and safety specialists typically do the following: Identify hazards in the workplace Collect samples of potentially toxic materials for analysis Inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from potentially hazardous work conditions Investigate accidents and incidents to identify their causes and to determine how they might be prevented in the future Conduct training on a variety of topics such as emergency preparedness Occupational health and safety specialists examine lighting, equipment, ventilation, and other conditions and materials in the workplace that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. Specialists seek to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. They also seek to save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments and by preventing government fines. Some specialists develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency. In addition to protecting workers, specialists also work to prevent harm to property, the environment, and the public by inspecting workplaces for chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards. Specialists who work for governments conduct safety inspections and can impose fines. Occupational health and safety specialists work with engineers and physicians to control or fix potentially hazardous conditions or equipment. They also work closely with occupational health and safety technicians to collect and analyze data in the workplace.
Occupational health and safety specialists typically need an associates degree in occupational health, safety, or a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry.