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Field Overview - Preparation - Day In The Life - Earnings -
Employment - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations -
Overview PowerPoint - Overview Podcast


Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians, also known as safety and health professionals or occupational health and safety inspectors, help prevent harm to workers, property, the environment, and the general public. For example, they might design safe work spaces, inspect machines, or test air quality. In addition to making workers safer, specialists and technicians aim to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime -- and to save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers' compensation payments, and preventing government fines. Some specialists and technicians work for governments, conducting safety inspections and imposing fines.

Occupational health and safety technicians take measurements and collect workplace data either for routine inspection or as directed by a specialist. Technicians often focus on testing air, water, machines, and other elements of the work environment. They collect data that occupational health and safety specialists then analyze. Usually working under the supervision of specialists, they also help to implement and evaluate safety programs.

To measure hazards, such as noise or radiation, occupational health and safety technicians prepare and calibrate scientific equipment. They must properly collect and handle samples of dust, gases, vapors, and other potentially toxic materials to ensure personal safety and accurate test results.

To ensure that machinery and equipment complies with appropriate safety regulations, occupational health and safety technicians may examine and test machinery and equipment, such as lifting devices, machine guards, or scaffolding. They may check that personal protective equipment, such as masks, respirators, protective eyewear, or hardhats, is being used according to regulations. They also check that hazardous materials are stored correctly. They test and identify work areas for potential accident and health hazards, such as toxic vapors, mold, mildew, and explosive gas-air mixtures and help implement appropriate control measures, such as adjustments to ventilation systems. Their inspection of the workplace might involve talking with workers and observing their work, as well as inspecting elements in their work environment, such as lighting, tools, and equipment.

The responsibilities of occupational health and safety technicians vary by industry, workplace, and types of hazards affecting employees. Mine examiners, for example, are technicians who inspect mines for proper air flow and health hazards such as the buildup of methane or other noxious gases. Environmental protection technicians evaluate and coordinate the storage and handling of hazardous waste, the cleanup of contaminated soil or water, or other activities that affect the environment. Health physics technicians work in places that use radiation and radioactive material, helping to protect people and the environment from hazardous radiation exposure. Industrial hygiene technicians examine the workplace for health hazards, such as exposure to lead, asbestos, pesticides, or communicable diseases.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians Resources

Online

Overview:
Overview of the work of Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians
Preparation:
Programs, Degree Fields
Day in the Life:
The Workplace
Earnings:
Salary Ranges, Statistics
Employment:
Employment Options and Data
Career Path Forecast:
Predictions for the field
Professional Organizations:
Resources, Networking, Support
Podcast:
Overview of the work of Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians
Internet Resources:
American Industrial Hygiene Association

Health Physics Society
Board of Certified Safety Professionals

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 


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