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Career Profile: Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 98,000 people employed as occupational health and safety specialists in the United States. The median annual salary is $76,300. Entry level employees earn approximately $44,710 per year and senior employees earn approximately $112,850 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

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

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
98,000
Annual Openings:
7,800
Increase in Openings by 2030:
7%
Annual Salary Range:
$44,710 - $112,850
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree