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.
Safety on the job is no accident; occupational health and safety specialists and technicians keep workplaces as accident-free as possible, by looking for safer, healthier, and more efficient work practices. Occupational health and safety specialists inspect workplaces to ensure they meet safety and environmental regulations. They examine factors such as lighting, ventilation, and whether materials are stored or disposed of correctly. Occupational health and safety technicians work with specialists to conduct tests and measure hazards. They may perform checks to make sure workers are using required protective gear, such as masks and hardhats. After a workplace accident or injury occurs, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians investigate potential causes and plan how to prevent future events. They may develop training programs to correct risky conditions, and coordinate rehabilitation for injured employees. Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians generally work full time and travel from their offices or factories to conduct fieldwork. They use gloves, respirators, and other gear to minimize exposure to hazards. In emergencies, they work weekends and irregular hours. Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related field, while technicians typically enter the field through on-the-job training, or a related associate’s degree or certificate.
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