The most important role of a health and safety engineer is to develop procedures and safety standards for a workforce to follow in order to ensure a safe and productive work environment. These engineers are vital in they leverage their existing knowledge in the field to develop streamlined processes to ensure workers do not get sick or injured by their work environment.
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How to Become a Health and Safety Engineer
According to O*Net Online, almost 70% of health and safety engineers have a bachelor’s degree. Most health and safety engineers have at least an bachelor’s degree in engineering. They recommended type of engineering degree to obtain would depend on the industry in which the person will be working. For instance, there are industrial safety and health engineers, fire-prevention and protection engineers, systems safety engineers, aerospace safety engineers, and product safety engineers.
Job Description of a Health and Safety Engineer
A health and safety engineer would generally review new equipment workers may be using soon and ensure it can be operated safely in their work environment. They would also inspect a facility for hazardous conditions. They want to ensure the work environment is safe, safety gear is being worn and utilized, and that equipment is properly maintained and safe to use.
Based on their observations, they would recommend additional safety measures and process improvements. For example, they may add a new safety device on a machine, or educate the workforce on the proper use of safety gear, and implement new safety and health policies. If there is a work-related accident, a health and safety engineer would review the reports and may even conduct additional research (such as interviews) to reduce or eliminate the accident from happening again.
Safety Engineer Job Posting
Let’s look at a job description posted by the U.S. Mint. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:
- Serve as a technical authority in occupational and industrial safety for both the United States Mint and contractors concerning safety issues.
- Review occupational safety analyses, assessments, and other occupational safety documentation for compliance with applicable requirements.
- Evaluate the adequacy of, and make any necessary recommendations regarding, facilities and equipment using established standards, and determine compliance to prevent failure or injury.
- Review proposed and existing program documents for scope, content, and adequacy; and recommend improvements in occupational and industrial safety practices and procedures.
- Develop solutions to problems involving substantial modification of existing standards and practices, methods, and techniques, utilizing in-depth knowledge of physical phenomena, engineering, and scientific concepts related to occupational safety.
This position was posted to run 12/19/2018 until 01/22/2019 with a salary range of $114,590 to $148,967 per year on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Free Teacher and Student Resources
The Board of Certified and Safety Professionals (link opens in a new tab) offers information on the various career paths that safety professionals take.
Industrial Safety Health Engineer Career Video Transcript
Even with workplace regulations to protect workers, many jobs carry an element of risk. Industrial safety and health engineers are responsible for using engineering tools and technology to make places that are dangerous to work at as safe as possible. These engineers promote worksite and product safety to avoid hazards from a variety of sources: chemical, physical, biological, and even psychological. They are always on the lookout for new ways to predict and prevent hazardous conditions and when they do occur, control them with safety measures.
Industrial safety and health engineers work with other public health and safety workers to coordinate efforts, often teaming up to investigate industrial accidents and injuries, find their cause, and prevent future problems. While they spend time in the office to plan new and improved safety programs, these engineers also travel to worksites to evaluate machinery and environments and to train workers in safety and emergency procedures. Many of these positions require a four-year college degree in engineering, along with work related experience. For these engineers, maintaining safer, healthier workplaces keeps American industry industrious.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health and Safety Engineers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 17-2111.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.