What does a Occupational Health Specialist do?
|Citation||Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org|
An occupational health specialist evaluates the employee workplace to ensure that there are no physical or environmental risks. They look for issues that may compromise the safety, comfort, health, or performance of the employees working for a particular facility. They usually travel to the worksite for their inspections and gather data from a variety of places like factories, mines, offices, and other areas. He or she examines the place of employment to check for adherence to regulations and that those regulations are followed and enforced.
How to Become a Occupational Health Specialist
An occupational health specialist holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related field such as biology, engineering, or chemistry. In some cases a master’s degree is required in health physics or industrial hygiene.
Most courses include hazardous material management and control, respiratory protection, radiation science, and risk communications. It is advantageous for a high school student that is considering this career field to take subjects in physics, math, English, biology and chemistry prior to going to college.
Though not required, many employees are beginning to request an employee to become certified. This can be done through a variety of organizations, however the most common route is with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They offer a wide range of materials and training resources in the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces. Check out their website for more information and training centers in the state you reside in.
Job Description of a Occupational Health Specialist
An occupational health specialist must perform a variety of duties as they are responsible for the health and safety of work environments. They are also expected to design programs to prevent injury and disease to employees or damage to the environment. This is accomplished through the collection of potential toxic materials, inspection of the practiced compliance regulations, and standards in a particular work place. He or she would investigate any accidents to determine cause or future prevention of incidents.
An occupational health specialist must also conduct training like emergency preparedness or other safety topics. This helps prevent workplace accidents and increases safety for employees. In turn saving the company money on insurance premiums and workman’s compensation, as well as avoiding government fines. An occupational health specialist looks for ways to reduce absenteeism in the workplace and increase worker productivity or equipment downtime. He or she works closely with physicians and engineers in their goals to repair hazardous conditions or equipment.
Occupational Health Specialists are expected to have technical abilities, be problem solvers, have good communication skills, and be detail oriented. In addition to this, an occupational health specialist should prove physical stamina as the job often requires standing for long periods of time, traveling frequently, and may be needed to go into tunnels or mines.